Depending on the Artist

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As is obvious, different artists interpret the character differently. Some artists see Marisa as having small breasts, and others see her with even smaller breasts.

Every artist has their own take on the characters they draw. Sometimes that take is jarringly different from previous depictions.

That's when this trope comes in: it's what happens when an incoming artist willfully changes a character's basic appearance, giving the character a significantly different height or build, less (or more) prominent deformities, a different apparent age, a radical, unmotivated costume or hairstyle change, or even a Race Lift without in-story justification.

This is common in comics, where it often involves incidental parts of a character's outfit being either exaggerated or downplayed. For example, this is how the Superman symbol evolved to the familiar diamond-shape from the more triangular one of his first appearance.

Note that this trope is only about deliberate, unexplained changes; it does not apply to changes caused by story events, nor to very slight variations caused by differences in art style (such as between multiple storyboarders). (The acid test might be this: If the character were a real person of whom many color photographs existed, would all the drawn portrayals still make sense?)

Many cases of Progressively Prettier and more than a few aversions/examples of the Most Common Superpower depend on the artist.

Compare Off-Model, Historical Beauty Update, Adaptation Dye-Job, and Depending on the Writer.

Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Death Note, minor character Matt didn't have a canonical hair colour, though the guide book listed it as brown. The anime coloured it a sort of brown-green colour, while in fanart the general consensus is that it's red. In the DS game his hair was blue.
  • This happens in Digimon all the time, across the various different media. The official Bandai artwork may obscure or omit certain details of each monster's body, which then have to be guessed at by later artists drawing the character.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • One particular animator , Tomekichi Takeuchi, drew the characters – especially Vegeta – with big foreheads and pointy chins.
    • Yukio Ebisawa was known for giving them pointed cheeks and chins like an upside down triangle, hence his nickname "Triangle Guy".
  • The Lupin III franchise has been through multiple incarnations, and every incarnation alters the character designs, sometimes a lot. Fujiko Minè in particular is heavily affected by this, her look often varying wildly between appearances, to the point that a layperson might not realize she's the same character before she opens her mouth. The other four recurring characters also vary a bit, Lupin moreso than the others, but nothing about their general design ever changes other than perhaps the colour of Lupin's jacket.
  • Noein alternates style every other episode.
  • Misty's eye color switches betwen blue and green often in the Pokémon anime. In the games she has green eyes in all appearances.
  • In the Warrior Cats manga, since all the art styles are radically different, seeing cats appear in two different styles is quite jarring. This especially applies to Scourge and Tigerstar.

    Film 
  • This is discussed in American Splendor, when Joyce isn't sure what the real Harvey Pekar will look like, since some artists have him looking like a young Marlon Brando while others represent him like an ape with stink lines.
  • Discussed in Revealing Casper, a documentary about the making of the 1995 film. Animators put a lot of their own expressions into their characters, but they didn't want to make it obvious that Casper was animated by at least five different people.

    Literature 
  • Before a muppet version of Grover's mom was constructed for Sesame Street, artists drawing for the books apparently don't agree with how she should look. Depictions range from an old lady to a young mother. Tough Pigs takes an extensive analysis on this one.
  • Ben Skywalker. His hair is officially "flame-red" but has been depicted as reddish-brown, sandy blond, brown, and fully blond. The faces don't entirely match up, either.
  • What the main character of Coraline looks like depends on the illustrations. Her hair is usually varying shades of brown but sometimes it's black. The shading used in the books implies she has black hair as well. Her hairstyle is typically something of a bob haircut but the original illustrations have her with a shoulder length style.
  • When Paul Kidby replaced Josh Kirby as the cover artist for Discworld, not only he brought a different style, but also significant changes to the appearances of some characters — most notably Rincewind, who was depicted by Kirby as an old, Gandalf-like mage with a long white beard (see the Sourcery cover for an example), but in Kidby's interpretation is clearly younger and sports just a short, brown goatee. It's been acknowledged that Kidby's interpretations are much closer to Pratchett's descriptions of characters than Kirby's. (Kirby had a notoriously free attitude to interpreting the books - most famously the cover of The Light Fantastic shows a female barbarian character wearing the sort of stereotypical Stripperiffic fetish costume that Pratchett had specifically described her as not wearing in the novel.)

