Thursday, December 2, 2010

Guy Billout, the Ironic Illustrator

Guy Billout (b. 1941) is a French illustrator whose work has been featured regularly for years in The Atlantic Monthly. His style is characterized by delicate and economical line work, heavy shadows, beautiful gradients and almost always, irony. The following examples of his work have all appeared in The Atlantic Monthly. More great illustrations can be seen at Guy Billout's Web gallery, here.

"Edge," 1984
"Phobia," 1984
"Rescue," February, 1985
"Excavation," 1985
"The Childhood of Hercules," May, 2002
"Meeting," March, 2005
"Boat Ride," May, 2005
"Step," October, 2005
"American Sunrise," November, 2007
"Lights," November, 2008


  1. Dear Mark, I love this! I have never heard of or seen any work of Guy Billout, but I shall certainly be looking up more about him. His work reminds me to some degree of the art of Tom Wesselman as there is, combined with the strong graphic qualities of confident drawing, a 'message'. I have enjoyed this introduction greatly.

  2. Mark, i love the comic book quality behind these and I was unfamiliar with the name and the work. I love the purely graphic quality behind them with the very solid blocks of colour.

  3. Hi, Edith and David! I'm glad you enjoy one of my own favorite illustrators. Billout has such a distinctive style that he eventually settled on signing his work with just a "B."

  4. I'm not familiar with this artist. How entertaining this work is. And disturbing! Isn't the draftsmanship amazing? They're very original. They have a sense of otherworldliness, sort of like dreams that aren't quite nightmares....

  5. Hi, Terry! I would not have described Billout's work in those words, but the more I look at your comments, the more I think you've nailed it on the head. He'd be the perfect artist to illustrate a book on dream analysis, wouldn't he?

  6. I love this post so clever so precisely and minimally done. Merci.

  7. Dear Jeanne-Aelia, thanks for visiting!

  8. I always look forward to Billout's illustrations in "The Atlantic Monthly." The illustration that made the greatest impression on me, evidently in 1984 (hard to believe it was that long ago), -- because it gets it just right -- is phobia. I've been looking for it on-line off and on for years. Thanks for the post.
    B. Knauer

    1. Dear B. Knauer - Like you, I have looked forward to the publication of magazines in anticipation of the particular illustrators associated with them. Billout's work is so distinctive, and I would love to look over his shoulder to watch a creattion of one. Thanks for visiting!