Helmut Kohl

In the early 1990’s Harald Siepermann made various hilarious caricatures of the then Chancellor of Germany, Helmut Kohl. The illustrations were for the German comedian Thomas Freitag, who is famous for his Helmut Kohl impressions. The illustrations were used for a 7” cover of Thomas Freitag’s single Die Welt ist schön and for the planned music video for which Harald Siepermann created the storyboard.

Alfred J. Kwak (AJK) mechandise

Harald Siepermann and Hans Bacher had worked on the entire production design of the television series Alfred J. Kwak – characters, backgrounds, props, logo’s, etc. Once the series premiered in 1989, it became an immense success and a merchandise phenomenon, especially in the Netherlands and Germany. It generated tons of requests for exclusive merchandise designs. A work load that landed on the shoulders of Siepermann and Bacher.

Here are some German merchandise designs. These ink illustrations are made by Hans Bacher based on sketches by Harald Siepermann.

The Klitschko Brothers

In 2003 Harald Siepermann was approached by the management of the famous boxing brothers Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko. They wanted to have a television series that would surround their animated alter egos. Harald Siepermann commented on the project, “We developed a premise ‘I spy’-style and I also did some first designs. It never got off the ground, but it was quite a lot of fun with these guys, who were actually very nice.”

Harald Siepermann did character design for the television series and, together with Christian Schnalke, wrote the synopsis for the episodes. Here are some sketches and color designs of the brothers Klitschko.

Hans Bacher

Today the new book of Hans Bacher is published, called Vision: Color and Composition for Film.

Hans Bacher played an important part in Harald Siepermann’s career and his development as an artists. In 1981 Siepermann started to study Graphic Design at the Folkwang University in Essen. There he came under the wing of Hans Bacher who was an Assistant Professor and teacher of the course Animation and Comic Illustration. Bacher saw the extraordinary talent of the young Siepermann and started to teach him outside school hours as well.

When Bacher noticed Siepermann’s enthusiasm for a duck called Alfred Jodocus Kwak, he helped him develop the comic book. Alfred J. Kwak became a big success and what started with a comic book, evolved into a television series of 52 episodes and a merchandise phenomenon.

Hans Bacher worked for many years for Steven Spielberg’s Amblimation and Walt Disney. He was Production Designer on Balto, Mulan and Brother Bear. On each of these projects he invited Harald Siepermann to work on storyboard or character design.

If you want to learn more about animation and art history, follow Hans Bacher’s amazing blog Animation Treasure: www.one1more2time3.wordpress.com.

Wolik 2

This is a follow-up to the previous post about the project Wolik that you can read here.

For the unproduced television series Wolik, Harald Siepermann designed a wide range of characters. Here are a series of character sheets from the main character Wolik and his friends and enemies.

The Lord of the Rings

Harald Siepermann was a big fan of the book series The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. He read the books for the first time when he was a teenager and they made a big impression on him. It was after reading these book that he started to focus more on just the characters. Around 1980 Siepermann made a series of illustrations of characters from The Lord of the Rings book series. Funny how close some of his designs look like the famous three movies that came out decades later.

Here are some of Harald Siepermann’s illustrations based on The Lord of the Rings.

Escape from Toontown storyboard

In the spring of 1987 Harald Siepermann and Hans Bacher worked in London on character design of the weasels for Who Framed Roger Rabbit. When their work was finished, Animation Director Richard Williams asked if they wanted to go to Los Angeles and work on the storyboard for the ‘Escape from Toontown’ sequence. In this sequence Eddie Valiant, played by actor Bob Hoskins, finds himself in a cartoon world.

In June, Siepermann and Bacher flew to Los Angeles and worked for several weeks at the Amblin Studio, that was located at the Universal Studio lot. Nobody had worked on this sequence yet, therefore Siepermann and Bacher had to start from scratch. Director Robert Zemeckis gave them the task to draw and write down everything they could think of and to include a lot of Tex Avery jokes. Siepermann and Bacher drew the funniest storyboard that run up to 15 minutes. Eventually only 45 seconds was used in the final version of the film. Among these seconds was also the elevator scene with Droopy.

“What a great movie and what a great experience that was,” commented Harald Siepermann years later. “Remember, this was way before computers and we did it as we went along. Wonderful times… I may sound like a war veteran here, but those were great times. Think of it: just a few years ago, I had been a student of Graphic Design, now I was right in the heart of Hollywood, in Spielberg’s office.”

Below is a part of the storyboard by Harald Siepermann and Hans Bacher.

Click here for a post with more information about the Escape from Toontown storyboard from the wonderful blog of Hans Bacher.

Sketchbook

“Harald was always drawing,” many of his friends, family and colleagues tell about Harald Siepermann. Harald drew sketchbooks full with caricatures, funny wizards, all kind of animals combined, cartoon characters, etc. Here are some illustrations from Harald Siepermann’s sketchbook from the early 1980’s. During this period he was studying Graphic Design at the Folkwang Academy in Essen. On a daily basis he traveled with the railway from his home in Hattingen to school, which took about 2 hours. He used his time efficiently by drawing in his sketchbook.

Mulan Ancestors designs

In the summer of 1995 Harald Siepermann went to Burbank, California, to work at the Walt Disney Feature Animation building on the production Mulan. Some of the characters he worked on were the Ancestors. Here are some of his designs.