Character Design Shuffle App


A popular exercise for cartoonists and character designers is to randomly pick from a list of characteristics (occupations, personality types, animal types, emotions, etc.) and then sketch a cartoon character based on them. Some artists, such as Chris Ayers, actually keep a Ziploc bag full of little slips of paper with such traits written on them. They pull out a few and then sketch a character that matches whatever combo they get. After reading one of Chris Ayers’ books I created my own ziploc bag, which I blogged about here.

Stephen Silver recently released a terrific iOS app called “Character Design Shuffle” (iTunes link), which takes this concept into the digital age. Simply select from a group of categories, hit the “Shuffle” button, and then draw the results that pop up. It’s a terrific tool and in hindsight its amazing someone didn’t come up with this idea sooner.


I’ve had the app on my phone for a few weeks but have been so slammed with work that I didn’t get a chance to try it out until this morning. The app gave me this description: “Female, Weasel, Doctor, Scurrying, Devastated”. The above warm-up sketch is the result.