Ask Tyler Stout Anything… The Interview

Tyler Image Qs
Last week we announced that we had lined up an interview with one of the world’s hottest poster artists, Tyler Stout and we wanted you questions. After collating some of the best and throwing in a few of our own, one of the busiest guys in the industry gave up a chunk of his day to answer a whole host of questions. So read on to see what Tyler thinks of copycat artists, the challenges of being left handed and his thoughts on Ryan Goslings toothpick…



DW: You got into designing posters through doing stuff for bands, while you were still in high school, did that give you a buzz to see your work out there in the real world for the first time?

TS: Yeah, probably so. I like looking at posters on telephone poles or bulletin boards, so the idea of having some of my stuff there was appealing. I think the main reason I got into it was the problem solving aspect, a band needs to promote a show in a way that is eyecatching, and while I can’t play a musical instrument, I was capable of designing band flyers.

DW: Many actors claim they cant watch their own movies, is that how you feel about your own poster work?

TS: It takes a long while for me to look at it and appreciate it. I go through a bunch of phases with my work, happy with it then not liking it then back to happy with it. and that continues to change over time.

DW: In other interviews you have mentioned that your friend Rob Jones hooked you up with Alamo right at the beginning, so youve been a part of the Mondo poster revolution from the very start and seen it blow up into this massive phenomenon. Do you think the popularity of collectable limited edition movie posters is sustainable or is this more of a trend that will peak and then maybe die down over time?

TS: I’ve always assumed it will die down. i’m not buying a mansion or anything, i try to save my money for the days ahead when work is more scarce. as with anything, time will tell, so i just take it project by project.

DW: Your artwork has gotten a surge in popularity in the past few years due to your posters details, color palette and use of hard contrast…since then some copycat artists have followed your direction. How do you feel, flattered, or frustrated?

TS: Well, it probably says something about my style if its easily imitated. It probably says i don’t have much style at all. ha.

DW: I often spot new things every time I take a look at your work, its so crammed full of detail which is one of the major reasons I love your posters. When I design my own posters I find the hardest part of the process is getting happy with the layout, do you also struggle with that initial step?

TS: Its very difficult, the layout is the key to the whole piece, projects rise and fall on the ability or inabilty to settle on a basic structure. Kinda like building a house, you have to have solid plans. I have done posters where I had no final idea in mind, and its much harder, much more wasted effort, things redone, things left unused.
When i plan things out then each stroke has a purpose and it makes for a stronger piece in the end, i think. but I often look at old magazine adds, old nature illustrations, old tshirt designs – just to come up with layout ideas. Its not necessary to re-invent the wheel in terms of layout, since the thing you create will define the appearance, not the overall structure.

DW: Also, isnt it really hard to work on a poster for a movie you havent yet seen? It must be so hard to capture the feel of a film without actually watching it? Does that affect the final design?

TS: It is difficult, yeah. Plus its harder to get inspired. If you’re doing a poster for a movie you’re a fan of, that drives what you want to say with the poster. If you haven’t seen the movie, you don’t know what the poster is supposed to say, you can only respond to what you’ve seen other people put out, movie trailers, movie posters etc.

BHenderson: Have you considered doing a collaboration print with another Mondo artist such as Martin Ansin? That would be cool!

TS: I have considered doing collaborations in the world of movie posterdom. the stars just haven’t aligned. Collaborations are hard, since we all kinda have our own idea of what something should look like, its hard to give up that control, give up that vision. plus we’re all kinda flakey. or maybe just me.

DW: I know others have asked you what your dream movie poster job would be (Escape From New York I presume is still a personal favorite?) But as a guy who started out doing band posters, is there a dream band out there that you would love to work with? Led Zepplin? Rolling Stones? Elton John?!?

TS: I wouldn’t mind doing a poster for Prince. or Sunny Day Real Estate, I was a big fan. Maybe some Creedence!

