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Explore The Contributions Of Women To The Animation Industry With This New Online Database

Great Women Animators honors the contributions of the female artists and illustrators in the field

image via (cc) flickr user fleecircus

What started as a month-long film series has grown into something more: A growing online database built to honor women animators, and educate the public on their contributions to the field.


Great Women Animators describes itself as a “collection, dissemination and categorization of identified women who have or currently work in the field of animation.” The site, created by Canadian artist Heather Kai Smith, features biographies, filmographies, and images from over a century of female animation artists, illustrators, and contributors. Not limiting itself to western cinema, Great Women Animators also highlights creatives from Japan, the former Soviet Union, and other international animation hubs.

The project, explains Cartoon Brew, was born out of a series of film screenings hosted by Kai Smith over the summer of 2014. There, attendees explored “[t]echniques and thematic influences of these [women] animators” and engaged in “discussions regarding feminism in the field of animation, masculine and feminine aesthetics, and what it means to be a woman working with animation today.”

Great Women Animators is very much a work in perpetual progress. Per the “about” page: “This is an ONGOING project and this list is by no means comprehensive. New animators are added all the time.” In addition to focusing on women animators, the site also contains an extensive resource list, through which visitors can explore related websites, events, and academic journals.

Given the degree to which animators toil “behind the scenes” when it comes to creating memorable characters, Kai Smith’s ongoing project ends up serving a dual purpose: Not only does it shed light on the women who have, and continue to, make the animation industry go round, but it also is a reminder simply that animators exist in the first place. None of our favorite cartoon characters–no matter how lifelike they may appear–simply sprung into being. They were created by dedicated, talented artists and illustrators who deserve just as much recognition as their creations often enjoy.

[via cartoon brew]

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