Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Phoebe's Hedcut Honor in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL


The Wall Street Journal is known for its half-column portrait illustrations called "Hedcuts." They are highly-coveted by moguls, business leaders, heads of state and celebrities. This clever art form uses the stipple method of many small dots and the hatching method of small lines to create an image. They resemble woodcuts from old-style newspapers and engraving on certificates and currency. The name comes from newspaper lingo for "headline."

WSJ freelancer Kevin Sprouls developed the technique and the Journal's Page One Editor, Glynn Mapes, hired Kevin as a staff illustrator. Today, there are six hedcut artists on staff. It is considered an honor to have your hedcut portrait appear in the Journal. This is a highly regarded and complex gesture of appreciation.

The hedcuts take 3 to 5 hours to produce and women are particularly difficult to capture because of their hair, says the staff. In fact, women are less likely to be featured. Phoebe's hedcut is signed by "WEBBER" who created what must have been a labor of love as the very complicated hedcut features Phoebe's blond mane and guitar which served to complicate the process.

Other women that have been featured in the Journal in this distinctive portrait style include Oprah, Martha Stewart and Muriel Siebert.

The Smithsonian Institution features the hedcuts in a permanent display in the National Portrait Gallery.