Wednesday, December 1, 2010

William Stout: Inspirations

William Stout: Inspirations
I am unabashed in my enthusiasm for the work of William Stout, and I’ve written about him previously several times here on Lines and Colors (links below). In particular, I take great delight in his beautiful drawings in pen and ink with watercolor.

I’ve been looking forward to the release of William Stout: Inspirations from Flesk publications since it’s companion volume, William Stout: Halllucinations, was released back in July (my review here).

Stout has been prolific in his career, and there are a number of illustrations and other drawings that are difficult to find in print. Much to the delight of Stout fans like myself, the two books have collected a number of these from various sources and presented them in the kind of beautifully produced and printed art volumes that are Flesk’s specialty.

The two collections are arranged thematically, the first focusing on monsters, trolls, dragons and creatures, the new one on women from fantasy and fairy tales.

In both volumes we see Stout having fun, gleefully drawing on his inspirations from traditional stories and pop culture as well as paying tribute to some of his artistic roots.

In Inspirations, we find Stout working with subjects from Edgar Rice Burroughs, Shakespeare, The Wizard of Oz (Baum’s not MGM’s), Wagner’s Ring Cycle, Rima the Jungle Girl, The Bride of Frankenstein and even a humorous take on his own dinosaur illustrations; in the process creating playful homages to late 20th Century artists like Frank Frazetta and Dave Stevens, and Golden Age masters like Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac and the great but under-appreciated Gustav Tenngren and John Bauer (links to my posts).

In fact, in his Foreward, Stout outlines what he calls his “Rackham/Dulac Technique” in a step-by step walkthough of the process that many illustrators will find enlightening.

Stout has been influenced by a number of great Golden Age pen and ink illustrators, with a variety of approaches, and in his own style he has managed to distill a balance of linework, rendering and application of color that I find particularly appealing. Combined with his accomplished draftsmanship and fervent imagination, he serves up a smorgasbord of visual treats in these collections.

There is a small gallery of preview images on the Flesk site (click on the image to pop up the gallery), along with more detail about Inspirations and the companion volume Hallucinations, as well as the other Stout titles from Flesk: Dinosaur Discoveries and New Dinosaur Discoveries A-Z.

The titles can all be ordered directly from the Flesk online store (or the old way via mail).

The limited edition signed hardback version of William Stout: Inspirations is already sold out from the Flesk site, though you may still be able to order copies of the hardback directly from William Stout’s site.

You can also find more of Stout’s work, in a variety of media, subjects and approaches, in the galleries on his site.

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