Created By: BonsaiForest on March 18, 2010
Troped

Unreliable Illustrator

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Page Type:
Trope
Was: Illustration And Text Segregation

What do you call it when the illustration and text in a book don't line up? Like when a character is described one way, but is shown another? I'm pretty sure we don't have this, but I think it might be tropeable.

Examples:
  • In The Elfstones of Shannara, the Dagda Mor, the Big Bad, is a demon that's described in the book as being a vaguely ape-like creature, but in the interior illustration depicting the final battle, he's shown as a typical Black Cloak-and-horns-and-pitchfork devil.
  • In the reissues of the Ramona Quimby books, which feature new illustrations, characters are shown not doing exactly what the text says, or dressed differently from the text.
    • For example, Ramona is said to angrily stomp her bare foot on the floor, but she's shown wearing socks. Another time, she's said to cry and have her tears land on her skirt, but she's shown wearing shorts (perhaps done to accommodate the "modernization" of the books and the changing times).
    • In an example of added detail unrelated to the text, when Ramona is scooping out pumpkin seeds, Beezus is seen looking grossed out. The text makes no mention of Beezus's reaction either way.
  • I don't remember which one, but in one of the Harry Potter books, the chapter illustration shows Snape looking nothing like how he's described in the books (most notably, the illustration shows him with a goatee).
  • The Monster Manual in Dungeons & Dragons 3E features some monsters whose illustrations don't exactly fit their descriptions:
    • The Allip (an undead man) is described as looking just like when it was alive, but with an insane grimace on its face, eyes burning with fear and the lower part of the body blurring into nothingness. The illustration, however, depicts something that look like a vaguely humanoid, tattered black rag without eyes or a face.
    • The undead Bodak is also described as just in life, but with fear on his face, hairless gray skin and empty white eyes. But the illustration goes a little further, turning its skull into something from an X-Files gray alien.
    • And a minor example: The Stone Giant is described as having black eyes, but in the illustration they are pearly white.
  • In The Mighty Thor #499 Thor is in Asgard with three characters named Kim, Annie, and Sylvia. Then Sylvia goes missing...or at least they talk about her going missing but the artist kept drawing her into the panel! Kim's hair and outfit change from panel to panel as well. More here: [1] [2]
Community Feedback Replies: 17
  • March 17, 2010
    MasterGhandalf
    In The Elfstones of Shannara, the Dagda Mor, the Big Bad, is a demon that's described in the book as being a vaguely ape-like creature, but in the interior illustration depicting the final battle, he's shown as a typical Black Cloak-and-horns-and-pitchfork devil.
  • March 17, 2010
    Lullabee
  • March 17, 2010
    BonsaiForest
    A sister trope? Not quite... inside the book, it's the text you often read first, but not always. But when reading a book, the clash is pretty apparent very quickly.
  • March 17, 2010
    randomsurfer
  • March 17, 2010
    BonsaiForest
    Unreliable Illustrator sounds pretty good.

    Any more examples of it?
  • March 17, 2010
    TBTabby
    Street Fighter Legends has Dan narrating a flashback to his fight against Sakura. His narration describes her skills as "adequate" and ends with him allowing her some small semblance of victory. The art, of course, shows what really happened: Sakura beat the crap out of him and literally put him in the hospital.
  • March 17, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    TB Tabby, I think that's mre Unreliable Voiceover
  • March 17, 2010
    BonsaiForest
    That's something different. That's a joke in which the show shows that he's lying.
  • March 17, 2010
    Ye Olde Luke
    Choose Your Own Adventure books do that. The main character is generally a AFGNCAAP, so that the person playing the book can visualize themselves, but if there are pictures he's usually shown as something, like a brown haired boy.
  • March 18, 2010
    BonsaiForest
    Not quite the same. That's filling in missing details... and "you" can't be shown anyway.
  • March 18, 2010
    Evalana
    I don't remember which one, but in one of the Harry Potter books, the chapter illustration shows Snape looking nothing like how he's described in the books (most notably, the illustration shows him with a goatee).
  • March 18, 2010
    Korodzik
    The Monster Manual in Dungeons And Dragons 3E features some monsters whose illustrations don't exactly fit their descriptions. (I'll elaborate later.)
  • March 18, 2010
    BonsaiForest
    Good, we got some starting examples. Any more? And I would like to see your elaboration on those illustrations that clash with the descriptions in D&D.
  • March 18, 2010
    Korodzik
    The Allip (an undead man) is described as looking just like when it was alive, but with an insane grimace on its face, eyes burning with fear and the lower part of the body blurring into nothingness. The illustration, however, depicts something that look like a vaguely humanoid, tattered black rag without eyes or a face.

    The undead Bodak is also described as just in life, but with fear on his face, hairless gray skin and empty white eyes. But the illustration goes a little further, turning its skull into something from an X-Files gray alien.

    And a minor example: The Stone Giant is described as having black eyes, but in the illustration they are pearly white.
  • March 18, 2010
    BonsaiForest
    Awesome. Just added those. Okay, is this ready for launch? It looks like we might end up gathering more examples after the article is started.
  • March 18, 2010
    randomsurfer
    In The Mighty Thor #499 Thor is in Asgard with three characters named Kim, Annie, and Sylvia. Then Sylvia goes missing...or at least they talk about her going missing but the artist kept drawing her into the panel! Kim's hair and outfit change from panel to panel as well. More here: [1] [2]
  • March 18, 2010
    BonsaiForest
    Added that also. Okay, if there are no objections, I'll launch this very soon.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=c0x6plk7x2r3qbxtnl0r0a32