Monday, April 9, 2012

Gallery of (Spot) Illustration Art

Spot illustrations are small drawings - often so-called "silhouettes" (that is, drawings without borders or backgrounds) that are created to be placed at the top of or within the text of an article.  Their purpose is often to liven up what may otherwise be just a block of text.

Over the years, particularly during the "golden era" of whimsical illustrations in magazines in newspapers - from approximately 1980 to 2000 - I did hundreds of spot illustrations for magazines and newspapers.  Although they are not as showy or respectable as a cover or full-page illustration, they can still often be challenging and fun. 

 In addition to (under a deadline) creating compositions and images that are pleasing to the eye, one had to also come up with easy-to-grasp conceptual "hooks" for the article.  Often my attempts to do this ended up being somewhat corny and cheerfully upbeat.  In the beginning, coming up with these kinds of ideas went against my lifelong grouchy and pessimistic nature - and some of the "cuter" sentiments were certainly forced.  But I like to think I eventually found my way -- and my genuine pleasure and enjoyment of the work, I think, could trump the silliness of some of the concepts.  I was always relieved at the moment when a sketch or idea was approved by the art director and I could finally just be like a kid and have fun making a picture.

I hope some of my readers may enjoy this (possibly too generous) selection of some of my spot illustrations, scanned from the original art.  If you are a collector or art lover, you might like to know that most of the illustrations pictured are available for purchase over at the Comic Art Collective.  

Because of the small size of most of the art (generally around 5" to 7" on 9" x 12" watercolor paper) as well as the esoteric subject matter, I'm pricing them in a low range, most between $40. to $75.   Nevertheless, despite the lower prices, I'm quite proud of some of these pieces and honestly feel they are among some of the more successful examples of my work.  I've also provided a bit more details and description of many of these pieces there as well, if you are curious (and possibly wondering what the heck is going on in some of them! - Though, to be honest, I've completely forgotten some of the articles myself).  

As always, many thanks for looking!


  1. "The Vinyl Mourner" is my favorite, as is the computer Mozart. Great stuff!!!

  2. Great work. I was looking for example of Spot Illustrations for my Digital Applications class for the summer. Thanks for posting.

  3. Great illustrations, I felt transported to my childhood, while I used to "read" my aunt's magazines and felt intrigued by the illustrations of the humorous section, it's a warming feeling, thanks for making me smile!