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 of my own, which is a completely different experience. Currently, I’m busy inventing an anthropomorphic town and learning all about the various occupations of its inhabitants. A lot of drawing, a lot of writing and a lot of fun. Three books are are in the works.

When not making books, I like taking bumbling driving trips near and far that usual involve book stores, art galleries and antique shops. At home, I enjoy making pasta from scratch and daydreaming about a grand model railroad that, honestly, will never be completed, much less truly begun. Recently I’ve been learning about bonsai trees. I find it all very relaxing, although I’m not sure the trees would agree. They live in constant fear of either too much or too little water. Experience would indicate this is not a groundless worry.

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 North Hollywood; both excellent places to visit!


Recent video and print interviews…


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 serious art