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The Pudding


Warning: may contain offensive images

This project features real-time drawings that are mostly unmoderated from random internet people like you. While we have algorithmic checks in place to mitigate offensive material, nothing is perfect!

For a few weeks in the Spring of 2024, readers took turns tracing the previous person’s drawing to make a flipbook-style animation. The result was 22,454 drawings.

Screenshot of the tracing interface
Screenshot of the tracing interface

We set out with a singular focus; make the longest collaborative flipbook animation ever. We ended up creating 25 different animations. The initial experiment ran for the majority of the period, resulting in an eight-minute video composed of 5,760 drawings. Watch it below.

The longest collaborative flipbook animation

The second experiment involved creating a 30-second animation, repeated four times with the same starting image, to compare how they evolved. We did this for six different starting images (24 total animations). You can scrub through frame-by-frame results below.

Starting image:



But wait, there’s more! We ran a secret experiment in an attempt to observe the online disinhibition effect. Our theory: people would be more inclined to draw inappropriate images (i.e., penises) with no personal information attached to their submissions. Why? Without fail, any free-form drawing project on the internet yields phallic imagery. Despite our best algorithmic efforts to thwart these from surfacing, you will still notice two exemplary moments if you watch the video above closely. We wanted to quantify this tendency.

To test the effect, people were asked to add their name for recognition or get notified when the flipbook results were ready. We split the group in two; half were prompted to draw a circle confirming they were a human before being asked for their information (name, phone number, or email), the other half were prompted to draw after we had their info.

The results were…surprisingly mild. We had 5,899 participants; 3,308 submitted a drawing before giving their information, and 2,591 after. The results for both groups were similar. Our conclusion was that most likely the experiment was flawed. Regardless of the order of the prompts, people knew personal information was about to be collected. While the disinhibition effect wasn’t significant, the lack of subversiveness in general was quite surprising. Despite accepting all forms of drawing attempts, 99.2% of people still adhered to the prompt by attempting a proper circle.

a selection of circles from the secret experiment
a selection of circles from the secret experiment

Our small rebellious group yielded a meager four probable penises, some non-circle geometric shapes, hearts, flowers, human figures, and various other doodles.

a selection of non-circles from the secret experiment
a selection of non-circles from the secret experiment

That’s all for the recap. If you want to go deeper about what it all means and learn about other aspects of the experiments, check out the deep-dive conversation our team had reviewing the results.

Our team discusses what we learned


  • Why?

    This is essentially an experiment in generation loss; how will the original drawing mutate as it is traced by more and more people?

  • Who made this?

    Russell Samora with assists from Alvin Chang and Jan Diehm. Send an email to with questions or issues.

  • Will this really be the longest collaborative animation ever?

    There have been many crowd-sourced projects where people draw random sections of an animation (e.g., Johnny Cash Project, The Free Movie) where contributions can be done synchronously. This is different because frames are drawn in succession, dependent on the previous one. In that sense, I like our odds.

  • Accessibility statement

    We try to make our projects accessible to as many people as possible. However, this project relies on visual input and hand-eye coordination to accurately trace drawings, so it can’t be used by individuals who are blind or have serious visual impairments. We recognize this limitation and understand that it may not be accessible to everyone. We apologize for any exclusion this may cause and appreciate your understanding.