Oliver Martin "Ollie" Johnston, Jr. (October 31, 1912 - April 14, 2008) was an animator who was one of Walt Disney's Nine Old Men. Ollie was best friends with fellow animator Frank Thomas.
He was recognized by the Walt Disney Company with its Disney Legend Award in 1989. His work was recognized with the National Medal of Arts in 2005.
He was an animator at Walt Disney Studios from 1935 to 1978, and became a directing animator beginning with Pinocchio, released in 1940. He contributed to most Disney animated features, including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia and Bambi. His last full work for Disney came with The Rescuers, in which he was caricatured as one of the film's characters, the cat Rufus.
Hand-painted limited edition cels showcase legendary characters and recreate classic moments from great cartoons, using the same materials and techniques as were used in making the originals. Some limited editions are exact reproductions of frames from the films they represent, while others, such as Chuck Jones€™ limited editions, are based on the artist€™s interpretations of classic animation characters and scenes.
In either case, the animator€™s drawing is transferred onto acetate cels, then each is meticulously hand-painted by studio artists. Cel painting is a time-honored, and extremely exacting process requiring that each color be individually applied by hand. Many hand-painted limited edition cels are made up of more than a dozen individual colors, and in some cases several dozen paints are used. It takes the skilled hand of a highly skilled and experienced cel painter to bring these fine art pieces to life.
Each piece is hand-numbered in small edition sizes (generally between 100 and 750) and comes with a studio-issued certificate of authenticity detailing the origins, techniques, and size of the edition. In some cases the finished cels are signed by the animation legends upon whose work they are based. Pieces signed by Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, Bill Hanna, Joe Barbera, Matt Groening and other animation pioneers are very much in demand by collectors. As the great majority of original production cels from the 1940€™s, 50€™s and 60€™s are no longer in existence, hand-painted limited edition cels allow collectors an unparalleled opportunity to enjoy some of the greatest moments in the history of animation.