Authentic Animation Production Art

Authentic Animation Production Art

Do you know how animated films were made before computer graphics?

Everything was hand-painted!

The most revolutionary method in the animation industry was cel animation. Learn all about cel animation in this blog.

The Swan Princess was the last fully hand-drawn film to be released in theaters in the 1990's making the production art a special piece of history.

Buy Swan Princess Production Art Cels here

We have kept the collection in storage over 20 years and have almost thrown it away, twice. We are pleased to finally make it available to fans.

Check out this awesome fan-made video full of information on cel animation!

What is a production art cel?

A production art cel is a transparent sheet of cellulose acetate that includes a hand-painted image and was used in the making of an animated film.

Before computer animation, every frame in animation was drawn by hand. 24 frames are required for one second of film. Most full-length, animated films required around one million drawings, including storyboards, backgrounds, pencil drawings and acrylic-painted cels.

In cel animation, characters and objects were drawn on the transparent sheet and laid over a background. The use of cels eliminated the need to redraw the entire image, background and all, every time something moved. Multiple layers also created depth.

This process of hand-painted 2D animation is now very rare and has not been used in the animation of full-length films since the nineties. Recently, some Disney artists have been making attempts to revive this art form

The original Swan Princess film (1994) was the last fully hand-painted feature film to be released in theaters in the 1990's. It's creation took around 300 animators 4 years to complete. By today's standards this is a huge staff and a very expensive endeavor. Furthermore, there are no longer enough animators in the industry trained in painting acrylic on cellulose to make a quality full-length film using this method.

Here’s a simple breakdown of the process:

Pencil drawing templates are created on thin paper with color instructions


A background is painted on glass, cardboard, or thick paper


The outline of the pencil is Xerox copied onto the top of the cellulose paper. Acrylic paint is applied to the back of the cel following the pencil template to add color

The cel overlay with painted image is placed on top of the background and a photograph is taken

Photographs are arranged side by side into film strips.

Our beautiful collection of art is composed of unique collectors pieces specific to the creation of The Swan Princess.

Buy original production art cels here

About The Swan Princess

The Swan Princess is based upon the folk tale and ballet, Swan Lake. The story is transformed into a playfully fun adventure with exciting music, lovable forest friends, and of course, the handsome Prince Derek. The Swan Princess, Odette, has stayed true to original fairy tale princess with her kindness, grace, and loyalty.
Three reasons you should follow us on social media 1) Get a behind-the-scenes look as Princess Odette and Prince Derek continue their adventures 2) Be one of the first to be notified when new products are released and 3) Share your Swan Princess stories and tales with other die-hard fans.
Back to blog


This film came out the year I was born. It was always in the background of my childhood and I’ve been trying to remember where I’ve seen it or what the title was. I just recently found it and watched it again. I’ve gotten a nostalgic feeling. I wish hand painted cel animation was still a thing. It’s gorgeous. My favourite characters of this movie are Speed the turtle and the villain Rothbart. Great film!


I adored this movie when I was a young girl! Even at 21 I still enjoy it. It’s really shocking to see that none of my friends including people my age have never heard of this movie.


Hooooo⚜️🦢woooow!✨Absoluty beautiful all details colors and the characters! 💜💙My favorite couples Queen Odette & The King Dereck for Ever!⚜️🥰😍

Jessica Zelaya-Chevez

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.