And, On the Far Side of the Newspaper Recession, the WSJ Hedcutters


“A busy day consists of two ‘live’ hedcuts, drawings that are due to run in the next day’s paper….. Each intricate portrait can take up to five hours to complete, with countless little dots. But in an emergency, artists can produce one in as little as two hours, with more lines and fewer specks….

‘Because we are essentially tracing the photograph, a lot of people think it’s not a big deal,’ says [Hai] Knafo. ‘But it is.’

‘We have our little tricks,’ says Noli Novak, who has been with the Journal since 1987. ‘A portrait with less dots will take less time.’

‘People at the Journal don’t even know there’s a whole department doing this,’ says Novak.”
-Never before have I read a piece about working commercial artists that, instead of making me either envious or awed, makes me instead suspect of their entire line of work! And yet here we are.