(b. September 18
, in Salt Lake City, Utah
) is an American fantasy artist
with a specialization in paleontological
art. His paintings have been shown in over seventy exhibitions, including twelve one-man shows. He has worked on over thirty feature films, doing everything from storyboard
art to production design
. He has designed theme parks and has worked in radio with the Firesign Theatre
Education and early career
Stout grew up in Los Angeles, California
, and earned a full scholarship to the Chouinard Art Institute
. He graduated with a Bachelor's Degree from the school (which at that point had become the California Institute of the Arts
Stout began his professional career as an illustrator for comic books and graphic novels, with his first job coming in 1968 with the cover for the first issue of the pulp magazine Coven 13. In 1971 he worked as Russ Manning's assistant on Manning's Tarzan of the Apes Sunday and daily newspaper comic strips. In 1972, Stout worked for Harvey Kurtzman and Will Elder on Playboy's "Little Annie Fanny". In 1973 Stout began his relationship with the Firesign Theatre, where he gained international notoriety for his numerous bootleg record album covers.
From 1976 to 1977 Stout worked as art director for the rock magazine Bomp! During this time, he became one of the first American contributors to Heavy Metal magazine.
Film and television
In 1977 Stout painted his first movie poster, for Ralph Bakshi
's film Wizards
. During his career, Stout has worked on the advertising for over 120 films.
In 1978, with Buck Rogers, Stout began his film production design career. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Stout and fellow illustrator Richard Hescox ran a Los Angeles art studio, working on such projects as the storyboards for Raiders of the Lost Ark and pop singer Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video. Fellow cartoonist Dave Stevens worked for a time in the same studio.
Stout has worked on over thirty feature films, including both Conan films, First Blood, The Hitcher, and Invaders From Mars. In 1985, with Return of the Living Dead, Stout became the youngest production designer in film history. He also production designed the Masters of the Universe film.
Stout wrote The Warrior and the Sorceress for Roger Corman, and a never-produced dinosaur feature for Jim Henson. For Industrial Light & Magic in 1996, he designed "Edgar" (the big bug in Men In Black). Stout was the key character designer for the computer-animated feature Dinosaur (released in 2000). Stout worked as the conceptual designer for The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, and key designer for Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth. Recent film work includes Christopher Nolan's film The Prestige and creature design for Frank Darabont's & Stephen King's The Mist. He is slated to work on del Toro's At the Mountains of Madness as well as a proposed John Carter of Mars film.
In 1981 Bantam Books published Stout's landmark masterwork The Dinosaurs: A Fantastic New View of a Lost Era
(recently updated and re-published as The New Dinosaurs
). In 1983, Stout was among those who illustrated Ray Bradbury
's Dinosaur Tales
. In 1984 he illustrated The Little Blue Brontosaurus
, which was a 1984 Children's Choice Award recipient and the basis for the 1988 animated feature The Land Before Time
In 1986, as a result of his paleontological reconstruction work, eleven Stout paintings were selected for inclusion in the traveling exhibition "Dinosaurs Past and Present," an important group show depicting the history of paleoart. The six-year tour included (among others) the Smithsonian Institution, British Museum, the Royal Ontario Museum, and the American Museum of Natural History, and broke attendance records at each host museum. At the Smithsonian alone, over two million visitors saw the exhibition.
Michael Crichton has acknowledged Stout's work as an inspiration for his 1990 book Jurassic Park. In 1993, Universal Cartoon Studios chose Stout to design a prime-time animated series of Jurassic Park.
Also in 1993 Comic Images released William Stout's Lost Worlds, the first of three trading card sets. (To date, over twenty million William Stout trading cards have been sold.)
In January of 1989, Stout traveled to Antarctica
. His experiences there eventually resulted in the one-man show "Dinosaurs, Penguins and Whales — The Wildlife of Antarctica." The exhibition was part of Stout's effort to alert and inform the public of the complex beauty of Antarctica, and to work as part of the international effort to make Antarctica the first "World Park." "Dinosaurs, Penguins and Whales" evolved into a forthcoming book, Lost Worlds: Modern and Prehistoric Life in Antarctica
, the first visual overview of life in Antarctica.
In August 1991 Stout received a grant from the National Science Foundation to participate in their Antarctic Artists and Writers Program. For three months during the 1992-1993 austral summer, Stout was based at McMurdo Station and Palmer Station. He made several dives beneath the ice, climbed the active volcano Mt. Erebus, camped in the dry valleys, and produced over one hundred painted studies as he carefully observed Antarctica's wildlife. Shortly thereafter, Stout drove over one thousand miles through central southern Chile, documenting the rare prehistoric forests there for inclusion in his Lost Worlds book.
