Wall Street Journal is noted for their peculiar half-tone styled portraits. You can find lots of searches for iPhone/iPad apps and Photoshop plugins that will create these. But you can’t really get the same look and feel.
They look like half-tone photos kind-of, but at the same time look almost hand drawn. Well you’re mostly right on both counts.
Essentially in this the hedcut uses lines or dots of varying tone intensities to mimic natural changes in image shades, shadows and highlights. The result mesmerizes to me much the same way as photo-realism.
The man first responsible for these one-of-a-kind portraits in the Wall Street Journal is Kevin Sproul.
Kevin’s range of illustrative work, though, goes way beyond Wall Street Journal into architectural, flora & fauna, conceptual, logos, how-to, commissioned portraits and more.
They produce in me a vintage reminiscence of the illustrations I remember looking at as a child in my grandparent’s garage in old Sears catalogues, almanacs or woodcut prints.
Kevin also has a brief and basic tutorial on his technique for you here.
If you have Photoshop here is a link to what appears to be a good tutorial in getting a quasi hedcut effect without any special plugins.