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Heinz Edelmann (1934-2009)

Graphic designer Heinz Edelmann, who developed the psychedelic look of the Beatles’ animated 1960s film Yellow Submarine, died on Tuesday, aged 75. The Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design, where Edelman taught illustration from 1986 to 1996, confirmed the report of his death by German daily Stuutgarter Nachrichten. AP report here.

  • JB

    Yellow Submarine is my all-time favorite animated film. The sheer creativity of it is mind-blowing.

  • Yellow Submarine is what did it for me. I love that movie. I spent hours tracing that album cover when I was a wee lad.
    My brother and I would fall asleep reenacting the whole movie by heart, even though it only played on TV maybe once a year. (before video recording!)
    I soaked it up like a sponge.
    So it goes!

  • Joel Brinkerhoff

    Not to disparage Peter Max, who once worked with Edelmann, it was Heinz who did all the design work on the film and even contributed story elements.

    People to this day still think Max has something to do with Y.S. and it’s just not so.

    Edelmann had other styles too and was a great influence on many artists.

  • bobkurtz


  • uli

    He was one of the greatest. Yellow Submarine is what he will be remembered for mostly but his other work was even more inspiring, to me at least. A true design genius.

  • Lucky Jim

    His stuff alone in “Yellow Submarine” makes him an animation god.

    He will be missed.

  • Neil

    Heinz Edelmann was a giant . the influence of his designs for Yellow Submarine cannot be under estimated, For a good few years UK TV and film Annimation was awash with its style.
    An amazing designer and artist he deserves to be remembered for a very long time.

  • Heinz Edelmann’s work blew me away back in the sixties. During the rather dark days of animation, “Yellow Submarine” showed we still had only scratched the surface. It was glow of optimism, and I remember being glad I was in the animation business.

  • Mary

    My favorite movie ever. Made me fall in love with animation, and I fall in love all over again every time I see it. RIP, Heinz.

  • I was just thinking about Heinz Edelman the other day and his work on Yellow Submarine. One of my favorite movies ever, a magical mixture of art, experimentation and the Beatles. Thank you, Mr. Edelman.

  • “A hashish nightmare!” harrumphed my right-wing grandfather when it showed on TV in the 70s. Ever see it on the big screen stoned? Grandpa was wrong!

  • I had the pleasure & privilege of interviewing Heinz in 2005 for awn.com when he was in NYC for a School of Visual Arts retrospective of his work:


    At the time he had just come through some serious health problems so God bless, he stuck around to enjoy another 5 years on this planet with us.

  • Robert Schaad

    Love Yellow Submarine. Some amazing segments within (pun intended).

  • Alfons Moline

    Heinz Edelmann was also the creator of Curro, the mascot for the 1992 World Exhibtion of Seville, Spain, a bird with a rainbow-colored beak and crest, which probably might have been a good fit as a supporting character in ‘Yellow Submarine’ : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curro_(mascot)

  • Of course Yellow Submarine is my favourite animated movie. I saw it in glorious 35mm several times (where you can spot the background paper borders sometimes) and countless times on VCR. I was even involved when Sony asked for “borrowing” some design elements from the film when they opend their short-lived “Music Box” project at Sony Center in Berlin.

    One of his former students described Heinz Edelmann in his role as professor for design in Stuttgart here: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3992/is_200207/ai_n9110431/

    Another main body of his work were posters, often for German TV/radio station WDR. (This is a remarkable similarity to Jan Lenica who also did posters and animation, albeit Edelmann never did animate or direct himself.) 55 of them are available in a book, again only a small part of his work.

    Unfortunately his works are hard to find, there’s no comprehensive book about him, aside from a small brochure about an exhibition in the Netherlands once. The only easily available examples are the books of german publisher Hobbit Presse/Klett-Cotta (some covers visible here: http://images.google.com/images?ndsp=20&hl=en&q=+site:www.klett-cotta.de+heinz+edelmann) which he designed for more than a decade, setting the mood for german readers of Tolkien et al. I had a job as shop-window decorator for a bookshop at that time, and the promotion material from Klett-Cotta was all done by Edelmann: big panels in bright colours, with his trademark collages and drawings.

    He designed for other publishers as well, starting with famous magazine “twen” in 1959, and did illustrations for books and newspapers like Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung – I really wonder if anything of that was archived. I’m happy to own what seems to be two of his few children’s books, “Maicki Astromaus” and “Andromedar SR1”, the latter one a straight exploitation of his YS work.

  • Daniel J. Drazen

    As much as I liked YS, especially the “Eleanor Rigby” sequence, one comment about it has stuck with me through the years: that it was a designer’s film rather than an animator’s film. The animation was limited, but that was redeemed by the sheer inventiveness of design. As for any hint of personality animation, aside from the Nowhere Man it wasn’t there; the Beatle characters’ personalities were virtually pre-packaged.

    And does anyone else hear bits of the Chief Blue Meanie’s vocal stylings in “Him” from the Powerpuff Girls?

  • keith “rockgod” boyle

    Many of the psychedelic stars of the 60’s never had the pleasure of 75 years. Edelman’s art work will live well beyond us art lovers. Yellow Submarine’s animation–whether moving or still–continues to bring smiles to this aging hippie. RIP Heinz. Heaven’s gallery will be even better now!

  • Luke Menichelli

    Four books by Edelmann

    Direct Access. Einhundertfünfundsec… Ideen und fünfundfünfzig Plakate für den Westdeutschen Rundfunk Köln.
    Dt. /Engl. – Gebundene Ausgabe (1 August 1995) von Heinz Edelmann von Internos Books
    Finished posters for WDR and drawings used in development.

    Das Buch der Bücher
    von Heinz Edelmann von Klett-Cotta (Taschenbuch – 1997)
    Collection of jackets & details from many books he designed.

    Die 51 schönsten Buchumschläge (51 Best Book Covers)(Broschiert)
    von Heinz Edelmann (Autor)
    Collection of 51 covers with commentary.

    Heinz Edelmann. The Incredible
    von Verlag der Buchhandlung K̦nig (Taschenbuch Р30. Mai 2005)
    Quick satirical drawings and jokes about the state of the world.

  • Luke Menichelli

    His title sequence for “Der phantastische Film”, a series of fantasy/horror films is here:


  • Without “Yellow Submarine”, new animation worlds would never have
    opened for me &, like Jeremy, I’d be stuck in that nigh-endless void of white nothingness before Ringo took him away from all that.
    Eternally grateful for Heinz Edelmann & so many incredibly talented
    inviduals behind the creation of my all-time favorite animated feature
    film BAR NONE.

  • Luke Menichelli

    A sort of story reel for “Der Zug der Tiere” is here:


    These drawings are more funny animal than the style he used in the picture book.