School of Visual & Performing Arts

Department of Art

Guy Billout

Guy Billout has been called the Buster Keaton of the illustration world. His works are funny, acrobatic feats of mental agility that challenge the laws of logic. His characters retain composure no matter what; impending doom does not unnerve them; and under the dark humor, optimism prevails. In 2016, Billout received the highest honor: he was inducted into the Society of Illustrator’s Hall of Fame.

He was born and educated in France and moved to Paris in the 1960s to work in advertising design. He came to the U.S. in 1969 as an inexperienced illustrator with an improvised, unique portfolio, presented to Milton Glaser at New York magazine. Glaser loved his work and published it in its entirety. For 24 years Billout created a stand-alone page in The Atlantic magazine, in full-color, with total editorial freedom, work he still regards as his strongest. His client list includes Esquire, Rolling Stone, Time, Newsweek, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The New Yorker. He is the recipient of many awards, among them the Hamilton King Award and The New York Times “Ten Best Illustrated Children’s Books” for five years. At his Hall of Fame induction, Billout was described as “more than an illustrator, a compassionate poet of the absurd.”