When will your Antarctica book be finished?

Aaargh! For those of you out there who don’t know about this, I have been working on a big book project. It begun about twelve years ago. I am writing and illustrating the first visual history of life in Antarctica, from prehistoric times to the present day. My goal is 100 oil paintings. I’ve painted 69 so far. As soon as I hit 75 I am going to solicit publishers, then make the final push to finish the book. There is no deadline at this point. This book so far has been a labor of love, painted in between jobs. No one is paying me to do any of this work as of yet. Some payment will come after I successfully solicit a publisher. As soon as I obtain a publisher and a publication date is announced, it will be trumpeted here on my website.

You have traveled and lived all over the world. Where on earth would you most like to go that you haven’t gone?

Madagascar. This large island off the east coast of Africa has more endemic species than any place on earth (lots of chameleons and all the world’s lemurs!). It looks absolutely otherworldly from the photographs I have seen. Unfortunately, the wild, forested natural areas of Madagascar are all nearly gone --- most of the forests have been burnt down for charcoal. Due to an extremely stubborn, shortsighted and arrogant government, eco-tourism arrived much too late to the island. I’ve got to get there soon, or I’m going to miss it completely.

Would you mind if I was tattooed with one of your images?

Not as long as you send me a good photograph of it after it’s finished. Mail it or e-mail a good image to the following addresses:

William Stout, Inc.
1468 Loma Vista Street
Pasadena, CA 91104

williamstout@williamstout.com

I’ve seen my drawings and designs on nearly every part of the human body. I’ve had some very interesting private showings!

Where do you get your ideas? Why do you work in so many styles?

I let the problems dictate the solutions. I don’t try to force one style on every problem that comes my way, hence, my diversity. Observing nature and life feeds me with lots of ideas.

I also have a brainstorming method that I was taught in art school that works very well for coming up with lots of original ideas. It works like this: On a sheet of paper, free associate and list everything you can possibly think of on the particular subjects involved in the problem you’re trying to solve. Write as quickly as possible; don’t censor yourself. Pretty soon you should have a fairly large list of words. Then, try combining the different ideas or images suggested by those words in pairs of previously unconnected words from your list. That usually results in some original ideas for pictures or design concepts.

Do you paint in oil or acrylics?

Both. I really don’t like acrylics very much except for the fact that they dry quite quickly. I love that aspect of them --- I like to work fast. I do all of my underpaintings in acrylics. There are two things that drive me crazy about acrylics, though:
1) They dry darker than when you first put them down. That makes close value work (like the subtle skin tones on a woman’s face) extremely difficult to do.
2) They don’t glaze smoothly; they’re streaky.

When I paint in oils I use alkyd oils. They’re great! Alkyds have all of the advantages of both oils and acrylics with none of the disadvantages. They dry quickly (though not quite as quickly as acrylics). Outdoors in the hot California sun alkyds will dry to the touch in 2 to 3 hours. Otherwise, they’ll dry overnight. Instead of waiting 30 days to glaze (as you should with regular oils), you just have to wait 24 hours. You can do all the gorgeous blending that you can do with regular oils. The glazes go on satiny smooth. What you see is what you get --- the alkyds dry the exact same color as when you first put them down. Instead of having to wait a year (as you should with regular oils), you can varnish your alkyd oil paintings after 30 days.

Who are your biggest influences?

I have many influences; I am always finding new ones. I hope that the unfamiliar names on this list provide you with links to expand and enhance your own knowledge of art.
[Note: My biggest influences are not necessarily my favorite artists. For instance, despite the fact that my favorite pen and ink artist is Joseph Clement Coll, I don’t think his drawings have had much influence on my own pen work. And although I think John Singer Sargent and Joaquin Sorolla are two of the greatest painters ever to have lived, I do not yet --- and may never --- possess the knowledge and skills necessary to attempt their style of painting.]

