Poetic illustrations have a special place in my life and I relish the opportunity to create them.
I have a lot of Poet friends, my wife and daughter among them. Many were contributors to a literary journal called “Lunch”. Lunch was published at Farleigh Dickenson University for many years, under the direction of professors/poets Michael O’Brien and Jim Klein. I treated the illustrations for a few of their covers back in the late-70’s, and I’m sharing these with you today. Here is an actual cover — well-loved, by the look of it!
The image is an early example of the same technique I use today. The pen handling is a bit looser than the Wall Street Journal hedcut style I went on to pioneer, but this drawing has good dynamics. Here is the actual art…
A few of the aforementioned poets and I would sometimes spend vacation time at a beachfront shack called “411”. This illustration took its inspiration from my time there:
This one is a departure from my usual style, utilizing broad fields of solid black. The ripples of incoming tide were a challenge to convey, but I think they were captured here adequately.
Last, a more abstract composition. This was a rather detailed undertaking, especially the background treatment. I’ll explain: I was a big fan of the illustrator Elliott Banfield. I noticed he was making effective use of repetitive patterns in his work, so I decided to try my hand at this approach. To get the template for the pattern, I carved into the side of a piece of thin plastic with an x-acto blade. Then, using a slide-rule and triangle, I meticulously lay down multiple ink lines to create a striated effect. Here’s a detail…
The cover illustration turned out like this:
I designed the typography on this one, incorporating it into the image.
I’m still creating illustrations for poetry magazines, as you’ll see in my earlier post on the Quarryman, a few months ago. This kind of work is always totally rewarding. I hope you had as much fun viewing the art as I had in making it!
All images, © copyright Kevin Sprouls