Q&A with Donald Robertson

Photo of Donald Robertson signing copies of “Donald, The Book” at Assouline, South Coast Plaza featured in WWD.


Donald Robertson’s new book with Assouline titled “Donald, The Book,”  recently made its West Coast debut at the Assouline boutique at South Coast Plaza, where fans excitedly waited for the “Andy Warhol of Instagram” to customize their copies.

Robertson’s journey to the launch of his book began in an unorthodox spot:  his art bomb at Bergdorf Goodman. In the midst of his “redesign” of the store, Robertson grabbed the Assouline “Valentino Mirabilia Romae” books and began painting on them, expecting nothing but a reprimand at most. After the customized Valentino books flew off the shelves, Assouline asked @drawbertson to create his own book. 

We asked Donald about his creative process, advice for fellow creatives, and obsession with lips. Here’s the interview:

As an artist, creative director of Estee Lauder and a father of five, how did you manage to take time out of your busy life to craft this book?

I call this book the ultimate trust fall because I did zip. I had made all the stuff already and handed it all over to Prosper [Assouline] and the art director Camille. Then I would wait. I would fly into NY to approve ten pages.  Burst into tears of joy then fly back.  It was great. I take very little credit.  

How do you feel about the launch of “Donald?”

My mother even said the title was unfortunate. I think it’s so bad it’s good! Essential for the survival of the name! Also, you saw the line at our book signing. People love it.

How did the creative process of “Donald” differ from your children’s book, “Mitford at the Fashion Zoo?”

Mitford I handed them a completely finished book twice. Written by my wife and daughter and drawn by me. Total control freak process. 

We noticed that all of your commentary is hand-written, what made you decided to take this approach?

I can’t type. Prosper [Assouline] decided to keep my notes as is.  

Why lips?

Hearts are cheesy, Skulls are over-used, it’s hard to find a thing not done to death. Lips have paid my rent for years! 

Is tape your preferred medium?

Yes! But the expensive stuff from Uline. 

Do you believe that dropping out of art school hurt or helped your career?

No one creative should go to college. Not one day. Go to Paris and starve. You will come back with an eye and you’ll be rail-thin.  


Are you working on any other projects right now?

I have five kids! Two in college. I’ll be working after I die. Stay tuned.