Simple Stuff

In the animation age of high definition digitally rendered images I find something truly refreshing about these simple hand drawn, hand inked and painted cartoon cels. These are a few animation cels I salvaged from my days of doing animated television commercials back in the seventies. Having been booted out of the Mouse House, I continued my cartoon career animating a series of television commercials for various studios. The artwork in the photograph represents some of the commercial work I did at a Studio City production house called FilmFair.

As you can imagine, there’s something truly refreshing about getting out of the big studio environment where hundreds of artists are involved in the making of a film. The animation team in a commercial house tends to be lean and mean. There were rarely no more than a dozen artists involved with each film we produced. The team usually included a layout and background artist and a couple of animators and their assistants. The acetate cels were hand inked and painted by three or four talented women who turned the job around in a matter of weeks. Before we knew it, our finished animated commercial was being screened in full color in the studio theater. Each commercial was in production a month or less and there was something about a film being turned around so quickly. Years could go by in a huge production facility like Walt Disney Studios before seeing a completed product.

I confess I miss the old days when animation was cartoon making. When the zany animated images on screen were simple sketches. Sure, we didn’t have all the golly, gee whiz visual effects of CGI. And, we lacked the ability to put anything awesome on screen except simple cartoony drawings. Yet, there’s something special about the simplicity of cartoon drawings that can never be replaced by the mundane, mechanical tools we use today.

A few hand inked and painted cartoon cels. This was the way we created cartoons in the old days.

A few hand inked and painted cartoon cels. This was the way we created cartoons in the old days.