Uli Meyer writes this morning with sad news:

My old friend Harald Siepermann has passed away this morning. He was suffering from cancer. Harald was one of the foremost character designers, an incredible artist and wonderful human being.

Siepermann was 50 years old. Born in Bochum, Germany, he studied art and illustration at the Folkwang School in Essen, where one of his teachers was Hans Bacher. Siepermann began his career working for ad agencies in Düsseldorf, London, and Zürich.

In the mid-1980s, Siepermann became the character designer for Alfred J. Kwak, a character that originally appeared in a Dutch theater show created by entertainer Herman van Veen. The resulting comics and TV series, which he worked on closely with his former teacher Bacher, have appeared in dozens of countries.

Following the series, Siepermann began working in animation regularly. His first feature film credit was story sketch on Who Framed Roger Rabbit. It was his character designs for which he was most sought after, and he contributed visual development to numerous Disney features including Mulan, Tarzan, The Emperor’s New Groove, Brother Bear, Treasure Planet, and Enchanted, as well as to films from other studios such as Jester Till, We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story, and Space Chimps. Visit his BLOG and FLICKR to see a selection of his character design work.

Siepermann, who frequently lectured about character design at animation schools throughout Europe, was also a regular attendee of the Annecy animation festival. While I can’t admit to being close friends with him, I got to know Harald as a festival friend over the past decade, and I shared many pleasant conversations with him at picnics, cafes and parties at Annecy. My memories of him are always as an affable and easygoing artist who was deeply committed to his art. I’m sorry I won’t get any more chances to see him at the festival.

For German speakers, here is the first part of a TV interview with Harald:

Latest News from Cartoon Brew