Noli Novak: Portrait of a Stipple Artist

Those familiar illustrations on the pages of The Wall Street Journal look just like engravings. But the intricate portraits, called headcuts, are actually a sort of pointilist sketch — drawn by hand using a technique known as "stippling."

Noli Novak draws a "stipple" self-portrait. i i

Noli Novak creates a stipple self-portrait. hide caption

itoggle caption
Noli Novak draws a "stipple" self-portrait.

Noli Novak creates a stipple self-portrait.

Noli Novak, a New Jersey-based artist, has produced Journal art for nearly 20 years. At her studio, she typically receives an e-mailed photo of her subject. Then, deftly employing a number-one pen, she copies a three-by-five inch image onto special vellum paper. She creates a realistic image with a constellation of dots, lines and crosshatches, a process that generally takes about three hours.

Novak grew up on the Croatian island of Korchula, and reached the United States in 1984, after college. In addition to doing her own work for the Journal, she now trains new artists. She makes sure everyone draws in a uniform style, making it nearly impossible to tell whose hand lies behind which portrait.

A stipple portrait of Madonna. i i

Madonna is often photographed. Now she's stippled. Noli Novak hide caption

itoggle caption Noli Novak
A stipple portrait of Madonna.

Madonna is often photographed. Now she's stippled.

Noli Novak

And Music, Too

Noli Novak also has a band, Novakseen. Two songs from the 2000 CD 'Goat Black':

Noli Novak singing with Novakseen

Noli Novak singing with Novakseen hide caption

itoggle caption

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.