I'm putting up this thread in case anyone else might find some use in this, but if not feel free to delete it or whatever. I personally have not heard of this anywhere else, but I might be wrong.
Anyway, this is for anyone who has trouble coming up with character concepts and designs. For myself, it always seemed I could come up with a concept for a character, but never a good design for clothes and whatnot (until I ordered Marko's DVD, that is ). But I stumbled upon this little technique of mine when I was actually just goofing off and making fun of my friend's laptop (it's atrocious...).
This is a character concept exercise for anyone who wants to practice coming up with cool characters 'on the fly'. This seems to be an offshoot of the brainstorming method when it comes to character ideation, but sometimes I know I want to draw a character but have no clue where to start! So this is the idea: pick a random household appliance and try to personify it. It seems the more complex it is the easier it is to personify. You can use this to come up with a character personality, and if you think enough about it you can come up with a design as well! Yes, I know it's kind of 'wtf', but seriously, I've never laughed so hard at a computer before in my life until doing this. That might be a bad thing, but...
Anyway, my example will be my friend's computer. It's a laptop that's about 4-5 years old, loaded with viruses and has inadequate RAM for the programs he tries to run on it. So while his computer was being retarded, I dedcided to give it a persona. Why? I dunno, I must have been bored. But damn if I didn't make a pretty cool character out of it. So, when I pictured his computer, I invisioned this crazy old man, with a super long scraggly beard (because his PC is old and unkempt), and with a crap-load of random stuff on his back (because he has a lot of random junk on his PC). His clothes are all full of holes, and he's crawling with bugs of random sorts (for all the viruses and such), and he has a little piece of cloth wrapped around his arm (for the very inadequate virus protection). He falls asleep constantly and forgets just about everything (because when you try to do much on the PC it freezes up), as well as wanting to do random things rather than what you want to do. "You want to check your e-mail, you say? Well, I think I'm going to go play Spore..." (because that actually DID happen. It was messed up. O_o). He's very disorganized, and constantly coughing on everyone (I think he's given a few other people viruses through chat lol). Depending on what's on my friend's PC determines his interests (I think my friend had a porn downloader trojan, so it's probably mostly porn right now). We're continuesly updating him depending on what happens to the PC, too. I gave my friend a brand new antivirus, which is a really good antivirus, so I pictured this frail, old man that can't do more than one thing at a time, and even then performs the task slowly (not very much RAM, you see), with giant, full-plate armor, tower shield, and a greatsword. The armor comes with the ability to summon walls of fire, as well. And apparently he's always happy, too.
While I said earlier that it seems easier to use more complex things to personify, you can use simple ones as well. Another thing I did was a booklight. Not very complex, but still. I pictured it as a spotlight tower guard that likes to read, but still pays attention to his job most of the time (the lightbulb flickers sometimes, it's really annoying lol). Unfortunately the button that kept it off broke, so it had to stay on constantly. I just pictured that he was working himself to death, after that. Maybe he has to make more money for his wife and son, or maybe some prisoners had escaped and he has to stay on 24 hour duty to make sure no one else gets out while the others go on a hunt for the escapees!
I think this is a good exercise for anyone who's kind of stuck in a creative rut when it comes to character ideation, and also for people that are good at it already to make their skills even better. Plus it's just fun to give your appliances personalities, and then telling your friends that have no clue what you're doing all about this 'old man that's completely incompetent and crazy'.
Anyway, I hope someone can find some use in this. I'll try to post more methods and other interesting tidbits I've found if anyone wants me to post some more tidbits I've found on and been reading on lately, I will. Again, sorry if this a repost or something I just thought I'd like to share it and hope it's not, lol.
If anyone has any other tips or anything on it, feel free to post!