Inside the Hanna-Barbera archives: unique original drawings

Relive some of the greatest moments in cartoon history with our exclusive series of rare original production drawings from the Hanna-Barbera studio. Expertly curated from one of America’s most prestigious animation art archives, this collectible selection boasts best-loved characters like Fred Flintstone, Yogi Bear, Top Cat and Snagglepuss in a range of iconic scenes and poses.

Drawn in pencil on paper, the one-off artworks were created at the legendary animation studio, where world-class pencillers, inkers and cartoonists revolutionised American television for over four decades. Each piece is hand-signed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, whose unique vision led their studio to seven Academy Awards and eight Emmy Awards.  

The collection bears the Hanna-Barbera seal of authenticity, and many of the drawings are annotated with notes and colour codes, offering a rare insight into the techniques used by history’s greatest animation artists. Art lovers and cartoon fans alike will appreciate the intricacies of these unique artworks, which have been lovingly preserved and framed in a sustainable pine and spruce. 

To find out more about the collection, get in touch.

What is an original production drawing?

These unique pencil drawings reveal not only the characters, but the concepts behind them. As the first step in their final creation, original production drawings were traced onto the animation cel to form the black outline before it was filled with colour and photographed.

Described as the 'building blocks of animation', they were used by both the  Hanna-Barbera and Walt Disney studios to plan the look and movement of the character. Each drawing was meticulously refined until the animator was satisfied with the details, degree of motion and overall look, which is reflected in the authentic handwritten notes and faint markings on many of the pieces. 

As very few film and television programmes now use this process, original production animation art is becoming increasingly rare and revered in the art world. In 2016, Bonhams - one of the world's oldest and most prestigious fine art auctioneers - held Drawn to Film, its first animation-exclusive event in a decade. The genre is also displayed in institutions such as the Norman Rockwell Museum. 

"That's what keeps me going: dreaming, inventing, then hoping and dreaming some more in order to keep dreaming."

Joseph Barbera

Featured Artist

From the blog

Rare animation art from the Hanna-Barbera studio

09/12/2020

New online and in galleries! This nostalgic release includes hand-signed, limited edition cels featuring characters like Scooby-Doo, The Flintstones, Yogi Bear and Top Cat. With Father's Day just around the corner, they're the perfect gift.

Scooby-Doo, Tom and Jerry, Yogi Bear and more! New from Hanna-Barbera

27/05/2021

In the second release from our popular Hanna-Barbera collection, we're unmasking the Creeper with Scooby-Doo and the gang, and chasing the American Dream in Manhattan with Jerry Mouse!

Behind the scenes of our Disney Vintage collection!

29/11/2019

Curated by one of the most reputable vintage animation art dealers in the world, our Disney Vintage collection boasts original works from the films that made history. Discover more about the different types of art.

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