Forged Disney art on eBay

The Disney Fakes blog catalogs forged Disney art for sale on eBay, painstakingly cataloging the tells and errors made by the forgers. Some are hilariously bad, others are damned subtle.

Disney Fakes (via Super Punch)


  1. I love how in the sitting human Ariel art he/she points everything but a significantly bigger nose.
    Also, I’d like to see the author’s take on those porno fanarts we all know about. “Nani’s breast should be size 3, not 6”.

    1. Hmmm, I wouldn’t mock someone like this. I have a small and focused toy collection (as opposed to sprawling and out of control) and I have learned how to differentiate between variants in manufacture. It might seem esoteric to others, but for the stuff I collect it means the difference between $7 modern reproduction and a vintage $70 piece. Some folks inadvertently sell new as old but some intentionally deceive.

      Oh and another tool that can be used in determining vintage of paper goods is a simple UV lightbulb. Modern paper-stock seems to be filled to the brim with whiteners/brighteners. Maybe part of anti-counterfeiting efforts since UV lights are used for money detection. Anyway, take an old vintage zine, chapbook or script—something that could easily be copied—and if it’s truly pre-1980-ish, it won’t glow under a black-light. Anything copied on modern paper will glow brightly.

      1. I’d imagine that modern paper is a combination of because-we-can, simple advances in dye formulation that make it cheap to add, and the fact that we are using a lot more recycled fibers and a lot less chlorine, on average, per sheet.

        A dash of UV reactivity, generally tuned to eat some of the UV and re-emit blue, not only protects the product from UV degradation of one of the more delicate molecules(which generally looks like cheap ‘n nasty yellowing); but by providing a source of blue emitted light, it can keep the product appearing “white” even if the reflected light would otherwise reveal the fact that it has started to yellow, or the fact that you didn’t really bleach all the grey out of it.

        Laundry detergents are also generally UV reactive for the same reasons.

        If anything, the drenching of everything in subtle UV reactive pigments probably makes currency-anti-copying measures harder. Because currency will survive a trip through the wash, glowing under blacklight isn’t a wildly useful discriminator, even if bill stock starts out UV-unreactive, and the general glowiness of everything can probably be used to mask a wide variety of subtle UV-reactive microstructures(fibers, inserts, other manufacturing tricks) that would otherwise be a huge pain to duplicate on anything but an industrial scale…

  2. This whole blog seems to relate to comparing the original drawing to the sketch that’s been bought. But in my experience with this kind of art, rarely does the original sketch get translated perfectly onto the cell along with the colouring stage. These differences are easily minor enough to account for that kind of thing.

    I’m by no means an expert; but I don’t think the things pointed out ‘prove’ that they’re fake.

    And hey; you want a sketch of Ariel, buy a sketch of Ariel; aside from your bragging rights what does it matter who drew it anyway? In fact chuck me £20 and I’ll draw you an Ariel, I’ll even make her hotter for an extra £5.

  3. surely this is just giving the fakers all the tips they need to get better at their work? And therefore kinda counterproductive

    1. I suspect that, in many but not all cases, counterfeiters appear dubiously competent because that is exactly where their economic interests put them, not because the information needed to improve is unavailable or they are morons.

      As with system uptime, where every additional step on the asymptotic road to 100% tends to cost roughly ten times as much as the last one, each incremental improvement in quality of reproduction likely represents an increase in unit cost.

      Want artists who can actually consistently get the details right? Not a problem; but you’ll pay more for them. Want to have an ‘original’ in house for reference? Generally not an issue, for the sorts of “authentic reproductions” that an outfit like Disney or Kinkade: Painter of Light(tm) peddle; but certainly more expensive than just working from publicly available images of the work. Want to knock off a work whose only “real” copies are individually serialized? Again, you can usually chase down which serial numbers are safely invisible and which ones are publicly known; but that adds time and cost to the work.

      If your business is ripping off lower-middle-brow Disney fans who caught a case of sticker shock at the cost of “official reproductions” investment in quality, beyond a fairly low level, probably isn’t logical. You just commission the cheapest painting sweatshop you can find and dive merrily in to the lemon market that is good old Fleabay.

      If your business is in much more upmarket forgeries, you can probably already afford to have an original print in house, from which you are doing visually perfect(quite possibly even period-pigment-matched) reproductions. Even accelerated aging may not be beyond your ken…

  4. I think this is fantastic – Disney, for all its negatives, is upholding the tradition of beautiful cartoonery. Love them.

  5. Dude has waaaaaay too much time on his hands. Either that, or I hope Disney is paying him for this nitpicking!

  6. If you’re going to spend bucks on Disney (or other production) cels or drawings, do your home work and buy from a reputable animation art dealer.

  7. In this age of word press uploads or picasa/blogspot integration, how did photo bucket become the image repository for most new blogs? Just as this detail oriented artist cannot fathom why people spend hundreds of dollars on obvious fakes, it is just as ludicrous to be using photo bucket on a blog.

    If I were this person I would be pitching this analysis to every “official” collectibles dealer and make a cut off every sale. branch out to signatures and a career and even more popular site will come.

  8. What on earth does the phrase “forged Disney art” mean? There are thousands of Disney artists, some good, some not so good. Tells are not going to make a difference to the buyer’s enjoyment, unless the buyer is more interested in the brand than the product.

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