Friday, April 11, 2014


Today's FIND is an app I came across this past January called Flash Face. The intended market for the app, according to the app website, was police sketch artists, but I've found it to be surprisingly useful in my creative writing.

Flash Face is available for download to both Apple and Android devices if you're interested in owning it in either the free (limited) app, or the paid full versions (there are two separate mobile versions-- one for sketching males and one for females). However, if you simply want to give it a test run, you can play around with it online here.

The app I purchased from iTunes isn't perfect-- it could use MANY more hairstyles and jaw options, as well as the size and opacity manipulations available to the online version-- but it has still been a ton of fun to use. I've already sketched out several of the characters in my completed YA manuscript, POTHOLES ON THE ROAD TO NIRVANA. For example, this is the image of Jason, one of the main characters in that story, I've had in my head for years:

I can't even begin to tell you how enjoyable it was to finally give that mental image tangible form. And now that I'm using the app for my new WIP, I'm finding it to be not only satisfying but seriously helpful.

Exploring all the ways a character's personality comes through in her facial features has helped me delve deep inside even the more minor sidekicks. The simple act of choosing the perfect eyebrows, for instance, forces me to think about whether a character would have dainty, pencil-drawn brows, or big, burly ones. Would her general expression be hardened and angry, soft and kind, sarcastic or bemused? The brows say it all. Deciding which set is the perfect fit is a fabulous way to put detailed thought into the who and why of each character.

The mobile version of the app that I bought for my iPad allows me to play around with it whenever and wherever I get a chance-- on the couch, in the car*, at the DMV. . . give me ten minutes, and character development is mine! The purchased app has also given me the ability to save and import my finished images into Scrivener for easy reference while writing, but even if you're not interested in spending your hard-earned cash, I urge you to give Flash Face a go for free online with one of your more mysterious characters in mind. You never know what developmental surprises might be waiting to be discovered.

Be sure to let me know what you think of the app in the comments below, or on Facebook or Twitter because I'd love to know. And tune in two weeks from now for my next great FIND.

Until then, be on the lookout for your own favorite new things, and drop me a line if you find any I should try!

*NOT while driving, of course! Only when parked.

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