Project #154 – Animation Cell

I learned how to paint an animation cell at a short workshop taught at my university by Steve Bennett, formerly of Studio Ironcat. He would drive up to DC about once a year, teach us something, tell us stories, and then wolf down plates of sushi with us at the now defunct Appetizer Plus in Rosslyn, Virginia.

Here is a picture of him with all of the ladies who attended the workshop that I took with my first digital camera. Good times.

Okay, so the workshop was a (long) while ago, but I think I can recall the steps to painting a cell. First, I drew a figure on some clear .005 acetate with a permanent marker.

The drawing was based on a doodle from my research notebook.

The first things to be painted in a cell are any small white highlights or details, followed by small, colored details. The idea is to start with filling in the smaller areas of color first and then gradually move to painting the largest.

I painted everything from the opposite side of my marker sketch. Sometimes permanent marker is less permanent than advertised, especially with wet paint.

Next, I painted some the shadows in and some of the darker areas of color. The nice things about cells is that they can look uneven and crappy on the painted side, but look neat and clean when flipped over.

If unwanted light shines through in certain spots when you hold it up there is no harm in doing a second coat. I used cheap opaque acrylic paints and they usually did the job in one coat.

Finally, I painted in the larger details and when those were dry I painted in the biggest areas of color.

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