Sunday, February 05, 2006


I innocently leave my desk for 2 weeks, only to come back to find the animationworld completely turned upside down. Interesting and most promising times indeed, another proof for that old dutch proverb, that Herman uses sometimes : "You never know, how the cow is going to catch the rabbit."

Anyway, I'm back and after two weeks of teaching and a couple o' days of "wasting time" with my newly downloaded GoogleEarth it's time to do some blogging again.
While I was working on "Tarzan", Andreas Deja was busy with the first test-animation of the Yzma-character, from the upcoming " Kingdom of the Sun" as it was called at that time. Andreas asked me, if I was interested in doing a couple of sketches of Yzma, that would go away from Cruella, just to do something else, a kind of a second opinion.
Cruella , as we all know, has got very prominent pointed shoulders and hipbones, so I started with some sketches, basing Yzma on a simple brushstroke, neglecting the shoulders and hip completly.

Yzma was based of course on Eartha Kitt, who did her voice, but also was reminescent of the singer Yma Sumac, who actually had been at the Disney-Studio before, because one of her songs was considered for Fantasia, as far as I know.
Very strange, haunting music.
Below are some sketches, mostly face-studies. Mind you, that this was a state of the project, where the story was much more epic and Yzma a much more evil character, not as O.T.T. silly and comic as we came to know her.

At the same time I had developed a reputation in the studio, based on the work I had done on the gorillas, that I was able to get character into a lot of look-alike animals. At that time, the script talked about seven llamas, so I , together with animator Ellen Woodbury, ( Hope I spelled her name right ) worked on some llama-sketches.We even went to a countryfair in Pomona to do some life-drawing.
We had found a solution with the different teams, that allowed me to work for "Kingdom" in the morning and in the afternoons I was still working on Tarzan.

And here are some sketches and a bit of animation by Andreas :

As we all know, that approach was eventually cancelled for storyproblems and Andreas moved on to Florida to work on Lilo and Stitch.
All in all for me this little intermezzo lasted no longer than a month or so, back in 1997....


Piotr said...

Superb! She's one of my favorite characters and seeing the process of her development is always a blast, great!

Thorsten Hasenkamm said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Thorsten Hasenkamm said...

Nice sketches! Btw, TENG is my favorite Disney-2D-animated feature because of its superior art direction & Disney-untypical humor!

GhettoFab said...

Most inspring! I so love the process of character designin and thank you for posting such wonderful pics and a story to boot! Inspirational

Boris Hiestand said...

love these- 'shrunken head' is what pops up in my shrunken head.

Christophe said...

These character design researches stories are alway a great reading ! Thank you very much !!...

Afroman said...

Great Sketches! She's one of my favourite villains!

Jeff Merritt said...

Loved Yzma's character, had a different look to it then other disney villians, really liked the large eyes/lashes and the crazy headdresses. Thanks for posting those.

A. Riabovitchev said...

Fantastic story!I like the way how you creative characters.

Alina Chau said...

I love Yzma!! Great to see these original drawings, and very inspiring posting of the process!!

Sandra Khoo said...

Beautiful sketches there,Harald! ^^ Very inspiring!Yzma is my most favaroo female villain! ^^

pbcbstudios said...

love reading this stuff!


Mark McDonnell said...

You're quite a talent.


Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for sharing these...quite an inspiration!

Smook said...

Fantastic sketches and I love reading your stories about the production. Thanks for sharing them.

Patrick Costa said...

Great post Harald.


ummm, beautiful Llama!!!

of course everything else is lovely too!

HaraldSiepermann said...

Greg !!!!!!
How are things in Berlin ???????

Scotty A said...

How did Eartha Kitt react when she saw the final design? A trooper like her, you gotta think she got a laff out of it.

HaraldSiepermann said...

I never met her in person, but think she had a great time with it, H

Streetsy said...

The voice acting on Yzma is the best in any animated movie in my opinion. The complex design of her character was perfect, I love it.

Momo said...

I love yzma, there is something about her that always reminded me of the lady from sunset boulevard.

MariCarmen said...

I'am peruvian. Peruvians (Inca people speacially) didn't have that look...

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