Animation Art

Collecting Animation Art with the Charles Scott Gallery

Collecting Animation Art with the Charles Scott Gallery

Animation is a captivating art form that has been enchanting audiences for decades. The creative minds behind animated masterpieces invest countless hours in crafting these visual wonders, leaving behind a trail of exquisite artwork that goes beyond the final product. Collecting animation art has become a cherished hobby for enthusiasts and art aficionados alike. In this blog post, we delve into the world of collecting 2D animation art, exploring its significance, appeal, and tips to build an extraordinary collection.

The Significance of Animation Art

Animation art holds a unique place in the realm of collectibles, mostly due to its connection to our cherished memories of beloved characters, films and shows. Shows from studios like Walt Disney, Warner Brothers and the Looney Tunes, Cartoon Network, Filmation, Hanna-Barbera, Peanuts, Studio Ghibli and more. Each piece of animation art represents a snapshot of the creative process, showcasing the effort, imagination, and talent that went into bringing characters and scenes to life. Whether it's a beautifully rendered background, a detailed character sketch, or an original cel, these pieces serve as tangible reminders of the magic that animated films and series evoke. They are literally pieces of our childhood. Or, for some of us, adulthood!

Understanding Animation Art Categories

Before diving into the world of collecting animation art, it's essential to familiarize yourself with the different categories of artwork available. This is not a comprehensive list, but serves to mention some of the most common parts of the animation process when it was done before the use of computers - roughly from the mid-2000's and before.

Production Cels: These are original hand-painted celluloids used to create animated scenes. Lines are traced or photocopied onto the front of the cel from the production drawing, then hand-painted on the back to give them color! Production cels are highly sought after and considered the crème de la crème of animation art collecting. Often there will be once cel for each character in a snapshot of a scene, depending on the budget of a show.

Production Drawings: These are the foundational elements of any piece of animation - the true artwork in many ways. Production drawings are hand-drawn in graphite on animation paper. Animation paper has holes in it to keep it in place while being drawn, traced/copied onto cels and filmed. Often there will be once drawing for each character in a snapshot of a scene, depending on the budget of a show.

Background Art: These pieces depict the intricate and breathtaking backgrounds that set the stage for animated scenes. The attention to detail in background art is awe-inspiring and adds depth to any collection. These pieces are hand-painted, often in watercolor or gouache on thicker paper. These are actually far more rare than cels, as each background is used behind many cels or "held" for many cels. The ultimate animation art collectible is to have a matching background and cel as seen on-screen. This is surprisingly rare, but due to the nature of how production is done. We'll get into that in a future blog post!

Concept Art: Concept art includes sketches, storyboards, character designs, and early drafts created during the pre-production phase of an animated project. These pieces offer a glimpse into the genesis of beloved characters and worlds.

Limited Editions: Some studios release limited editions of iconic scenes or characters. While not one-of-a-kind like original cels, these cels or prints are more accessible and often will provide perfect poses of your favorite characters or scenes. They can often be signed by famous animation directors or animators. They can also be scenes from animation that does not have original art anymore!

Building Your Animation Art Collection

Research and Authenticity: As with any collectible, thorough research is vital. The first step we recommend is to partner with a gallery that has a long history in this field. Collectors may see 100-200 pieces in their lifetime and often have misconceptions about the art and authenticity, but a good gallery that has been around for more than a decade will have seen tens if not hundreds of thousands and will have a deep knowledge of the art. A good gallery will also be happy to provide you with information and education - even about pieces that are not their own. The Charles Scott Gallery is always happy to chat about animation art, even if we can't provide appraisals over the internet.

Set a Budget: Collecting animation art can be a thrilling but expensive hobby as you progress. Set a budget that suits your financial capacity and stick to it. Prices can vary significantly based on rarity, popularity, pose, and more.

Embrace Your Passion: Collect what you love. Whether you adore classic Disney animation, anime, or contemporary animated films, focusing on pieces that resonate with your passion will make your collection all the more meaningful. Be wary of anyone who talks about animation art as an investment. Yes, some pieces do appreciate over time, but some also depreciate. SO, if you purchase what you love, you'll never regret spending that money!

Network and Connect: Engage with fellow collectors, attend conventions, and join online communities dedicated to animation art. Networking with like-minded individuals will provide valuable insights and potential trading opportunities.

Preserving Your Animation Art

Animation art is delicate and susceptible to damage if not properly cared for. To preserve the value and condition of your collection:

Display with Care: Use archival materials for framing and avoid direct sunlight to prevent fading. Consider rotating the displayed pieces to protect them from long-term exposure.

Handle with Gloves: If you handle your art, wear cotton gloves to avoid transferring oils and dirt to the delicate surfaces.

Proper Storage: Store your animation art in acid-free sleeves or portfolios, keeping them in a controlled environment with stable temperature and humidity levels.

Ask questions: at the Charles Scott Gallery we have recommendations we can send you for storing and framing your art. We'll cover this in more detail in a future blog post!


Collecting animation art is a gratifying endeavor that allows enthusiasts to bring the enchanting world of animated films and series into their homes. From production cels to concept art, each piece offers a unique and cherished connection to the artistry behind your favorite characters and stories. By investing in genuine pieces, embracing your passion, and connecting with other collectors, your animation art collection will undoubtedly become a treasured reflection of the magic of animation. So, let the journey begin, and may your collection inspire joy and wonder for years to come.

Charles Scott Gallery

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