Anime Cels 101

ANIME CEL ART: A BRIEF INTRO

What is a Cel?

The # of anime cel artists is decreasing at a rapid rate due to the digital movement that swept the entire industry in the late 90’s. As a result, this traditional art form and the exceptional technique associated with it are gradually disappearing. ()

AnimeCelArt.com commemorates the advancements in animation that could not have been achieved without the dedicated contribution of such talented cel artists. The site showcases cels from popular anime scenes recreated by the few remaining specialists, which is a rarity in itself.

Digital Manga, the only authorized distributor in the United States, hopes to pass this wonderful piece of anime history and collectable to our future generation. ENJOY!! (´`o)

Producing a Cel

An artist at work creating cels.

It requires a lot of concentration to makea beautifully hand-made cel. 

Professional anime artists, and producers, usually work in a brightly lit studio with an original pencil drawing, called the “douga”. The douga is drawn with a colored pencil so the artist can acknowledge

The tracing process requires a special pen to enable writing smoothly on an acetate surface, but the effect does not differ from a typical ink pen. Once the tracing is finished, the artist flips the acetate film over, and begins to fill in the color. The coloring process requires enormous detail, with attention paid to the color nuances of the eyes, teeth, nose, zippers, buttons, etc. where the trace ends and begins. Each line and detail on the douga is crisp and fine. With the douga safely secured onto a tracing board to

 prevent sliding, an acetate film is placed on top, and the artist begins the tracing process.

When the paint starts to dry, the artist moves on to the second stage: filling in color for the character’s hair, clothes, body parts, etc… The final result is a one –of-a-kind piece of art an excellent addition to any collector’s library. Supplies are limited!

 

ANIME CEL ART 101: The saga begins…

A brief explanation of what a cel is and how it’s produced can be found at AnimeCelArt.com but I’d like to introduce a more detailed breakdown of the creation process. That being said, I plan on posting up short tutorials on all things relating to the fabrication of anime cels.

I’ll begin with showcasing the essential tools/devices used by the artist and then move on to the actual production phase. The 1st edition will be available soon and we hope that you’ll enjoy the upcoming miniseries! (≧▽≦)

 

ANIME CEL ART 101: Tools that make it happen (Part 1)

  • Acetate Sheet: cels were originally made out of celluloid, hence the name, but later replaced by the more durable acetate film. They’re offered in a variety of sizes
  • Special Cel Paint: 2 types exist in Japan, the Toei Animation version & the Animex version
  • Special dip or tracing pen: aka the G-pen (LOL!) is perfect for tracing since they don’t scratch up the acetate surface
  • Watercolor Paint Brush: a brush with a firmer tip is favorable
  • Glass Muddler: preferably a sleeker model (almost like a drink stirrer) since it’ll be used to mix the cel paint

“Hooray!!\(^o ^)/” to the kick-off of a new anime cel art miniseries. The next tutorial will continue to introduce you more tools of the trade.


ANIME CEL ART 101: Tools that make it happen (Part 2)

  • Apron: protect your pimp gear from cel paint stains that linger forever!
  • Latex Gloves: prevents naturally occurring oils and finger prints from ruining cels
  • Dropper: cel paint tends to lose its moisture rather quickly through evaporation so a dropper is essential for reintroducing water into the mixture in small doses
  • Tracing Paper: used when creating a copy from the original rough draft
  • Other Equipment: 2 pens with varying colors, a rag, some tissue, & a water container

This concludes the section focusing on the materials used when creating anime cels. Starting from the next tutorial, we will begin our quest of conquering the elaborate production phase!

ANIME CEL ART 101: Rough Draft

Materials to prepare:

  • Drawing paper
  • Graphite pencil (ranges from the hardest 9H to the softest 9B, so use the one that suits you best)

Steps:

 To be quite frank, there’s not much to it. Just draw whatever it is that strikes your fancy and be creative! The canvas is only limited by your imagination!!

The next tutorial will focus on the “Clean Copy” production phase and this is where the tracing paper comes in handy. Why? Well, find out on the next post.

 

ANIME CEL ART 101: Clean Copy

Materials to prepare:

Steps: 

Place the tracing paper on top of your rough draft and trace away with either a pen or pencil! It’s important that you use tracing paper because your drawing will be flipped over later on in the creation process. Why do such a thing? Stay tuned for more!

 

ANIMECEL ART 101: Boundary Lines

Materials to prepare:
 Color Pens (preferably 2 colors or more)

Steps:

 

Draw lines, onto the traced illustration (clean copy), which will specify shadows and act as borders for separating areas of different tones/colors. Lines in cluttered areas can be identified with much more ease by utilizing multiple pens with varying colors.

Next up is introducing your original creation to the world of color! Bring your drawing to life & let your imagination go wild!!

 

 

ANIME CEL ART 101: Color Coordination

Materials to prepare:

Color chart: a chart that assigns each color with a # (Store-bought ones are available but creating a custom sheet will enhance your artistic creativity)

Steps:

Jot down the colors you will be using for every specific area on your illustration. If you're having trouble deciding which color to assign, try coloring your rough draft with color pencils. FYI, cel paint can be mixed so let your imagination go wild! Create your own array of colors.

Starting from the next tutorial, we'll begin drawing on the actual acetate sheet aka cel so bust out your tools!

 

ANIME CEL ART 101: Outlining

Materials to prepare:

  • G-pen
  • Black cel paint (other colors may be used)
  • Latex gloves
  • Apron

Steps:

Place the cel on top of your tracing paper, using scotch tape to ensure that it doesn't move during the process. In most cases, only black cel paint will be used in the initial outlining process. However, depending on your preference, you may decide to trace the outline of a particular area in a different color.

Reminder:

Cel paint tends to clump with time so make sure you mix it up before using. Also, it dries out rather quickly so add water if necessary but make sure only a little bit is added at a time (use a dropper). Another point of advice, when tracing contours, is to move the actual cel while keeping the G-pen in place.

 

ANIME CEL ART 101: Copying boundary lines


Materials to prepare:

  • G-pen
  • Cel paint

Steps:

Remember the boundary lines you drew on the tracing paper? This is where that comes in handy. First turn over both the cel & tracing paper, and then apply some scotch tape to anchor the cel on top of your tracing paper. Just like the previous step, trace the lines onto the cel but this time, make sure you use the appropriate colors you assigned during the color coordination process.

Reminder:

Be careful not to scratch the cel surface and add water to your cel paint accordingly to prevent clumping.

 

ANIME CEL ART 101: Painting

Materials to prepare:

  • Paint brush
  • Cel paint

Steps:

First, remove your cel from the tracing paper and clean thoroughly by blowing off any dust or lint. Then, start painting in the colors you determined during the previous step. Check the cel periodically by placing it under a bright light, making sure you don’t have any missed spots. Also, don’t worry if you accidently paint over the lines. You just need to wait until it dries and carefully scrap of the excess, without scratching the surface of the cel.

Reminder:

It’s best if you start off with darker colors, gradually moving on to lighter colors and finally finishing off with white paint.

 

ANIME CEL ART 101: Finalizing

Materials to prepare:

  • Paint brush
  • Cel paint
  • Tissue paper

Steps:

After letting the cel paint dry thoroughly, turn the cel around face front and paint in the remaining details, i.e. eye sparkles, sweat droplets, tears, etc. Finally, clean the cel by wiping off fingerprints and dust with a tissue.

Reminder:

Clean with care! The last thing you want to do is ruin your cel after all that hard work. Now all you have to do is frame that bad boy and voilà! Just simply kick back, relax & enjoy your very own fabulous and epic creation!!


Informatin provided by Digital Manga Publishing.