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Disney Heroes - John Henry


Another Disney Hero get his place in the spotlights.

This one is the legendry John Henry! The first African American Disney Hero in the collection! He was also Disney's first animated African American hero in their history! After him came another African American male figure that was featured in a full length animated classic movie - and he will also be a part of the Heroes Collection soon enough. But the most amazing news I've heard was last year's revealing that the upcoming Disney classic "The Princess and the Frog" will feature Disney's first African American Princess - it's about freaking time right?! - Hopefully she will also have a hunky love interest :P

Back to mister Henry now - John Henry appeared in a Disney short movie titled "John Henry". The short movie was released on the DVD title "Disney's American Legends" on February 2002. It was a new short among other classic Disney shorts telling the story of some of America's true pioneer heroes. The DVD was presented in 1.33:1 or full-screen format that was so unbelievably degrading for this short that was created in widescreen (1.85:1). Up to this day I didn't get the chance to see this short in it's original aspect ration :(

But on in it's own the "John Henry" short is a marvellous creation. The animation in it is presented in it's full "rough" stage, with no "clean-up" process, and it gives it something extra special and so pleasing to look at.
I wanted to keep that feeling, so I had made this one a little bit more "rough" too, but in it's attitude! ;) .

So I focused more on the movement of Henry's body, lifting his big hammer high up there, and heaving this rough look on his face... Other thing that I really loved in the short was Henry's over sized body design, that I tried as hard as I could to stay true too, while still keeping it realistic. I gotta say it was so much fun drawing him - this was my first time drawing John Henry EVER - he has great facial features, and using these dark chocolate colours in the Heroes series was such a welcome change and I loved every part of it...

I sure hope you'll gonna love this change too ;P
Have A Wonderful Month Everyone :heart:
- David :)

Photoshop CS2
"David Kawena" 2008
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© 2008 - 2021 davidkawena
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Mel1321's avatar
Great work! You should do Flynn, Kristoff and Hans
makes me remember the old George Pal puppetoon on John Henry. I think Rex Ingram supplied his voice, and they made him very powerfully muscular. It was called "John Henry and the Inky-Poo".
Purpleticia's avatar
Well thanks because I never heard before of this collection of short movies !
jessab20's avatar
Dat ass though
Shayda-Wolf2's avatar
Provocative West Virginia history right there yall....
CrystalClay13's avatar
I have died and gone to heaven to see this work of marvelous proportions. (The painting is good too.) LOL
Here in Mexico women use to say when we see handsome men (like this): "¡PAPACITO!"
geno1312's avatar
Everything about John was extra extra large. This helped him beat the steam drill. But it didn't save him... in the end. He died from the strain of beating through a mountain with that hammer and another one someone had thrown him
geno1312's avatar
John Henry, John Henry
John Henry was a powerful man
Born with a hammer,
Born with a hammer,
Born with a hammer right in his hand
Shadow-Shimmer's avatar
Wow. I'm so glad my friend showed me some of your work and I ended up stumbling on this! My curiosity on this character lead me to look for the short, and I gotta say I really love it!! Definitely high up there on my list of favorite animated films. I'd say you did a really fantastic job of capturing his features, too. I'm speechless. This
rababco's avatar
Actually I'd say Kida was the first African-American princess, but the poor thing didn't get any attention.
maddhattr07's avatar
These are awesome. I don't remember John Henry though; don't think I ever saw it. Still though, awesome!
hlootoo's avatar
oHmega14's avatar
Mama like... dat asssssss Why don't real men look like this? I know a John Henry (seriously) and he is the polar OPPOSITE of this! *sigh*, if only Disney men were real...
FoxGirlFun's avatar
MsMariaBell's avatar
You are an amazing artist, period. Oh Dear God. When I began scrolling through these, I died and went to heaven!
Jackieblu's avatar
Before I looked him up I thought when he beat the steam engine as in he out rowed a steamboat
jayedynn's avatar
I just started working on the first draft of a novel, which features John Henry as the main character. I shall now have this very sexy image in mind when I envision him.
CrouchingAllosaurus's avatar
John Henry, John Henry
John Henry is a mighty man
Born with a hammer
A ten pound hammer
A twenty pound hammer
Right in his hand

I heard John's mama liked to sew at night
So he pulled down the moon
for a little bit of light

Took a lot of cooking to keep John fed
10 dozen eggs and 8 loaves of bread

John Henry, John Henry
John Henry is a mighty man
Born with a hammer
Born with a hammer
Born with a hammer right in his hand

He plowed the earth
So wide and deep
The seed he sowed
The ground had to keep
His hammer hit the earth
with such a mighty blow
Everything he planted
Would jump up and grow

John Henry, John Henry
John Henry is a mighty man
Born with a hammer
Born with a hammer
Born with a hammer
Right in his hand
John and the drill
Made the valley shake
Rumblin' almost caused an earthquake
Thunder and lightning was everywhere
Oh, Lord, that battle
Was beyond compare

John Henry, John Henry
John Henry is a powerful man
Born with a hammer
Born with a hammer
Born with a hammer
Right in his hand
ztenzila's avatar
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