Painting: Frank Frazetta, Thomas Moran, Norman Rockwell, Charles R. Knight, Stanley Meltzoff, Carl Evers.
Comic Art: Harvey Kurtzman, Alex Toth, Russ Manning, Robert Crumb, Wally Wood, Will Eisner, Harold Foster, Al Williamson, Robert Williams, Will Elder.
Pen (Brush) & Ink: Frank Frazetta, Jean (Moebius) Giraud, Roy G. Krenkel, Robert Crumb, Franklin Booth, Arthur Rackham, Wally Wood, Russ Manning.
Comics Writing: Harvey Kurtzman, Robert Crumb, Robert Williams.
Lettering: Rick Griffin; Harvey Kurtzman, Jim Evans, Alphonse Mucha, Wally Wood, Robert Crumb, Gaspar Saladini.
Design: Alphonse Mucha, J. C. Leyendecker, Ron Cobb, Ludwig Hohlwein, Hokusai, Yoshitoshi, Maynard Dixon.
Color: Alphonse Mucha, Edwin Austin Abbey, Yoshida Hiroshi, most of the other great Japanese print artists, N. C. Wyeth, Frank Frazetta, Jean (Moebius) Giraud, Harvey Kurtzman, Edmund Dulac.
Watercolor: Harry Rountree, Frank Frazetta, Thomas Moran, Edward Detmold, Alberto Vargas, Jack Davis.
Wildlife painting: Bob Kuhn, Bruno Liljefors, Robert Lougheed, Robert Bateman, Hokusai, Hiroshige, Charles R. Knight.

I’m sure I’ve missed several artists in compiling this list --- but this will do for now!

What is your favorite medium?

I have two: Alkyd oils (see Question #5 above) and pen (brush) & ink.

When you ink your line art, what tools do you use?

Comic and illustration work: Croquil pen (with a standard Hunt 102 tip), Speedball B5 and B5 1/2 pens (for panel borders and some lettering), Winsor & Newton Series 7 #1 brush. I can’t find really good India ink anymore (all of the ink manufacturers seem to have cheapened --- and ruined --- their ink formulas), so I just have to make do with whatever I happen across. I also use any old 3H & HB pencils and Magic Rub erasers.
Sketches: Same as the above, plus Sharpie pens.

With which film directors would you most like to work?

Clint Eastwood, Terry Gilliam, Peter Jackson, Ron Howard, Guillermo del Toro, Robert Rodrigues, Quentin Tarentino, Kevin Costner (I nearly worked with Kevin and production designed “Dances With Wolves”; my Antarctica painting exhibition took precedence instead), the Wachowski Brothers. If you want to see what a movie would look like if I directed it, watch “Road to Perdition”. That’s exactly how I visually tell stories and compose shots. “The Hitcher” (which I storyboarded) is very close to my visual style (I wouldn’t have killed the girl, though).

Your work has given me so much joy in my life. How can I give back to you?

That is always so nice to hear! Your ongoing support of my various art projects and your purchases of my original art is repayment enough.

But, if you’ve got a lot of spare money or time and would like to help out even more, here are two options:

Make a contribution of time or money to The Antarctica Project/Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition. They’re a lean, tight umbrella group devoted to coordinating all of the activities involving the protection of Antarctica, the Southern Ocean and its diverse wildlife, in addition to working to establish Antarctica as the first World Park (or World Commons). You can reach them on the internet at www.asoc.org Please tell ‘em William Stout sent you!

I am also trying to complete a very particular collection of magazines. I’ll be happy to trade similar magazines (I’ve got lots of duplicates) or my own original art for the following:
(Associated) SUNDAY MAGAZINE (Not Sunday Illustrated Magazine)
1903: 12/6.
1904: 2/14; 2/28; 3/13; 4/3; 5/8.
1906: 2/18.
1909: 6/13.
1910: 2/6.
1912: 7/21; 9/29.
1913: 4/13.
1914: 4/5; 11/1.
1915: 5/9; 11/28
1916: 1/9; 1/30; 2/13; 4/2; 4/23; 12/17.
1918: All (specific dates unknown; bound volumes needed)

In September of 1915 “Sunday Magazine” also began being published as “Every Week” magazine. The dates were slightly different:

EVERY WEEK
1915: 11/29.
1916: 1/10; 1/31; 2/14; 4/3; 4/24; 9/11; 12/18.
1918: All (specific dates unknown; bound volumes needed)

COSMOPOLITAN
1921: November

EVERYBODY’S MAGAZINE
1921: July

PICTORIAL REVIEW
1919: May, August, November, December
1920: January, February, April, July, August, September
1921: January, April, May, July, August, October, November, December

REDBOOK
1921: June, September, October, November, December

If you find any of these, please e-mail me through my website --- Thanks!