KEMAH — From breaking horses to serving in Vietnam, S.J. Stout has done a lot. Nowadays, the Kemah resident is continuing his hobby and talent of artwork.
Stout, 75, is working on publishing his fourth in a series of cartoon books.
“Each cartoon, at five in the morning with two cups of coffee, takes about two and a half hours each,” Stout said. “I’m trying to sell these books myself — if I go to a publisher they want 70 percent, which eats you up (financially).”
Stout plans to sell the book, “Boatin’,” in local marine stores and hopes a national book seller like Barnes & Noble will give him shelf space.
Stout has also published cartoon books “The Alamo,” “Boot Camp” and “Boot Camp 2.”
“My son is a sergeant major in the Marine Corps, and he’ll be retiring soon,” he said. “I kind of did ‘Boot Camp’ (series) for him.”
Cartoon drawings aren’t Stout’s only form of artwork; the retiree has been painting and sculpting since he was 7 years old.
“I did combat art for Stars and Stripes, (when I was) stationed with the (Army’s) 25th Infantry in South Vietnam,” Stout said.
He continued to produce editorial cartoons for the publication until he retired in 1979.
Stout also worked doing court illustrations and drawing Crime Stoppers scenes, incorporating his talent for art into his jobs.
Stout also creates bronze statues. Recently, with rising costs for bronze, Stout transitioned to fiberglass sculptures.
“Fiberglass sets up quick and isn’t too costly,” he said. “The thing with art is that you really have to plan or else it’ll cost you.”
For the past 18 months the artist worked primarily from his studio at the Butler Longhorn Museum in League City.
“The museum has tons of stuff I’ve made,” he said. “There’s a life-size figure of a Davy Crockett. My son-in-law paints, and we did a mural here together.”
Stout also did a monument commemorating the Vietnam War that is located in East Texas.
“I made a small one out of fiberglass,” he said. “It features three GIs, and one has been shot and there’s a medic there to assist. It follows the ‘no one goes down, no one is left behind’ theme.”
Now, most of Stout’s art is done on his personal time. Occasionally, he’ll do portraits or commissioned work, but for the most part Stout follows his own inspirations.
“I get an idea and a program going in my head and I do it all at once,” he said.