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William Stout Painting Lesson #6

Menagerie – Continuing the sepia refinement
Menagerie – Continuing the sepia refinement

I’m continuing to refine my sepia painting. I’ve painted a reasonably detailed panda and ostrich. I’ve also added more refinement to the mammoth and warthog.

Menagerie – Sepia Version, Almost Complete
Menagerie – Sepia Version, Almost Complete

There’s more work now on the porcupine, anteater, armadillo, tortoise, octopus, giraffe and camel. The koala is gone; it has become the tortoise’s domed shell. Almost finished with the sepia lay-in!

It’s interesting to me how much the limited palette here of raw umber, burnt umber, yellow ochre, black and white suggests a broader range of color. This was something I learned in art school. A particularly valuable exercise in my Painting 1 class was having us do a series of paintings using only black, white, cadmium red light and cadmium yellow light. It amazed me how by putting certain colors next to each other gray could appear to be blue and that this simple, four color palette could be used to convey a full range of color. Mixing black and yellow produced an olive green; a nice brown was made by mixing black and red, and so on. Of course, using a limited palette also makes it very easy to unite your color scheme.

My wife, knowing how the deadline for this picture is looming (and loving this sepia version), is now beginning to beg me to stop and keep it a sepia painting on into its finish.

4 thoughts on “William Stout Painting Lesson #6

  1. Pretty cool Bill..why am I not surprised to see prehistoric critters in the audience?I always liked your visual humour you have a real knack for it.Those Cycletoons stories you did many years ago were great.

    John A

  2. Thanks, John.

    I included the prehistoric critters because there will be some depictions of prehistoric life (besides my own) in the exhibition, because kids love dinosaurs and because I love to paint those kinds of things.

    When I first met Will Eisner he told me never to lose the humorous qualities of my work. I took him at his word.

    Working under editor Dennis Ellefson at Cycle-toons (and Car-toons) was a joy. Dennis took a chance on me as an artist and gave me lots of opportunities to experiment with different styles as I tried to find my own style of comic book art. The E.C. tribute story of mine for Cycle-toons, “Motor-Psycho!”, was what got me the offer to move back east to assist Harvey Kurtzman and Will Elder on “Little Annie Fanny” for Playboy.

    I really miss Dennis and wish he was still around editing comics magazines, giving breaks to young artists, railing against the Establishment, reminiscing about James Dean and Bob Dylan and creating his own wonderful drawings.

  3. Do you remember Jake Thompson, cover artist for Car-toons? In 1981 I got a job with GTE directories and he was my supervisor. He said he hired me because I stuck some comic book work into my portfolio. He had some wacky Alex Toth stories which I doubted … at the time. Jake loved the work but it just didn’t pay.

  4. Hi Tom,
    I don’t think I ever met Jake Thompson but I certainly remember his covers.

    Jake was right; Cycle-toons didn’t pay very well at all. I think it was about $25 a page (script, pencils, inks, lettering). But then, my Hollywood apartment rent was only $90 per month at the time.

    My advertising gigs at the time paid much better but weren’t nearly as much fun. No experimentation, for example. The style the ad execs picked was the style I had to deliver; no midstream switching or surprises allowed.

    I begged Dennis to let me do a Cycle-toons or Car-toons cover (covers were higher profile and they paid much better) but he felt I wasn’t ready. He did let me redesign the magazine logos, though. Obviously he felt my lettering had improved (it really sucked when I first began at Cycle-toons).

    I knew Toth; I’ll bet those wacky Alex Toth stories of Jake’s were all true…

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