Rob's Blog

I’ve been Painting Trumpet Players! – November 5th, 2017

by on Nov.05, 2017, under Caricatures, What's New?

Performed for a private birthday party in The Villages, Florida, Sunday night. Great group. I did this for the birthday boy, who has the same taste in music as me. I’m at few events these days where Red Nichols, Matt Munro and Lerner and Lowe come up.



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Book: ‘Criminal Enterprise’ by Owen Laukkanen – November 4th, 2017

by on Nov.04, 2017, under Books

Criminal Enterprise (Stevens & Windermere, #2)Criminal Enterprise by Owen Laukkanen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Spinning from the first book to the second in a day and finishing with 24 hours certainly showed me that the author has a way of gripping you. Part of the reason is the looseness of the writing. As I wrote about the first, this book could have been so much better in more compenent hands, which is true of most books being produced today.

The writing is simplistic and seems to have a film in mind. As with the last book, this one, too, has mentions of “like a movie”. Thing is a movie is visual and a book should be constructed with well chosen words, practical wording. Laukkanen seems to be writing to push the reader to skip sentences and pages due to repetitious dialogue and scenes, instead of savoring well written prose of a situation.

What Laukkanen excels at is characterization and, in this novel, plotting. As with the first book, this one has very well written characters. Dialogue is consistent, as are actions. Almost. In both books Laukkanen creates a central bad guy that is altered to a point of fantasy. Approaching a story like a screen play will do that. The psychological angles, not mentioned, are very well thought out and written.

As with the last novel, this book ends quickly and leaves loose ends. That certainloy occurs in real life and i was OK with that in the first book. But here is the second and I find many similarities between the two in approach.

Background settings are very well written. There was always a great sense of place.

Bundled together this is overall a superior book to most coming out today. I’m on to #3.

Bottom line: I recommend this book. 7 out of 10 points.

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I’ve been illustrating interesting people for restaurant show pieces Friday night! – Nov. 3rd, 2017

by on Nov.04, 2017, under Caricatures

Locally owned (my favorite kind of) restaurant, Kafe Kokopelli in Dade City, Florida, has me drawing their regular customers, and they have many of those, to decorate their walls with. I’m diving a little deeper with each person and working in a more compelling illustration to spark interest in the art and the person drawn. Here are three.
Though I took a bunch of photos of folks with their drawings, I didn’t take all. Including two shown here.
Take a trip to Dade City and nab a meal at Kafe Kokopelli and see the drawings I did first go round in September!

Jean worked at McDonnell-Douglas for years involving the construction of their military aircraft. She also loves cruises, has a cat and, though a Southerner from Lumberton, North Carolina, can not stand biscuits and gravy!

Cindy camps, has a dog and loves pizza.

Larry likes cars, show tunes and playing a guitar. Here i got the chance of quickly composing a little ditty including his legal career and part ownership of Kafe Kokopelli.

Here is Jean and her drawing.


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Book: ‘The Professionals’ by Owen Laukkanen – November 2nd, 2017

by on Nov.02, 2017, under Books

The Professionals (Stevens & Windermere, #1)The Professionals by Owen Laukkanen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Though a good story with outstanding characters, this is still another contemporary novel with needless, excessive content.

The novel starts with a series of events that seem to be drawing to a conclusion. By page 50 I had to wonder if the book would be blank pages for the rest of the 500. What happens is unexpected and exciting and builds to a thrilling ending. But, somewhere around page 275, I realized I was having enough of the whole thing and wished it over. It wasn’t that the ending was obvious, though seemed so. It was there was a lot of the same thing happening over over again. The story was moving, but at a glacial pace, considering the number of pages. A skilled writer would have knocked this book down to 250 pages covering the exact same ground.

The characters are the highlight of this novel. There was obviously a lot of time and care invested to make so many characters so well rounded. The dialogue also works well. I really like how the author crafted the story so that many of the characters dialogue and actions are not always equal. The extra depth is nearly non-existent in contemporary novels.

That gets to what is in this books and most all contemporary books of the action/espionage/adventure genre: They read more like a movie than a complete story. The author includes in the narrative more than once about characters confusing life and movies. The author, I feel, did the same here, which explains the extra 250 pages.

So, if you can get through repetitious narrative there is a really good story here with surprising depth.

Bottom line I recommend this book. 6 out of 10 points.

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I’ve been drawing trains! – November 2nd, 2017

by on Nov.02, 2017, under Cartooning

Here’s an inked version of part of a multi-illustration project I’m in the process of coloring. Simplicity and truncating the actual look of a train was key. Fun to try and balance that. I’ve extracted some of the illustration work to post it here.

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I’ve been drawing and drawing and drawing and…. – November 1st, 2017

by on Nov.02, 2017, under Cartooning

After finishing illustrating a book this past week, I had to do some hunkering down to super produce as much as I could today. Top is the inked art for tomorrow’s Swampy’s Florida celebration cartoon. Tune in there Thursday morning for what it’s about and the colored version.

Also put pencil to paper for a series of educational political cartoons for a political action committee and a birthday caricature illustration.


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#Inktober 31 – I’ve been drawing horse riding dogs and alligators!

by on Oct.31, 2017, under Cartooning

#Inktober #31
Requested by Terisa Glover:
“Bunji and Trilby riding a pony through the forest.”
and Requested by Gloria Neiger Bushong:
“They need to be dressed like the headless horsemen of Sleepy Hollow.”
Bunji and Trilby find a horse to ride one dark Halloween night.
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Book: ‘Haunting Sunshine’ by Jack Powell – October 31st, 2017

by on Oct.31, 2017, under Books

Haunting SunshineHaunting Sunshine by Jack Powell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This collection of ghost stories is better than most collections. Powell works hard to make his writing read better than it is. Each is a nicely drawn story in itself. Love all of the legwork Powell did to actually be at the locations of the stories. As i well know, not an easy task, but makes all of the difference in the world to the end result.

Powell also does a great job presenting ghost stories from across the entire state. Most all have been written in short story or book form. Again, his writing is better than most handling these stories.

What i liked best about the book is something I’ve been doing in my little book series: Including in the back a list of the locations involved and how to visit there yourself. He also does something us researching types love: Provides his sources.

Bottom line: I recommend this book. 7 out of 10 points.

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Happy Halloween, all!

by on Oct.31, 2017, under Cartooning, Editorials

This is a cartoon I did years ago for publication involving one of my favorite characters from a contemporary book series, Mitch Rapp, by and Kyle Mills and published by Atria Books.

My fellow book fans, if you haven’t read a Mitch Rapp book, jump in! That includes you, Gloria Neiger Bushong! 🙂 I’m usually carrying a few copies of Rapp books in my car, so if you cross my path in my travels, ask me and I’ll give you one!

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#Inktober #26 – I’ve been drawing Pumpkins!

by on Oct.26, 2017, under Cartooning, What's New?

#Inktober #26

Melanie King requested:
“Ghosts, pumpkins, scarecrow and gourds”

Little Jenny opens shop and finds an odd clientele.


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#Inktober #25 – I’ve been drawing Inking Squid!

by on Oct.25, 2017, under Cartooning

#Inktober #25

Here we find Carmine, available for the overworked cartoonist needing their penciled artwork attended to.


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