Sketchbook Update: Character Design Shuffle

Vulture Pharmacist Pogo Jumping

Yesterday I took a break from my busy work load to just play around in my sketchbook. I decided to use Stephen Silver’s excellent Character Design Shuffle app (available for iOS and Android). Each time you use the app it picks from several random character traits (gender, occupation, type of animal, emotion, etc.) to build a character assignment for you to draw. I spun the virtual wheel and was given the following words:

Pogo Jumping

So yes, this drawing was totally random…and totally fun!

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.