How can an 2D animated movies or shows have multiple animators whilst maintaining a consistent art style?

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I understand how you can have one person for background art, or one person for basic sketching and another for colouring etc, but surely this would take too long to animate with only a small group.

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Basically, trained artists are good at mimicking the style of another, and they have examples of the “official” art next to them at all times so they can use as reference. With enough practice, you become able to draw the characters close enough to the original that no one notices the difference.

The artists all draw in the style chosen by the art direction of the movie, not in their own personal preferred style. Artists may have a distinctive style that sets them apart but it isn’t like they can *only* draw that way.

Professional animators are a talented bunch – they can draw in just about any style they’d like. For their own work, they may choose a unique style, but when they are part of a team, they’ll work within the parameters set by the lead animator. It’s much the same way a good studio musician can play a vareity of genres well, even though they prefer one particular style when performing original compositions. Talented and trained people can do amazing things.

In fairness there is a bit of a style to certain animators.

Like it’s not very surprising when you learn, just for example, that [Scar](https://www.factinate.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/FotoJet-16-2.png) from The Lion King, and [Jafar](http://cdn.collider.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/aladdin-jafar.jpg) from Aladdin are both drawn by the same guy, Andreas Deja, in my opinion.

Basically there are Key Frame animators who design the main elements, scenes and characters. There are also “in betweener” animators who design frames in between major frames thusly keeping the style the same. The in betweeners are generally outsourced in some cases and make far less money and work much more than the key frame animators.

They also work off of character model sheets that show expressions, poses, etc. Those are designed by the character designers.

Hope this helps!!!