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 (California Institute of the Arts) 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. Stout joined Harvey Kurtzman and Will Elder on Little Annie Fanny for Playboy in 1972. In 1973 Stout began his relationship with the Firesign Theatre and 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 30 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 designed John McTiernan's A Princess of Mars film project. In 1995 William Stout became the key character designer for the Walt Disney full length computer animated feature Dinosaur (released in 2000). He designed "Edgar" (the big bug in Men In Black) for ILM in 1996. Stout recently completed the designs for The Muppets Wizard of Oz then did key designs for Guillermo del Toro's horror classic, Pan's Labyrinth. His latest film work was for Christopher Nolan's new film, The Prestige and Frank Darabont 's Stephen King's The Mist. He is slated to work on del Toro's At The Mountains of Madness as well as a proposed John Carter of Mars film.
In 1981 Bantam Books published Stout's landmark masterwork (recently updated and republished as THE DINOSAURS-A Fantastic New View of a Lost EraTHE NEW DINOSAURS), followed by Ray Bradbury's Dinosaur Tales and The Little Blue Brontosaurus (1984 Children's Choice Award recipient and the basis for The Land Before Time animated feature).
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 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 on January 19, 1991. This effort by Stout 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 life in Antarctica. For his pioneering work in this field, William Stout was doubly honored in August of 1991. He was the chosen guest banquet speaker at the International Conference on the Role of the Southern Ocean and Antarctica in Global Change (Marine Science Institute, UCSB ). Stout also received 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 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 1000 miles through central southern Chile, documenting the rare prehistoric forests there for his book on Antarctic life. In May, 1993, at the invitation of the National Science Foundation, Stout participated in the Boulder, Colorado gathering of all of the previous recipients of the Antarctic Artists and Writers Program, the first such gathering in history.
April of 1993 saw the release of the William Stout's Lost Worlds, the first of three trading card sets by Comic Images (to date, over 20 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. From 1993 to 1994 William Stout researched and painted two murals for the Houston Museum of Natural Science depicting "Life Before The Dinosaurs" . In 1994 Stout continued theme park attraction creation and design for MCA/Universal's Islands of Adventure.
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 and his team oversaw the concepts, design, and execution of the first three GameWorks facilities (Seattle, Tempe & Ontario). In 1997
In late 1997/early 1998 Stout completed three Cretaceous murals and supervised two full-sized dinosaur sculptures for Walt Disney's Animal Kingdom. Stout began worked in1998/1999 as the lead designer for Kansas City's Wonderful World of Oz theme park, and as a designer for the Michael Jackson NeverLand theme parks and a Toronto Dinotopia theme park.
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. Stout recently illustrated Abu & The 7 Marvels ( Benjamin Franklin Award: Best Young Adult Book; Bram Stoker Award nominee; Chesley Award nominee; Gold and Silver Medals from the Society of Illustrators), Richard Matheson's first children's book. Stout's Tanagra Theatre poster art won the Silver Awards from both the Society of Illustrators and Spectrum in 2004. His cover for the August 2004 Cricket won a Silver Award from the Society of Illustrators as well. The Stout-illustrated book The Emerald Wand of Oz was released in 2005; Trouble Under Oz in 2006. Stout's own publishing company, Terra Nova Press, has published thirty four books on art and the history of art.
In 1993 Stout was invited into the California Art Club. He served for years as a member of their Executive Board; he is currently on their Advisory Board. Stout was unanimously voted the honor of being a Signature Member in 1997.
Stout is currently painting twelve large murals depicting the prehistoric life of San Diego for the San Diego Natural History Museum. The first seven murals debuted to the public in 2006. The remaining five will be completed in 2007. 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.
William Stout resides in Pasadena, California with his perfect wife; they are occasionally visited by their two brilliant sons.