Ordinarily, concept art for film is created as a means of visualizing scenes before they are staged and filmed; giving directors, designers and production companies a guide as they develop the components necessary to actually bring the scene to to the screen.
However, according to Borys Kit of The Hollywood Reporter, this is a case of specialized concept art being utilized at a much earlier stage — to sell the film idea to the studio.
Producer Lionel Wigram had the idea for the action hero take on the Sherlock Holmes tradition, but felt that a written story treatment wasn’t sufficient to get the idea across to the studio executives.
He contacted Gregory Noveck at DC Comics and asked for a recommendation for an artist who could help him convey the idea visually. Noveck suggested John Watkiss, an artist with experience in both comics and movie concept art (see my previous post on John Watkiss).
Working together they created a comic book like pamphlet with illustrations that got across a visual and dramatic punch that sold the movie to the studio. (The comic-like format led to rumors for a while that a Watkiss-illustrated Sherlock Holmes graphic novel was in the offing, but unfortunately that was not the case.)
Watkiss used dramatically staged ink and tone drawings, heavy with chiaroscuro, to convey both the mood and action intended in the production.
The drawings themselves are an unusual style for concept art, but work beautifully for the purpose (and would have made for a terrific graphic story).
Many of the original illustrations are currently on display, and for sale, at Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra, CA, in an exhibit called The Art of the Motion Picture: “Sherlock Holmes” by Jon Watkiss, that runs until January 18 2010.
If you haven’t seen the movie, you might consider some of the images plot spoilers.
The secret comic book origin of 'Sherlock Holmes', Borys Kit on Hollywood Reporter
The Concept Art that Sold Sherlock Holmes to Warner Bros., io9
My previous post on John Watkiss
4 Replies to “John Watkiss concept art for Sherlock Holmes”
The link to the original artwork is great. The art is surprisingly well-priced, especially considering the weekend box-office of the movie.
hay hope you will be all right i really like the concept of using the art in tis unique way.i have never heard about any thing like presenting the story in the form of Painting of the story
its really cool
Just saw the film…John’s name did not appear in the credits.
As far as I know, Watkiss did not work on the film itself. As I mention in the post, his drawings were used in a presentation that sold the film concept to the studio.
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