The Ad that launched my Freelance Career, post WSJ


By 1987, I had been working my day job at the Wall Street Journal for several years, producing hedcuts and lots of other illustrated imagery for the paper. Being young and eager, I was also “moonlighting” in an effort to start my freelance career. So, in a move to transition out of the status-quo, I put an ad together for the premier Illustration and Photography directory at that time, The Black Book.

This annual publication was the gold-standard, at that time, in the advertising industry. For my single¬†black-and-white¬†page, I paid the princely sum of $5,000. I figured, “what the hell”. And it paid off. Here is the first significant Self-Promotional ad of my professional freelance career:


You can see the cut-lines and mechanical-board details of a former technology (pre-digital press-processing). I started getting calls from agencies and various design firms as soon as the book came out. This ad landed me some pretty major gigs, and, within months, I was able to bid adieu to my colleagues at the Journal. (The O’Toole portrait and the bowler-hat image were created as promotional pieces. The other two were produced for and published in the Wall Street Journal,… back in the Day.

Next time, I will tell the story of my first big break resulting from this ad buy. I hope you’ll return to read all about it!



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