Cheyenne: Evolution of a Character Design

About three years ago (yeesh, has it been that long?), my then-boss pulled me and several other staff artists into a room and plopped a My Little Pony in front of us. He told us that we were going to bid on a project about a pop-star Candyland princess, and that we needed to create designs based around the girliest, most disgustingly hot pink toys we could imagine. Sounded like fun, so we were off and running.

My first round of designs looked like this:

"Too much princess, not enough pop star," came the response. They told me to back off on the candy theme (no pink hair, alas) and push the stylized look. My next round came out looking like this:

"Lose the crown altogether, and make her edgier." Edgy is probably the single most annoying word that any designer can hear, because it means completely different things to different people. For some, edgy is just about more black and sharp corners; for others, it's just showing them something they've never seen before. In any case, it's a completely unhelpful term that should be banished from all discussion of art forever (yes, I do feel that strongly about it), so I just randomly picked a new approach to my next set of designs: 80s Barbie + Chris Sanders face =

They liked that: "More Chris Sanders!" This time, however, they wanted more of an early Britney Spears, that sort of unwitting sexpot, so I turned the outfit pink and the undies white, gave her some tousled hair and voila:

Now they were really loving the character, but the style was still too classic Disney (I can't help it!), so they encouraged me to really push the design as far as I could while maintaining the cute/sexy attitude. Since pigtails say "cute" to me and big boobs and a big round butt says "sexy," I combined those elements, used the Coppertone girl as inspiration for the pose, and turned out this:

This ended the design phase, so we then hastily put together an animation test and presented it for consideration. We won the bid, and went into production on Cheyenne Cinnamon and the Fantabulous Unicorn of Sugar Town Candy Fudge for Adult Swim. The final design was not created by me, but was a collaboration by my talented friends Todd Redner and Eric Cerda:

I'd like to think that I influenced the design in some way, but regardless, participating in the design process was a nifty experience, and helped tremendously when I later helped design for other show pitches. If those shows ever make it to air *crosses fingers* I'll make sure to post the prelim work again!


  1. I think that your work and everyone involved had a huge influence on what became the final design. It definately was a team design. thank you for all of your hard work.


  2. I love the designs. Looking forward to seeing some from the other projects you've mentioned. And I understand your frustrations with the word "edgy". I work mostly with ideas and characters for educational projects and the word "cute" carries much the same meaninglessness.