William Stout: Animation

I got a nice e-mail from my friend Rick Catizone this morning. I thought my answer might be of some interest to my Journal readers.

Rick asked if I had ever been an animator. He also asked about the progress on my new studio. Here’s my answer:

I have never animated — I usually can’t stand to do the same drawing twice and am amazed at the patience of those who do that over and over.

I have worked on various animation projects, however. I designed animated commercials for Lennox weather units. I designed the characters for Walt Disney’s Dinosaur feature. I was a consultant on the Dino-Riders TV series. I painted the bumper art for the Dink the Little Dinosaur TV series. I wrote an episode of the animated Godzilla TV series. I was the production designer for a proposed Jurassic Park animated series (never sold) for Universal Cartoon Studios and drew all of their model sheets. I was a designer on the animated feature Ant Bully. I have also written and designed several CG films for theme park attraction simulator rides. And, of course, The Land Before Time was based upon my award-winning children’s book, The Little Blue Brontosaurus. I didn’t work on that film but I did do some of the film’s advertising art.

I’m moved into my new studio and have begun the long process of unpacking and organizing the contents of over 1000 boxes…I’m enjoying it, actually. I have a two great people (Kris and Danny Kobziff) helping me right now, one of whom (Kris), I recently hired as my personal assistant. With Kris’s organizational skills, sharp mind and help, I plan to produce a lot more art in 2013.

10 Responses to “William Stout: Animation”

  1. Matthew Adams says:

    Great news — and it’s nice to hear some additional background on your career writing screenplays, Bill.

    Can’t wait to see the new studio! Chris IS brilliant and will make the ideal business assistant.

  2. Matthew Adams says:

    Excuse me, *Kris.

    A spell check correction gone wrong.

  3. jim says:

    Ainmators are mad crazy. They are locomotive drawing machines. Wish to God I had the application to rip out drawings like they do. Faster than I used to be but they leave me in the dust.

    Oh, and congrats on the new studio and assistant.

  4. Rick Tucker says:

    It’s good to know you’re settling into the new studio. I wish I had a question for you but I’m too busy to think of one right off hand other than to ask how big the new digs are?

    All the best,
    Tucker

  5. Aaron says:

    Great news about the new studio. Could you post a picture of it here?
    With some Stout artwork on the walls to make us all drool, perhaps?
    Of course hearing that there will be an outpouring of your art in the new year is very good news.

    Best Wishes,
    Aaron

  6. Bill says:

    Hi Jim,
    I love animators and, yes, most of the ones I know are a bit…um, different…from the rest of us (from drawing the same thing over and over?).

    Hi Rick,
    2400 square feet. Warehouse and offices downstairs; three rooms and more storage upstairs.

    Hi Aaron,
    I’ll post pics soon.

  7. Rick Catizone says:

    Bill,

    The studio sounds amazing! And the idea that you will be able to produce even more artwork is flat-out amazing. As I have said to you before, I always thought you were the most prolific artist I could think of. I know we’ll all be looking forward to new visions from your mind and hand.

    Best Always,
    Rick

  8. Rick catizone says:

    Bill,

    Somehow I must have missed the Little Blue Bronotosaurus. I can see where they did adhere to you’re look. Did they just “utilize” your work, or did they acquire some rights and change the title?

    I did an image search and I especially like the plate with him from 3/4 rear turning and looking back at his. Really nice rhythm.

    Best,
    Rick

  9. Bill says:

    Hi Rick,
    I wish that Lucas and Spielberg had honorably acquired the rights — but they didn’t. A producer friend of mine saw a copy of The Little Blue Brontosaurus on Kathleen Kennedy’s desk when The Land Before Time was in development. I was pretty close to Kathy, Steven and George at the time.

    I don’t know why they did this…Were they expecting me to sue them? I know from working with them that they keep a contingency fund on each film to deal with situations like this. I was very disappointed in them. Not only was I cheated, but their production of The Land Before Time torpedoed my dinosaur film with Jim Henson. Like my late publisher Byron Preiss, they apparently keep “friendship” and “business” in two separate compartments.

    I need to mention that George Lucas might not have been aware of what was going on. He has always been very loyal and generous to me, consistently funneling work my way throughout the span of my career, beginning with the very first merchandising for Star Wars (I did the art for 21 Coca Cola cups) and the ad campaign for the first re-release of American Graffiti. Most recently, he asked me to participate in the Star Wars Images book.

    The 3/4 view image you mentioned was penciled by me but painted by the great Don Morgan, who ghosted Pogo for Walt Kelly for many years.

  10. Rick Catizone says:

    Thanks Bill….and sorry to hear that was the case. So they lifted the story idea and the character designs. I liked Don Bluth’s character designs but it seems they certainly were influenced by your wonderful design.

    You know, considering what the budget would be on a Lucas or Spielberg production, why WOULDN’T they be above board and approach you with a deal for the adaptation rights?

    So sad.

    Best,
    Rick

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