Art terms are fundamental when creating, buying, or even browsing art. To help assist you in the lingo that might be used throughout the site here are some words you can keep in your back pocket.
12 Field Cel - This refers to the size of the area on the artwork which falls within the sight of the camera. Measuring approximately 10.5" x 12.5" this is the standard size for cels, backgrounds and drawings. Here is an example of a 12 Field Cel.
16 Field Cel - This refers to the size of the area on the artwork which falls within the sight of the camera. Measuring approximately 12.5" x 16.5" this is the standard size for cels, backgrounds and drawings.
Acetate Cel - An animation cel made from cellulose acetate. This material is still used in the studios today as it is of a very stable nature.Animation Cel - A cel (short for celluloid) is a blank clear plastic sheet used by the studio artist to paint an animated character or object based on the animator's original pencil drawing. The cels are then placed over a background and photographed in sequence to produce an illusion of life in the completed film or cartoon short. Every cel is different but this does not mean that every cel is unique. Often multiple copies of a cel were created by the Inkers as color models in order to advance their technique and skills.
Animation Drawing - A drawing produced to be traced onto cel and photographed for animating motion. Animation draws are almost invariable rendered in pencil, graphite and/or colored, on animation paper.
Backgrounds - Usually a watercolor or tempera on paper of a scenic location for the character to interact with, or on. Any one of numerous types of drawing, painting or print on which a cel is placed.
Canvas - A canvas print is an image printed on a canvas material. Canvas prints may look similar to oil and acrylic paintings since their surface has the same texture. Here is an example of a Canvas.
Custom or Hand painted Background – This background has been painted by an independent artist to enhance the cel. Generally, it will be in the style of the original.
Cel - Cel is short for celluloid. It is a celluloid acetate, which is a transparent sheet where objects are drawn or painted to be used for hand-drawn animation. Here is an example of a Cel.
Cel Setup - Simply a combination of two or more cels. The cels can be placed with a background or without a background, and can be either matching with the background (the way the image appeared in the short or film) or non-matching (they do not appear together in the film but just appeal to the collector).
Color Model Cel - A cel created and hand painted by the studio artist for color reference purposes. Colors may be difference from those used in the film, and poses then to be ideal.
Concept Art / Inspirational Sketch - Created by the artist to develop the atmosphere, mood or design of the character or setting.
Disney Seal - Mainly sold in the 1970's, full cels laminated and embossed with "Original Hand Painted Movie Film Cel"
Diamond Dust - The prints are embellished utilizing a unique process that involves crushing the diamond dust in 3 different sizes and applying in by hand. Here is an example of a Diamond Dust.Disneyland Art Corner – Cels sold at Disneyland's Art Corner Shop in Tomorrowland from the mid 1950's to the late 1960's. These cels are trimmed, placed in a small mat against either a lithograph background or a sheet of colored paper. A gold seal is attached to the back of the mat which is the authenticating sticker.
Image courtesy of Disneyfoodblog.
Edition - The quantity of prints reproduced is limited. There is a certain amount of prints that have been reproduced.
Etching - Etchings are typically described as engraving a material (usually being glass, stone, or metal).
Gallery Wrap - Gallery Wrapped is a type of fine art presentation that is purposely without a frame. The canvas is stretched across thick wooden stretcher bars and then held in place with staples on the back, thereby hiding the staples when the art is hung on the wall. The result is that the image, as well as the “wrapped” edges, are visible. Some artists choose to utilize additional dimensionality to the art by using the four outer edges as additional space to create imagery, while others choose to use solid colors to draw more attention to the conventional “front” of the piece. Although it’s not necessary, it is still possible to frame a gallery wrapped image if desired. Here is an example of a Gallery Wrap.
Giclée - The French term "Giclée", literally meaning "spray of ink," is used to describe these prints. Four precision nozzles spray up to a million microscopic droplets per second on to fine art paper. Then, each piece of paper is individually hand-mounted. Displaying a full color spectrum, the prints are lush and velvety, capturing the subtle nuances of the original artwork. Here is an example of a Giclée.Hand Inking - Prior to the late 1950's all animation drawings were traced onto cels by using a brush or quill pen.
Limited Edition Cel - A non-production hand painted cel created for sale to the collectors’ market. It is produced in fixed limited quantities and are easily identified by a fraction (150/500) in the lower right-hand corner. They were not used in films or cartoon shorts, and the original intent was to recreate the original production cels. Nowadays many studios release new images not based on production artwork.
Lithograph - A lithograph is a printing method which dates back more that 200 years. It began with “stone lithography,” a process by which an artist’s work was rendered onto a stone and with the use of various solutions that either attract or repel ink, the stone essentially became a stamp which could be pressed or rolled onto paper to transfer the image. Here is an example of a Lithograph.
