the dr bob sketchbook
All through his life dr bob liked to do funny little sketches from his imagination
(humorous whimsical little characters, usually animals with human characteristics), but
nothing much ever came of it. Until the annual dr bob
christmas card was born in the late 1970s and eventually grew to provide the platform
for sharing with a wide audience what became his once-a-year deadline-driven
imagination-mining experience that released a few sketches at a time onto the unsuspecting
world, wrapped in some kind of obscure humor that was probably lost on most of the
While suffering from some isolation and culture shock during his one year initial
impact with the Italian way of life in 1979-1980, sketching intensified to provide an
outlet for some of his frustrations, leading to a growing collection of photocopied
sketches taped to the outside of his office door at the Dipartimento di Fisica at the
University of Rome "La Sapienza" in Rome (Italy!). The following year in Munich
(Garching) at Max-Planck (Astrophysik) was much more isolating compared to Italy, so
production continued, and found itself collected together for a birthday gift for one of
his two close friends of the period, Uli, then cohabitating with the other
bob had introduced him to. A bit later in Cambridge (USA), bob's
creative energies got channeled into illustrating recipes, which eventually grew
in number to merit a collection
and later a web site. The dr bob
cooking team gained a new member and fresh ideas from the merger with ms_ani,
whose help is crucial in the annual dr bob
christmas card production team.
Since bob is a lifelong academic, it seems fitting to organize his art work by his academic
history, which began in Florida and moved to high school in Goshen. These sketches are
mostly from his middle years, during his postdoc wanderings in Chapel Hill, Rome, Munich
and Cambridge (MA) as an itinerant relativist. A few from the pre-doc grad school years in
Berkeley but hardly any from undergrad at Princeton. Then the professor years at Villanova
in the western 'burbs of Philly, Main Line section. Some from the Bryn Mawr years of
premarital life. Then Upper Merion with ms_ani. Since this move, bob's
creativity has largely been reduced to a once a year Christmas card production,
whose sketches are instead collected
here in the xmas card gallery.
Since the general public has successfully ignored bob's art for considerable
time in the new millenium, he decided to start releasing sketches one by one to
the unreceptive public on a newer social media platform to a limited number of
diehard fans, some with newly thought up captions. Visit
dr bob on Instagram
Full page or nearly full page scans are done in PDF format, while most
sketches are given in JPG format. When both are explicitly linked, the sketch
alone is given in JPG format, while the sketch(s) plus text together are given
in PDF format. Possible captions, one per line, are occasionally given in square
brackets. Some multipart images appear in separate pieces, so that individual
images can be used when appropriate for new occasions. bob has all his originals
because he always shared his art by photocopy, then scanning and reposting.
These sketches are like his children, and as bob ages, he wonders what will
become of them eventually.
Thumbnail editing in progress.
- dear mother 1959
- plane, copter, truck 1959
- happy birthday dad [1,
- thank you doodle [1,
- high school yearbook frosh [=freshman] illustration
- high school yearbook graduation illustration
princeton 1970-1974 [undergrad physics major]
- mr bob
- reclining frog
- bunny waving
- bunny pair
berkeley 1974-1978 [u cal physics grad school]
- T-Day 1974: fly with fryers.[3,
[does anyone remember P.F.
Flyers? A sneaker brand?]
- happy birthday. cat artist. lack of ideas. 
- Easter. bunny on egg.
- Easter. bunny with flower.
- xmas75? santa mole
[I may not be a very big santa, but my merry christmas to you comes from a very big
- xmas77? [bw: 1 2]
[What? You never heard of the Christmas Bird?]
- happy birthday wizzard.
- happy birthday super rat.
[I may be a bit mousey... but you bring out the rat in me!]
- happy birthday snake and ants. [pdf]
- happy birthday rabbit. [pdf]
- it's about time.cats. mouse.   [happy birthday] [little
- first bring on the dancing birds.
[once in a while it doesn't hurt to let your inner bird loose... just wait
till we leave before you do...]
- happy birthday. cat and dog. [cat, dog]
- wierd guy.    
- pensive pig.
- tiny pigs. wearing glasses. not. 
- get well soon bunny.
