Illustrator William Stout's Legends of the Blues - exclusive excerpt

I've admired the illustration work of William Stout for decades. He did a few underground comics stories in the '70s and the quality of his work was stunning. He's also illustrated a number of dinosaur books that are beautiful. I think he mainly does concept work for movies now. I could go on an on about how much I love Stout's detailed pen-and-ink work and pleasing watercolors, but I'd rather let you see it for yourself.

Abrams ComicArts has just released Legends of the Blues, a book that contains 100 portraits of blues artists, much in the vein of Robert Crumb's Heroes of the Blues series of books and cards. The book also includes a 14-track CD with recordings by Blind Willie McTell, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Bukka White, and others.

In selecting the artists to illustrate, Stout chose musicians that shared three things in common:

1. I love and am passionate about their music.

2. Except for Skip James and Blind Willie Johnson, two bluesman I just couldn't bear to leave out, none of the artists appear in R. Crumb's Heroes of the Blues series.

3. All the performers in this book were born before 1930.

Each portrait includes an entertaining biographical sketch, written by Stout. Below, nine portraits from Legends of the Blues. (Click for enlargement.)
Legends of the Blues


  1. That’s really kind of a knock-off of Crumb.  It’s the same idea, done in the same style, with the name at the bottom and everything.  Even the title is almost identical.

    I’m all for people doing tributes to blues musicians, but they should find their own voice and style and create something new.

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