DW: A lot of your work is now produced via a graphics tablet but how hard was the transition from traditional pen on paper to a more digital medium? (I just cant get the hang of drawing with a Wacom, I blame being left handed!)

TS: Oh boy, you’ve opened up a can of worms there….since I am a southpaw as well. but yeah, it can be super hard. for me, it helps to give myself projects and say ‘I will only use x to complete this project.’ Be it wacom, photoshop, pencil, charcoal, watercolor whatever. If you commit then it forces you to keep doing it til you think it looks good. other than that, I guess just practice practice practice. nice thing about wacoms for lefties, less smearing your drawings across the paper with the edge of your hand.

DW: We’ve already begun to see hints of it in theaters and on billboards, do you think we’ll see a time when movie posters go completely digital, or will print still have a place in movie / television marketing?

TS: I think there will always be a place for visually interesting promotional material, stuff that catches the eye. It might move into the realm of animation or 3d rendered pieces, but it still needs a creative hand. Not that it guarantees me a job for life by any means, but the guy that comes after me will find work, and the guy after him, I would think. Even if it means they need to learn new ways of showcasing their work, rendering it in 3d or whatever.

DW: Do you own any Mondo posters and if so which ones? I kinda picture your house crammed full of framed posters but is it really like that in reality?

TS: Ah…the heartbreak. I own less than a handful of Mondo posters that aren’t mine. I should have written it into my contract that I get a free copy of every print, ha. Even worse, I have zero movie posters framed in my house, or studio. someday, someday. I got some stuff framed 10 years ago and haven’t gotten anything framed yet, I’m a cheap cheap person. But someday i’ll get stuff framed. I do however have a tack bulletin board in my studio and I pin up my latest posters there so I can kinda think what I like about them, what I’d do differently next time etc.

Gavatron: Ever thought of doing an Art Book with sketches, work in progress and previously unseen works ?

TS: I have, I have been wanting to self publish something, I just need to find a break in my schedule to put something together. I have started, but I need to take like 5 months off and finish it.

DW: Other than print, how often do you experiment with other art mediums? Will we ever see the likes of a Tyler Stout t-shirt range or a set of collectable postcards? (A Tyler Stout action figure would kick ass in my opinon!)

TS: That is a very good question. ask me again after this summer, ha. But yeah, I do experiment with a few other things. stickers are one. Stamps, i get custom stamps made for the back of each new poster. I’ve done a lot of shirt designs for other companies, snowboards, skis, gloves, helmets. and i’m trying to get my wife sarah, who sews things, to work with me and create a line of knit creatures. I’ve got big dreams, ha. and its fun to dream. Mostly.

IggyD: Tyler.. I would love to hear the story behind the naming of “il Grande Lebowski” again and for those who never have… I think it would be a real gem of knowledge for those who own it.

TS: Ha, sure. I had a friend in the air force who was stationed overseas and while he was in Belgium (i think) he came across a huge wall sized print of the big lebowski and he bought it and sent it to me. Instead of saying ‘the big lebowski’ it said ‘il grande lebowski’ on it, in big letters. I had it on my wall all through college and beyond, and I looked at it everyday, and this was right after the movie came out, 1998-99ish.
So it kinda became part of how i thought of the movie, part of what the movie meant to me. When i got asked to be a part of that show that Leia Bell was putting on at the Signed and Numbered Gallery, it was kinda ‘do whatever you want.’ so i did that. It isn’t so much a movie poster as kinda ‘what the big lebowski’ means to me personally, I guess.


Pman: Toothpick or no toothpick in Ryan Goslings mouth?

TS: Ha. good question. I need to figure that out!


DW: Finally, what does the future hold for Tyler Stout?

TS: Weeeeelll… I hope to take a break this summer, travel with my family. But before then i have about 8 projects I need to finish. so we’ll see.


A huge thanks to Tyler for giving up his spare time to answer our questions. He really is a great guy! To see more of Tyler’s work visit his website at

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