Design vs. Art: The Illustrations of Tyler Stout

“I combine my own sensibilities as to what I enjoy with a style that is partly based on older styles from the 1970s and 80s.” Comics, children’s books, TV and video games have all had a great influence on American illustrator Tyler Stout. He took a while to find his feet, and his self-confidence, but as the commissions came rolling in, so his faith in his own abilities was renewed.


“… I was a big fan of Frank Kozik and so I grew up really admiring his stuff and collecting his stuff in the 90’s. I kind of came to collecting a little bit late, I was in my teens and in comics before that.”


“I was wanting to kind of get into music posters and so I started doing that in late high school, and went into college and kept doing them and then just kept doing music posters and got into movie posters from that. Rob Jones asked me to do something for the QT Fest and that’s when I first started them.”


“The design and framework, like on the KILL BILL one I was just thinking about the movie and how many references there are to other movies and I thought ‘What’s my favorite martial arts poster of all time?’ That would be ENTER THE DRAGON, so you basically look at that layout and carry that layout over into your poster, just because it seemed kind of referential of that in a cool way. I was hoping it’s not like ‘Oh, he ripped off ENTER THE DRAGON’, I’m hoping people will be like when I did a Flight of the Conchords poster that was kind of like a remake of a Beastie Boys… ”


“It’s fun. It’s hard to think about design because you do what you think looks good and you keep redoing it and redoing it and you are like ‘Okay, it’s starting to come together’ and sometimes you have to start over. The posters that people never see are the ones that you are like ‘There is no design to this’ or like a lot of it comes down to the same basic design where you do like the pyramid design where it’s a tiered sort of approach as opposed to everything having the same weight.”


“I went to school as a designer and so it wasn’t in illustration, it was more like the relationship that everything has towards the next thing and all of those old posters they all have it…”


“There’s a designer that I follow and he was saying the reason he got out of doing design and just moved straight into doing art and art installations and stuff is that even designers, people don’t consider them artists, and I don’t consider myself anything (laughs), but he was saying ‘As a designer you are still creating something and you are saying this is what I think looks good’ and because there’s so many rounds of revisions and you are throwing away stuff that will never be used again, it would be heartbreaking for anyone else to say ‘This is awesome’ and someone else saying ‘No.'”


“You can’t use it for anything else a lot of times and it’s just the amount of wasted ideas and energy and all of that sort of stuff where you are focusing and spending your time on something and then it’s just being thrown away would be really discouraging and kind of burn you out and just being like ‘I can’t do this. I’d rather just paint as a hobby.'”


“A lot of us get into this just because you like doing it and it’s something you would do for fun anyways, but when people take that and give you money for it and then they start having an influence on what you do, it’s an easy way to get burned out and just be like ‘I don’t want to do this anymore’, because it’s not fun.”


“It’s taking the best thing in the world for you and it’s turning it into something that you are losing sleep over and you are getting really stressed about and stuff. It’s nice to work for people that kind of understand the pain of revisions.”


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