Art of Hospitality

all images, c. Kevin Sprouls




In these times, it’s odd to consider the Art of Hospitality. The tourism sector has really been hit hard by the pandemic. But, it’s interesting to consider how much travel and acommodation we once enjoyed in normal times. I created illustrations for a few projects in the hospitality industry. One such assignment was for a hotel chain that had a whimsical, comic twist in their print campaign:

This illustration features the kind of guests that are guaranteed not to be staying at their hotel! The figure with the fish-tie is roughly based on myself, and the one on the far right is based on a close friend. ( We liked to party hearty when we were younger! ) I had fun slipping us into the ad. The drawing has good fluidity and expression. Lots of rich detail, too.

Another illustration in the series features the classic snooty concierge…

It was fun creating the angry line of characters, standing at the mercy of the fussy and oblivious receptionist. I had an inspiration for this image, an experience I had at the airport in San Juan during this period. Because of a few totally inept airport characters, I ended up missing my flight. I was furious! The airline officials were so impressed with my outrage, that they bumped my wife and me up into First Class on the following flight.

Another assignment came from a hotel in Texas. The client wanted an image for an ad to publicize the New Year’s Eve party they were throwing. This was a moonlighting job, as I was still on staff at The Wall Street Journal at the time. My colleague Barbara Kelley helped by posing with me so I could base the dancing figures on actual reference photography.

Although there is a good bit of my usual stippling technique, this illustration is more graphic in style than was my usual approach. As a tribute to an illustrator I admired at the time, Elliott Banfield, I used a custom template to create the horizontal background texture.

Finally, I worked on a simple ad for American Airlines. It’s always a pleasure crafting simple, targeted images to convey an instantly recognized concept. I was familiar with those hulking, black London Taxi-cabs, and have always thought them distinctively ugly, as well as offensive in emissions pollution. So, I could conjure up a pretty good likeness of this iconic vehicle.

The bed illustration was easy. Whipping up the illustration of a soft and comfortable traditional four-poster was a breeze. Note the oversized, stuffed pillows. I got to display my typographical chops a bit here, too.

I hope you enjoyed this diversion from Covid-19. And I wish all my readers health, happiness, and a swift return to normal times, and safe travels!

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