    Magazines 
  • MAD tends to have different takes on mascot Alfred E. Neuman depending on who drew that issue's front cover, but most artists stick closely to more polished variants of the design codified by Frank Kelly Freas and Norman Mingo early in the magazine's history. However, other artists have given him their own spin — Sergio Aragonés's takes are very cartoony and sketchy, Mort Drucker's are more jagged, Jack Davis's very loose and energetic, and Al Jaffee's are more chunky. Drew Struzan's only cover is extremely Off-Model with a very different haircut. James Warhola and Richard Williams usually painted their covers, thus giving them a little more muddy retraux feel like the Mingo and Freas covers of old. This has generally been averted from the early 2000s onward, as an overwhelming majority of the covers are drawn by Mark Fredrickson, a digital artist who sticks closely to the established style.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Peanuts: More of "Depending on the Colorist" but what color are Snoopy's doghouse and supper dish? Red or Yellow? What color is Charlie Brown's shirt? Yellow, right? Except when it's red. What color is Peppermint Patty's shirt? Green, except when it's purple.
    • Worth noting that Charles Schulz didn't have an outside colorist for Peanuts. He colored the Sunday strips himself, so most differences are on him. However, there was always a risk that the syndicate, in color-inking the strip for distribution, might screw up his color guide.
      • Since Schulz's death, many of the originally-black-&-white daily strips have been recolored. These are far more likely to have such continuity errors. For example, some versions of a Peanuts strip which specifically says that this dog dish is yellow, as a plot point, shows the dish a different colour.
  • Apparently colourists are the bane of cartoonists' lives, as the cartoonists are often blamed for colouring problems. Scott Adams, of Dilbert, also caught Unfortunate Implications flack when his colorist chose to give a thieving janitor character dark skin.
  • In Garfield, the house and Jon's clothing have no set color palette. In one set of strips Odie is briefly adopted by a little girl (during a storyline where he and Garfield get lost in the city). In the first strip where she appears, she's colored like this. In subsequent strips, she's colored like this. This is because the dailies were colored by different people than Sunday strips, which are intended for color printing. The dailies were only colored years later for a collected edition.
  • This problem also messed up a The Far Side cartoon with a bunch of penguins and one of them singing "Me, I just gotta be me." The joke is that the penguins all look the same, but one colourist made the singing penguin yellow instead of black and white, ruining the irony. Gary Larson admitted to liking the other version on its own merits.
  • Mike's friend Lawrence in For Better or for Worse is meant to be mixed-race (his father being a black Brazilian). Depending on the colorist and Johnston's own style, he varies between being darker-skinned or appearing as white as Mike.
  • The main characters in Dick Tracy are drawn quite consistently, with the noticeable exception of Lizz. Chester Gould drew her as a fairly normal-looking woman, Rick Fletcher made her somewhat cuter and bustier, and then Dick Locher changed her design, making her look far more butch and less feminine.
  • Since the mid 1990's after the retirement of creator Hank Ketcham he handed off the duties of drawing Dennis the Menace to his friends Marcus Hamilton and Ron Ferdinand, Hamilton's style is more broad and detailed and he gives the characters full eyes while Ferdinand's is loose, sketchy, less detailed and gives the characters Black Bead Eyes, Scott Ketcham, Hank's son began drawing the strip in 2010 and his style is similar to Hamilton's.

    Painting 
  • This is very common in depictions of Biblical and mythological figures. In particular, as Christianity spreads around the world, Jesus will often be given a Race Lift in the local church to reflect the local culture. Compare this third-century catacomb painting of Jesus as the Good Shepherd (beardless and wearing a short tunic) with modern takes on the same subject by Gail Rein (standard Looks Like Jesus, with fair skin, light brown hair and beard, and a long robe), John Snogron (a darker-complected version of the same), and an unnamed French artist (short-haired, beardless, and black).

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons gets this a lot, but probably the worst victim is the Demon Lord Demogorgon; the consistant part of its appearance is that it has two animalistic heads and tentacle arms. Its bulk, amount and color of hair, skin texture, number of tentacles (varies between one and two on each arm), arm structure, and the species of the animals its heads are has varried over the years, between hyenas, baboons, and mandrills.
  • Magic: The Gathering artists can't seem to reach a consensus on what Lim-Dul looks like. Dark Ritual shows him with black hair and ram's horns, his own card has him white-haired and with his horns out of the picture, and the comics draw him bald and with antlers.
  • Sajan Gadadvara, Pathfinder's iconic monk, is supposed to be from Golarion's equivalent of Southeast Asia. He usually looks less Southeast Asian than some variation on the theme of Ambiguously Brown.
  • Before 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons, all Tieflings (the result of interbreeding between humans and demons) looked different, with the only constant being that there was some physical sign of their non-human heritage. Fourth edition standardized their appearance in theory - now all Tieflings have horns and tails - but artists vary widely in how human their faces look, whether their horns are curled like ram's or stick straight up (and whether that's random, consistent, or varies by gender), whether their tails are thin and flexible or thick and ungainly like a dinosaur's, etc.
  • This was a recurrent problem in early BattleTech, particularly with the appearances of the titular 'Mechs, especially the Unseen. Take a look at any three Phoenix Hawk drawings, and all of them will differ fairly significantly from one another and from the Macross VF-1S Valkyrie, from which it is derived. Some artists made spot-on Macross reproductions, while others gave the PHX a bulbous round head.

