A common power for many one shot villains and examples of Monster of the Week
, Art Initiates Life is where a character can quite literally change their artworks into real versions of whatever they depict. Usually using some rare MacGuffin
or Advanced Phlebotinum
, this most often happens with a character bringing their paintings or drawings from canvas to reality, possibly using some form of a magic crayon, but can also cover various other forms of art include sculptors bringing various statues to life.
This is also not always a wanted side effect of these drawings, as in some series there have been instances where a character with this ability was not aware that there was actually an effect. A villainous character whose method is this may well be a Mad Artist
or in games, a Mook Maker
for a level or area.
Compare with Rewriting Reality
, where the written word becomes real. See also Portal Picture
, Art Attacker
. Not to be confused with The Red Stapler
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Anime and Manga
- Guilmon of Digimon Tamers was brought to life when his tamer's fanart of him got scanned through a digivice.
- An early episode of InuYasha had an artist who used magical sumi ink, made with human livers and powered by a jewel shard, to create paintings of demons that came to life.
- Haruna in Mahou Sensei Negima! has this in the form of a special notepad, pen and inkwell. Her creations start out looking incredibly over-the-top and goofy, but later along the line start looking like something you'd see in Final Fantasy.
- Sai from Naruto specializes in this. Most of his combat techniques involve drawing fantastical creatures with ink on his artbook and bringing them to life to do his bidding.
- This is a major plot point in DN Angel: A man named Hikari sold his soul to the devil to gain the ability to give life to his artwork. The power drove him insane, but gave birth to the cursed objects Dark steals in the series,as well as Dark himself . Satoshi is the descendant of the original Hikari, and has these powers as well.
- The first episode of Mushishi involves drawings coming to life.
- A Chinese artist in Ranma ½, whose clan is famous for paintings that can trap spirits on the canvas... until some jerk comes by and releases them. And this particular artist is terrible at his work.
- Ikkyu, the leader of the I-Jin in Read or Die, has this ability.
- Reedus from Fairy Tail can use "picto magic" to bring anything he draws (usually on his body, which has quite a lot of surface) into reality. So can the members of a dark guild "Red Hood", even using multiple images at once for greater effect, but they use notebooks to sketch on, and pencils instead of paint.
- Nagu from Arata Kangatari has a hayagami that brings anything drawn with it to life. Including his dead little sister.
- In the Magical Girl show Fancy Lala, Lala has a magical pen and sketchbook that she mostly uses to create new clothes for her disguises. In one episode, her experimenting with it creates a very small cat. It ends up being a Tear Jerker.
- There's a very cruel inversion in Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas-everything the Big Bad Alone paints dies, as he found out when he painted his orphanage. Currently in the series, he's painting the entire world- he's almost done with it, too!
- In Magic Knight Rayearth, Aska's magic revolves around bringing her drawings to life.
- In Descendants of Darkness, the genki scientist Watari can do this. The only problem? He draws with the talent of a 5 year old...
- Mutsumi from Keroro Gunsou has a "Reality Pen", given to him by his buddy Kululu, that lets him bring drawings to life.
- In Flint The Time Detective, there was a bird shifter named Artie. Said shifter could bring drawings to life by tapping them with his beak.
- In Magical Idol Pastel Yumi, Yumi is given a magical wand and locket as a reward for rescuing a flower. If she draws something in mid-air with her wand, and recites the phrase, "Pastel Poppuru Poppin-pa!", whatever she drew will become real.
- The Devil Fruit of the One Piece character Kanjuro grants him the ability to bring into reality anything he draws. The humorous twist is that he's also a dreadful artist.
- An early issue of the Mirage Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic featured comic book artist Kirby King, who found a crystal that would allow everything he drew come to life before disappearing to an alternate world. The story was later adapted to a picture book and the second cartoon. Much later on it is revealed that the crystal had been previously used by April's father, and that she was, in fact, one of the things he'd created with it.
- The first book of Gorsky and Butch starts with a swat team trying to arrest the authors (after it turned out the comic makes no sense). they succeed but get re-drawn into anthropomorphic black ducks in the process.
- Except for Maciek, who is turned into a girl.
- In Usagi Yojimbo, Usagi's run-in with an artist with an evil paint set that could bring its paintings to life was used for Shout Outs to various Kaiju, such as Mothra, Daimajin, and Godzilla.
- Calvin And Hobbes had to fight Calvin's Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons.
- Daerick Gross' Reiki Force comic books involved a series of statues made from magical clay, which in turn fell to earth in a meteor. (Why the stuff stayed pliable is never adequately explained.) A master sculptor used it to fabricate bones, musculature, neural networks, etc. into the forms of various mythological creatures. His evil wizard patron then let the statue suck the artist dry of life-force, which animated the statue. The villain "Citation", in the form of a surprisingly agile centaur, is an example.
- A one-off villain in a Fantastic Four spin-off story centered on the Human Torch was a painter who could bring whatever he painted into existence.
- Chalky, in the British comic Buster.
- Several times in the Douwe Dabbert comics. There are living books, whose contents will spill out of them if you're not careful (And if the book happened to be about monsters - good luck!), paintings that come to life and a huge dragon that escapes the kimono it was painted on.
- The Golden Age Super Man villain Funny Face had a machine that could bring Newspaper Comics characters to life. Decades later, he reappeared in an issue of All-Star Squadron, and after his defeat, the heroes marvel that he was stupid enough to use his miraculous invention for something as petty as pulling robberies.
- The Tattooed Man, a DC comics villain, can (you guessed it) make his tattoos come to life. There have been three so far, but the third one, Mark Richards, is the only one whose tattoos developed minds of their own.
- "Molded in Evil", in Plop! #5, featured a sculptor who with the use of a "magic liquid" could cause his clay models to come to life.
- In "Gargoyle", in Creepy #6, an alchemist believed that a local sculptor could turn stone into gold. The gold was actually an ingredient in the formula the sculptor used to bring the gargoyles he fashioned to life.
- In "The Sands That Change", in Creepy #16, a comic book artist discovered that anything he drew in the Mojave Desert which wasn't already there would appear out of thin air. When he tried crumpling a sketch to get rid of a monster he'd drawn, the beast ended up looking like something by Picasso.
- Feena Sik of the Sinestro Corps brought her paintings to life in a magic ritual involving her husband's death, but her works all took on the nature of the deed and butchered their viewers. Law enforcement agents blacklisted all of her published work out of fear that any reprints would spontaneously come to life and kill again.
- This is the entire premise of the Polish series Zaczarowany Olowek (The Enchanted Pencil) — the protagonist is a boy who solves problems by drawing various objects with, well, an enchanted pencil.
- The Boy Who Drew Cats is about a boy who... well... draws cats all over the walls of an abandoned temple which, unbeknownst to him, is home to a monster. When the monster tries to attack him, the cat drawings come to life and defeat it.
- In Pintosmalto, the heroine brings a statue of a man to life by praying to the goddess of love.
In The Two Sides of Daring Do
, the Chisel of Pygmalion, an artifact that AK Yearling/Daring Do found, has this ability. However, the catch is that in order for it to work the creator must be present and there must be a genuine desire for the work to come to life, thus Ahuizotl's attempt to use it on a statue failed. Since Yearling is present with the Chisel at a book signing, her fan's collective desire for Daring Do to exist sets off the plot by activating it and creating a Daring Do clone based off Yearling's exaggerated accounts depicted in her books.
- The painting of Vigo the Carpathian in Ghostbusters II.
- Used extensively in the interpretation of Heaven in What Dreams May Come.
- In Heavenly Creatures, the clay figurines created by the two girls become the people of the Fourth World.
- The snowman in the Michael Keaton film Jack Frost (1998), based on the Frosty myth below, in which the snowman (made by the son) is possessed by the spirit of the main character.
- This is how Floop's Fooglies are made in Spy Kids.
- Night at the Museum: Everything in the museum comes to life at night, including mannequins, statues, and paintings.
- In Disney's Mary Poppins, the title character makes Bert's sidewalk drawing something she and the kids can visit.
- Woody Allen's The Purple Rose of Cairo.
- The protagonist of the 1986 Cult Classic The Elm-Chanted Forest is a painter who awakens with these sorts of powers, along with the ability to communicate with the local wildlife.
- In Wreck-It Ralph, all the characters in the film are characters in arcade video games.
- The Peanut Butter Solution includes magical paintbrushes that bring whatever the user is thinking about to life. Unfortunately, they're made from the hair of a child!
- In Roald Dahl's The Witches, the grandmother tells a story about a girl she knew as a child who was targeted by witches and trapped in a painting of a farmhouse. Her image was never seen moving, but appeared in different locations and positions in the painting, and aged at a normal human rate. Finally, she grew old and apparently died (her image disappeared), still trapped in the painting.
- Harold and the Purple Crayon is probably the original "paint your own world" type.
- Charles de Lint has a character in one of his books, Isabel, whose paintings come to life on their own.
- A children's book by Italian author Gianni Rodari. In retrospective, it's a bit strange...
- The Thieves' World universe had a painter who was granted the ability to create life with his drawings, although he didn't realize that this ability was real, for some time. He also got the ability, much earlier on, to paint an image of the soul of the person sitting for him. This made life more awkward than it sounds, since the majority of the wealthy patrons who wanted him to paint them did * not* like him painting the real them (especially since it rarely matched the outside).
- The premise of Marianne Dreams by Catherine Storr, complete with horror when Marianne decides she doesn't quite like her drawing.
- In Lloyd Alexander's The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen a tiger leaps in and out of a watercolor painting.
- In The Picture of Dorian Gray, the titular character has a portrait painted of him, and he realizes that he would age, and the painting wouldn't. So he makes a Deal with the Devil, making the painting age rather than him.
- In The Golden Key, a clan of artists secretly practices this kind of magic. The story deals with what happens when one of them diverges wildly from the bounds of acceptable behavior.
- The last book of The Dark Tower series had Patrick, who could create or destroy anything by sketching it. Roland convinces him to use this power to defeat the Crimson King. Oddly enough, Roland doesn't think to use it to restore the lost fingers of his right hand.
- In Salman Rushdie's The Enchantress of Florence, emperor Akhbar the Great imagines an ideal queen and orders painter Daswant to portrait her, hence making her real. In the same book, the musician Tansen see his body covered in flames when he sings the Fire Song. But Rushdie inverts the trope when he makes Daswant disappear from the real world by portraiting himself in a picture.
- Ixidor from Magicthe Gathering who created his own paradise with paint from his own blood. As well as building an angel from his arm.
- In Aaron Allston's Galatea in 2-D, the central power of both the hero and the villain.
- The Doctor Who Eighth Doctor Adventures novel Demontage.
- In Stephen King's Rose Madder the heroine finds a strange and compelling painting that leads into a pagan world that is both beautiful and terrifying. This comes in handy - though, as in all King, not without a price - when the heroine's abusive cop husband hunts her down.
- The title character of Minerva Wakes by Holly Lisle discovered she'd acquired this ability, while her husband Darryl had gained Rewriting Reality. Learning to use their powers together was about all that saved them, because the powers had been intended for somebody else, and now could only be passed to their "rightful" users by the death of Minerva and Darryl.
- In I Shall Wear Midnight, the Cunning Man tries to attack Tiffany by emerging from an illustration of himself in an ancient copy of The Bonfire Of The Witches. A variant, in that it's known that he wrote the book, but unclear if he also drew the illustrations.
- This is the main plot of the short story How Wang-Fo was saved (published in the book Oriental tales) by French author Marguerite Yourcenar. Wang-Fo is so talented that almost any creature he paints comes to life. Unfortunaly this is what allows the servents of the Chinese emperor (who wants him do be executed for a very personal reason) to identify him.
- Susan Green's Self Portrait With Wings is based on this. Using some "special" pencils, a young figure skater draws a whimsical sketch of herself with huge gossamer wings. The next morning, the picture is wingless and she's got the wings. They're invisible to everyone else, but an awful inconvenience to her except when she's skating.
- The Oval Portrait, a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, inverts this: the narrator, an artist, is absolutely focused on creating the most perfect and beautiful portrait of his beloved. He pours so much time, attention, and skill into it that he neglects to notice his beloved is wasting away sitting for the portrait. By the time he finishes, it does indeed look so perfect, so enchanting, that it seems to have captured life—which is actually true, for his beloved collapses to the floor, dead, all her strength and life having been drained from her to now live on in the portrait forever.
- There is an interesting version of this trope in Inkheart of Cornelia Funke. Two persons are able to read every thing, animal or human out of books. For example the main character Maggie reads Tinker Bell from Peter Pan alive.
- David McPhail's picture book Andrew Draws is about a young boy who first learns to draw and then finds a magic crayon. He uses it to help solve world problems like hunger, and then when it wears down to just a nub, he draws a puppy for himself.
- In The Kane Chronicles, Shelby, one of the youngest magicians, is briefly mentioned as having this power in The Serpent's Shadow.
Live Action TV
- Doctor Who features an inversion in the episode "Fear Her": A character who drew various people and caused them to disappear. Reversing the process caused the trope to be played straight with a demonic picture of her father.
- And remember: An image of a Weeping Angel becomes an Angel.
- The Sarah Jane Adventures both inverts this and plays it straight as well: the Mona Lisa, whose paint was made from materials from a space rock, can both bring painted objects (including herself, naturally) into the real world and trap people in paintings.
- This forms the basis of Beetleborgs, magic bringing comic book characters to life. Eventually, the artist of the comic books begins designing weapons for the heroes, while his brother, an insane artist, draws new monsters for the villains (ending the Beetleborgs' practice of going to the comics to see how the monster was defeated.)
- Power Rangers has this trope come up multiple times:
- The Charmed episode "Witches in Tights" featured a teenage boy with this power.
- Although this case was explained as a product of the boy's power of projection; later users demonstrate that the drawings weren't strictly necessary.
- Used in two episodes of Amazing Stories:
- One involved magic paint that will bring a picture of anything to life. Naturally, the kid uses it to try and bring a pinup girl to life. Unfortunately, he spills it all over his monster magazines instead.
- In another episode, titled "The Mission," an aspiring cartoonist is trapped inside the ball-turret on the bottom of a B-17 bomber, and the plane's landing gear won't extend. Low on fuel, they're coming in for a gear-up landing, knowing that it will crush the cartoonist to death. In desperation, the cartoonist draws a picture of the B-17 and gives it a giant pair of wheels, whereupon giant cartoon wheels miraculously appear beneath the aircraft and save him from certain doom. (This episode was based on a real-life incident in World War 2, where a B-17 ball turret gunner was trapped and the landing gear didn't extend. It didn't end as well for him as it did in the show.)
- Inverted in the Are You Afraid of the Dark? Season 6 episode "The Tale of Oblivion". A boy has some charcoal and an eraser, nothing happens when he draws something, but when he erases it, it goes to a pocket dimension called "Oblivion". It even works if he just writes the name of something and then erases it. For example, to prove it to his sister Shelly, he writes "Shelly's Underpants", then erases those words. The boy travels to Oblivion to retrieve something important, and finds out his magic writing tools were once used as weapons against those who sought to abuse their power.
- In "Sketchy", a girl's first drawing of any subject holds power over that subject - bring on the man crumpled like a ball of paper, and the boy whose face was erased.
- In "Double Jeopardy", a painting of Lady Justice is brought to life.
- Emulated for illustrative purposes in Prehistoric Monsters Revealed, in which hand-drawn and painted images of ancient animals appear to animate and emerge from the paper as CGI representations.
- One of the later episodes of The Worst Witch reveals that protagonist Mildred Hubble has the ability to turn her drawings to life. This previously unknown talent earns her a place in the prestigious Weirdsister College. Even Ms Hardbroom is impressed.
- In an episode of Misfits, Simon attempts his first present-day rescue by trying to save a guy from a bully. The next day at Community Service, the boy recognized Simon by Simon's injury. He wants to befriend him but Simon declines. Little does Simon know that the boy has the power to make his drawings come to life. He draws Simon and him becoming friends. Of course, he takes it too far and messes up Simon's life. Buuuut, let's just say it gets fixed.
- In one episode of Get Smart, a villain uses a magical paint called "dorian grey" (ha ha) which can be used to retouch portraits of real people and cause them to age. He gets his comeuppance when Max and 99 get a vial of the paint and start retouching a portrait of the villain.
- Another episode involved a potion that, when injected into them, allowed wax figures to come to life.
- Tales from the Crypt had an episode about a comic book cover artist who was taking weird fertility drugs because his harpy of a wife wanted kids. His covers started being re-enacted in real life — and since the comic book he was drawing for was Tales from the Crypt, mayhem ensued.
- Eerie Indiana had the episode "Who's Who," where guest character Sara Bob had this power due to a Eerie brand pencil. She first demonstrates this by drawing a picture of main character Marshall's missing bike (for a "lost" poster), but it instead creates a new bike. To escape her terrible home life, she first draws Marshall's mother as her own long lost mom, then a picture of herself with her mother, teleporting to her.
- Frosty the Snowman, from the song of the same name.
Religion and Mythology
- Pygmalion in Greek myth.
- There's the Chinese folktale of a famous artist who drew dragons without dotting in their pupils; one day a prankster bumped into him, causing him to spill ink onto the scroll...cue one dragon rising out of the painting and into the sky.
- A variation of that tale, or possibly a similar one, involves the Emperor asking him why he never completes his paintings (by putting in the pupils). When the painter explains that he doesn't want them to come to life, the Emperor tells him to finish them anyway. Cue the dragons.
- Many religions have this as part of their creation story. God (or a god) sculpts humans and imbues it with "the breath of life". In Jewish tradition, this led to the legend of the Golem, where a mystic does the same thing using a word of power, but with only enough intelligence to follow orders.
- Dungeons & Dragons. Nolzur's Marvelous Pigments could be used to create any normal object by painting a picture of it. And no, it can only make COUNTERFEIT coins.
- Mutants & Masterminds allows this as one of the variants of its Animate Objects power.
- Within the META-4 universe (the default universe of 1E), Burner of the Tag Team (empowered graffiti artists) possesses this power, being able to animate his graffiti.
- This is basis of the Paint and Thinner of Epic Mickey, and is also how the titular mouse accidentally created the Big Bad Eldritch Abomination. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero indeed.
- Vincent Van Gore from Luigis Mansion was a ghost artist that created the minor ghosts that were found in the mansion, and attacked by bringing 21 more of them to life from the paintings in his studio.
- Hoggus from Wario Land 4 is a ghostly pig-like creature that draws one of two different types of pig monster on a notepad at a time and sends them to attack Wario.
- Shadow Mario who is actually Bowser Jr. and his magic paintbrush in Super Mario Sunshine.
- One of the last bosses of Castle Crashers is a crazy painter with a treasure-chest for a head... and bunny-ears... whose painting-style was equal parts dadaistic and explosive.
- Ado, Adeleine, and Paint Roller from the Kirby games attack by drawing monsters and bringing them to life. After her Heel-Face Turn due to being cured of Demonic Possession, Adeleine uses her ability to help Kirby, painting powerups that become real... and at one point, saving the group from starvation and/or being eaten by Big Eater Extreme Omnivore Kirby while they're lost in the desert.
- A quest in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion involved an artifact called the Brush of True Paint that made the things drawn in the canvas come to life. It helped an artist's incredible realism in his works, but it also lead to him being trapped in one of his paintings along with a small horde of "paint trolls".
- A variation occurs in Comix Zone. A comic artist's villain comes to life as a living drawing and traps the artist in comic book. Several times during the game, you'll see his hand come onto the screen and draw an enemy onto the panel to fight. If you lose, the villain is replaced with a flesh-and-blood version, and goes off to Take Over the World. If you win, you escape from the comic. If you earn the best ending, you can bring your fictional love interest with you.
- Variation: Relm from Final Fantasy VI has an ability called "Sketch", which copies a target and randomly uses one of its attacks.
- At one point, you enter into an art collector's home, and get attacked by monsters hiding inside several paintings, including one ironically named "Still Life." (Also aptly named, what with its main attacks being poison attacks and death spells) Later, you discover that the monsters are due to a demon possessing the art collector's painting of an Esper, as the demon has fallen in love with "the girl in the picture."
- In Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, not only is a major part of the game exploring worlds inside paintings, but the Big Bad, Brauner, uses paintings to attack you. One of his attacks is becoming a painting and flying around the room to dive-bomb you. And you interrupt him in the middle of his plan to create a "piece" capable of destroying the world.
- In Pac-Pix on the DS, the player must draw Pac Men which come to life and eat ghosts.
- This is the whole point of Drawn to Life: the player draws the playable character and a ton of various objects in the game, like the weapons.
- In Ōkami and Ōkamiden, art is the primary gameplay mechanic. Lilly pads, bombs and the sun spring to life from the strokes of your celestial paintbrush.
- The Rakugaki Oukoku duology (known as Magic Pengel and Graffiti Kingdom in the U.S.) revolves around you drawing monsters with your "mad artist skillz" and making them fight other monsters.
- The artist dolls in Mendel Palace are capable of scribbling on panels and using them to animate stick figures in some levels. During their Boss Battle, they make clones of themselves. You can trick them into drawing on all of the panels to render them useless, and doing so nets you an extra life and a huge score bonus.
- The obscure GameCube game Amazing Island was a romp of mini-games where you made your own monsters to play them. By drawing them, and then sticking funny antenna and googly eyes on them. (Which somehow made them smarter...)
- Occurs in a later level of The Simpsons Game where Matt Groening quickly pens sketches of Futurama characters Bender and Zoidberg to attack the Simpsons.
- Illusion of Gaia features an odd - and creepy - inversion of this with the painter Ishtar. If he makes a portrait of someone, the person becomes trapped in the painting. It happens to Kara, but Will manages to bring her back with some magic dust and a True Love's Kiss. At the end of the sequence, Ishtar paints his own portrait.
- Dark Chronicle had the artist Pan who, after getting gold paint, was able to bring to life one of his paintings to be his wife.
- This is the ability of Eko from Arcana Heart 3 as she drew her big brother figure, Kazu.
- Thief: Deadly Shadows features a witch who can animate statues, creating foes who are harder to sneak past and definitely too hard to fight in this "First Person Sneaker" game.
- One of the informational videos in Soviet Strike implies that this is the reasoning behind the super helicopter the player flies. Specifically, the chief engineer of the project says that the reactive, adaptive armor was designed based on video games he'd played as a kid. He then specifically invokes the trope as an explanation.
- Drawn: The Painted Tower and its sequels have this as their premise.
- Much of the back story in Charleston: The Witches' Legacy is provided by a child's torn-up drawings, which become animated as soon as you find all the pieces of one.
- In Ib, the titular character unwittingly enters a parallel world while visiting a gallery of paintings by a Mad Artist where said paintings come to life. To kill her.
- One of the spells Alexander can cast in King's Quest VI is a Magic Paint spell which brings to life/reality anything you paint. He ends up using it to paint a door to sneak into a castle to rescue his Love Interest imprisoned within.
- One of the early bosses in Our Darker Purpose is "Some Harmless Markings", a living chalk drawing that attacks Cordy with clouds of chalk dust and other projectiles.
- The Artist Is Dead! uses this as backstory.
- Axe Cop once bought a giant magic pencil that actually created anything drawn with it... even though he wasn't good at drawing, so the things and creatures created ended up a bit wonky.
- Maliki is a self-created webcomics character. One one day, she decided to draw herself and tell us her strange life.
- Minor character Reco Lord God of recolors in L's Empire, although he has no more control than anyone else over his creations.
- In the Colour My Series, clicking on things to color them can make flowers and plants bloom, light lightbulbs, make water flow, and defeat robots.
- SCP-237, the Modern-Day Pygmalion, is a hikikomori who can create homunculi from handmade miniature figures. He may or may not be a spy...
- The events of Life Sketch are brought about by Koneko Tachimachi's use of a magic sketchbook which she uses to bring anime characters to life.
- In fact, it appears that even characters who were created using the sketchbook are able to use it for their own purposes.
- In the very short tale "Vividness", the trope is inverted, since the painter dies when he draws himself on the picture.
- Homonculous, a supervillain from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, can make any object or creature he creates, using any artform (in the past he's used sculpture, painting, charcoal sketches, crayon scribbles, and a couple of quickly written lines of poetry), real. But he has to create it himself (he cannot, for example, bring something out of a picture in a magazine, or animate a statue that someone else created).
- We Are Our Avatars: Kris's painting was painted by Guertena. The painting is his true home, and he was born from it
- Simon In The Land Of Chalk Drawings has this as the premise, that anything Simon draws on his magic chalkboard come to life in the Land of Chalk Drawings, and he can interact with them there.
- Considering how often Simon's drawings caused problems in the land of chalk drawings, you would think he would have stopped drawing things.
- The Powerpuff Girls did this with an episode where Bubbles got a set of colored chalk from Him and her creations (which just happen to be evil monsters after a falling out with Buttercup) come to life.
- The (barely) recurring Darkwing Duck villain Splatter Phoenix had this as her schtick. She had some kind of Applied Phlebotinum that could both bring her paintings to life and insert living people (including herself) into paintings, where they could then move from one painting to another. She also used it to steal the smile right off the Mona Lisa.
- In the "Frankendoodle" episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, Spongebob gets a "magic pencil." However, when he draws a "Doodlebob" with it, it comes to life and tries to erase him.
- ChalkZone is about magic chalk that brings the art to life, and gives it its own dimension, the Chalk Zone.
- Penny Crayon was a British cartoon which had this as the entire premise. Penny Crayon can draw anything she wishes, and it becomes real. Get hit by water, and it's gone though.
- On Frankenstein Jr. and The Impossibles, one of the Impossibles' foes was the Diabolical Dauber (voiced by Paul Winchell), who used his paintbrush and canvas to create a giraffe and a laughing hyena.
- Brushogun in Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo was an artist who dabbled in dark arts to breathe life into his creations. The ritual backfired, warping him into a paper-skinned monster who can create multicolored mooks from the ink in his fingertips.
- This is the plot of the celebrated Looney Tunes animations "Duck Amuck" and "Rabbit Rampage".
- Mc Gee And Me is about a boy's sketches of a cartoon man coming to life in order to teach him valuable life lessons.
- In the Sushi Pack episode, "But is it Art?", The Collector, after devising a way to bring the images in paintings to life (which he can control using a pipe organ), plans to control all the great masterpieces in the world.
- This is Michael's power in Fisher-Price's Little People.
- In an adaptation of the original comic book story (see above) the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episode "The King" featured April's tenant Kirby (a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of legendary comic artist Jack "King" Kirby), a comic-book artist who had gained possession of a crystal that allowed his drawings to come to life when strapped to his pencil.
- Brendan in The Secret of Kells defeats Crom Cruach with a
purple crayon piece of chalk with which to redraw the animation.
- Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends has a variant with Duchess, an Imaginary Friend who seems to have been designed as a Cubist painting come to life (but still flat, as seen whenever she turns around).
- Clyde Crashcup, a regular on the original The Alvin Show, was an inventor who 'invented' common things that have been around forever, using a Magic Crayon to create them.
- Lady Redundant Woman from WordGirl can bring pictures to life.
- In an episode of W.I.T.C.H. the characters go into a painting which is being painted by a person in the painting. Plus, the painting is not one, by two paintings, one the hangs in an art gallery in the real world and one that hangs in the villains' castle.
- In the ThunderCats (2011) episode, "The Forest of Magi Oar," the Wood Forgers, a trio of Paper Masters, have this as a secondary power thanks to use of magic paper. Gami's paper beasts animate, move and employ Breath Weapons. Zigg can paint a vessel with his brush to capture and contain evil spirits, or paint miniature animations. Snips can create self-propelling pinwheels, snowflake blizzards and people-sized cages.
- In the Betty Boop cartoon Ha! Ha! Ha!, when Koko the clown got a toothache, Betty drew a dentist's office, complete with a tank of laughing gas. After they both got buzzed on the gas and forgot to turn off the nozzle, the gas started flowing out of the drawing board into the real world.
- Mad Artist Zachariah Easel from Skysurfer Strike Force who can bring any art he creates to life, even crazed cartoon characters.
- Animaniacs: This is how Yakko, Wakko, and Dot came to life.
- In Potsworth and Co Carter's Dream Zone power is the ability to transform the things he paints into solid objects - while he's in the Dream Zone anyway.