When Rachel Ryle worked as the marketing director for Boulder-based Ubooly Inc. -- a maker of an educational stuffed animal toy that is powered by a smart phone or tablet -- the job allowed for plenty of creativity.

As Ryle managed the outreach and social media efforts for the startup, she helped to craft a personality for the colorful, fluffy creature. She would tweet as the Ubooly character and also write letters to kids on behalf of the toy.

And with a little help from Instagram's video app, she helped bring Ubooly to two-dimensional life.

In the 15-second video, Ryle's hand quickly doodles the small, bear-like Ubooly and drapes its in orange with a push of the finger. To the side, she pulls a cartoon iPhone and drops it into the sleeping cartoon creature that then awakes and plays music upon request.

The light-hearted stop-motion animation sketches -- something that started as a hobby -- not only became a signature of Ryle, but it also spawned a business.

This fall, Ryle left Ubooly to found Don't Stop Motion, a one-woman animation shop. Within two and a half months after the company's founding, Ryle's Don't Stop Motion has landed 15 to 20 clients including Volkswagen, WhiteWave Foods, mywedding.com and various fashion designers.

"I'm finding that the need for my art is being spread out in different ways," Ryle said.

Ryle had dabbled in stop-motion videos since July, after the popular photo-sharing website launched its video application. Curious of what she could do with the technology, Ryle crafted a video of a bike ride around Boulder and followed that up with a 15-second shot of her drawing the Instagram logo from scratch.

After spending nights and weekends in creating more drawings and perfecting the craft, she built up a portfolio of quirky and fun stop-motion animations on her personal Instagram profile. The drawings range from the iconic Flatirons in Boulder emerging from rain to the trimming of a Christmas tree that incorporated 3-D garland and lights.

The "likes" and comments she received -- which vaulted from dozens to hundreds and thousands after Instagram highlighted her account -- helped to push her further.

Rachel Ryle, an illustrator who specializes in stop-motion animations, shows some of her animation characters and the iPhone for making the animations at
Rachel Ryle, an illustrator who specializes in stop-motion animations, shows some of her animation characters and the iPhone for making the animations at her studio in Boulder. ( DAVID R JENNINGS )

"I didn't know I was onto something, and I was loving it," she said.

Ryle previously integrated her art into companies she co-founded such as My Space or Yours, which provided layouts for MySpace profiles, and Tweety Got Back, which specialized in similar services for Twitter profile backdrops.

In a later role with Threadless, Ryle helped to incorporate the T-shirt company's designs into Xbox's avatar shop.

"In that chapter, I really developed the understanding of partnerships and the importance and power of collaboration," she said.

But it wasn't until she landed with Ubooly and developed the animations on the side that Ryle said she "fell into" her passion.

As Ryle's Instagram sketches gained in popularity, her Don't Stop Motion grew by word-of-mouth.

"I actually heard about Rachel from a designer that we have done some work with," Meghan Schoen, vice president of marketing for wedding planning site mywedding.com, said via an email interview with the Daily Camera. "I checked out her Instagram and instantly knew that we were a perfect match. She is incredibly unique and innovative. More importantly, she creates art for the sole purpose of inspiring others."

Ryle sketched a walk-through of mywedding.com for bridal users of the wedding planning website. After the quick video was posted on mywedding.com's home page, the company saw a 300-user increase in its Instagram fanbase, Schoen said.

"We were looking at how to encapsulate our site in a way that went above and beyond a traditional tutorial," she wrote. "We believe wedding planning is an adventure where couples turn the things they love into something that their friends and family can see as a tangible expression of who they are.

"This video is the symbol of that adventure, its details, and the uniqueness of every couple's journey to wedded bliss."

The animation process -- including the stages of conceptualization, illustration and production -- takes about five to 10 hours. If Ryle makes a mistake, she has to scrap the animation and start from scratch.

The end result typically plays out over a matter of seconds.

"It's a tedious and patient process, but it's worth it in the end," she said.

Ryle's goals for 2014 involve the expansion of her business to include different types of illustrations and art projects. Additionally, she hopes to bring on other animators and illustrators who have unique approaches of their own.

Contact Camera Business Writer Alicia Wallace at 303-473-1332 or wallacea@dailycamera.com.