    Toys 
  • BIONICLE had this so much, that eventually the writer simply came forward and said everyone is free to choose which kind of character design they want to see as "the most real". Thankfully in some cases, like for the shape-shifting race of beings called Makuta or the Mask of Life, most of the variations were canon-justified. Though a lot still had to be chalked up to the occasional Unreliable Illustrator, or artists not being supplied with sufficiently clear guidelines.

    Video Games 
  • Touhou has been subjected to this as a result of ZUN's art compared to Tasogare Frontier's as well as the fanarts.
  • This seems to be an issue with Castlevania: Judgment, an attempt at making a Castlevania fighting game. One of its major selling points, in theory, would be the Fanservice of having characters from different branches of the franchise come together to battle each other — but the character designer, Takeshi Obata (of Hikaru no Go and Death Note fame,) made most of the characters look drastically different than they did in their original games. For instance, this is Eric Lecarde in his original appearance in Castlevania: Bloodlines. This is him in Judgment.
    • Speaking of Obata's work, one of the DS Death Note games gave Matt blue hair. Sky blue, to be exact.
    • Castlevania character designs were all over the place long before Judgment. Simon Belmont's character design specifically wildly varies between installments - his hair has been red, blond, brown, black, and blue - and switching from a Conan the Barbarian look in the early games to the more recent Castlevania-style Bishounen.
  • Final Fantasy has just...tremendous examples of this. It's most obvious when dealing with the older games, which have been ported and remade and all that good stuff countless, countless times, but it exists in all of them, especially since the release of Dissidia.
    • Dissidia: Final Fantasy is an interesting variation of this, as it contains characters from lots of different Final Fantasy games that have very different art styles (compare the Steam Punk aesthetic of Final Fantasy VI to the sci-fi Cyber Punk/BioPunk style of Final Fantasy VII to the standard Medieval European Fantasy fare of titles like IV and on and on and on and on...) and makes them all conform to one art style for purposes of internal visual coherency. The style in question is done by main designer Tetsuya Nomura (quite obviously, to anyone familiar with the man's other works), but incorporating the Signature Style of the series' other main designer/illustrator Yoshitaka Amano—and this "Amanoization" applies as well to characters that were originally drawn by Nomura, such as Tidus and Squall. The overall effect is ...interesting, and subject of great debate among the fandom.
      • And then the game does it deliberately and pushes it further with the Summon spells, which are represented by a variety of artwork—from the original concept art (like Malboro) to completely new designs (such as Carbuncle), all of which span the entire 20+ years of the series. For an example of this trope taken literally—the "auto" Bahamut summon shows the dragon as designed for Final Fantasy X by Tetsuya Nomura, while the "manual" Bahamut shows the same dragon...as he was drawn by Amano for Final Fantasy V.
    • The recurring mascot critters, enemies, summons, etc., often vary wildly between games. Although, since each game takes place in a different world/verse, it's not as straight an example as it could be.
    • Final Fantasy V had many examples of this. Every character has their concept as drawn by Yoshitaka Amano, their little pixeled map sprite, their battle sprite, their menu portrait, the super-deformed chibi official art based on the sprite, and a 3D render. Internal consistency between any of those is the exception, not the rule.
    • Final Fantasy II also gets it pretty bad, due to two main factors: The first is that it has been remade/ported no less than six times, usually with an updated graphical look (Firion is identical to Fighter in the NES version and doesn't begin looking like a different, unique character until the Playstation version) and sometimes with new official art by a new artist in the Feelies. Then there's the renditions of the main characters and villain in the FMV opening of some versions of the game, where they are utterly unrecognizable. Secondly, there's the little fact that Amano apparently could not decide how he wanted to draw Firion. Practically every concept piece features a very different-looking Firion, and a similar thing applies to art of the Emperor. It's so bad that Nomura's rendition of Firion for Dissidia, which incorporates elements from practically all the official arts and recent sprites, looks more like "Firion" than "Firion" does.
    • Final Fantasy IV has some particularly egregious examples. Among some prominent ones is the Nintendo Power art created from, apparently, whole cloth to, apparently, sell the art to Americans. These depictions of Rydia, Rosa, Edward, Kain, Cecil and especially Palom and Porom aren't very true-to form. In-game, the character Cecil gets it particularly bad, getting different art for the original concept, the DS remake, the sequel, and yet another for Dissidia, in addition to the miscellaneous pixeled sprites "chibi" artwork, 3D renders, and inconsistent depictions of the exact color of his armor and skin. Really, he is rarely depicted the same way twice, even in the same game.
  • Many Fighting Games include this trope. Characters inexplicably change appearance from one game to the other, and then may retain their oldest attire or not.
  • Star Fox has historically done this a lot.
    • Between the Vapor Ware (but leaked) Star Fox 2 and Star Fox 64, the Star Wolf characters changed dramatically in appearance, with Wolf standing out the most. Not only does he have an eye scar instead of his later patch, but it's on the opposite eye.
    • Katt is another extreme version of this, becoming an artistic The Other Darrin in Command.
    • Most of the other characters have had very noticeable design alterations to some degree. Falco's beak constantly changes shape between games and comics, the entire shape of Peppy's and Slippy's head has changed significantly, Pepper lost his Cool Shades and got black eye patches instead, and Fox's eye color shifted from blue to green. Wolf's eyes are usually violet, but they were gray in Command, then violet again in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
    • Then, of course, there was the whole redesign where every character went from having bionic legs to organic ones.
