Production Art & Cels

For most people the characters from the show will always be the most iconic representations of The Real Ghostbusters and the ones that fans & collectors are the most familiar with. In any other market that kind of popularity would quickly cause demand to outstrip supply but fortunately for collectors, animation artwork is quite affordable and easy to find due to the incredible amount that were created (approx. 11,000-13,000 cels per episode!).

Below are a few images of multiple cels to demonstrate just how many were needed for just a few seconds worth of animation. The differences between some cels are so minute that you can hardly tell them apart.

Judging by what’s been been sold over the years, it appears that almost all of the production artwork for the show survived. I’ve personally seen cels and production drawings for everything from the original promo pilot right through to episodes of the final series. Anyone care to guess how many cels there are out there? 🙂

Collector Tips:

If you are new to collecting animation art then you will soon find out that most of the painted cels from the show have been unfortunately split up from their accompanying production drawing. This seems to be something that certain sellers do in order to sell them separately for more money but it’s also because when they first came to the market, much of the production art was mixed so it was probably an impossible task to pair them up properly.

Fortunately, every now and again you will find a seller that is happy to include both the production drawing and the painted cel if they have them. 

As a word of advice, most of the cels that are on the market are paired with studio copied backgrounds which do NOT match the scene depicted in the cel. This means that while they look good, they never actually appeared on screen together and in many cases may not even be part of the same episode. This doesn’t detract from the amazing art of the cel itself of course and indeed many collectors still choose to display them together. However, if you are like me and have a little OCD then these things can quickly become a bit of a nightmare!



Egon Spengler (with incorrect studio copy background) from Season 1, Episode 6: “The Boogieman Cometh”.

Egon Spengler






Here is a screenshot from the show which shows the correct background for this particular scene.

Egon Screenshot The Boogieman Cometh






Peter Venkman (with incorrect studio copy background) from Season 3, Episode 6: “The Two Faces of Slimer”

Peter Venkman






Here is a screenshot from the show which shows the correct background for this particular scene.

Two faces of Slimer Screenshot







Winston Zeddemore (with incorrect studio copy background) from the climax of Season 2, Episode 9: “Venkman’s Ghost Repellers”.

Winston Zeddemore






Here is a screenshot from the show which shows the correct background for this particular scene.

winston Venkman's Ghost Repellers






Ray Stantz (with incorrect studio copy background) from Season 1, Episode 3: “Mrs Rogers Neighborhood”

Ray Stantz Ray Stantz (Pencil)





Here is a screenshot from the show which shows the correct background for this particular scene.

Mrs Rogers Neighborhood - Ray Screenshot






Janine Melnitz holding a ghost trap from Season 1, Episode 3: “Mrs Rogers Neighborhood”.

Janine Cel Mrs Rogers Neighborhood






This is a good example of a multi cel setup, which means that there were separate cels for each character and effect in the scene placed on top of one another. You can see gaps where the railing and proton stream cels needed to be placed on top of Janine.

Here is a screenshot from the show which shows the correct background for this particular scene (and the rest of the missing elements).

Janine Mrs Rogers Neighborhood Screenshot








Although I love the finished look of painted cels, I’m also a huge fan of production drawings too and quite often purchase them without the accompanying cel. While some are a little boring, I find that if they have annotations or colour guide notes on them then they look a little more special. Below are a few from my collection.


Team shot production drawing from Season 3, Episode 8: “Loathe Thy Neighbor”.

DiC Production drawing






This particular drawing appealed to me because of the rough sketches for each member of the team. In the production episode, Winston is actually using his legs to try and pull himself back up rather than just dangling as seen here.


Since buying the production drawing above I managed to obtain the painted cel for this scene too. They came up for sale months apart but were sold by the same animation seller. It just goes to show you that if you have some patience and keep checking you may still have a chance to reunite production drawings with their corresponding cels. Here is the sellers picture of the painted cel (with random studio copy background) & a screenshot from the show.

Loathe Thy Neighbor - Painted Cel (Studio Background) Loathe Thy Neighbor - Screenshot





Just have to find that background now..



Slimer master Slimer Master 2