“Spot Illos”

So in doing magazine and book illustration for a few decades, I picked up a couple of technical terms. For example, an illustration is called an “illo”, a sketch is called a “ruff”, and a deadline is called a “#!!@! deadline”.

Illos done for print are termed by their size, and from biggest to smallest are called a spread, full-page, half-page, quarter page, and spot. Spots are fun because they are usually simple, a quick visual read, and they don’t necessarily have to carry as much narrative weight as a full-page does.

For BLEAK HOUSE the spots are relatively quick to do as they don’t require the historical research that a bigger image does. Here is a gallery of a few of the spots I’ve completed, some with sketches to show how they progress from “ruff” to “spot”. I know it sounds like I’m running a kennel but I’m not!

Well, maybe these two above examples are a bit more developed than my definition of a spot illo. Here are a couple that fit the bill a little better:

“Chancery” is the term for the British legal system which is the true villain of this story. Dickens characterizes Chancery as “…between the registrar’s red table and the silk gowns, with
bills, cross-bills, answers, rejoinders, injunctions, affidavits, issues, references to masters, masters’ reports, mountains of costly nonsense, piled before them.” This image of an endless stack of documents, with headstones scattered at its base, epitomized the waste and redundancy.

Thanks for stopping by! You can drop me a line at dickens@mooneyart.com.

Author: mooney2021

I am a commercial artist and illustrator from New York and now retired. I'm also a longtime Charles Dickens fan and I've embarked on a project to illustrate his great BLEAK HOUSE.

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