7 Questions With Award-Winning Illustration Legend William Stout (Part 3)
William Stout is an award-winning artist of international renown in many fields: themed entertainment and motion picture design (specializing in science fiction/fantasy/horror effects films), comic book art, book illustration, poster design, CD covers, public murals, and dynamic yet accurate reconstructions of prehistoric life.
His endeavors in the field of motion pictures and comic book art have gained him a loyal following, making him a popular guest at comic book, science fiction and horror movie conventions around the world.
His huge, new book from Insight Editions, Fantastic Worlds – The Art of William Stout, thoroughly covers his fifty-year career as a working artist.
In today’s interview, William Stout – one of the most complete artists in the ink world, speaks about his latest release, trends in the illustration industry and gives advice to the young generation of illustrators.
He is by far the most modest man of his caliber I’ve ever had the honor to interview and a true inspiration to artists all over the spectrum.
To find out more about Artist William Stout, his art and his humanitarian work, please visit his official website. If you are a writer however, please stop by to check the best tips & tricks From Writing To Publishing and sign up to my Newsletter for the latest & greatest.
Comic-Con International, why should people attend?
To satisfy and indulge in a cornucopia of their interests in a safe, unique, well-established environment where they’re not made fun of for liking comics.
What should they expect from William Stout when they see him?
You’ll get to see lots of original art. Also, expect to hear stories, receive advice (if desired) given with respect and kindness — and with a bit of humor.
Looking back, what advice would you give yourself at the beginning of your journey as an illustrator?
I would maintain much closer contact to all of my work bosses, friends and colleagues. It took me a long time to learn that it often really is Who You Know that can change your career and raise your success. It’s not just who you know, though. You have to be prepared for those opportunities when they arrive with the finely honed skill sets necessary to do the job.
What’s your nemesis in terms of illustration?
A client who doesn’t know what he wants (“…but I’ll know it when I see it.”). The possibilities are infinite. I could work forever and still never satisfy this guy. That’s when you charge by the hour.
If you don’t mind me asking, who’s your favorite villain?
I love Moriarty in the Benedict Cumberbatch Sherlock Holmes series. The African American character in Titus who kidnapped the city’s children and then years later nailed them to their parents’ doors is pretty hard to top. I’ll watch 1930s and 1940s villains Peter Lorre, Ernest Thesiger, Lionel Atwill, George Zucco and Sir Cedric Hardwicke in just about anything…and, of course, Boris and Bela.
What are some of William Stout’s favorite things?
Hiking, nature, world travel, fine food (from food trucks to restaurants), music (especially blues and soul), my children (now grown up) and grandchildren, my family’s dark sense of humor, good horror films, great art and getting together with friends, to name a few.
We all know this industry is full of surprises. Can you share an unexpected experience?
In 1971, during my last year at art school, I answered an advert in The Los Angeles Free Press seeking an artist for a job that involved dark and supernatural subject matter. This seemed like an opportunity that was too good to pass up.
The following Friday night I knocked on the door of a second floor Hollywood apartment, which was duly opened by a fifty-something medium sized bald man with a mischievous grin. As soon as I crossed the threshold I was hit with a mysterious sensation, as if I had smoked an entire gram of high quality hashish. As my host looked through my samples, my attention was drawn to the imposing black candles on the mantelpiece and the reproduction of an old engraving of Satan displayed between them. Other men and women, all around the same age as the bald man, were moving through the room.
Evidently delighted with what he had seen, the man explained to me that he was recently appointed by Anton LaVey, leader of the San Francisco branch of The Church of Satan, to head up the Los Angeles chapter. He required a painted portrait of the goat headed anti-Christ inside a pentagram to be delivered to him the following fortnight. A price was agreed upon and I departed. My head immediately cleared as soon as I stepped back over the threshold.
Two weeks later I was back knocking on the door of Satan’s Californian emissary — only the man who opened the door this time was a good-looking young man in his mid-twenties. Upon enquiring if my client was at home, the young man expressed surprise, telling me that he and his wife had been the only inhabitants of the apartment for the last three years. As I surveyed the interior I saw the same sofa and mantelpiece, but the black candles and sinister engraving were gone. The painting has remained my studio ever since, the whereabouts and origins of its commissioner forever wrapped in mystery.
What are some important names in the industry you had the pleasure to work with?
Name-Dropping Section; Here are just a few (in alphabetical order): Rick Baker, Billy Barty, Karen Black, Ray Bradbury, David Carradine, Rick Carter, Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Chapman, Ron Cobb, Martha Coolidge, Roger Corman, Frank Darabont, the Dino DeLaurentiis family, Guillermo Del Toro, Jon Favreau, The Firesign Theatre, Richard Fleischer, Frank Frazetta, Dennis Gassner, David Geffen, Jean “Moebius” Giraud, Ray Harryhausen, Jim Henson, Tobe Hooper, Industrial Light & Magic, Grace Jones, James Karen, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Kathleen Kennedy, Ted Kotcheff, Wolf Kreuger, Harvey Kurtzman, Frank Langella, George Lucas, David Lynch, Tony Masters, John McTiernan, John Milius, Steve Miner, Christopher Nolan, Dan O’Bannon, Chuck Russell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steven Spielberg, Sylvester Stallone, Dave Stevens, Kirk Thatcher, Bud Westmore, Doug Wildey, and Stan Winston.
You’ve encouraged all your amazing followers and supporters who want to get more financially involved to: “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!” Can you share more information about this project?
Antarctica is currently protected by The Antarctic Treaty until 2041. The Treaty states that no one owns Antarctica, all wildlife is protected, all information is shared (even at the height of the Cold War) and that no commercial exploitation (mining or oil drilling) of the continent is allowed.
That’s not good enough; I want to protect Antarctica forever by making it the first World Park. The Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition is working to make this happen, helping to coordinate all of the activities in this arena being carried out by larger groups like GreenPeace, The Environmental Defense Fund, the Nature Conservancy, etc. Let’s keep Antarctica pristine and save it for future generations.
What does William Stout like to read?
Currently, mostly non-fiction (Jon Krakauer, Gore Vidal, Eric Ripert, Anthony Bourdain, Michael Pollan, Eric Larson), but also books by Ray Bradbury and Richard Price, and books on the Film Biz.
Are you in the Writing Industry?
Shoot me an email, I’d love to interview you!
And if you’re a fan of Paranormal Romance, check out Lost in Amber:
“A new Interplanetary Alliance ambassador on an earthbound mission.
A handful of genetically altered humans to be rescued.
Meeting her changed everything.“