Funline Animation was started by Helena Giersz in 1997 at the corner of Bleecker and Broadway in New York City. First clients were: Nickelodeon, Disney, Scholastic A&E and others. In 1999, based on one of my Nick ID, I was asked to design a new show for Nick Jr. at that time called “Nina’s Pop-up Puzzle”, a show that later became known worldwide as “Dora the Explorer”

PARAMOUNT+ expands kids and family programming with new slate of films and series from NICKELODEON STUDIOS

New Series Include “Dora The Explorer” as well as the First Live-Action
“Dora The Explorer” Series Geared Towards Older Kids.
Read more at [ Link from NickAlive! ]


In 1998 I was asked to design characters for Nick Jr’s new show: “Nina the pop-up puzzle” …later known as “Dora the Explorer”. I was told that the show was supposed to be done as a simple 3-D animation, so my first characters had shading on them and a lot of gradient colors. When I found out later that the show is going to be done in 2D, I had to simplifi all the characters and make them look more flat.


I remember a funny story when Val (one of the creators of Dora) came to my studio on Bleecker Street in New York City and looking at the first animatic for the first episode, said:  I like it a lot but I have one question, can we have Benny just turn around on that bike so he could face the camera?… and I was like:  “no we can’t just do it on the computer, we would have to redraw it”… 


Then I started thinking of getting 3-D programs for my studio computers. After working on some short 3-D animations, I realised it was very expensive and also it took a very long time at the time to render even one frame.


Now 20 years later I  can actually turn that Benny around, no problem without having to redraw it:) Last year I was asked to work on Dora again!  In the middle of quarantine, through a zoom meeting  which was so new to me:) But still at the meeting with the Nickelodeon team I was asked to work on Dora again! 


…at first my new 3-D characters were made with 3-D fur but because of budget  requirements all fur characters had to be redone, so now they have stylized fur.  But I think they still look pretty great!  

Anyway, now I know that all the characters are finally going to stay on model throughout the whole show! Also I have the opportunity to dress them up more and add some more details. Dora could have her more grown-up bracelet and other characters can have more details and finally have their gradient colors after all these years!