  • The eye color of the Original Mega Man and his sister Roll is officially blue, but are often green by different artists. Given that the rest of the heroes in the franchise come with green eyes, the confusion is understandable.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Fire Emblem Gaiden: The official art for the game is extremely inconsistent, with characters having different hair and eye colors depending on the piece of art, and a lot of the time an in-game sprite and portrait is completely different from the artwork. One especially egregious example: One of the two protagonists of the game, Alm, has green hair on the game's box art, but his in-game sprite and portrait have blue hair. The remake Shadows of Valentia, released two and a half decades later, rectifies all of this, along with a huge dose of Art Evolution and Adaptational Attractiveness.note 
    • Fire Emblem Awakening:
      • Invoked in the DLC when Chrom asks why the Marth in one chapter looks completely different from the previous one: as a figure of legend, Marth has a been depicted and reimagined many times.
      • A straighter example: nobody seems to be able to make up their minds about what color the default Avatar's hair is. White? Silver? Pale blonde? You'll see all three in official materials with little rhyme or reason.
    • Fire Emblem Fates:
      • Just like Awakening's Avatar, this one's hair color is tricky. On their official art it's white, in-game it looks more platinum blonde, in Smash it's this weird pale beige.
      • Is Azura's bust small, as her portrait suggests, or does she just have a Hidden Buxom, as her official art and the various art for the Cipher card game suggest? And if so, how much? For comparisons' sake, here is Azura in a cutscene and here is Azura in an official Cipher card based off that same cutscene.
  • One of the characters in Angry Birds is Hal, whose most notable feature is his long beak. Here are three different interpretations of him. The top image is how he looks in the games, the middle is his appearance in the "Summer Pignic" special (which is part of Rovio Entertainment's early animation efforts and can also be seen in both a promotional image for the Mighy Eagle and the Bad Piggies' Egg Recipes cookbook), and the bottom is from this promotion for Coca-Cola's 2012 Olympics campaign in China (which featured the art style made standard since the "Ham-O-Ween" special).
  • The appearance of the title character of Shantae varies from game to game. Sometimes it's to fit with other style changes in the rest of the game, other times it's just the artist envisioning her in a different way. She's cuter in some incarnations, more sultry in others. Her skin tone has also been pretty inconsistent, though she usually is pretty tan, the trailer for Half-Genie Hero made her very pale. Way Forward, the game company, has stated that they will change it based on supporter feedback.
  • The hair colors of Billy and Jimmy Lee from the Double Dragon series seem to differ depending on the game. The original arcade game had two nameless protagonists, with Player 1 as the blond-haired brother in blue and Player 2 as the brown-haired brother in red. When the game was adapted to the NES, Techos decided to flesh out the backstory and had the promotional art identify the main characters, with Billy Lee being the darker-haired younger brother and Jimmy Lee as the blond-haired older one. However, in the actual NES game, Billy is the hero in blue, while Jimmy is his rival in red. As a result, subsequent games in the series would often switch back and forth between one style or the other.
  • Major Pierre De Chaltier looks completely different in Tales of Destiny 2 than his Tales of Destiny self, with gold-blond hair instead of platinum and in a completely different standard outfit. Ignetos's hair colour has also been changed from gold-blond to brown. And all the original Swordian Masters looked completely different in the Tales of Destiny manga than their game designs.
  • Samus Aran of the Metroid series rarely looks the same from game to game. Beginning with Super Metroid, she's a very tall woman with long blond hair and blue eyes, but her facial structure, muscular definition, bust size, hairstyle, and shade of blonde all change dramatically in each game. Before this, there were even more anomalies; the original game gives her brown hair and green hair at different points, while some early comics give her purple hair. Metroid: Other M significantly altered her appearance again after it had finally become at least somewhat consistent, making her at least a full foot shorter than she usually is and giving her green eyes and a mole on her chin that isn't present in any other game.
  • Whether the titular character of Carmen Sandiego is a light skinned brunette or a darker skinned raven haired woman varies. Carmen is usually depicted as the latter.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, while Marin's appearance is mostly consistent throughout her appearances in official art in Japan and North America (other than some inconsistency regarding whether the collar of her dress is blue or yellow), the German strategy guide decided to give her a totally different, more exotic appearance with a bare midriff, a bead necklace, and blonde hair rather than red.
    • For whatever reason, the Zelda from The Legend of Zelda I has three different designs: A short haired brunette in a pink dress, the same design but as a blonde, and a long hairec blonde in a red dress (which matches her sprites). Most fans associate her with brunette design and Hyrule Historia later canonized it.
  • What do baby Yoshi look like in Super Mario Bros.? In some games (such as Yoshi's Story and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door) hatchings are just smaller Yoshi however in other games (such as Super Mario World and New Super Mario Bros. U) they are more squished and Ugly Cute looking.
    • During the late 1980s, Mario's costume started going from red overalls/blue shirt to blue overalls/red shirt (and conversly for Luigi, green overalls/blue shirt to blue overalls/green shirt). For a couple years, Nintendo's promo art varied between these two schemes before they were solidified as blue overalls/red-green shirt around the mid-SNES era (1993-1994).
  • Rusty bizarrely has two different designs of the titular heroine, one where she has long straight hear and a revealing set of blue leotard, elbow gloves, and knee-high boots that's used on the cover and during gameplay, but during the cutscenes, Rusty has shorter, wavy hair instead and wears a slightly less revealing leotard along with the gloves and boots in red.

