Thursday, March 13, 2008

Cartoon Colour Cel Vinyl Paint

Cartoon Colour, based in Los Angeles, makes and sells cel vinyl paint, which animators paint onto clear plastic sheets (cels) to give their drawings color. They've been around since 1947. I'll bet that back in the day they sold cel vinyl paint by the tankful to all the Southern California animation studios. Imagine a bright yellow truck that looked like a water delivery truck, except instead of 5-gallon bottles of water, the Cartoon Colour truck delivered giant bottles of brightly colored, chalky-smelling cel vinyl to MGM, Disneys, Terrytoons, UPA, Walter Lantz, and Warner Bros. It made everyone who saw it happy to be alive.

Today, the river of rainbow-colored goop has attenuated to a trickle, thanks to computers taking over most of the steps of animation production. Thankfully, I live during a time that Cartoon Colour still exists and I'm able to dip my brush into the dwindling rivulet.

Cartoon Colour cel vinyl, with the pleasing consistency of pancake-batter, is the best canvas and board paint I've ever come across. It's cheap, too. An 8-ounce plastic squeeze bottle costs about $12. Most of the colors are opaque and mix well, so you don't end up with hot, muddy colors. It goes on smooth, and you have a few seconds to wipe it off if you make a mistake. If you let it dry, you can smooth out the ripples and bad spots with fine sandpaper.

One day, Cartoon Colour will go out of business. And when it does, I'll be lost. Link