Stipple Illustration by Wall Street Journal Hedcut portrait artist Noli Novak

Check out this site: Stipple Portraits – Hedcut Pen and Ink Drawings – Hedcuts – Stipple Illustration by Wall Street Journal Hedcut portrait artist Noli Novak. Whenever I see things like this, it makes me regret the move I made post college to give up on art as a professional endeavor. I was a very self-involved purist at the time and felt that I could never sell my artwork in any sort of large commercialized medium. I talked about my pieces as my babies. I was really annoying.

Now that I’m older (although probably not too much wiser; just better perspective), I regret that stance. I wish sometimes that I had gone full-force with the art, rather than full-force with the writing and education. Art is therapy to me. I was worried at that time that I would have corrupted my therapy by making it my business. Writing is also therapy to me and I now know that making it my business hasn’t corrupted its power at all. And art has always been the bigger therapy, so I sometimes wonder if I had taken the art path if I would be generally less stressed about things (not that I’m an insanely stressed person as it is).

I need to draw more…

[via BoingBoing]

About C.K. Sample III

I am a father, a husband, a blogger, a parrot owner, a pug owner, and the Chief Product Officer for YouEarnedIt. This site has no comments. If you want to talk to me, send me an @cksample on Twitter. If you like this post, feel free to buy me something off of my wishlist.
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9 Responses to Stipple Illustration by Wall Street Journal Hedcut portrait artist Noli Novak

  1. Alex Sonye says:

    I have been looking at the Wall Street Journal’s portraits for more than 22 years. I looked into their origin recently and found that they were created by Kevin Sprouls. He was a staff artist and then associate art director at the journal before leaving to free lance. He taught everyone at the journal this technique that is now a corporate icon. I found this info at the national portrait gallery website, and an Around the Mall article in the Smithsonian. His website is amazing. Hope I was of some help.

  2. Rose Vida says:

    Thanks so much for this information on Kevin Sprouls. I have been wondering about when and who started that portrait style for the WSJ. I love the term hedcut too. I am off to look at the links you recommended.

  3. I found this page by googling and then stumbled on the “hedcut” link to information on Kevin Sprouls. I love wandering the web and finding the gems. If you are interested in learning more about the illustrator who started the portrait style the wsj uses to this day, this is a good link.
    this of course will lead to his own website, which is awesome….. Man I love the www

  4. Kathy F. says:

    Yeah, the www IS amazing, and so is the illustrator KS’s desperation in promoting himself by placing his link in all of Noli’s blog entries. Spam anybody?!

  5. sharpie says:

    The sad thing is, there are at least 5 excellent hedcut artists who get very little press in addition to Noli, but they aren’t as big of shameless self promoters. I can understand KS being a bit pissed about NN’s branding of the style as her own- the fact that the other illustrators aren’t mentioned in most of the self promotion Noli sends out is disturbingly self serving. I don’t blame Sprouls for setting the record straight on who the original creative artist is and who the production artists are.

  6. justinian says:

    She is the only one smart enough to promote herself. She does not say she is the only one who does it, just that she does it. The other production artists do not have the desire to promote themselves online or else they would…. Do a search for hedcut on google. Who is on the first page? Not KS…. I wonder why that is….

  7. Follis says:

    Another skilled production artist who does the hedcut tracings is Randy Glass- check him out, his style is a bit more distinctive than the others’- the featured hedcuts in the weekend editions (the ones that are larger than normal) are his. I like the way he plays with line and pattern, he elevates a relatively banal technique to a higher level.

    Hey, Justinian, are you saying the other production artists aren’t very smart? Hmm? Interesting hypothesis.

    Maybe it’s that, or maybe it’s simply that the other illustrators like KS aren’t sleeping with someone who spends all of their free time (and it seems they have a lot of it) pimping Ms. Novak’s and his own website on other people’s message boards and blogs. It certainly wasn’t appreciated on mine, and I’m tired of still tired of stepping in the nolinovak/tozzophoto droppings during my art related internet browsing.

  8. Noli Novak says:

    Well, well …. although this is an old post now, just coming across it made me noxious enough to have to stand up in my own defense … even at this late date. Unfortunately, the same venom spewing losers who commented here, still find me fascinating enough to follow my internet presence to this day! Although my real fans grossly outnumber the 3 of you, the controversy you created only helped, so thanks for boosting my SEO. I couldn’t have done it without you! But, first …. let me thank C.K. for the blog post. I should also apologize for the stinky residue my haters leave behind themselves.

    First of all, here’s a little history for those wondering what the fuss is about:
    Crap hit the fan the day I decided to launch my own website. Everything stated in it then and now is nothing but true, but KS was (is) pissed for one simple reason: when I launched my website, his monopoly of the online hedcut presence ended, and the whole KS clan targeted me like a pack of hungry wolves. For Sharpie to say I’m branding the style as my own is utter nonsense and I challenge you to point to a link, a sentence, a line ….. anything to prove I ever said something remotely close to that! After all, KS made sure his claim to the throne of hedcut holy fatherdoom is etched in the online annals for the rest of times, but even I still pay my respects, mind you. For instance, I spent hours helping Ann Goodyear of the NPG putting the online hedcut exhibit together (link prominently displayed on KS’s site) and it was me who insisted that he be a part of the story (oh, you’re welcomed!). Maybe he expects the rest of us WSJ illustrators to quit stippling altogether? Not after we toiled over the technique and reinvented it many times since he left the paper over 20 years ago!
    Look, the fact is people like my work. I bust my ass, I put my all into it and I’m proud of it. I don’t have to cheat, lie, or sit in anybody’s shadow, and I’m here to stay. I suggest you instead focus your energies on the countless, cheap imitations coming out of Bangalore!
    As for the repeated claims that my online presence somehow undermines the existence of the rest of the illustrators: I have been pushing my colleagues to launch their own websites for years, and they can all confirm how much grief I’ve been giving them about it, but … there’s only so much nagging I can do. We still work as a group and we share freelance all the time. It would be a full time job trying to control everything people say about my work, but if I catch a post saying I’m the only person doing the portraits at the paper, I always correct it.
    Finally, …. my dear Follis, my ever present super troll. If I could cure your sick obsession I would, but lets face it …. what would you do then? Life is miserable, isn’t it? No talent, lousy job and a marriage from hell (I bet!) …. but, since you decided to finally cross the line and become offensive, I see your goal is to somehow affect my livelihood, and since by doing that you’d also be affecting the livelihoods of my colleagues, I decided to inform the Journal of what you’re doing (…and what a track record!). I know this might put your hubby in a dubious position, but …. karma is a pesky little thing. ;-)

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