Breathing Life into Imaginary Worlds

Stop-motion animation at MS 254 in The Bronx

A diverse cast of characters

Creating a short animated video is a whole lot of fun. It’s also a whole lot of work. Bringing a few seconds of animated video to life requires hours of planning, patience, and persistence.

In this Creative Art Works’ after-school program, students learned the many skills needed to bring their creative vision to life. Beginning with lessons in basic anatomy, they designed their own characters, first drawing skeletons in charcoal, then adding muscles in oil pastel, and finally giving their characters distinctive faces and costumes. The next step was to replicate this drawing process in 3-D, building armatures of wire and then adding colored plasticine to build posable figures.

The characters produced in this program included ordinary people, animals, space aliens, robots, and a jail-breaking tomato.

Going Old-School: Once their characters were modeled, students built shoebox sets for their characters to inhabit. Only after these sets were completed could the painstaking task of animation begin. Unlike CGI where computers take care of placing the characters in a virtual environment and generate all the “in-betweens,” claymation is completely hands on. The plasticine figures are moved in tiny increments, using rulers and cardboard guides to keep track of relative positions.

The animated GIF’s were presented to the entire school during a culminating event at the end of the last class. videos,


View the Animations


With animation, you start with a germ of an idea, and bit by bit, you make it real. That’s very exciting for a kid. My students were amazed by what they could do, and we had so much fun!
— Liza Cuco, CAW Teaching Artist

Fox on the Run

Dancing at a Birthday Party

Skeleton Dog Saves the Day

Tomato Attempts to Break out of Refrigerator

The Stop Motion Animation program at MS 254 is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and Council Member Ritchie Torres.