The iconic hedcut portraits for The Wall Street Journal were created by fellow illustrator Kevin Sprouls back in the late ’70s. I always thought they were really neat – very much like the etching style used on currency, but incorporating dot patterns which I appreciated as a stipple artist.
Fifteen years after their introduction I had some back-and-forth with folks at the Journal about the possibility of creating some hedcuts for them on a freelance basis, but my being on the west coast was seen as a real challenge. This is a daily newspaper, after all…and few of us were using computers, let alone scanners back then. Their deadlines seemed impossible…
FedEx was an option, but a hassle. And – we still hadn’t determined that I could do the drawings fast enough or that they’d even like my own efforts to replicate their distinguished look. We decided that a “test” hedcut was in order, and I was allowed to choose anyone I wanted to draw for this first attempt. For some reason (and I honestly can’t remember why) – I chose Curly from The Three Stooges.
The Journal’s senior art director, Joe Dizney, liked the drawing and I did create a few hedcuts for them sporadically over the next few years. But in 1999 – with my studio’s welcome addition of a brand new Epson scanner – I was able to become a regular contributor.
So I guess I have Curly Howard (among others) to thank for getting this fun gig started. And – this reverie was undoubtedly triggered by the brand new #ThreeStooges movie opening this weekend.