In continuation of the previous post about Captain Amelia, about working on the character Harald Siepermann commented, “If there’s one thing I wanted to avoid on this picture and it’s animal/aliens, it was ending up with humans with animal heads. Funny enough, it’s exactly what happened most of the time. Also in this case with Amelia, the captain. I tried many ways to incorporate the catlike attitude, I looked at Egyptian art and lots of other things but eventually she turned out to have a cat’s head on a human body.”
Below are more design by Harald Siepermann for the character Captain Amelia from Walt Disney’s Treasure Planet.
The final design for Captain Amelia was created by the Supervising Animator for the character Ken Duncan.
On Treasure Planet, Harald Siepermann also worked for several weeks on visual development for the character Captain Amelia.
Amelia is the captain of the magnificent space galleon the Starfinder, that takes Jim and Professor Doppler on the expedition to find Flint’s treasure. In the script she is described as a clear leader, educated, well trained, highly experienced and extremely competent. She’s competitive, projects overconfidence, and can seem a little arrogant, though underneath this there is some vulnerability. Physically she is described as tall, imposing and beautiful. And she is cat-like and moves gracefully.
Below are some of Harald’s early designs of Captain Amelia, the alien creature with cat-like features:
After working on Long John Silver, Harald Siepermann continued with visual development for the character Jim Hawkins from Walt Disney’s Treasure Planet.
“He was a lot younger in my version of the script, than in the final movie, maybe 13 or 14, and he wasn’t a surfer either,” commented Harald Siepermann about the character. However, the backstory and the characteristics of the boy in the script were similar compared to the final movie.
Jim Hawkins is untested and unsure of himself. He helps his mother Sarah run the Benbow Inn, a lonely space outpost on a small planet tucked away at the far reaches of the galaxy. Jim’s father, a renowned space pilot, died before Jim was born, leaving a hole in the boy’s life that has been difficult to fill. It left him with a feeling of abandonment, what caused him to become a little withdrawn and slightly rebellious. Jim is longing to become a space explorer like his dad. His space adventure is about to begin when Billy Bones hands him a map that indicates the location of the treasure of the notorious Captain Flint.
Below are some of Harald’s designs of Jim Hawkins:
In celebration of Harald Siepermann’s birthday let’s have a look at some wonderful merchandise illustration that was created for Alfred J. Kwak. In the illustration Alfred gives a birthday party, organized by his father Henk, for his friends.
The illustration also shows what happens when two masters like Harald Siepermann and Hans Bacher join forces.
First Harald Siepermann thinks of a composition and draws the characters in the poses:
Then Hans Bacher continues with the inking:
… and then completes the illustration by adding colors:
A day to celebrate his talent and to be thankful for his creative work that he did for the world of animation. If Harald were still alive today, no doubt that he would still be on the frontline of the animation industry and delivering creative and innovative designs that would make us all laugh.
Thoughts go out to Harald’s family and friends that lived close to him.
After visual development for the character Billy Bones, Harald Siepermann continued with one of the main characters from Treasure Planet, Long John Silver.
In the visual development guide Long John Silver was described as a charming, charismatic, roguish alien pirate leader. A ‘big’ guy, physically imposing, in his fifties. A cyborg, with a mechanical arm, leg and eye.
Harald Siepermann found Silver quite a complicated character to crack. He worked about 2 months on the character to find the right direction, “Silver, being a pirate, disguised as an innkeeper, half alien, half pirate, was a bit too much to design in one go, something was always right, other things were always wrong, so I decided to design one thing at a time. I neglected the cyborg-part in the drawings you see here [below], to concentrate at the warm and father like, yet evil pirate. Pure evil hidden in normality, profanity.”
Below is another series of designs:
… and another series where the character seems to get more defined:
Once Harald Siepermann wrapped up his work on Walt Disney’s Tarzan in March 1998, he immediately continued to work on visual development for Treasure Planet, Disney’s futuristic adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic Treasure Island. The project was under directorial guidance of Ron Clements and John Musker, who had just finished the movie Hercules.
The first character Harald Siepermann worked on was the pirate Billy Bones, an old tortoise-like alien creature. Bones is on the run for a group of space pirates. During his flee his space ship crashes on the planet of the young Jim Hawkins. Hawkins sees the crash and runs to Billy Bones’ aid. The dying Billy Bones removes a small metallic globe from his treasure chest, which turns out to be a map of the galaxy that points out where the treasure of the notorious pirate Captain Flint is hidden, and entrusts it to Hawkins.
Below are some of Harald’s rough sketches to find the right shape for the body:
Some of Harald’s head designs for Billy Bones:
…and Harald Siepermann’s full body design of Billy Bones:
The final design and animation of Billy Bones was created by Supervising Animator Nancy Beiman, who used the work of Harald Siepermann and Peter de Sève as an inspiration in her search for the best design for the old pirate.
Today, on February 16, it has been 8 years since Harald Siepermann passed away. He died in 2013 after a battle with cancer at the age of 50. Thoughts go to Harald’s family, his friends and former colleagues.
The picture above is from circa 1983, when Harald was in his early twenties. 1983 turned out to be a pinnacle year where he met Hans Bacher, a teacher at the Folkwang University, where Harald was a student Graphic Design. Hans Bacher became instrumental in developing Harald’s artistic talents and help channeling his career path.
In that same year Harald Siepermann met Dutch artist Herman van Veen. Siepermann was a big fan of the famous singer, and finally met his idol after one of his concerts on March 1, 1983. Van Veen had a children theater show called Alfred J. Kwak. In late 1985 Harald Siepermann and Hans Bacher started with the development of the comic book for the character. It brought a complete new dimension to Alfred J. Kwak and eventually became Harald’s most famous creation.
If Harald would still be alive today, no doubt that he would still continue with the adventures of Alfred J. Kwak.
In 1990 Harald Siepermann provided visual development for the Amblimation movie We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story. An earlier post already showed some of Harald Siepermann’s visual development for the character Professor Screweyes, which he based on the actor Danny DeVito. In addition to Professor Screweyes, Harald also made designs for various dinosaur characters that appear in the movie, among them Rex, Dweeb and Woog (at the time of production called Hatrack).
Below are several of Harald Siepermann’s visual development designs for the character Rex:
Today you would have turned 58. Sadly you passed away too early, at the age of 50. I can’t help to wonder what beautiful designs and projects would have come from your pencil if you were still at the front line in the world of animation. However, the immense amount of work you have left behind remains an inspiration for other artists and aspiring character designers.
My thoughts go out to Harald’s family, friends, and former colleagues who miss him every day.