I first encountered Bill Stout’s work in underground comix. He then cropped up on the covers of Firesign Theatre albums and in the pages of magazines devoted to automotive humor from Peterson Publishing (a publishing niche which also featured work from Gilbert Shelton and Alex Toth). By the time I found his remarkable book of dinosaur art, The Dinosaurs, I was a solid Stout fan, and the book was a big influence on me when I started doing my series of dinosaur cartoons for Asimov’s.
Stout worked with Russ Manning on the Tarzan daily newspaper strips and worked with Harvey Kurtzman and Will Elder on Playboy’s Little Annie Fanny. In addition to comics, album cover art and dinosaur art, Stout has done fantasy art, trading cards, movie poster art, and film design. The one common thread is that his work always stands out.
His admiration for the classic pen and ink illustrators like Joseph Clement Coll, paleo art greats like Charles R. Knight and classic comics artists like Wally Wood, Will Elder and Al Williamson serves him well. Stout has a wonderful ability to put down just the right amount of hatching, just the right spotted blacks and just the right amount of detail to make his drawings hit my visual pleasure button square on. Unfortunately there aren’t many examples of his black and white work on his site, but you can see some of it on the covers of his published Convention Sketches.
Stout’s beautiful book of dinosaur art has been reissued as The New Dinosaurs. Also in print is Abu and the 7 Marvels, illustrated by Stout and authored by Richard Matheson. There is an interview with Matheson and Stout on SciFi.com.
Delightfully, you can also get many of Stout’s convention sketchbooks as well as sketchbooks on other themes, reprints of classic stout comics, other books, trading cards and all manner of other Stout stuff directly from his site. Stout sometimes offers his original art for sale directly on the site or through eBay. He also keeps a journal on the site.
The images on his site are a bit small to get a real feeling for the quality of his work. There is an unofficial Stout gallery here with some larger images, and there are some interviews with him on the Comics Journal site.