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Disney Heroes - John Henry by davidkawena Disney Heroes - John Henry by davidkawena

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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Mel1321 Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2015
Great work! You should do Flynn, Kristoff and Hans
fntsymrphmscle Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2014
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 Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2014
Well thanks because I never heard before of this collection of short movies !
jessab20 Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014
Dat ass though
Shayda-Wolf2 Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2014  Student Photographer
Provocative West Virginia history right there yall....
CrystalClay13 Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2013
I have died and gone to heaven to see this work of marvelous proportions. (The painting is good too.) LOL
ladykacris Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2013
Here in Mexico women use to say when we see handsome men (like this): "íPAPACITO!"
geno1312 Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2013
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 Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2013
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
LibbyKeppen Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
DAT ASS :icondatassplz:
Shadow-Shimmer Featured By Owner May 30, 2013
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.
shadowsearcher01 Featured By Owner May 18, 2013 I'm speechless. This
rababco Featured By Owner May 13, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Actually I'd say Kida was the first African-American princess, but the poor thing didn't get any attention.
maddhattr07 Featured By Owner May 11, 2013  Professional Writer
These are awesome. I don't remember John Henry though; don't think I ever saw it. Still though, awesome!
hlootoo Featured By Owner May 8, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
oHmega14 Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
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...
adisoicey Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2013
DAt Ass.
FoxGirlFun Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
And muscles!
k20k20 Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013
MsMariaBell Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012
You are an amazing artist, period. Oh Dear God. When I began scrolling through these, I died and went to heaven!
Jackieblu Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012
Before I looked him up I thought when he beat the steam engine as in he out rowed a steamboat
jayedynn Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2012
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 Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012
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 Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2012
starcru Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2012
SofiaScorch Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2012
Seriously the whole time while I'm looking at these my brain is just going"Nope. Nope nope. Nope stop. Stop. Stop stop. Stahp. nioerpsgetui"
RomanceFreak Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I have never heard of John Henry...:confused:
jordanb12 Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
I love the video :) i actualy still hav it on VHS -.-"
John henry :)
ImperfectDVM Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
Wow..... nice!
MissHakio Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2012
wow...:faint: :heart:
JDLuvaSQEE Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
MsAnastasiaBell Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I will never see this man the same way again. Excellent work <3
Penguin598 Featured By Owner May 31, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
John Henry John Henry John Henry was a mighty (and sexy) man
Born with a hammer born with hammer born with a hammer straight in his hand!
I watched a video a long long time ago when I was little and that's what I renember!
I like this artistic portrayal of John Henry,but I feel like there`s a slight(perhaps unintentional) homoerotic-undertone to this and it looks a little like John Henry is wearing a S&M outfit,and though no one else on here has said it,I have a hard time believing that no one else was THINKING that when they looked at this picture.But homoeroticism in art and entertainment is a funny thing,because it can be there if one looks for it and one might see it where another does not.I`ve heard some people call the 1987-Predator homoerotic and 300,homoerotic(and I love both of those movies),I don`t think that those movies were homoerotic and none of the main characters in those movies seemed homosexual in the slightest(though in 300,The Persian ''God-King''Xerxes may have been Gay or Bisexual,that was certainly left very open to interpreation the way they portrayed Xerxes in 300),but having said that,I can also understand how some might be able to see that in the 1987-Predator and 300.
But other than that,that`s my only real critique if one could even call it that,of this picture.I like that you made John Henry powerful,masculine,muscular,(he`s a ''Steel-Driver'' on a Railroad,and he would work long hours out in the open and in all kinds of weather,after all,so he would need those muscles and being physically fit and having good stamina and endurance would certainly help and make sense)and you made him a good-looking guy and what could be considered sexy.The Tall-Tale`s open to interpretation and I like your interpration of John Henry.Who says John Henry can`t be good-looking,right?The facial features and his skin-complexion all work great for this picture. I really appreciate how you gave John Henry that bold and determined look(which the character obviously is and would have to be to do what he does in the legend)and how you gave him such a strong jawline.He also has a very straight nose in this portrayal,and black men can have straight noses,but it`s more often that one can see black men with more wide and flat noses.

Two years ago,Becca427 commented on this and said that she found this ''gross and obnocious to look at'',I`m guessing she meant ''gross and obnoxious''but I get her point and I have to respectfully disagree with it.I do understand how some might find this offensive or even gross,but as SamuraiGirl said in response to Becca427 two years ago,all of that`s wholly Becca427`s opinion and I can`t read the artist`s mind and don`t pretend to be able to and correct me if I`m wrong,but this yes, seems more like it was meant to be ''super-sexy'',as one person put it, and visually appealing but not quite provocative or over-sexualized.Also,because so much can be made of the female body being a work of art,I think people can forget that the male body while it may have a tendency to be seen as more utilitarian,as Elaine Benes from Seinfeld said and while I do think the female body is much more a work of art than the male body,I happen to think the male body can be a work of art,too.From all of the art that came out of The Renaissance Period depicting the male body(in various states,including nudity),I would say a good deal of The Great Renaissance Artists thought so,as well.
But what`s appropriate and what is inappropriate,is a highly subjective thing.What one person finds inappropriate another might not and what one person finds appropriate another might not.Some people will turn all art into a rorschach test and see what they want to see.But,hey,I don`t see anything wrong with making John Henry look like a male-model.Ha!Ha!Ha! There`s no special rule that says he can`t look like that.
xXChihroXx Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2012
Dat ass.
LuckySanford Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2012  Professional General Artist
By far my favorite of this series. You've captured him well. It'd be nice to see him in a full length feature but now I'm gonna go watch that original short.
Daalmemxachiuam Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2012
Never knew disney did anything on john henry before either.
You learn something new everyday.
Daalmemxachiuam Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2012
heard the tales of John Henry growing up and never knew he was so sexy.
KeatonsGhost Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2012
Definitely one of my all-time favorites of your Heroes collection MMMF! You depicted him with so much masculine strength and that is just as appealing as his physical form. As always I love the textures you use, especially for the skin; they give the overall piece that last great oomph of realism.

That's a Man's man right there :heart::heart::heart:
stueeB Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2012
your work is just exquisit amazing stuff love your designs etc do you work for a company disney mayb!!xxx
ladykalinaann Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2012
Woah, too cool!!!
DracoBaby2014 Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2012  Student General Artist
Ooh, Sexy! But seriously, very nice!
Mademoiselle-Sarcasm Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2012  Student Writer
Of all of these, John Henry is my favorite. His story is of strength and power and the pose demonstrates that. The rest of these (except Hercules' headshot) all depict erotic poses while excluding power but John Henry..... You look at this and think strength. Bravo, this is extraordinary.
holimacaroni Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
HSRoute Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2011  Student Digital Artist
what movie is he from?
super sexy by the way :D
RhyleeP Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2011
HeavenlyEclipse Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2011
Oh wow this just reminded me of watching this as a kid!!!! If memory serves he raced to build a railroad vs. a machine? But the name is really familiar and I think I've got the memory of the movie right...
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Submitted on
March 31, 2008
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