Illustrations for Reader’s Digest

all images, c. Kevin Sprouls

Here are more illustrations for Reader’s Digest that I created during the years I was holding down my day job at The Wall Street Journal. If memory serves me well, I believe the folks at RD called me in to their offices after noticing my illustration work for WSJ. Always hungry for new commissions, I paid a lunchtime visit to their offices in midtown Manhattan to meet with my mentors and friends, Chuck Chestnut, and Murray Miller. I was soon producing a piece of art for these gents every 2 or three weeks. They were career professionals, and enjoyed the many perks the company provided.

The product I was involved with chiefly was the First Day of Issue postal stamp collector’s series. These were envelopes printed with an illustration on the left, and a brand new, postmarked stamp on the right.

My first envelope illustration for them was of the poet, Edna Saint-Vincent Millay. I had studied her poems in High School, and liked them, so was determined to honor her in illustration.

Here is the image:

In these days, I was using an illustrated label which attached to the dust-flap of all outgoing art. It looked like this:

Another early example of this series was a simple Rose Water bottle image…

I merely took their photo-reference and translated it into clear, crisp graphic art. The above drawing is actually quite small, perhaps a bit more than 2-1/2 inches in height.

Another of these intricate drawings depicts a medal awarded to the Founder of our country, George Washington. This drawing is tiny, also, measuring less than 3 inches…

I spent considerable time and effort getting the details and lighting down as well as I could. You can see my appreciation of lettering in this piece. The central GW monogram took considerable care in handling! The encircling rings represent the thirteen (then) states.

Another lettering effort appears above. It’s a relic of some long-gone age, when the gentile public had to request, then wait… … for books! This art has been damaged by water, as you may detect. I include it here because it is kind of an odd duck and a curiosity.

Lastly, here is Edith Kennedy, a kind soul who conceived of an exclusive Olympic Games for the special needs community. Here, she’s pinning an awards medal onto a worthy contender. If you look closely at the helmut, you can see the pencil-lines I forgot to erase!

More next week, Dear Readers. A Happy New Year to Us All!

3 thoughts on “Illustrations for Reader’s Digest

  1. Happy New Year!
    The Washington medal is amazing; the water damage and stray pencil lines on the others are enhancements—if the basic structure is sound enough anything that goes wrong isn’t really wrong at all, just surface variations that look realistic.
    Keep ’em coming. best, howl

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