Conceptual Illustrations for The WSJ

All images, c. Kevin Sprouls

A long time ago, when The Wall Street Journal was printed only in black and white, I was asked to provide conceptual illustrations for The WSJ, in a large format. This was a departure from the daily creation of hedcut portraits my team was engaged in, and for which the Journal was becoming known. During those years, the Eighties, the paper expanded from one to two sections. The second section was in need of some eye-catching larger-format graphics.

Here is a period piece depicting an office worker who’s not been keeping up with technology… he’s out in the cold! Note the squarish-looking automobile. These were thought to be stylish during the Reagan years. Anyone remember Chrysler’s “K” cars? The computers are very primitive, too. I developed this graphic-looking illustration style to fit into the expanded format.

This image is called “Turncoat” — someone who moves from one company to another while taking valuable contacts and vital information with him. I suppose corporate security then was not what it is today!

Here is a bunch of executive types carving up their slices of “the Pie”. All men — so “Eighties”! Note the heavy use of cross-hatching. I was shooting for a wide range of tone, from black to white.

This image conveys the concept of the rise of international banking in the age of satellite communication. The most challenging part of this drawing was drawing the beams coming from the satellite. I had to be meticulous!

I hope you enjoyed this little excursion through the past… More next week!

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