    Web Animation 
  • There are some inconsistencies regarding Blake in RWBY. Nobody can agree on whether or not her usual outfit leaves her belly button exposed or not, her shorts sometimes have a button and zipper on the crotch but usually don't, and her feline ears are colored purple in the first season but black everywhere else.

    Webcomic 
  • Abstract Gender went through several different artists, each with their own style and character design
    • One of the biggest problems with the comic was that even the individual artists couldn't keep the character designs constant.
  • Deviant Universe: Given that anyone can join in and take part, the quality of art between artists varies A LOT.
  • Gender Swapped went through this, the new artist's change in style made the characters look completely different.
  • Each page of Heroes Unite is drawn by a different artist, and each artist has their own style. This can cause characters to change appearance during the same scene.
  • Living with Insanity. When Paul Salvi became the artist, he redesigned all the characters so that the only ones who look like they did when David Herbert drew them are the goth girl Sally and Afro guy.
  • Exploited in Melonpool, suggesting that Lyman and Uncle Max (two notable Chuck Cunningham Syndrome characters) are actually the same character.
  • The regular characters in Lightning Made of Owls are drawn by the different contributing artists in all sorts of ways. Sometimes they're highly realistic, sometimes they're stick figures. Sometimes they're not human.
  • Sonichu does this and it only has one artist. Christian Weston Chandler's artwork is completely unrefined that everyone has a different look. A wiki devoted to him actually cataloged the various ways he drew himself.
  • Sonic the Comic – Online! has several different artists and there are no design guidelines. The artists differ on whether they use the SegaSonic eye colors (green eyed Amy, blue eyed Tails, purple eyed Knuckles) or Fleetway-canon colors (brown eyed Amy, brown eyed Tails, blue eyed Knuckles). Most artists use the lanky, modern Sonic design however some use the "classic" design, as in the official comic Sonic used his classic design with green eyes instead of getting a total redesign for Sonic Adventure.
  • Broken Telephone has 18 different artist teams (one for each chapter), some of whose styles are radically different than the others'. Due to this, there is a bit of confusion when one character appears in different chapters. Lao, in particular, is the one that seems to give the readers the most fits, exacerbated by the fact that the bandage on his arm appears in a different place in each chapter.
  • Character designs can vary quite a bit in Homestuck, as there are multiple people doing the artwork and no model sheets.
    • For example, they can't seem to decide whether Jane is skinny, Hollywood Pudgy or actually fat; or whether Equius is lean or heavily muscled.

