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Illustrator Kevin Sprouls: Joint Ventures

Posted by Workbook on 08/06/2010 — Filed under:  Illustration
If you've ever read the Wall Street Journal, then you'll find the style of these images pretty familiar.  Kevin Sprouls, the man responsible for many of the illustrated portraits seen on a daily basis in the paper, features some of his multiple character hedcuts and the often difficult process of fitting everyone into them.  Additional work from Kevin is at and

These portrait drawings, known in the parlance of the Wall Street Journal as hedcuts, were produced while I was heading up the in-house illustration team at the paper during the 1980′s. Normally, we generated single portraits; however, there were those instances when we needed to depict more than one person within our space on the page. For this application, we were granted a full column, rather than the usual half-column window.

Jim Wright and Tip O’Neill are shown below. Can you identify the rest??

Next, name the astronauts (bonus points!)

…from a human interest piece. It was always a challenge to “put together” these multiple portraits. We had to jam folks as closely together as was feasible, squeezing them into the two-and-a-half inch column width. My approach was usually to blend them together with a tonal fade. Can you find my signature?

These guys are described merely as "detectives".  Check out the fade technique.

… a business couple with great hair.

Eighties icon the Thompson Twins. More great Hair! My kids loved this band when they were tots.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this brief tour through my portrait collection— more to come…