Weekly Writing Challenge: A Lost Art

Last Updated on July 31, 2023

Hand-drawn animation.

Gertie <3

So many old cartoons and animated films were hand-drawn and there was something so nice about them. They were either VERY simple or incredibly detailed. Now it’s hard to come by an animation that wasn’t created on a computer. Check out some of the differences between the original Pokemon series and the modern one: The hand-drawn characters (left) seem to be more detailed and possess sharper lines whereas the digital art (right) has more shading and an overall bubblier appearance. I have nothing against digital art, I recognize that it’s quicker, cheaper, and easier to produce in many ways but I wish it didn’t take over the field of animation as much as it has.

When you look at stations like Cartoon Network and Disney, it feels like every animated series is digitally produced now. That’s part of why I enjoy Studio Ghibli films so much. Even the more recent Ghibli films like Ponyo and Arrietty are hand-drawn! It’s very different than, say, Disney’s Frozen. Which is still very beautiful in its own way. What do you think? Do you prefer the traditional hand-drawn animated look or the modern digital style?

(Weekly Writing Challenge: A Lost Art)


  1. Jessy

    Hmm, I’m seeing some errors in this post. The differences between the images have nothing to do with whether the cartoon was made with cels or computers. It’s mostly dependent on the art direction. It’s VERY easy to recreate the “traditional cel” look with computers. Computers have NOTHING to do with why the shows look different. Ash looking different has more to do with their being different sets of artists and new direction n terms of visuals for the show. It’s not like because they shifted to use of computers that the show just magically changed in appearance. Also the reasoning for some of the differences in terms of colors is also due to the animations being from a different time period. That first screenshot of Ash looks as if it was taken from an old TV while the later one looks as if it’s taken from an HD tv image. On older tv images the colors would look different than they would on a HD tv. Don’t believe me just get an HD video and record it using a VCR and VHS.

    In short the differences to the visual looks in shows isn’t because of the use of computers. But because of other reasons whether it is art direction or because of the quality of the images from a TV. It’s very easy to recreate the “traditional cel” look with computers. Cel animation is a lost art form, but that’s not a bad thing due to how impossible it is to keep using it nowadays. Cel animation was expensive, took longer to make, harder to do, and was more messy. As you even stated Computer animation can provide the same level of quality yet it’s cheaper, can be done in a short about of time, easier to use, and has no mess involved.

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