I'm not sure how I would do these illustrations if I didn't have access to the wondrous internet! I try to do as much research as possible to get visual references for places and things that are mentioned in the articles.
For example, the fellow who was in this frame met his future wife at the Millionaire Drive Inn. I was able to find a picture of its iconic sign (the classy waiter/chef with the frosty mug and burger) and include it in the illo! Another subject was an author and I found the cover art for some of her older, less known works and incorporated those into the frame. And for a young track star, I went to the Nike website and found the shoes she was wearing in her photo.
The spot illustration for the iPad version: