Inconsistent Coloring
The colors used for characters change often, either due to Art Evolution or not.
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(permanent link) added: 2011-07-14 20:42:52 sponsor: Pichukun edited by: Pichu-kun (last reply: 2013-12-06 02:08:05)

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Hi. I decided to take over this one, considering it up for grabs since the original sponsor for this hasn't edited this since its creation or participated in the discussion. Just a heads up for those curious. - Bakazuki

Possible Alternate Titles: None so Far
Indexes: Comic Book Tropes, Consistency
Trope Relationships: Depending on the Artist?


Action Alice is a popular comic book superhero with a loyal fanbase. They just can't get enough of her action-packed adventures, running around town in a red leotard with brown tights, blue boots and gloves, and a yellow cape. Apparently there's going to be a very special crossover with popular superhero Badass Bob, which has fans very excited! They eagerly flock out to stores to pick up this crossover issue.

But wait, something's amiss. Action Alice is there, but... is her cape red? Wasn't it supposed to be yellow?

Action Alice's more observant fans have just stumbled upon an instance of inconsistent coloring.

It may be due to various artists. Maybe publishing issues. Maybe they're retconning or deliberately redesigning an outfit from here on out. Maybe They Just Didn't Care. Regardless, sometimes characters' colors aren't consistent from one moment to the next, whether it's a very notable miscoloration in one panel, or consistently recolored across an entire issue. It's typically small details, such as eye color, but more major details, like hair color or costume colors, can be changed too.

This is particularly prevalent in comics, including western comic books, newspaper comics, manga and webcomics, but can happen with other media as well. Frequently due to different artists but can also be due to retcons or just the artist being Off Model


Examples:

    Anime And Manga 
  • Wandering Son characters rarely had a stationary color in colored artwork; even within the same volume would the colors change. Though eventually the manga decided on certain colors.
  • There are quite a few Clamp-related examples of this.
    • Yuuko and Watanuki's eyes have been just about every color of the spectrum.
    • Kamui from X1999, whose eyes have been blue, green, and purple in various pieces of artwork.
  • Miracle Girls's mangaka lampshades this, saying that the different colors were problems made from the publishing process.
  • In Sherlock Hound, Moriarty's minion Smiley is green in the six episodes directed by Hayao Miyazaki, and brown in the other twenty episodes.
  • The colored art for Sangatsu No Lion portray the Kawamoto sisters with either black hair or brunette hair. Typically, the more detailed pieces, like the ones used for volume covers, will use brunette.
  • While the covers of Ranma usually consistently show Male Ranma with black hair (though the highlight color may vary), Female Ranma's hair bounces off between black, brown, red, pink, purple, and blue.
  • Ino from Naruto has been depicted with both Blue Eyes and Green Eyes in the manga.
  • In Sherlock Hound, Moriarty's minion Smiley is green in the six episodes directed by Hayao Miyazaki, and brown in the other twenty episodes.

    Comics 
  • In The Incredible Hulk's first appearance he's gray; then from the 2nd issue on he's green (and is shown to be green in Flash Backs to the first issue). Much later it's re-retconned back to him being gray at first.
  • Triumph, in DC's Trinity miniseries, was drawn with at least four different hair colors... and they weren't similar. He started out blue, popped up with red and brown, and finally ended back where belonged at blonde.

    Films 
  • In The Lion King, Nala's eyes can be seen as changing from blue to green. In TLKSNA, her eyes are gold, and finally, in Simba's Pride, her eyes are an electric blue.
  • In Mulan, Mulan's armor is mostly seen as green but also as blue and brown later in the movie.

    Literature 

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Since most Newspaper Comics are printed in black and white, this trope can happen if a colored version is available. This can be seen in Garfield, where the house interior and appliances are not defined color-wise. Even Jon's outfit changes colors sometimes.
  • In some Peanuts color Sunday strips Charlie Brown's trademark yellow shirt is a dark red, or green, or something else.

    Video Games 
  • Occurs frequently in the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise as a whole.
    • Sonic the Comic had problems with eye colors. Tails went through a retcon from Brown Eyes to his games Blue Eyes (though even then certain covers showed him with Brown Eyes), Porker's eyes changed from brown to blue and back, and Sonic eventually got a retcon into having Green Eyes once he turned blue. The fan-comic Sonic The Comic Online isn't much better, as fans often switch between the Fleetway colors and game colors.
    • At times Sonic the Hedgehog colored the characters eyes, especially right before the Sonic Adventure retcons. The eye colors changed at times. Also Amy had Violet Eyes at the beginning of the Adventures arc, instead of her game Green Eyes.
    • Sonic's eyelids have varied wildly depending on the adaptation. In the original games, they were flesh-colored, although the number of times Sonic blinked to illustrate that could be counted on both hands. Archie went with blue; Fleetway originally had flesh-colored (I think?), but went to blue as well. Then Adventure introduced the redesign, and made the flesh-colored eyelids even more noticeable, prompting the relevant change in both comics. Finally, when Sonic X rolled around, the eyelids were made blue again, but this time the change carried over into the games as well, which has stuck ever since. This can be somewhat surreal in Sonic Generations, where Classic Sonic retains the flesh-colored eyelids but Modern Sonic has the current blue ones.

     Western Animation 
  • In The Tick, one episode has the defective superheroes gathered in a room. A continuity error or just sloppy coloring keeps depicting American Maid as alternating from black-stockinged legs to bare legs and back again, even though she is just sitting there and has neither time nor a plot reason to keep whipping her stockings on and off.
  • In The X's, Tuesday's hair changes color from episode to episode. Not sure whether this is an actual mistake or whether it's just a tendency of Tuesday's to dye her hair a lot.
  • There's an intentional example in Yakkity Yak with Professor Crazyhair, whose hair constantly changes color. It's a rather fitting name.
  • When Speed Buggy and friends crossed over with Scooby-Doo, Speedy's pal Mark had a much darker skin tone than how he was normally shown.
  • In the Classic Disney Shorts, Butch the Bulldog is grey with a darker grey muzzle and white belly, but in Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, he's brown with a tan colored muzzle and belly.
  • In on episode of The Charlie Brown And Snoopy Show, Linus' blanket is colored green instead of light blue. Hand Waved by a voice-over of Lucy saying that "My brother's got a stupid new blanket."
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