When I was the lead in-house illustrator at The Wall Street Journal, in the 1980’s, an emphasis evolved at the paper towards producing conceptual illustration for many of the feature articles. The New York Times had been doing this for years, of course, and I think the powers that be took their lead from this.
So, as a welcome respite from drawing portraits, by way of flexing our artistic wings, my team and I would often engage in some serious brainstorming and interpreting of ideas to pictorialise the articles of import.
Here are some of my contributions…
A fairly generic portrayal of some archetypal businessmen, climbing and striving, to carve out a piece of their pie. Seems quaint all these years later, in the light of Enron and their ilk. But those were much more innocent times. (Perhaps it was I who was innocent!)
The concept: investment in NASA and space technology programs are creating benefits and profits down the road. Somewhat of a foreign concept in today’s politicized environment.
As I recall, this was for a story about the proliferation of paper documents in the age (just dawning) of electronic, digital record-keeping. My drawing style was fairly graphic here, but I produced this with the same tools I use for the wall street journal portraits, or hedcuts.
Now, here is a departure, stylistically. The story was about the dreariness and frustration of night school. I had fun drawing “out of the box”. My insignia is on display, bottom right.
In the interest of total disclosure, this was not a Wall Street Journal illustration. I created this image a couple of years after I resigned from my day job at the WSJ. It was commissioned for a medical/pharmaceutical newsletter dealing with freeing the patient from addiction.
One of my favorite illustrations, this was produced while I was at the Journal, for an article I can’t for the life of me recall.
It’s rather low on concept, but high in detail!