Arts

Donald ‘Drawbertson’ Robertson Draws a Bead on Dallas

The Prolific Illustrator and Pop Artist On His Recent Move From California to Texas

BY // 03.02.21

The Dallas welcome wagon has thrown open its double doors (we envision a Slim Aarons-ready mid-century modern) to embrace our newest transplant: illustrator Donald Robertson. His notable career spans the launch of MAC’s VivaGlam! in 1994, in his role as creative director of Estée Lauder, to launching Marie Claire magazine in New York City, serving as creative director at Glamour and Cargo, and redesigning Cosmopolitan.

However, it was his Instagram moniker @drawbertson that created a cult-like following for his Pop Art-esque drawings. He’s since collaborated on designs for Canada Goose, Warby Parker, French boutique Colette, designer Giles Deacon, J. Crew, Smashbox and more.

Plans were afoot during COVID to make the move from California to Texas; Donald Robertson’s close Dallas friend, Lisa Moore (founder of Cover Swim), gave him the grand tour, while his wife, interior designer Kim Gieske, assigned him the mission of finding a center-hall colonial. Check. The three youngest of his five children made the move to Dallas — teenager Teddy and 7-year-old twins Henry and Charlie. Sounds a bit like a Netflix reboot of My Three Sons.

PaperCity tossed out a list of rapid-fire questions, and he answered with his signature wit. As you’ll see, he can be quite the scamp.

Oracle, Tesla are moving to Austin. So, why Dallas?
The world has gone remote, so I finally had an excuse to move to Highland Park.

Describe yourself… you have control of the pencil.
Pisces, Canadian father of five. I can draw anything because of the Pisces part!

Poison of choice.
If my day was a clock, it would be half coffee, then half wine.

With what do you draw.
Anything at arm’s reach. I just finished a masterpiece using Ro-tel Hot labels. This is a new discovery for me. Ro-tel!

Donald Robertson
Illustration by Donald Robertson

Driving.
Terrifying in Texas. It’s lovely, crazy, friendly people trying to merge you to death on US 75. Good God…

Who you’re dying to meet in Dallas.
Anyone with blank walls. I sell art.

Will you visit hated Houston.
If you’re from New York, you live in fear of mispronouncing NY Houston like Texas Houston. That’s all I will say.

Dallas shopping haunts.
Kroger for Ro-tel Hot. I like the new Buff City Soap. And I like Asel for art supplies.

Newly discovered Dallas restaurants.
Ranch Water at José. Lucy Wrubel set us up. Love the art tiles in there.

Hidden talent.
I’m a massive show-off. If I have a talent, you will know about it.

What you collect.
I collect collectors. I love the peeps that love my art. I’m very basic.

You’re going to the Art Ball benefiting Dallas Museum of Art. What are you wearing.
I have a new collab with MaxMara. All my art turned into clothes. I’ll see if they have plus sizes.

Your wife is busy that night. Dream date, dead or alive.
I like dragging my 15-year-old screenager Ted out to events. He recently drove through Marfa with me and painted me at Faena last year. He hates it, but I love it.

Vintage art or design books everyone should have in their library.
I love Grandma Moses. Google her paintings.

What you look like right now.
I need a haircut. I’m sporting a comb over right now.

Lockdown. Movies or series you watch.

The boys and I just watched The Croods 2. Incredible animation! I also watched Giant for the first time in Marfa. New fave.

What does your favorite mask look like?
Has my art on it! @candyandcaviar.


When your kids finally fall asleep at 2 am, what you’re reading.
I just finished The Company I Keep: My Life in Beauty; I’ve worked for Leonard Lauder my entire adult career in one form or another. I love his shtick. Great American Dream DIY read.

Favorite hotel in the world. Not kid-friendly.
Our twins are technically from the Aman in Bali.

The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal.
Neither. Hate a pay wall.

What projects are next for you? Any collabs?
I’m trying to get in touch with the peeps at Ro-tel.

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