Women Who Have Dominated the Animation Industry

In the male dominated industry of Animation, it's important to remember that not all of the pioneers and leads within the industry have been men. Many animation studios and animation initiatives were lead by women. We wanted to take the time to highlight a few (from many!) noteworthy Women Animators.

Lotte Reiniger (1899-1981)

Charlotte (aka Lotte) Reiniger, born in Germany, made over 40 films in her career. As one of the first women in animation, she practiced the silhouette technique to animate her characters and used hinge pins to move her characters joints. Her best known films include The Adventures of Prince Achmed (one of the first animated feature films in cinema history), Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and Papageno.


Reiko Okuyama (1930-2007)

Reiko Okuyama, one of Japan's first women animators is best known for her work in the anime genre. When first starting her career in 1957, she actually thought she was applying to a job that would have her drawing children's books, but to her surprise the position was actually a job at Toei Doga (Japanese Animated Films). She was offered the job and she accepted. After years of moving up the career ladder, in 1976 she was rose to become head animator. After leaving Toei Doga, she began freelancing and eventually ended up illustrating a children's book.


Lillian Friedman (1912-1989)

Lillian Friedman is known to be one of the first woman animators with in the studio system. She rose up in the ranks by transitioning as a Colorist to an Inbetweener to an Inker to Assistant Animator to eventually the Head Animator at Fleischer. At Fleischer she animated 11 titles. Friedman is best known for her work in Popeye and Betty Boop.