© 2019

The Crafty Animator

Handmade, Craft-based Animation and Cultural Value

  • Caroline Ruddell
  • Paul Ward
  • Constitutes the first book-length study to interrogate the value of craft within the context of animation production

  • Challenges the historical argument around how “craft” is perceived as inferior to “art”

  • Includes a chapter-length interview with animator Eric Dyer, who discusses the challenges and excitements of making animation


Part of the Palgrave Animation book series (PAANI)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Caroline Ruddell, Paul Ward
    Pages 1-15
  3. Birgitta Hosea
    Pages 17-43
  4. Lilly Husbands
    Pages 45-73
  5. Katharina Boeckenhoff, Caroline Ruddell
    Pages 75-98
  6. Caroline Ruddell, Paul Ward
    Pages 203-225
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 227-231

About this book


This collection is a study of the value of craft as it can be understood within the study and practice of animation. The book reconsiders the position of craft, which is often understood as inferior to ‘art’, with a particular focus on questions of labour in animation production and gendered practices. The notion of craft has been widely investigated in a number of areas including art, design and textiles, but despite the fact that a wide range of animators use craft-based techniques, the value of craft has not been interrogated in this context until now. Seeking to address such a gap in the literature, this collection considers the concept of craft through a range of varying case studies. Chapters include studies on experimental animation, computer animation, trauma and memory, children’s animation and silhouette animation among others. The Crafty Animator also goes some way to exploring the relationship craft has with the digital in the context of animation production. Through these varied discussions, this book problematizes simplistic notions about the value of certain methods and techniques, working to create a dialogue between craft and animation. 


animation craft digital art visual culture textiles design computer animation memory children production

Editors and affiliations

  • Caroline Ruddell
    • 1
  • Paul Ward
    • 2
  1. 1.Brunel University LondonUxbridgeUK
  2. 2.School of Media and PerformanceArts University BournemouthPooleUK

About the editors

Caroline Ruddell is Senior Lecturer and programme lead in Film and TV Studies and Film Production at Brunel University, London, UK. She has published widely on animation and the representation of identity onscreen. Caroline is currently researching craft-based animation. She is Associate Editor for the Sage publication animation: an interdisciplinary journal and series co-editor for Palgrave Animation.

Paul Ward is Professor of Animation Studies at the Arts University Bournemouth, UK. He is the author of Documentary: The Margins of Reality (2005) and a range of journal articles, published in animation: an interdisciplinary journal, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television and Animation Journal. He is the series co-editor for Palgrave Animation

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title The Crafty Animator
  • Book Subtitle Handmade, Craft-based Animation and Cultural Value
  • Editors Caroline Ruddell
    Paul Ward
  • Series Title Palgrave Animation
  • Series Abbreviated Title Palgrave Animation
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Literature, Cultural and Media Studies Literature, Cultural and Media Studies (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-030-13942-1
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-13945-2
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-030-13943-8
  • Series ISSN 2523-8086
  • Series E-ISSN 2523-8094
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages X, 231
  • Number of Illustrations 1 b/w illustrations, 32 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Animation
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“Rather than avoiding the contradictions, the editors dive right in, showing how the practice of animation often moves from handmade to digital and back again, sliding, too, across disparate political objectives. They have wisely focused their collection on “the ways different types of animation foreground or self-consciously showcase notions of the (hand) crafted.” What’s at stake in showcasing the mark of the hand in contemporary art practice?” (Holly Willis, Los Angeles Review of Books)

“In the essays gathered here by Ruddell and Ward, the notion of craft takes on a newfound potency that encourages readers to consider—and perhaps more importantly reconsider—ideas of artistry, authenticity, and the ambiguity of craft in the realm of digital animation production. Highlighting the labour-intensive processes of animation in all forms, The Crafty Animator also discusses how ‘craft’ functions to empower, marginalise, and commercialise in different contexts. A timely book that will no doubt prove to be a valuable resource for many years to come.” (Chris Pallant, Canterbury Christ Church University, UK)