William Stout was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on the way to Los Angeles in 1949. At seventeen he won a full California State Scholarship to the Chouinard Art Institute (CalArts) where he obtained his Bachelor's Degree. He began his professional career in 1968 with the cover for the first issue of Coven 13. In 1971 he began to assist Russ Manning on the Tarzan of the Apes Sunday & daily newspaper comic strips and Eisner Award-winning graphic novels. He worked own his own during this period writing and drawing stories for Cycle-Toons and Car-Toons. Stout joined Harvey Kurtzman and Will Elder on Playboy's Little Annie Fanny in 1972. In 1973 Stout began his relationship with the Firesign Theatre; he also gained international notoriety for his 45 rock n roll bootleg record album covers.
From 1976 to 1977 Stout was art director for the rock magazine Bomp! 1977 also saw Stout's first movie poster: Wizards. Stout ultimately worked on the advertising for over 120 films. His first one-man show, The Prehistoric World of William Stout, was in 1977. He also was one of the first American contributors to Heavy Metal magazine.
Buck Rogers and 1978 saw the beginning of Stout's film career. Stout has worked on over 35 feature films including both Conan films, First Blood, The Hitcher and Invaders From Mars. Return of the Living Dead made Stout the youngest production designer in film history. Stout wrote The Warrior and the Sorceress for Roger Corman and a dinosaur feature for Jim Henson. He production designed Masters of the Universe and John McTiernan's A Princess of Mars film project. William Stout was the key character designer for Walt Disney's Dinosaur (2000). He designed Edgar (the big bug in Men In Black) for ILM. Stout designed The Muppets Wizard of Oz then worked as a key designer on Guillermo del Toro's horror fantasy classic, Pan's Labyrinth. Stout's work contributed to the film winning two of its Academy Awards and won Stout a 2006 Chesley Award. He recently contributed to Christopher Nolan's The Prestige and Frank Darabont's Stephen King's The Mist. His most recent designs are for first time director Jon Davis WWII horror thriller, The Tomb. He is slated to work on del Toro's At The Mountains of Madness, Darabont's Fahrenheit 451. He recently made his acting debut, starring as a bad-ass Bakersfield redneck in the short film Lucky Day. He is scheduled to be the production designer for the feature film adaptation of Ray Bradbury's Leviathan.
In 1981 Bantam Books published Stout's landmark masterwork THE DINOSAURS-A Fantastic New View of a Lost Era. It also saw international publication in Spanish, French, German, Italian and Japanese (the book was recently updated and republished as THE NEW DINOSAURS). Ray Bradbury's Dinosaur Tales followed, after which came The Little Blue Brontosaurus (1984 Children's Choice Award recipient and the basis for The Land Before Time feature film).
As a result of his paleontological reconstruction work, 11 Stout paintings were selected for inclusion in the traveling exhibition Dinosaurs Past and Present, an important group show depicting the history of paleoart. The exhibition broke all attendance records at each host museum. The six-year tour included (among others) the British Museum, the Royal Ontario Museum, and the American Museum of Natural History. At the Smithsonian alone, over 2,000,000 visitors saw this exhibition.
Beginning in 1987, Stout worked for Walt Disney Imagineering for a year and a half as a conceptualist, designer and producer for EuroDisneyland, Disneyland, TokyoDisneyland and Walt Disney World. After leaving Disney Stout continued themed entertainment design work, contributing ideas and designs to many Disney and non-Disney projects. In 1989 he was hired by Lucasfilm/Industrial Light and Magic as conceptualist and chief designer for their first foray into themed entertainment centers. In 1991 Stout conceived and designed Z Z Top's Recycler tour.
Stout undertook a voyage to Antarctica and Patagonia in January of 1989. The profound spectacle of the last continent changed his life, leading to a 45 painting one man show: Dinosaurs, Penguins and Whales-The Wildlife of Antarctica. This exhibition began its seven year tour of the world's natural history museums (Mikhail Gorbachev personally requested that the exhibition travel to Moscow) at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County in 1991. Stout's effort to alert and inform the public consciousness as to the complex beauty of Antarctica and its past and present denizens, and to work as part of the international effort to make Antarctica the first World Park evolved into his current book project, LOST CONTINENT-Modern and Prehistoric Life in Antarctica, the first visual overview of Antarctica's complete natural history.
