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The Black Cauldron

Ink and Paint, Scene Planning, Animation and Final Check, Camera and Administration

Click here to see the other departments crew photo.

The Black Cauldron used the traditional ink and paint process where the drawings were xeroxed onto cell and hand painted one by one. I remember that they experimented with a “new” xerox technique (I can’t remember the name) that prooved a failure as the line faded off the cell over time so they returned to the traditional xerox process. But production fell behind and everyone painted cells in the end.

Maddie O’Neil Cell Painter
(Photo care of Penny Coulter)

I was a cel painter when this photo was taken and as you can see, I was really happy to be working at the Disney studios. It was an exciting time to be part of the studio before everything was dismantled. The back lot was still in tact, and we would eat our lunches on the big old front porches of the movie sets. They were still using the Disney paints which were wonderful to use and they were hand made right in the paint lab. One of my favorite things to do was walk through the underground tunnel and thru the animation building on my way to the commisary.
Words by Maddie O’Neil

On the Black Cauldron I xeroxed and painted. As soon as xerox finished, ANYONE who could hold a brush was whisked off to painting to help make the deadline.
Words by Robyn Roberts

(note care of Penny Coulter)

From Tina Price:
I was a Breakdown Clean Up artist at the time and I remember when I had finished my last clean up scene I was relocated along with many other clean up artists and re-trained by lead painter Karen Comella to paint cells. The technique of puddling, which side of the cell to paint on, the skill of pushing the paint around and how to just nudge it right up to the line without any paint strokes showing through was new and challenging to us pencil pushers. Karen taught us all. She gave us a sequence of cells that had grey clouds and everything seemed to go wrong. Were not in clean up anymore crossed my mind.

Karen Comella Cell Painter
(Photo care of Penny Coulter)

But I just remember her amazing patience with our clumsy, error ridden skills and how many times she would quietly remove the paint off of our badly painted cells and show us the errors of our ways and ask us to re-do it. It was an impossible task but she trained us well and got the job done against “all” odds.

(memorabilia care of Penny Coulter)

One incident I remember was when Clean Up Artist Alex Topete cleverly painted his entire sequence of cells on the wrong side of the cell and made the local headlines….

As stated in the article above:
“Topete Blunder Delays Cauldron”
Alex Topete, above, less than one week after an effusively praiseful review in the Disney Newsreel was forced to remove all his Grey 8 paint from seven cloud cels and repaint them all. Spokesperson Karen Camella refused to comment on the situation except to remark. “Alex’s new paint process is a complete and utter failure.”

“Alex Caught With Pants Down in “Heaven’s Gate” – Like Fiasco!

Karen Comella was recently contacted for a comment on the work of Alex Topete but has “No Comment” at this time. (smile/wink)
Words by Tina Price

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Posted by admin at 8.23 AM | 2 Comments
Labels: 1985 The Black Cauldron


  1. admin (April 25th, 2008, 7.48 am)

    From Barbara Wiles:
    I think this web sight is a kick and look forward to many happy memories shared through it.

  2. admin (April 29th, 2008, 12.43 am)

    From Alex Topete:
    I checked out your website, and a flood of great memories came to me. They were fun times. Thanks.

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