Conceptual Illustration

All Images, c. Kevin Sprouls

This time, I’m featuring some of my work in Conceptual Illustration. That is, imagery with an idea behind it. When I have been between jobs, I’ve created illustrations for my own entertainment and to showcase my art chops.

I thought it might be fun to portray Winston Churchill. I came to like this historical figure by reading of his escapades with Franklin Roosevelt in the White House during World War Two. In fact, when I was head illustrator at The Wall Street Journal, I created this image of the two of them:

I wanted to give the portrait of Winston some context, so I created a Union Jack background…

I like the bowtie here — very randomly poka-dotted.

Next, an illustration I was commissioned to do for an Annual Report. I was asked to reconstuct, visually, an image of the Lighthouse at Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. I’m a big fan of classical history, so I jumped right into this project! Funny story: The client and I never discussed how the art was to be created — that is, black-and-white or full-color. I priced the job as full-color, which was twice my rate for b&w art. Much to my surprise, when I submitted the illustration, the client called to say they wanted black-and-white art. Uh-Oh! They were very gracious about it, and turned my color art into a duotone printed image, the b&w version they desired. Here is the full-color illustration:

There was a time when I was listening to a lot of music by Ottorino Respighi, the great Italian composer of the early 20th-century. You know, Fountains of Rome, Pines of Rome, THAT Respighi. I thought it would be interesting to cast this ‘modern’ composer in the context of the past. Having been a student in Rome myself, I recalled many days sauntering through the Borgese Gardens. I made that my backdrop for this piece, replete with those iconic Roman pines, and the many marble totems which populate the giardini. I found a photo of the composer, and superimposed his face onto the image of a Renaissance painting with the same angle of orientation. Here is the result:

Lastly, a truly conceptual piece, representing the emergence of a new, old, sane, healthy order. It’s a bit ‘over-the-top’, but has some redeeming qualities. The best parts of this illustration are the ones I was striving to denegrate, interestingly…

That’s it for this issue. I hope you have enjoyed the survey, Dear Reader. Better Times Ahead!


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