A naturalist and botanical illustrator. Lewis and his brother, Charlie Roberts, are knowledgeable on the flora and fauna of south-eastern part Cape York Peninsula and the northern Wet Tropics area. For three generations his family has lived at Shipton's Flat, about 45 km south of Cooktown, where he and Charlie were home-schooled. His father, Jack Lewis, was a tin miner and self-taught naturalist.
He has collected many specimens for the Australian National Herbarium in Canberra. A ground orchid was named Cooktownia robertsii, in Lewis' honour. Lewis discovered this rare ground orchid in the 1980s and it was formally described by David L. Jones in 1997.
In 1993, Lewis began to draw the orchids he found. He is a self-taught botanical illustrator. His early works were in pencil done purely as an aid to identification. He showed some of his penciled works to visiting fellow naturalists, and prompted by them, Lewis began colouring and highlighting his illustrations.
Lewis works in pencil to outline his subject using a magnifying glass, when necessary. He captures the colour of the subject in watercolour, then highlights and shades with pen and ink.
Lewis hopes to illustrate a specimen of every orchid species found in north-eastern Queensland. There are over 250 species known in the region and he has completed illustrations of well over 100. Once he has finished the series, Lewis hopes to publish them, along with his field observations on each species, but it will take many more years to illustrate them all.
Source: Extracted from Wikipedia, viewed 18.7.2011; portrait from Wikipedia by Jan Howard, 2007.