In 1994 Stout painted two murals for the Houston Museum of Natural Science
depicting "Life Before The Dinosaurs." In early 1998 Stout completed three Cretaceous
murals and supervised two full-sized dinosaur sculptures for Disney's Animal Kingdom
In 2007, Stout completed twelve large murals depicting the prehistoric life of San Diego for the San Diego Natural History Museum.
In addition, Stout's murals and paintings are on permanent display at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Orton Geological Museum, The Museum of the Rockies, and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science.
Beginning in 1987, Stout worked for Walt Disney Imagineering
for a year and a half as a conceptualist, designer, and producer for Euro Disneyland
, Tokyo Disneyland
, and Walt Disney World
. In 1989 he was hired by Lucasfilm
/Industrial Light and Magic as conceptualist and chief designer for their first foray into themed entertainment centers. In 1991 Stout conceived and designed ZZ Top
tour. In 1994 Stout continued theme park attraction creation and design for MCA
's Islands of Adventure
. In late 1995, Steven Spielberg
chose Stout as his senior concept designer for GameWorks
, a Sega
joint project. For two years Stout and his team oversaw the concepts, design, and execution of the first three GameWorks facilities in Seattle, Washington; Tempe, Arizona; and Ontario, Canada). Stout worked in 1998-1999 as the lead designer for Kansas City's Wonderful World of Oz theme park (which unfortunately was never developed). He was also a designer for the Michael Jackson
's private Neverland Ranch
In 2001, Stout illustrated Richard Matheson
's first children's book, Abu & The 7 Marvels
, which won many awards. The Stout-illustrated book The Emerald Wand of Oz
was released in 2005, followed by Trouble Under Oz
in 2006. Stout's own publishing company, Terra Nova Press
, has published thirty-four books on art and the history of art.
On his website, Stout lists the following influences:
- Painting: Frank Frazetta, Thomas Moran, Norman Rockwell, Charles R. Knight, Stanley Meltzoff, Carl Evers
- Comics: Harvey Kurtzman, Alex Toth, Russ Manning, Robert Crumb, Wally Wood, Will Eisner, Hal Foster, Al Williamson, Robert Williams, Will Elder, Frazetta, Jean Giraud, Roy G. Krenkel, Franklin Booth, Arthur Rackham, Rick Griffin, Jim Evans, Gaspar Saladino
- Design: Alphonse Mucha, J. C. Leyendecker, Ron Cobb, Ludwig Hohlwein, Hokusai, Yoshitoshi, Maynard Dixon
- Color: Mucha, Edwin Austin Abbey, Yoshida Hiroshi, "most of the other great Japanese print artists," N. C. Wyeth, Frazetta, Giraud, Kurtzman, Edmund Dulac
- Watercolor: Harry Rountree, Frazetta, Moran, Edward Detmold, Alberto Vargas, Jack Davis
- Wildlife painting: Bob Kuhn, Bruno Liljefors, Robert Lougheed, Robert Bateman, Hokusai, Hiroshige, Knight
In 1993 Stout was invited to join the California Art Club
. He served for years as a member of their executive board, and is currently on their advisory board. Stout was unanimously voted a signature member in 1997.
William Stout resides in Pasadena, California, with his wife; they have two adult sons.
- "The Prehistoric World of William Stout", 1977.
- "Dinosaurs, Penguins and Whales: The Wildlife of Antarctica", 1991–1995 — inspired by the three months Stout spent in Antarctica, shown in Moscow at the personal request of then-President Mikhail Gorbachev.
- "Studies From Gondwana - Landscapes and Wildlife of Antarctica," 1993
- "William Stout - Lost Worlds," 1994
- "William Stout's Visions of Gondwana - Past and Present Life in Antarctica," 1995
- "Dinosaurs On Ice - William Stout's Antarctica," 1997
- "Dinosaurs, Penguins & Whales: William Stout's Antarctica," 1999 — Stout's largest (55 paintings) show to date; held at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton, California
- Inkpot Award, 1978
- Children's Choice Award (The Little Blue Brontosaurus), 1984
- Society of Illustrators, Gold and Silver Medals (Abu & The 7 Marvels), 2002
- Benjamin Franklin Award, Best Young Adult Book (Abu & The 7 Marvels), 2002
- Bram Stoker Award nominee (Abu & The 7 Marvels), 2002
- Chesley Award nominee (Abu & The 7 Marvels), 2002
- Society of Illustrators Silver Medal (Tanagra Theatre poster), 2004
- Spectrum Silver Award (Tanagra Theatre poster), 2004
- Society of Illustrators Silver Medal (Cricket magazine cover), 2004
- Spectrum Gold Award, 2006