R. W. stands for Robert Whitlock. But, please, call me Bob.

I’ve been making pictures as long as I can remember. They have always told stories. For me, that’s the best part of any picture; the narrative implied by the scene (what’s around the bend?), the characters (are they going or coming?), the technique (calm and static or staccato and animated?). Illustrated books are the perfect format for exploring all this. I’ve had the good fortune to illustrate the narratives in well over one hundred books by a wide variety of authors. I’ve also written and illustrated several titles.

When not making books, I like taking bumbling driving trips near and far involving antique shops, making pasta from scratch and daydreaming about a grand model railroad that, honestly, will never be completed, much less truly begun. I’ve also recently been learning about bonsai trees. It’s very relaxing. For me, not so much the trees. Although I’ve only offed one so far. Some would say that’s not bad. I’m not so sure the tree would agree.

Home is Rhode Island, with my charming wife, author Zoë B. Alley. (She says it’s okay to call her Zoë.) Our two children are out in the world in Brooklyn and Burbank; good bumbling destinations that we try to visit often, although, at the moment, as with many of you, we’re all pretty much staying put.


Recent podcast, video and print interviews…

  • The Great Big Beautiful Podcast, in which I talk about my adventures as an illustrator of children’s books in general and Paddington in particular.
  • Open Studio, WGBH TV, Boston, with host Jared Bowen, an interview set at the Eric Carle Museum’s Paddington Comes to America exhibit.
  • Paddington at 60, from Forbes on line, celebrating the 2018 decade birthday of the little bear from Darkest Peru.
  • Drawing Paddington, at a visit to Yottoy, makers of many fine plush toys, including Paddington, captured by NY1.
  • Conversational interview with Nick Bruel, of Bad Kitty fame, in the Fall 2016 edition of Haverford Magazine, a publication of our alma mater, Haverford College.


Over the years, my books have received many awards and been included in many yearly best of lists.  Here’s a sampling…

  • Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book
  • Best Children’s Book, Washington Post
  • Best Graphic Novel, School Library Journal Online
  • Winner of the Rhode Island Mock Caldecott Award
  • Teachers’ Choice Award for Children’s Books
  • Teachers’ Choice Award for the Family
  • Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Book Award
  • Shortlisted as a Finalist for the online Cybil Awards
  • Shortlisted for Dahl Funny Prize

multiple book selections:

  • ALA Notable Book for Children
  • Bank Street Best Book of the Year
  • Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts
  • Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library
  • Reading Rainbow
  • Junior Library Guild
  • Booklist Top Ten Easy Reader
  • Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts
  • Children’s Book of the Month Club
  • Reading Rocket

a visit to Cake Wars

tools of the trade

3rd grade and my first brush with art