John Watkiss 1961 – 2017

9 02 2017


I just sadly learned that JOHN WATKISS passed away at age 55 on jan.20 this year. he died from cancer. so young. what a loss!
Dick Williams introduced us, we met at one of those unforgettable brunches at hotel Britannia in London, where Dick and his ‘Dick’s Six’ played Dixieland Jazz. from the beginning on it was always a very intense exchange of opinions and arguments about art, life and idiots, most of the time during long pub hours and very often ending in hefty arguments. I never forget when he invited me during my london time working on roger rabbit around 1987 to his studio near Regents Park. the little room was filled with his paintings, and what paintings! we talked for hours, he used to explain things in precise sketches, I still have them all in my collection. his knowledge about anatomy was scary, he would never look at a model or other reference and criticized artists who did. like Michelangelo and Da Vinci, he told me, he had studied anatomy the only ‘real way’, joining medicine students, dissecting muscles and bones in opened dead bodies.
his humor was scary as well, and hurt a lot of people with his acid sarcasm. after London we worked together again at Disney in L.A. next to my office he painted probably hundreds of stunning jungle scenes and Inca temples. all those masterpieces disappeared after a while, to be framed behind the desk of some executive.
what a chaotic and unimaginable talent he was, the best I ever had a chance to meet.

recreated animated treasures 2

24 01 2017

from disney’s SLEEPING BEAUTY two more recreated multiplane background pans. note in the second BG the perspective- and subtle color-change



© disney enterprises, inc

prisma + artisto

8 01 2017

usually I make phone calls and send messages with my phone. I was never a big fan of all the gimmicks offered in those fancy show-off-handys. until I accidentally came across two apps, available for free since june 2016 for android and iOS – PRISMA and ARTISTO. the ‘filter’-sets were created by russian programmer ALEXEY MOISEENKOV and became immediately a big hit in russia and eastern europe. you can read -here- how it works. most filters on the market change your original photo or painting only slightly, most of them have big problems to differentiate between lines and shapes. PRISMA and ARTISTO create stunning changed images and even video, in my opinion pure ART. the most stupid image turns into something interesting. most people probably use it for ‘selfles’, I think it is too good for that, you can create new ART, students should use it as a first step for a painting, to get ideas for posters or a different approach to illustration, or – even as a start for some very different ANIMATION.
I have my problems with it now – it is addictive!


season greetings

23 12 2016


balto backgrounds 2

19 11 2016

some more BG’s from the AMBLIMATION animated feature film BALTO ( 1994 ), painting technique oil and gouache.












© universal / amblin

study 1116

18 11 2016


after george bellows – the violinist leila kalman 1924

balto backgrounds

13 11 2016

digging through my photography files I found these beautiful backgrounds from the AMBLIMATION animated feature film BALTO, except the last one all painted in oil by LUC DESMARCHELIER, one of the master-painters. it’s the year 1993, london. we decided to paint most of the BG’s in oil after painted snow tests in gouache were not looking like snow. only some wooden textured house shots and a few interiors were painted in gouache. it was hard for most of the background painters to get more familiar with this unusual painting technique in animation. after disney’s BAMBI BALTO was the second feature film painted in oil.

Minolta DSC

Minolta DSC

Minolta DSC

Minolta DSC

Minolta DSC

Minolta DSC

Minolta DSC

Minolta DSC

© amblimation / universal pictures