For his pioneering work in this field, Stout was honored with a grant from the National Science Foundation to participate in their Antarctic Artists and Writers Program during the 1992-1993 austral summer. For three months Stout was based at McMurdo Station and Palmer Station. He made several scuba dives beneath the ice, climbed the active volcano Mt. Erebus, camped in the dry valleys and produced over 100 painted studies as he carefully observed the white continent's rich abundance of life. Upon his return he drove over 3000 miles through central southern Chile, documenting the rare prehistoric forests there for his book on Antarctic life.
1993 also saw the release of the William Stout's Lost Worlds, the first of three trading card sets by Comic Images (to date, over 24 million William Stout trading cards have been sold). Michael Crichton acknowledged Stout's work as an inspiration for his book Jurassic Park. In 1993, Universal Cartoon Studios chose Stout to design a prime time animated series of Jurassic Park. He also continued theme park attraction creation and desUign for MCA/Universal's Marvel Comics-themed Islands of Adventure.
From 1993 to 1994 William Stout researched and painted two murals for the Houston Museum of Natural Science depicting Life Before The Dinosaurs. In late 1997/early 1998 Stout completed three Cretaceous murals and supervised two full-sized dinosaur sculptures for Walt Disney's Animal Kingdom. The Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton, CA hosted Stout's largest (55 paintings) one man show to date: Dinosaurs, Penguins & Whales: William Stout's Antarctica in 1999.
In late 1995, Steven Spielberg chose Stout as his senior concept designer for GameWorks, a Sega/Universal/DreamWorks SKG joint project. For two years Stout oversaw the concepts, design, and execution of the first three GameWorks facilities (Seattle, Tempe & Ontario). Stout began working in1998/1999 as the lead designer for Kansas City's Wonderful World of Oz theme park and resort, and as a designer for the Michael Jackson NeverLand theme parks, a Toronto Dinotopia theme park, a Zigong, China dinosaur museum and Rhino Records flagship record shop.
Stout illustrated Richard Matheson's first (and only) children's book Abu & The Seven Marvels (Benjamin Franklin Award: Best Young Adult Book; Bram Stoker Award nominee; ASFFA nominee: best book illustration; Gold and Silver Awards from the Society of Illustrators). In 2003 Stout illustrated Jim Steinmeyer's Hiding the Elephant - How Magicians Invented the Impossible and Learned to Disappear, a best-selling non-fiction book about the great magicians of the turn of the century. He has won both Gold and Silver Awards from Spectrum and was a judge in 2005. Stout illustrated The Emerald Wand of Oz and Trouble Under Oz. Stout's own publishing company, Terra Nova Press, originated the now extremely popular Artists Sketchbook genre and has published thirty-four books on art and the history of art.
In 1997 Stout collaborated with Jean Moebius Giraud on a new Arzach story for the 20th anniversary of Heavy Metal, and with Will Eisner on a Harvey Award winning new Spirit series. Stout also illustrated a series of covers for Mark Schultz Cadillacs and Dinosaurs comic books.
In the last few years Stout comic stories have appeared in Dark Horse's 911 benefit book and their Eisner-nominated AutobioGraphix book, as well as Bernie Wrightson's Night Terrors. Stout's varied career was the subject of two extensive full color interview features in The Comics Journal and International Studio. Stout's 2005 poster for the Animal Planet program DRAGONS was distributed to every comic book shop in the United States. Stout recently drew covers for two issues of Thomas Jane's Alien Pig Farm 3000 and for Jonathan Ross TURF. Stout is currently illustrating an eight page comic book story written by Bruce Jones for Bruce's revived Alien Worlds comic book.
William Stout co-founded the Comic Art Professional Society and was their tenth president. He is on the Advisory Board of the California Art Club, the oldest American art organization west of the Mississippi. Stout was unanimously voted the honor of being recognized as a C. A. C. Signature Member in 1997. He is also a member of the Society of Animal Artists.
Stout recently completed painting twelve large murals depicting the prehistoric life of San Diego for the San Diego Natural History Museum. Flesk Publications published William Stout Prehistoric Life Murals, a book that includes the studies and sketches involved in the creation of all of Stout's murals. In addition to the San Diego Natural History Museum, William Stout's murals and paintings are on permanent display at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Walt Disney's Animal Kingdom, the Orton Geological Museum, the Museum of the Rockies and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science. He is currently painting two new murals for the elephant enclosure at the San Diego Zoo.
William Stout resides in Pasadena, California.