Interviews with Animators

Interview With Instagram Stop-Motion Superstar Rachel Ryle

Shawn 02.03.2014

When Rachel Ryle posted her first stop motion video on Instagram six months ago, she never expected the circus that followed. Named the “Most Creative Instagram Account of 2013” by Buzzfeed, featured by The Huffington Post, NextWeb, and scores of others, and adored by her over 200k ardent fans—animator Rachel Ryle takes a moment away from her stop motion success to share the secret of her rise to fame. Her advice to fellow animators is simple:

“Put your art out there. Don’t think about it, do it.”

Luckily, she has more to say about her creative process, building an Instagram army, and her time-lapsed journey to animated fame.

stop motion

Rachel Ryle And The Art of Stop Motion

IdeaRocket: So many of your videos literally break off the page to engage the viewer—like the popular latte videoIs staging and shifting perspective something you think about when you initially concept, or does it happen during animation?

Rachel Ryle: I’ll first think of what the magic moment will be and then conceptualize the story of how to get it there. Whether it be a ladybug crawling on my finger, a record player turning, or a cup of coffee being sipped, on my main thought is how do I creatively bring something to life.

Stop Motion & Sound

IR: You subtly weave sound through some videos, while others remain beautifully silent. How important is sound/music in the concept of a new video – from simple effects like your finger snap, to full on soundtracks?

Rachel: The more animations I’ve created the more I have realized that sound makes a huge difference. In pairing music with each piece, I’ve found that it helps tell the story & fully completes the animation.

Stop Motion Production Tips

IR: Any nightmares that took way longer than you expected or just didn’t turn out right?

Rachel: Every animation has it’s roadblocks and it always takes longer than expected. Most recently I made a Christmas animation, “Let it Snow”, which I was up until 2am on Christmas Eve creating. I went to bed and wasn’t fully happy with the completed piece. So I woke up & started it over from scratch. I was then up until 4:30am and finally had a completed animation to post the following morning. Even though Christmas day was spent sleeping in bed, my main drive was that this was my way of giving all my followers a gift on Christmas.

IR: What advice do you have for burgeoning stop motion creators?

Rachel: Put your art out there. Don’t just think about it, do it. As stated in one of my earliest animations, “make something & grow.” I never imagined posting my first animation four months ago would lead to all of this.

Stop Motion Marketing

IR: How much has marketing played into your success, versus dedication to creating great content, or are they one and the same?

Rachel: I think they go hand in hand. I wouldn’t have had the success without receiving a number of features. Then I wouldn’t have had those features without hard work and dedication to my craft. I’ve basically been non-stop since I started doodling in August.

IR: The cotton candy video is my favorite. Something about the shadow the candy casts when you set it in the machine at the end. So realistic. Makes me wanna go nom nom nom. Not really a question. Moving on…

Rachel: Aww! Thank you. I also adore the cotton candy one! It was soooo much fun to create! I’m really happy with how it turned out 🙂

IR: What inspires not just your ideas, but how you execute them?

Rachel: I get inspired by everyday experiences, and imagine what could be created that would be easily relatable to my followers. A pot of french press coffee, a project on the sewing machine, a vintage typewriter and so on. These are things that people take photos of, post and love on their own accounts. By creating my animations I first think about what would appeal to the masses.

IR: What’s your shooting schedule like?

Rachel: Late night filming has become the norm in my studio. Due to the lighting in my studio I have to wait until night to film, so I’m typically up working until 2am or 4am in the morning. By the time I’m finished with a piece I’m quite delirious…and whiney. However, I always have the excitement to wake up early the next morning and post it.

IR: Was the etch-a-sketch video, with it’s autobiographical art, a fun departure?

Rachel: Oh man, that animation was a pain. I enjoyed the outcome but the creation and filming was quite the tedious process.

IR: Congrats on the CVS spot. Are you working on any more commercial projects?

Rachel: Yes, I’m excited to be working on a handful of collaborations in 2014!

Stop Motion Stardom

IR: You’ve been featured on Buzzfeed, HuffPost, morning news shows, etc. Do you remember a moment when your account really took off?

Rachel: When my account was featured by Instagram, The Art of Stop Motion, I went from 5,000 followers to over 50,000k in the matter of 3 days. I was overwhelmed with the excitement & my phone died from all the notifications coming through. I will forever be grateful to the Instagram team for the feature, and for creating an app that has truly changed my life.

IR: The typewriter video is directed to your followers (rad idea by the way). Do you make videos off fan suggestions or is it mostly personal inspiration? How important is viewer feedback?

Rachel: I feel cheesy saying this, but my followers mean the world to me. My main inspiration is knowing how many smiles one animation will create. It’s what keeps me going. The amazing support & encouraging comments have been my main drive. I do my best to comment and interact with my audience, though at times it’s hard to keep up. Creating animations like the typewriter allow me to start the conversation, and the responses are a huge help to know what people would like me to create. Come to think of it…maybe I’ll make a new one for this Friday.

IR: What’s your second favorite color?

Rachel: Royal Blue

Stop Motion Is The Best

If you haven’t already (really?!), follow Rachel’s Instagram and visit her at


Born in Southern California, Shawn grew up surfing, eating In-N-Out, and growing his hair long. After graduating with a Liberal Arts degree from CSU Long Beach in 2005 he left the crowded freeways behind and spent the better part of a decade traveling the world living for stretches in Rome, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, and Brooklyn. He writes novels as well as copy, loves learning keyboard shortcuts, and plays his grandpa’s old lap steel guitar. You can hear his band at

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