- ucb bob: attack of the munchies.
- ucb bob cat face.
- ucb bob/bird: illustrated with tags.
- birds hippos.
- revenge. frog.
- reclining cat.
- smiling bird.
- 2 birds.
- long neck cat.
- ucb bob squirrel.
- Alf nose rat .
- pensive mouse.
- revolution rabbit.
- cat sand pile.
chapel hill 1978-1979 [unc physics postdoc]
- transient relativity at unc. [pdf, jpg] [never trust a black hole][more]
bird, hole, bird in hole
- post no bills. garbage cat: "the dr is in". big mouse. [pdf, jpg]
- if all else fails, drink! bird. frog. [pdf, jpg]
- batchelor party. [pdf, caterpiller,
snake, reclining cat and mouse
- (moving) party on. trucks. [pdf]
- too big for my rat. [pdf, jpg]
- happy valentine's day. rhino. [folded, unfolded]
- bob is back! super rabbit. [pdf, jpg]
rome 1979-1980 [u of rome NATO postdoc]
- si prega di non fumare. altrimenti la prossima sigaretta potrebbe essere l'ultima. [pdf, jpg]
- american beaver.
castoro italiano. 
- sci italia.
- turtle seat.
[sorry I haven't visited but I've sort of been holed up in a shell lately...]
- sick bear.
[guess what i got for christmas? sick.]
[what, me sick?]
- birthday party birds.
- ground hog day.
- cupid 1980.
- ready to rumble.
[dressed to kill.
no mail in over 2 weeks and I am ready to kick ass.
whoever stole my moped made a bigger mistake that he thought.
I'm mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.]
- the way to the top is easier for some than others...
- in the can. garbage cat.
- smoking duck. smoking gun.
- the trouble with spaghetti.
upper merion cat misplacement?
- bored kitty.
[I'm getting kind of tired lying around all day but my doctor says no mice for 6 weeks.]
- slight problem on the road to vesuvio.
- attenti al cane!! dog.
- pie in face.
- wings too sort.
- cat versus birds.
[just when you think you're about to succeed...]
- insect on a leash.
- multiple insect heads.
- looking for a room. birds. help!
sometimes good intentions are not enough...
- more birds.
- vendo jeans americani.
maybe gorillas don't need to wear pants?
- bob jeans.
aging waistline or too many dryer cycles? that is the question...
- apparently disinterested frog.
- xmas 1979.
- elephant and mouse.
- cats?  reclining, at desk,
paw to chin
- rats!  Philadelphia cream
- musical bugs. bug music.
- the dr is in.
- the dr is in, part 2.
- cleaning rabbit.
- dogs. 
- cats. 
- cat bird cage.
- animals: duck, bear, seal, snake.
- relativistic pole vaulter in rest frame.
- mouse toothbrush.
- teapot genie.
- xmas bunny. thinking of sending himself home?
- small rabbit.
- pool shark! [anyone remember the Saturday night live sketch:
[Max-Planck-Institut fur Astrophysik: visiting postdoc]
The Idleness is the Devil's Workshop Sketchbook (April 1981)
This was a collection put together for Uli Keisel's birthday. Uli, just a few days
older than bob, was a terrific generous friend from his rented studio apartment days in
the Schwabing (?) neighborhood in Munich. Michele from Kansas City, just a few months
older than bob, completed the triangle of close friends.
- front page
- back of front page
- preface to the second edition
- critic quotes (rave reviews)
- photocopy letter. chicken flying kite.
[aren't you glad you live in Munich so you didn't have to receive this form letter?]
- GR gorilla.
[Where did I go wrong? Maybe we should have stayed in the trees...]
- elephant (ucb tanktop).
[What? Say, you're not a runner groupie...
Horny jogger with sexy target in site.]
[I sho' been eatin' a lotta cheese lately. What's your excuse?
[country meets city.
you can find every kind of perversion in the city.][longing
[I don't suppose there's a Nick Yonovich...?
bob meets mr hester and tries his hand at fat faces]
[Dudley "Jimmy (Carter)" Doright?
bob meets mr hester and tries his hand at puffy presidential faces]
- me. artist. deskwork.
