Since he started animating, naturally the styles and range of techniques have broadened considerably. No matter. He is able to adapt his skills on a wide range of styles as he proved when we animated the “Foo Foo” and “Habatales” series directly onto eel with chinagraphs – without touching paper or pencil. This was a classic example of the technique, based on economic pressures, which was eventually adopted everywhere from the USA to the USSR.
Today, in the rapidly approaching computer age, Whitaker is a clear example of why personalized character animation will not go out of existence. The cold brilliance of electronic animation, no matter how spectacular, will never replace the delicate human touch on a character, and the range of human emotions. Photography, and video frequencies have not outdated Rembrandt or Van Gogh.
Finally, about Harold Whitaker’s own character as a person; modesty, humility, and friendliness are his trade marks. He had a long dinner with Joy Batchelor, myself and a well-known Swedish journalist at the Annecy Film Festival. Over the coffee, after an hour of modest silence from Harold, the journalist leant over to him and asked what he did. “I am an animator”, said Harold.
Indeed he is, and one that no other can match in this country, and I am not sure whether anyone can match him outside it.
Thanks to John Halas, Harold, Jack King, Brian Larkin for their help in finding artwork for this article.
Printed in Animator Issue 12 (Spring 1985)