Wednesday, September 3, 2014

John Cassidy Comedy Magic Poster

This is a poster I designed for John Cassidy, who has a magic and comedy act which involves, as he puts it, "very weird things with balloons." John and his wife Jen gave me a general idea of what they wanted from the poster: a colorful, upbeat, Willy Wonka-esque kind of thing, designed in a way that it could be repurposed for different shows on the tour. I knew I wanted stills from the show on the poster, so it just a matter of balancing all the elements so they would draw the eye the way a good poster should.

It went through a couple of iterations, but the whole process was pretty painless and John and Jen were happy with the end result. I hope it's a big hit for them, and I'm really happy they asked me to do it.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Damned: The Graveyard Chronicles

Well, this is exciting!

A few months ago, Plastic Head Music contacted me, asking if they could use my Bride of Frankenstein illustration for a "punk album" they were putting out. I said sure, not thinking much about it after that. Little did I know that the band was The Damned, a legendary group that has been around since the 70s, and were contemporaries of The Sex Pistols and The Clash!

Not being familiar with them (totally squaresville, Daddy-O), I posted this graphic on my Facebook page, not guessing it would explode with comments from friends who count The Damned as one of their favorite bands, in disbelief that someone they know did the art for one of their albums.

Needless to say, I'm proud of the piece, and how it was used here. Plastic Head was great to deal with, and my only hope is they release this on vinyl so I can see my work all nice and big. I don't think there's a release date yet, but I will definitely announce it once there is.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Ad Week - Jan 2014

I haven't been doing much illustration lately; a FT job offer I received earlier in 2013 has allowed me to scale back and only take jobs that I have really wanted to do. But when Ad Week magazine called me up about this group of little portraits, I agreed because A)It seemed like a fun gig, and B)I've done work for Ad Week before, and they were a delight to deal with.
Click the image to see the portraits close up; the magazine put them in those little bubbles and I think they look cool!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Inc. Magazine - March 2013

These were portraits I did for the March 2013 edition of Inc. magazine, for an article called "You Have Nine Months To Get Healthy" about the impending full implementation of the Affordable Care Act, aka "Obamacare."

It was all very simple and Inc. was easy to work with. Done and done!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Rob Kelly Decor: San Diego Zoo

I've been getting a lot of requests for prints of work lately! A few weeks ago a nice woman asked to buy a print of my faux-San Diego Zoo poster, a piece I did about ten years ago and had almost forgotten about.

She lived in San Diego for many years, and had recently moved to Atlanta. Wanting some decor reminding her of her home town, she found my poster online and asked to buy a copy for her wall. I was only too happy to oblige her, on the condition she send me a photo of it "in action." I did and she did, so there you go!


Monday, February 25, 2013

Mike & Pol Save The Universe

I was asked by the Mike and Pol podcasting team to design a logo for their new show, which I was only happy to do--especially after I saw the insane rough, detailing the elements they wanted included. Mexican wrestlers! Space ships! Lightning bolts! How can you go wrong?

As you might have guessed, this was a blast (no pun intended) to do. You can find Mike & Pol Save The Universe on iTunes and on their show blog. You've been warned!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Rob Kelly Decor: Darby Jones

A couple of weeks ago, I got a nice email from a fan of my work who wanted a print of my Darby Jones PSA poster to go up in their TV room. Always happy to help out a fellow Val Lewton fan, I sent him a copy and now it resides next to the actual movie poster to I Walked With A Zombie, which is quite a compliment!

I love seeing my artwork like this; I take it as a real compliment that someone likes it enough to put it up in their home or office. Even I don't want to look at my stuff that much.

Oh, and I want a gumball!


Monday, January 21, 2013

Aung San Suu Kyi

This was a portrait I did of Burmese political opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi for a "worktext", which is a workbook for kids age 6-12. Published by Houghton Mifflin, kids are encouraged to write in the books so they can be used as study guides.