[I do it all for you.]
- lightbulb loneliness. 100 watt solitude.
- second thoughts.
- baby lion.
[caught swinging in the children's playground]
- smug nake.
- bear. snowmobile.
- mirror sunglasses.
[famous film star incognito]
- bird on egg.
- bunny, boar at table, ready to eat.
[difference of opinion]
- xmas80-1 rabbits, crane.
[getting ready for christmas]
- xmas80-2 cat and mouse: the gift.
- xmas80-3 bear.
- xmas80-4 train.
[stazione termini roma, leaving for the south just before Christmas]
- xmas80-5 choir.
[there's one in every crowd]
- cat under the weather. [sick]
[better under the weather than under the ground...]
- black tie.
[If your party was black tie, I guess you're lucky I couldn't make it.]
[Save energy. Hitch, don't fly.
Why wing it if you've got a thumb?]
- the birds and the bees.
[birds do it. bees do it. but ANTS?!
two ants or ants too.
three's a crowd.]
- chicken cowboy.
[Kentucky Fried sheriff?]
- what's up? WhatsApp?
[returning from Goldilocks' Massage Parlor]?
- navigator. flying elephant. passenger bird.
[It's always easier if you take along somebody to read the map...]
- golf rabbit.
[Did you know a Rabbit is called a Golf in Europe? A VW Rabbit, that is.]
- fido the spare change artist.
[Do you know where your dog spends his spare time? Cities don't have leash laws for
Maybe you've been wondering where Fido gets those big steak bones lately...
Will work for fud.]
- hari kari.
[I forgot your birthday. Does that mean I have to do the honorable thing...?]
- breasts. German sunbathing.
- pelican fishing.
[taking advantage of technology]
- pie in the face.
[uli's birthday surprise april 1980]
[Be careful, you're breaking my nerves.]
- reclining rabbit. shades.
- little bird.
- tiramisu. [mouse]
- happy birthday. party birds again.
cambridge (ma) 1981-1982
[harvard-smithsonian center for astrophysics NSF postdoc]
- wedding cats. [jpg, pdf]
[getting married? a small step for you, a giant step for the state of (...fill in
1983 poster size photos: getting married ,
[A small step for man, a giant leap for the state of pennsylvania*...
congratulations, we'll stand behind you when you're ready to take the plunge.
*defender of marriage against the wrong sign
combination ♀♀, ♂♂, ♀♂!]
- turtle. looking for a roomate.
[why haven't I written lately? would you believe temporary blindness? I didn't think so.
or should I try the old amnesia routine?
- in some things it is better to learn before you start.
- geographical complications to a romance.
- bob's pasta factory.
- dog house. organic fuel. keeping warm?
- reclining lion. [pdf, jpg]
[yup, it's boring here in the jungle too.]
- nadia. [What, ME Cook? dedication]
1984 was still in the future.
- sub bunny.
[if the high technology revolution ever finds its way down to the lower species, we're in
- bavarian apple torte. [mouse] pie dough blues.
- winter mouse.
- have your intermediate slopes been seeming a bit expert lately?
- tollhouse deluxe cake. [cookie monster: 1 2] chocolate chip cookie monster.
- cat baby. 
[Babies? Maybe a cat would be a better idea.
In the decision between a baby or a cat, pick both: a baby cat.
We heard you've had a big change in your lives...]
- MGM kitty. [pdf]
[So there's a new arrival down at the studios...]
- rabbit on a rope. 
[Us rabbits gotta do something besides sex to keep in shape.
What, you never heard of a hare raising tale?]
- apple pies? who needs 'em? [chimps1, chimps2]
- pink elephant.
[life is the same way. it's not always clear what it means.]
[the dessert that's sure to make an impression. surprise a friend.]
- rat of way.
[lookout! here I come!]
- easy chocolate moose cake. [sitting moose, cat timer, running moose, excavating
[life is not a piece of cake... but it can be sweet:
cambridge (ma) 1982-1983 [continued]
- 747 blues. 
- bear tears.
[I can't bear being without you.
Missing someone special.]
- bob's pizza now delivers.
