John Watkiss

John Watkiss (28 July 1961 – 20 January 2017) was a British artist, known for his painting and his work in comics and film production. His career led him from artist for graphic novels to storyboard artist and character designer. He is arguably best known for his visual development work on Tarzan.

John Watkiss
John-Watkiss rkw4387.gif
Born(1961-07-28)28 July 1961
Died20 January 2017(2017-01-20) (aged 55)
Brighton, Sussex, England
Years active1983–2017
Known forTarzan


Watkiss was born in England in 1961. After growing up in the Midlands, he graduated from The Faculty of Arts and Architecture, Brighton University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.[1] He began his career in London as a portrait painter and illustrator, then also taught anatomy and fine art at the Royal College of Art. He worked for the Museum of the Moving Image in London, Steven Spielberg's Amblimation, Derek Jarman,[1][2] Saatchi & Saatchi, Ridley Scott Associates, Francis Ford Coppola, DreamWorks, 20th Century Fox, and Disney (where he worked on the 1999 animated movie Tarzan).[2]

One of his paintings, The Boxer, sold at Christie's in 2001, and in 2002 he was commissioned to provide a mural for the Ford Museum.[1][2]

Watkiss' comics illustration work includes DC Comics' The Sandman #39 (1992) and #52 (1993),[3][4] Sandman Mystery Theatre #5–8 (1993), Starman #18 (1996), and all 13 issues of Deadman written by Bruce Jones (2006–2007);[1][5] Ring of Roses (1992) and various Conan comics (1993–1995) for Dark Horse; John Jakes' Mullkon Empire for Tekno Comix (1995); and Surgeon X with writer Sara Kenney (Image Comics, 2016).[6]

Watkiss died of cancer at the age of 55.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d "JOHN WATKISS". Entertainment Art Academy. Archived from the original on 2008-05-06. Retrieved 2008-05-02. on 2008-05-02
  2. ^ a b c Wolff, Richard Keith (15 March 2000). "Johhn Watkiss". Richard Keith Wolff Gallery. Archived from the original on 2011-07-26. Retrieved 2008-05-02. on 2008-05-02
  3. ^ Bender, Hy (1999). The Sandman Companion. DC Comics. pp. 267–268. ISBN 978-1563894657.
  4. ^ Burgas, Greg (January 7, 2013). "Comics You Should Own – Sandman". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on April 10, 2014.
  5. ^ Richards, Dave (June 4, 2005). "WW Philly: The Mystery of Death After Life: Bruce Jones talks "Deadman"". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2008-05-02. Archived on 2008-05-02
  6. ^ "John Watkiss - Comic Book DB". Retrieved 2017-01-21.
  7. ^ "Comics Artist John Watkiss Passes Away at 55". DC. Retrieved 2017-01-21.

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