HM was very specific about how they wanted the portrait to look, so it took a number of tries to get it right. But after some tweaks they approved it, and the final is what you see above!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Monster PSA: Simone Simon/James Arness

These "Monster PSA" poster ideas tend to come in groups, which resulted in these two new ones over the weekend. Simone Simon, star of Val Lewton's Cat People, seemed to me the perfect person to advocate for animals. As for James Arness, who played the original Thing, I transposed the isolation his character must have felt, trying to talk (and when I say talk, I mean kill) to that bunch of scientists who were scared to death of him.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Monster PSA: Walter White

Every so often I get inspired to do another "Monster PSA" poster, and this one just popped into my head pretty much as you see here.

Normally I would have used Bryan Cranston's name instead of his Breaking Bad character, but it seemed more appropriate like this.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Vera Ellen

I have become obsessed with the movie White Christmas. Only merely aware of its existence before this holiday season, we started watching it on Netflix and after a couple of viewings I fell totally in love.

Nearly everything in the movie--the performances, the music, the comedy, the Technicolor cinematography--is perfect, but the real stand-out to me was Vera Ellen, who plays Judy Haynes, half of the musical act The Hayne Sisters. She does virtually all the dancing in the film, and she is tremendous. Her vitality practically jumps off the screen, and she is a joy to watch. She's funny, cute, sexy, and more than matches the movie-star wattage of her much more famous co-stars.
Of her co-stars (Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney), Vera-Ellen went into--and came out of--White Christmas as the least famous participant, and sadly it seems co-starring in the one of the biggest movie hits in history didn't do much for her career: she appeared in just one more film, then retired a few years after a personal tragedy. She died in 1981.

I was inspired to pay tribute to Ms. Ellen, so I did this little portrait of her as a way to say "thanks" for her amazing work in White Christmas. I see myself watching the movie again and again, even after the season is over...

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Walking Dead

A friend commissioned me to do this original Universal Monsters-style poster for his current favorite TV series, AMC's The Walking Dead. I asked him what three characters he wanted represented on the side, and after he gave me his choices it was like rolling down hill!

People have previously asked me to consider doing posters this style of more modern horror/sci-fi icons, and for the most part I've rejected that idea, since I really can't bring the same level of passion to drawing Freddy, Jason, etc., that I did to Frankenstein, the Wolf Man. But this design I've constructed seems so durable, and is so fun to work with, that maybe I'll reconsider...

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Now it can be told!

Earlier in the year my normal prodigious illustration output slowed to a crawl. Part of that is because of my increased Ace Kilroy workload, but that was also because, as I alluded to a couple of times, I was in the middle of a big illustration project and it just didn't leave me with much time to do anything else.

Well, now said project is out for all to see (and buy)--it's a RPG called Control-Alt-Hack, which is "a tabletop card game about white hat hacking, based on game mechanics by gaming powerhouse Steve Jackson Games (Munchkin and GURPS)."

Not being a gamer, I had no idea what any of that meant when I landed the job, and I still don't. My part of the game was to produce twenty portrait illustrations, loosely based on real people turned into characters for game play. Here are some promo shots from the Control-Alt-Hack site:
Each character was shown in a sort of action pose, doing something that was specific to them: dancing, blogging, cooking, etc. They were detail-intensive and my part of the game took quite a while; I worked on it from March through July, one of the longest projects I've ever been involved in.

Here are a couple of the other portraits as I delivered them to the client:
It was an enormous challenge working on Control-Alt-Hackers; it required a lot of concentration and organization. And while that's normally not a problem for me, sometimes the illustrations were in so many different stages of completion that I had to whip up an Excel spreadsheet to keep it all straight.

But in the end I was glad to be asked to do it, and am proud of the final results. I've not been asked to do this kind of project before so I was happy to expand my portfolio a bit.

If you're a gamer and this sounds like something you'd be interested in playing, use this Amazon link to order the game:

...once you get the game, pick out your favorite characters and send me the cards; I'll return 'em autographed!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Smithsonian - Nov. 2012

I drew the contributor portraits for the November 2012 edition of Smithsonian magazine--nine illustrations in all, though one had to be dropped because the author's piece was bumped from the issue.

I used to like putting heavy outlines on all my illustrations, now I kinda prefer open color holds like you see here. For portraits this small, it helps each piece breathe, I think.