The 1970 Charles Manson trial launched Bill Robles career as a television news courtroom artist, followed by the high-profile trials of Patricia Hearst, John DeLorean, the Hillside Strangler, Rodney King. O.J. Simpson, the Unabomber, Oklahoma City bombers Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, the Menendez Brothers, Robert Blake, Michael Jackson, Donald and Shelly Sterling and mostly recently, Led Zeppelin. When the media has been locked out of high-profile trials, Bill Robles has been there to give us the picture, with all the context, action and emotion in color.
Through 44 years, Mr. Robles has mastered the art of on-the-spot illustrating, working for a strict and unyielding taskmaster: television news. He has said, “I love courtroom illustrating… the immediacy… working feverishly… the adrenaline gets going and suddenly it’s over, on the satellite and around the world.”
In 1981 Bill Robles was selected by NASA to be on site to document the first four space shuttle missions, which is one of his favorite assignments. He has been nominated for an Emmy, received a gold medal from the Los Angeles Art Directors Club for his coverage of the Manson trial, and three gold medals from the Broadcast Designers Associations. In 2003 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Los Angeles Society of Illustrators. A native of Los Angeles, Bill Robles now resides in Brentwood. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the Art Center College of Design where he also taught illustration for five years. He currently teaches drawing at Los Angeles Trade Technical College.
Mr. Robles is also one of the subjects of The Illustrated Courtroom: 50 Years of Court Art by Elizabeth Williams and Sue Russell, a book whose cover art by Robles shows Charles Mansion lunging toward the bench during his trial. As one might imagine, there are a few stories behind each illustration.
Don’t miss this very special evening at Crowell Public Library on Thursday, October 6th in the Library’s Barth Community Room.