Created By: Tallens on November 9, 2013 Last Edited By: Tallens on January 17, 2014
Troped

Photo Doodle Recognition

Someone realizes an old photo is of someone they know by drawing features on it.

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Trope
Photography and Illustration, Plot Twist


This is when someone has an old photograph of someone they don't know, looking through old albums, yearbooks, or in someone's collection of stuff, but there's something familiar about it. Then they start to draw on it, glasses or a hat, scars or some sort of distinctive feature, and find that, holy crap, they do know this person!

They have changed the photo of them as they looked years ago to look more like their contemporary selves.

This can also be done with other types of pictures. The main idea is that someone starts with an image and adds features so the person in it becomes recognizable. Often used as The Reveal.

Examples

Anime and Manga
  • In Ranma , when Principal Kuno is introduced, he shows a large picture of his long-lost son who is shaved bald in the picture. Ranma promptly uses a paintbrush to paint hair on the head - confirming the son's identity as Tatewaki Kuno.

Comic Book
  • In one pre-Crisis story, Superman is to be featured on a postage stamp. He goes to great lengths to make sure that a side shot of him is chosen, rather than a full-face view, because if the stamp was postmarked in a town with a double-O in its name, the letters might land on his face in such a way that they resemble a pair of glasses, which might give away his secret identity. Presumably kids in the DC universe never doodle glasses and mustaches on newspaper photos, which might also be a bit of a clue.
  • In one Golden Age Batman, Bruce Wayne realises that a new playboy in town and the master thief he is hunting are one and the same when Dick Grayson doodles a moustache and goatee on a picture of the playboy in the newspaper.

Film
  • Tangled: Flynn is easily recognized from his wanted poster after a character uses their hand to cover the ridiculous and inaccurate Cleopatra Nose.
  • In the live-action adaptation of the film Mr. Magoo, Mr. Magoo infiltrates an auction for criminals by disgusing himself with black hair and a moustache. He is discovered when Austin Cloquet sees a photo of Mr. Magoo in a newspaper and draws in black hair and a moustache on his photo.
  • After Woody is taken in Toy Story 2, the other toys are conducting an "investigation", with Etch drawing a sketch of the guy who took him. When Buzz asks him to draw the man in a chicken suit, everyone gasps as they recognize Big Al, the owner of Al's Toy Barn toy stores.

Literature
  • In The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes recognizes the Big Bad from a series of Baskerville family portraits, and demonstrates to Watson by putting his arm over the hat and period costume. Now seeing only the facial features, Watson sees the similarity at once ( which gives them the motive, the Big Bad is the son of the Baskerville Black Sheep, and so is set to inherit the manor if the current owner dies).
  • In Time Scout, Skeeter Jackson uses this to show that a few missing people went downtime to the Old West disguised as a caballero, a fancy lady, and a porter headed for a shooting competition.

Live-Action TV
  • In the French series Largo Winch, Largo recognizes an attacker as someone who tried to murder him earlier by adding glasses and removing his stubble from the police sketch.

Web Original
  • After his review of The Wizard, The Nostalgia Critic was going through its young stars, dismayed to find that each one didn't have their careers ruined by it, until he came to the kid playing the eponymous wizard. Staring at the kid's picture, he drew a pair of glasses and realized he grew up to become The Angry Video Game Nerd, which provoked a pronounced reaction. This is a subversion though, in that the Nerd (James Rolfe) really didn't star in that movie (the actor was Luke Edwards), and the similarity is just coincidence.
  • In S.S.D.D Captain Adams draws a shako on a picture of Norman's lawyer, Gary Heart, making him look like the notorious Anarchist leader Jack Heart, whom they figured was a descendant.

Western Animation
  • Once when Drake Mallard was flipping through his high school yearbook on Darkwing Duck Goslyn thought the science nerd in his class looked strangely familiar and started drawing on it. Drake was initially irate, until she showed him that he'd actually gone to school with Megavolt.
  • In Batman: Mask of the Phantasm Bruce Wayne realizes a gangster in an old picture is the Joker after drawing his trademark grin on it.
  • Subverted in China, IL, when Baby Cakes kidnaps five professors, among them is his dad, because he thinks they're witches and wizards and locks them in his basement, the news reports their disappearances and people are lead to believe a serial killer is loose among the college. When the police releases a sketch of the suspect which is basically a face of a generic hairless person, Baby Cakes fails to realize that's him and thinks a wizard is killing the people that looks like his prisoners. He is lead to believe it was Steve after setting a square bottle on the wanted poster that leaves a stain on the eye of the face which inspires Baby Cakes to draw a pair of glasses and hair on the side.
  • In Batman: The Animated Series, season 2 episode 18, "Make 'em Laugh", Joker is discovered to be the one responsible for brainwashing famous comedians into committing crimes when Alfred shows Batman and Robin a video tape of the previous Gotham Comedy Competition. When one of the contestants look familiar, Batman edited the video to have that contestant have Joker's hair and eyes.
  • An episode of Dexter's Laboratory has Dee-Dee showing Dexter that he is a were-clown by taking a newspaper picture of the clown and drawing Dexter's glasses, hair, lab coat and boots over it.
Community Feedback Replies: 17
  • November 10, 2013
    Chabal2
    • In the French series Largo Winch, Largo recognizes an attacker as someone who tried to murder him earlier by adding glasses and removing his stubble from the police sketch.
    • In The Hound Of The Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes recognizes the Big Bad from a series of Baskerville family portraits, and demonstrates to Watson by putting his arm over the hat and period costume. Now seeing only the facial features, Watson sees the similarity at once (which gives them the motive, the Big Bad is the son of the Baskerville Black Sheep, and so is set to inherit the manor if the current owner dies).
  • November 20, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    The first thing I can think of is Tangled, where Flynn is easily recognized from his wanted poster after a character uses their hand to cover the ridiculous and inaccurate Cleopatra Nose.

