Monday, October 13, 2008


Welcome to Rob Kelly Illustration, the new(est) blog I've created, this one devoted exclusively to my illustration and design work.

For years, the main source on the web of my work has been my pro illustration site,, and I've managed to keep it regularly updated and fresh so it always has new people looking at it and checking what I'm doing.

A few years ago, I fell into the pattern of updating the site four times a year (generally when the seasons change--seems as good a time as any), and letting everyone know via an announcement email that there's new work to look at.

But I produce a lot more work than I can ever post there, since I don't want my What's New page becoming a too-long parade of stuff, since I've found that some good work can get lost if there's simply too much stuff to look at.

And since I enjoy blogging so much, I thought I would create a companion blog to the site, where I can put up as much stuff as I want--whether it be new work stuff from "the vault". Also, hopefully it will make it easier for people who follow my work to keep updated with what I'm doing, on a more regular basis.

I thought I'd kick the blog off with the piece you see above--a portrait of Orson Welles, circa 1949 in his film The Third Man.

At the time of creating this piece--1993--I had begun to grow dissatisfied with my current illustration style, a mix of drawing and collage. I had found it too limiting and I was getting less and less satisfied with the results.

So for a few months preceding this piece, I was knocking around with all different kinds of styles, never setting on one. Not only were they not all that fun to do, I also knew that there was precious little chance I'd ever get paid work with them.
Then, one night, I saw a picture of Orson Welles as the sweaty, panicked Harry Lime, and something about that picture spoke to me--I wondered what it might look like with all the photographic detail stripped away, leaving just the extreme blacks and whites (and a little gray).

I don't remember how I got the idea to do it with cut out pieces of paper instead of pen and ink, but it seemed to make sense at the time. I cut the pieces out, glued them together, and then put it away.

I looked at it the next morning, and I was blown away--I was amazed how cool it looked, how compelling. I didn't know this was going to me "my style" but I knew I wanted to try more of it.

And so I did. I kept messing around with other styles, but in short order I phased them out, and (except for some brief returns of collage), I never looked back.

Off-hand, I don't know how much I plan to update the blog--not every day, but now that I have a place to put new work on as soon as I've finished it, I'm pretty sure it'll be pretty regularly.

I guess you'll just have to check back all the time to be sure, won't you?

(Special thanks must go to my pal and fellow artist Sean Tiffany, who gave me the idea for an art blog in the first place, and basically wouldn't allow me not to do it. Thanks pal!)

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