Rob's Blog

Celebrity Illustrations

The death of Jerry Lewis – August 20th, 2017

by on Aug.20, 2017, under Celebrity Illustrations

Most in my age group did not grow up with Jerry Lewis. I did. From my youngest days I took in Lewis and Martin films. I admit I’m more of a fan of Dino, but Lewis had a large impact, too.

While many young people my age in the ’70s were watching media more risque and serious, i was laughing. There was more than Martin and Lewis. The Marx Brothers were a big part of it, too. Also, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Cary Grant, Debbie Reynolds, Danny Kaye, Doris Day, etc., etc. It was great to grow up with them all. It was rather solitary. None of my family were interested and no one in school knew what I was chattering about. It was all just fun for me. I figure whatever sense of humor I have is thanks to taking in those early films. The Marx Brothers and Dean and Jerry especially.

Of course, most all were familiar with Lewis and the Muscular Dystrophy Telethons each Labor Day weekend. Each raised incredible sums for research. Each also was a vast showcase for a large variety of entertainment. I believe those of the last half of the century knew Lewis more for the telethon than any other media he’s done.

Lewis did so much more than telethons. There were the 17 films with Dean Martin, the Colgate Comdey hours and other radio programs and television. After Lewis and Martin split, Jerry went on to make 40 more films up to the year ago. Lewis even had a hit record with ‘Rock-a-bye My Baby’. He was a media whirlwind continuously between 1949 to about 1970.

After ’70 Lewis was older and the ’60s had altered American tastes. His films were harder to finance and he had more trouble making them. Though he continued to produce films he never hit a stride he seemed to aim for and Woody Allen has accomplished of a film a year for almost 50 years.

It was around 1980 when i read ‘Everybody Loves somebody (Especially himself)’ by Arthur Marx (Groucho’s son). The book is about Martin and Lewis and their time in entertainment. Marx wrote of Lewis being a control freak and insufferable during during the entire filming process. He also wrote of Lewis’ office in the ’60s. It was set a foot off the floor so Lewis could look down on anyone in the room. Lewis would also bring in his old shirts, socks and underwear into the office and lay them across the floor. he would then invite staff members in to take whatever they could use. Marx’s book really turned me off to Lewis and have never forgotten it. Along the way Lewis apologized for so much he did earlier in his career to the point of nausea. I believe he meant it.

Lewis admitted to some of his meglo-manical past. At one point he was writing, producing, directing and sweeping the studio floor. Along the way he also developing filming techniques that broke new ground and still used today. The first film Lewis directed (and wrote and starred in), ‘The Bellboy, was entirely assembled in Miami Beach and filmed at the legendary, and original, Fontainbleu Hotel. It was a pioneering effort as Lewis broke ground using video assisting equipment so that director Lewis could watch that actor Lewis was correctly performing Lewis’s script. If i recall correctly, Lewis wrote the script in weeks and rewrote during production and the entire film was shot in a month. For Florida, the Bellboy is a video tour of the magnificent Fontainbleu on Miami Beach. The hotel has been severely changed and ‘the Bellboy’ forever preserves memories of magnificent architecture.

Lewis also took the stage. that is where i got to see him closest. While performing in ‘Damn Yankees’, the play stopped in Oralndo, Florida, at the bob Carr Auditorium. I got a hell of a seat in the second row that was as much the front row. The play was amazing. best was, during intermission, Lewis coming from behind the curtain doing about 15 minutes about himself and just to joke around. An incredible night!

As the years went on it was realized this comedy legend might live forever. In December 2015 media host Raymond Arroyo did, in my opinion, the best interview i’ve heard with Jerry Lewis. One of the best i’ve heard with any celebrity. Though Arroyo is a bit fawning, Lewis opens up about everything. It is very revealing and cane be found here:

It is very sad today to learn about Jerry Lewis’s death. One of the greatest clowns ever has darkened the stage.


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My newest illustration: Fun with Dick van Dyke! – September 9th, 2016

by on Sep.09, 2016, under Caricatures, Cartooning, Celebrity Illustrations


Here’s my painted watercolor version of the little boy and Dick van Dyke and a penguin.

This is for the family of the little boy they have adopted. The couple was fostering the child due to the actual parent’s drug issues. The child became available for adoption and the two 57 year olds decided to start a new life with a young one. This is for a celebration party for the adoption.

This was done with watercolor on board. Had a lot of trouble with the stripes and wish I’d used color pencil to mark them.


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My Illustration of Little Boy & Dick van Dyke! – September 8th, 2016

by on Sep.08, 2016, under Caricatures, Cartooning, Celebrity Illustrations


Just finished meeting of the Friends of Silver Springs State Park & got some work done!

The little boy I drew, I am told, starts laughing & getting extremely excited anytime dick van Dyke appears on a TV screen. It started while he watched, the film, ‘Mary Poppins’. The parents have shown him other videos of van Dyke and the reaction is the same. The boy is all of a year and a half old.

Penciled and prepped during the meeting this illustration of a young child person who has a fascination with the perpetual energetic Dick van Dyke. This is the prep before I add watercolor. I’ll post the finished painting tomorrow.

Also pencilled and inked a brilliant political cartoon, too. Ken Culotta called me before the meeting with the gag. Finish of that can be seen in the areas I post those. 😀



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#INKtober #2 – Happy Birthday, Groucho! – October 2nd, 2015

by on Oct.02, 2015, under Caricatures, Celebrity Illustrations, What's New?