Master Background - A background originally painted by a studio artist, and actually photographed in the production of the final released version of the film or cartoon short. A background painting sets the scene in which the animated character appears.
Medium - Any raw material or mode of expression used in an artistic or creative activity. Any medium is the material that artists use to create their art.
Mighty Mini - Each artwork in the Mighty Mini collection is a fine-art print on canvas, gallery-wrapped, and ready to hang. Mighty Minis are unsigned editions. Some images will include an embedded printed signature of the artist. Here is an example of a Mighty Mini.
Model Sheet - Drawings created by artists showing a particular character or object in many different poses and positions. These drawings will each be cut out and pasted onto a model sheet. This in turn will be Photostatted and given to various departments to ensure consistency between all artists working on a project. Hundreds of photostats will be produced from a single model sheet. Here is an example of a Model Sheet.
Multi-Cel – consists of two or more cels stacked together to present a single image, the cels need not be matching. A multi-cel is considered as a single piece of artwork.
Nitrate Cel - An animation cel made from cellulose nitrate which unfortunately is a very unstable material prone to shrinkage, wrinkling and yellowing over time. Nitrate cels were used throughout the Disney studios during the 1920's until the early 1940's. Other studios used nitrate cels up to and including the 1950's.
Original Production Cel on Printed Background - Original production cels are one-of-a-kind prints of art that were used to create animated films or television shows. Each was uniquely hand-painted by the studio artists on a piece of celluloid acetate and then was photographed over a background painting to create a frame of the finished production. Here is an example of an Original Production Cel on Printed Background.
Original Production Drawings - Original Production Drawings are one-of-a-kind pieces of art that were used in the creation of an animated film or television show. Each has been hand-drawn by a studio artist. Here is an example of an Original Production Drawing.
Original Production Model Sheet - A model sheet is a group of character drawings illustrating different poses and expressions of a cartoon character. Because a number of artists worked on a single cartoon, these sheets were circulated to the animators to give a uniform look and feel to a character throughout a production. Here is an example of an Original Production Model Sheet.
Panoramic - In moving camera shots wider cels, backgrounds and drawings were used. Panoramic (Pans) were often referred to as a 12-field double pan (10.5" x 25") or a 16 field one and a half pan (12.5" x 24"). A prime example of where pan cels were used in numerous scenes in order to accommodate the need for the wide screen process, are in the films shot in cinemascope or technorama.
Production Background - A background created for use in a production of an animated film. It must be noted that a production background may not necessarily originate from the same production that the cel is from.
Production Cel - Any cel created for the production of an animated film or cartoon short. This does not necessarily mean that the piece appears in the film. Model cels and preliminary art are all production artwork.
Production Drawing - They are complete sets of drawings that detail the manufacturing and assembly of products. Machine operators, production line workers and supervisors all use production drawings. Here is an example of a Production Drawing.
Publication Background – background which was taken form a book or other publication and used like a hand background to enhance a cel.
Publicity and Promotional Cel - A cel created and painted by a studio artist for publicity display or promotional purposes. Normally hand painted in the perfect pose.
Reproduction Background - This is the most common type of background. It is a reproduction of the original background by means of lithography, seriagraphy, color copying or photography.
Rough Animation Drawing - A rough drawing created by an animator on paper, in pencil, indicating a position or pose of a character or object.
Seal-less Cels - Cels which do not carry any seals, stickers or certificates are not necessarily forgeries. The majority of this type of artwork either comes from artists or employees of the studios who received the artwork as a gift, or is simply artwork which the artist has drawn and has taken home as a memory of the project. It was also common for artists to take home other artists work as inspiration for other projects they themselves were working on.
Sericel (Serigraph) - A non-production cel created by means of a printing process similar to silk screening. No work is done by hand; therefore, no painting or inking is involved. They are often produced in limited quantities of 5000, sometimes more or less, and they are marketed as a low-cost alternative to production and limited edition cels. Here is an example of a Serigraph Cel.Setup – the combination of a background and one or more cels generally being known as a set-up.
Storyboard - A series of drawings similar to a comic strip depicting a basic storyline of the film or cartoon short. These drawings will be pinned up on a bulletin board and placed in the order of the storyline. Here is an example of a Storyboard.
Title Card – a special cel and background setup used for the titles or credits. Here is an example of a Title Card.
Xerography By the late 1950's Disney studios developed Xerographic process to transfer the animator's drawings directly onto cels. The Xeroxed lines appear to be sketchier than hand inked lines. This is because they are transferred direct from the animator's drawings and seem to keep a sense of life. This is something that hand inking often lacks. Sleeping Beauty was the first film to adopt this process.
Note: this page will constantly be updated.