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.
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