Today would have been Groucho’s 125th birthday and I am a fan! Have been since I was a wee child. I’ve seen all the films, listened to or watched most all of the radio and television programs. Got most all of the books (including different editions). Even Groucho toys! A photo of a small part of my Groucho collection below.

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February 26th, 2014 – Sketch Daily – Mr. T flies!

by on Feb.26, 2014, under Caricatures, Cartooning, Celebrity Illustrations, Illusration


Saw the subject for a daily artistic challenge is the celebrity, Mr. T. A couple months ago i was thinking I wish i had a reason to draw Mr. T. Here it is!

I took the angle of Mr. T’s roll as B.A. Baracus in the television series The A-Team. In the series, B.A. hates anything to do with flying. Thus, he flies!

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February 12th, 2014 – What I’m Drawing: Shirley Temple!

by on Feb.12, 2014, under Caricatures, Cartooning, Celebrity Illustrations, Editorials


Here’s my latest editorial cartoon drawn today reflecting from a true media legend, Shirley Temple. Temple died this past Sunday at the age of 85. We will NEVER see someone like Tmple again. Society won’t allow it, as many other things are censored and not allowed. The cartoon above is speaking to our narrow view of the world today.

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June 7th, 2011 – Happy Birthday, Dino!

by on Jun.07, 2011, under Celebrity Illustrations, Sketchbook

Been promising a Dean Martin drawing to my friend Cathryn Grayson and was able to get it in today. The 7th would’ve been Dean’s 94th birthday. I’m a huuuuuge fan and hope one day to get to the annual Dean Martin Festival in Dean’s hometown of Steubenville, Ohio.

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May 12th, 2011 – The Captain & Tenille …sorta…

by on May.13, 2011, under Caricatures, Cartooning, Celebrity Illustrations, Sketchbook

Due to an exchange on Swampy’s Florida Facebook page comes this drawing. Terisa Glover mentioned the Captain & Tenille involving this Swampy comic strip. And the mysterious Elvis Alligatori of Miami was also there. So, here is Elvis as the Captain and Terisa as Tenille with Swampy.

I meant to keep doing at least one sketch a week after the month long sketch-a-thon in March. So, here’s a couple. Below is a sketch of my favorite, Dean Martin that I did for Ustream attendee yesterday, Mrs. Grayson.

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March 28th, 2011 – March Sketch-A-Day: Duke Dukes it Out!

by on Mar.28, 2011, under Cartooning, Celebrity Illustrations, Sketchbook

Here’s today’s sketch: The Duke (as suggested by Dick Daniels) takes out a couple folks that were discussed during the UStream broadcast and too hard to explain here even briefly. Watching is a baby alligator (Suggested by Terisa Glover). I drew this without reference for John Wayne, so please excuse the likeness.

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March 23rd, 2011 – Sketch-A-day!

by on Mar.23, 2011, under Cartooning, Celebrity Illustrations, Sketchbook

Here’s my Sketch-A-Day: March for today. Elements supplied by Andrea Schell! Thanks, Andrea!

Here’s the recording of this sketch:

I started talking about MArty Allen’s 89th birthday today when I realized folks wouldn’t know what I was talking about, so I did a quick sketch of him off the top of my head.
Here it is:

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March 12th, 2011 – Drawing & Meeting Talk Show Host, Herman Cain

by on Mar.13, 2011, under Caricatures, Celebrity Illustrations, Various

The Marion County Republican Executive Committee had our Lincoln/Reagan Day Dinner Saturday night and I contributed by serving on the planning committee and drawing caricatures at the event. Political talk show host and potential presidential candidate, Herman Cain, was our guest speaker. Before going out to speak to the assembled crowd Mr. Cain was out where I was in the corridor. He came up and asked if I drew black people. After a hearty laugh he sat down and asked if I’d draw him. So I did. Above is Mr. Cain, myself and the drawing I did.

What a very open, extremely friendly and funny person! And I don’t mean in a ‘Like Me- I Wanna Get Elected’ way. I’ve met and worked with a ton of politicians in 25+ years of working campaigns and I know the difference between going through the motions and being genuinely friendly. Of course, most all politicians become like that over time to some extent. You have to when you meet so many people, realize you serve the people you meet and have a career to look after. It’s not really a bad thing politicians shake hands and do their best to make you feel comfortable with them. Otherwise, they would be like me and admit they can’t remember everyone and apologize all the time, which doesn’t win me any votes. If Mr. Cain gets into the presidential race, eventually he’ll have to modify his meet and greet also. Right now he exudes an openness that is very refreshing.

Equally impressive is his staff, particularly Mark Block who was a key to setting up huge wins for Tea Party/conservative candidates in November’s Wisconsin races and  the challenges we see in the state house in Wisconsin today.

Below are two more photos. I’ve been off the past few days in my drawings. I felt it Thursday while guest speaking at a cartooning class. My friend, who visited the same class, noticed it also. I see it very much in these drawings. I gotta shake whatever fog is in my head and sharpen my pen and draw better.

The one above was one of the better drawings I did.

I have no idea why I put so much hair on top of Jan’s head. Again, my head is not translating well right now. By the way, Jan, above, and her partner Kay did a terrific job running an auction we had at our event. Turns out both also went to Rollins College.

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