    I'm sure there's other examples. I just haven't thought of them yet.
  • November 22, 2013
    Tallens
    ^I suppose that works. I started this with drawing on photos in mind, but I guess the main thing is that there's a picture of some sort and someone does something to make it recognizable.
  • November 22, 2013
    MrRuano
    Nostalgia Critic played with this at the end of his review of The Wizard. As he mentioned what became most of the cast of that movie (and realizing that despite the poor setting of the movie, everyone involved eventually got to be relatively successful), he decided to ask what of the little kid who was the main character. As he looks at the picture, he decides to draw in some glasses and a pocket protector. He then realizes who it is with a great shout, "NEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRD!!"
    • It should be noted, though, that the Nerd really didn't star in that movie, and the similarity is just coincidence.
  • November 22, 2013
    MaxWest
    In Ranma One Half, when Principal Kuno is introduced, he shows a large picture of his long-lost son who is shaved bald in the picture. Ranma promptly uses a paintbrush to paint hair on the head - confirming the son's identity as Tatewaki Kuno.
  • November 22, 2013
    Tallens
    ^^Already had that up there, except the little tidbit about the actors.
  • November 30, 2013
    zarpaulus
    • In SSDD Captain Adams draws a shako on a picture of Norman's lawyer, Gary Heart, making him look like the notorious Anarchist leader Jack Heart, whom they figured was a descendant.
  • November 30, 2013
    Tuckerscreator
    Got this from the Clark Kenting page.

    • In one pre-Crisis story, Superman is to be featured on a postage stamp. He goes to great lengths to make sure that a side shot of him is chosen, rather than a full-face view, because if the stamp was postmarked in a town with a double-O in its name, the letters might land on his face in such a way that they resemble a pair of glasses, which might give away his secret identity. Presumably kids in the DC universe never doodle glasses and mustaches on newspaper photos, which might also be a bit of a clue.
  • November 30, 2013
    notShemp
    Western Animation:
    • Subverted in China IL, when Baby Cakes kidnaps five professors, among them is his dad, because he thinks they're witches and wizards and locks them in his basement, the news reports their disappearances and people are lead to believe a serial killer is loose among the college. When the police releases a sketch of the suspect which is basically a face of a generic hairless person, Baby Cakes fails to realize that's him and thinks a wizard is killing the people that looks like his prisoners. He is lead to believe it was Steve after setting a square bottle on the wanted poster that leaves a stain on the eye of the face which inspires Baby Cakes to draw a pair of glasses and hair on the side.
  • November 30, 2013
    surgoshan
    • In Time Scout, Skeeter Jackson shows that a few missing people went downtime to the Old West disguised as a caballero, a fancy lady, and a porter headed for a shooting competition.
  • December 26, 2013
    notShemp
    • In the live-action adaptation of the film Mr Magoo, Mr. Magoo infiltrates an auction for criminals by disgusing himself with black hair and a moustache. He is discovered when Austin Cloquet sees a photo of Mr. Magoo in a newspaper and draws in black hair and a moustache on his photo.
  • December 27, 2013
    foxley
    In one Golden Age Batman, Bruce Wayne realises that a new playboy in town and the master thief he is hunting are one and the same when Dick Grayson doodles a moustache and goatee on a picture of the playboy in the newspaper.
  • December 27, 2013
    notShemp
    • In Batman The Animated Series, season 2 episode 18, "Make 'em Laugh", Joker is discovered to be the one responsible for brainwashing famous comedians into committing crimes when Alfred shows Batman and Robin a video tape of the previous Gotham Comedy Competition. When one of the contestants look familiar, Batman edited the video to have that contestant have Joker's hair and eyes.
  • January 4, 2014
    Tallens
    Could use a few more examples.
  • January 10, 2014
    Tallens
    One hat away. More examples?
  • January 12, 2014
    Tallens
    Got the hats, anything else before launching?
  • January 14, 2014
    HellKillUsAll
    An episode of Dexters Laboratory has Dee-Dee showing Dexter that he is a were-clown by taking a newspaper picture of the clown and drawing Dexter's glasses, hair, lab coat and boots over it.
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