- chocolate velvet cream. [cats1, cats2]
- saturday night feline. [pdf]
[Shake it, fishbreath!
Where's your date, heh! Forget to pick her up in the animal shelter?
Solo dancing isn't always like in the movies.]
- xmas 82.
- strawberry velvet cream. [berry and blender]
- zuppa inglese americanizata [hippo diver][swimming
party invitation 2004]
- heart attack casserole. [expiring frog]
- hippo flowers.
[say it with flowers. then do it for hours?
The no free ride policy trickles down to the nation's zoos. Previous recipients of full
time gov't care now forced to seek gainful employment.]
- soft touch cheesecake. [pdf, jpg][hippo under table, chickens]
- spinach chicken glop. [bunny cook]
- no excuses left cheesecake.
encouragement [chicken pushing hippo]
- halloween bunny. [ href="xxxhalloweenbunny1.jpg">1, 2]<]
bryn mawr 1983-1993
[villanova university dept of mathematical sciences,
change to dept of mathematics and statistics]
- back in the usa in a new location. [pdf, jpg,
- in basket, out basket. [1, 2]
- batchelor bob in local paper, no hats. [photo,
- housewife blues. cats. stressed
- granny. [with dog, cat]
- jailed lion.
- yawning moose.
- cat watch.
- goodbye, sister rita. [pdf][elephant][moose][students][eager
students][crocodile tears][bear tears]
- garbage cat.
[Make my day.
Okay, who took the leftover tuna helper.
SDI? Protecting me?
- almost duck. bmalmostduck.jpg??
- happy birthday party cats.
- bob, foot in mouth.
- light bulb cheesecake.
- bird chef.
- What, ME Cook?
- dr bob's incredible meatloaf (and dr bob's secret
meatloaf sauce) [bears, bears,
stumped bear artist]
- carlo's choice of chocolate chip cheesecake.
- chips working out. [1, 2]
- hippo working out.
- quick ricein cake. striped style. cake test. [prison bear, samarai mouse1, samarai
- why pumpkin pie?a> [sqsquirrel] nut defense.
- credible carrot cake.
[bunny 0, 1,
- florentine chicken rice.a> [elegant chicken]
- risotto. [traveling
cat, showering cat, drinking cat, cat
- rita's reproducing, david's duplicating. bunnies. baby. [pdf,
[You don't need the new math to know that one plus one equals...]
[the new math: 1 + 1 = 3 ... good luck with the new addition]
- beavers. flowers. 
[Gravity boots are a bit hard on astigmatic contact lenses...]
- GR cat mechanic.
- Can't see the forest for the trees... [with
- GR view from above. [chickens??]
- GR try to think from a more global viewpoint.
[hippo in the clouds]
- watching time go by. 
- bird in a hammock.
- bird breaking isotropy.
- GR cheshire cat.
- GR rotating cat.
- bumble bee.
- who me? 
- happy easter.
[bunnies don't wear glasses...]
- wedding hippos. wedding card (oreos): [pdf, jpg1, jpg2]
- hassling with hazelnuts. [angry nuts, European arm
signal, toweling nut]
- hazelnut cheesecake. [squirrel in love, bird chowing
- guavaberry/lingonberry cheesecake. [Viking, St Martin
- ani and bob wedding invitation. [thumbnail]
- wedding mistake. [pdf, jpg][wedding
cooks: 1 2]
- wedding thanx. [thanx ani
- strawberry risotto. [veggies or fruit?]
- quick pastasparagus. [asparagus safe sex?]
- lion lying lying lion?
I would dance a little dance for you, you know I would,
but I am much better lion around doin nothin.
- hippo balancing with cane
- bird exercising with difficulty
upper merion? [home sweet home 1993-present]
- carrot bean soup. [carrot scale rabbit, cat: the
trouble with spaghetti]
- risotto cat now eating spaghetti.
- the last supper... NOT! [pdf, jpg]
- piece a cake, princess and frog. [pdf][pdf]
- get well soon (recycled).
- party hard birthday. [pdf, pdf]
- sick bear note. get well soon. [pdf]
- thanx [2007, 2009,
- [In progress. Seems like marriage sucked up most of bob's creative time.
But totally worth it.]