22 04 2009

richard williams introduced me to JOHN WATKISS in 1985 in london. immediately we started to have heated discussions about the arts, anatomy and the idiots around us. discussions with john were always extremely passionate, he did not tolerate anything mediocre. he invited me to his studio then, close to regents park, where he showed me some of his paintings and drawings. he is probably the best drawing artist I ever met in my life. it is not even depressing anymore to look at his work, because I know I would not even get close to that quality. at that time he worked for advertising, throwing storyboard sketches on paper that you wanted to frame. he never used any reference. for several years he had studied the old masters, leonardo da vinci and michelangelo, had analyzed anatomy to a degree, that he was able to draw any bodypart from any angle with every single muscle displayed. he showed me. I still have those sketches – scary.
they must have hated him in the advertising world, because he told them open what he thought of morons. he always said what he thought, what did not necessarily help him through his life.
we met next when I worked at AMBLIMATION in acton, where he conducted life drawing classes. after I joined disney in 1994 we lost touch until he sent his portfolio to the studio, I think in 1996. most of the artists who saw his drawings could not believe their eyes and he was hired immediately. he started to work on TARZAN and painted probably over one hundred big inspirational scenes of the jungle world, all in acrylics. sometimes one in two days. his office was next to mine and I had a chance to see all these masterpieces, from sketch to final artwork. the executives loved them and they ended up framed in their offices, especially in the the big dwarf- supported building. oh well…
today I wanna show some of his black/white sketches for the later big TARZAN paintings. in a future post there will be more of his work.






© disney enterprises, inc



13 responses

22 04 2009

Wow… just…


Such a mood in these.

22 04 2009

and the scans are perfect, hi-res and everything, thank you.

22 04 2009

Thanx.I really enjoy the pictures in your Blog.

22 04 2009
Drake Brodahl

These are spectacular. Looking forward to the paintings!

22 04 2009

I’ve been following your blog for more then a year, and I really have to say thanks for doing it! it’s really inspiring to see the work, hear some of the stories, and getting some pointers. Every time I see a new post I hear my jaw drop. Thanks you.

22 04 2009

I love the subtle variation in line weight (and shading) in relation to bgs and focal pts – and it’s obviously done quickly and smoothly. incredible! thanks so much for presenting these – can’t wait to see more of his work!

22 04 2009

Watkiss is an ass, and his drawings are lifeless, dull, and not terribly inspirational or original. His paintings are mildly interesting, even if his sense of color is a bit lazy.

from hans –
you seem to like him a lot. I appreciate diverse opinions, and I think you don’t have a clue…

23 04 2009

Thanks so much for posting!! Really inspiring blog you have here.

from hans –
thank you. like your blog too!

23 04 2009

amazings drawings
anyway I prefer Alex niño

thank you very much for every post

27 04 2009
Jared Shear

Watkiss is a master!……thank you for the great post. Looking forward to your upcoming posts devoted to his work.

29 04 2009

great drawings totally inspiring, I love all them
thanks for share!

6 05 2009
Steve Brown

J used to see John’s paintings on display at Associates in Art. My friend Diana Coco had shown me some simple geometrical breakdowns of the figure that John had given her. Have you ever seen those?

1 07 2009
Steve Worthington

You forgot to mention that when you met him he must have been, what?
Scary just got scarier!

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