    Western Animation 
  • One show that deliberately invokes this trope is John Kricfalusi's The Ren & Stimpy Show, due to John's strict rule that there was no strict rule about staying on model. "Draw expressively, not well" was the order of the day at Spumco. He insisted his artists not have a character with the same pose or expression – or even drawn the same way – twice. After all, the way he sees it, only "wimps and Communists" (his words) stay on model.[[/note
    • A more specific example would be that the bulk of Stimpy's body could either be fat ("Who's Stupid Now?"), or he'd just be big boned ("Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen"). Sometimes both!
  • Some of the key animators for Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog had previously worked on Ren & Stimpy, and it shows in the series' extremely loose style. The size of Robotnik relative to everyone else, the size of his head relative to the rest of his body, whether he had ears, whether or not his mother had a moustache, what the surrounding countryside looked like… all of these were up to interpretation.
  • Probably the most notable example in the history of ever is the movie based on the game Dante's Inferno, each level of hell is animated by a different studio, and Dante himself changes looks each time sometimes gaining or losing equipment, and his hair and scythe in particular were all over the place.
  • As once noted in a DVD Commentary of Avatar: The Last Airbender, whether Sokka and Aang are lean but muscular or just flat-out scrawny-looking changes depending on the animator.
  • Similarly, Captain Fanzone from Transformers Animated has Eyes Always Shut in the episodes animated by The Answer Studio, but not by Mook DLE. This is probably because they came up with different interpretations of his official character model, which has him squinting, although it's debatable if it should always be like that.
    • G1 sometimes had episodes animated by a less-expensive studio, but you got what you paid for. Sometimes there's an Animation Bump to the point of looking better than the movie, sometimes the errors are so many and flagrant that it truly interferes with understanding what's going on. One of the cheaper company's particular quirks was that Chip Chase's jacket was dark blue with a light blue shirt beneath instead of brown with a white shirt, resulting in a rarity for the day, and even this day sometimes - a human character who actually owned more than one set of clothing.
  • With Looney Tunes, how a particular character looks depends almost entirely on who is in the director's chair. Although their general appearance remained constant, it was easy to recognize a Chuck Jones-directed Bugs Bunny short from a Friz Freleng one. A big reason for this was the fact that at Warners, it was generally the director's job to do the character model sheets and layouts (the key poses that serve as guides to the animators), and thus these followed the director's individual drawing style.
    • In the earlier Robert McKimson-directed Bugs Bunny cartoons Bugs was really chubby and fluffy, with stubby legs, hairy cheeks, and prominent front teeth. This "chubby Bugs" design is generally credited to McKimson unit animator Jean Blanchard. (Oddly enough, it was McKimson himself who'd drawn up the "standard" Bugs model sheet while still an animator for Bob Clampett's unit in the early '40s).
      • One animator (Cal Dalton) in the earlier Friz Freleng's Bugs Bunny cartoons drew him with a round head, a skinny body with equally skinny limbs, long thin angular ears, and big fuzzy cheeks.
    • This was most apparent during the mid-1930s, when the animators were still fiddling around with the designs. Porky Pig in particular varied greatly; in some cartoons, he was only somewhat portly, while in others he was fat to the point of obesity. It wasn't until about 1938 that Bob Clampett came up with the character we now recognize as Porky.
    • Similarly, Elmer Fudd didn't have a consistent look for a while. He varied from the big-headed guy he is now to being a guy with a normal-sized head and big nose. He also had a brief period in which he was fatter than Porky.
    • In the earlier Chuck Jones Daffy Duck cartoons he had two toes instead of three, and in the Frank Tashlin Daffy cartoons he had a very lean and angular design with a long bill.
  • The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack loves this trope. Every storyboard artist has their own style, and it shows.
  • Whatever you were used to seeing in the animation of Tiny Toon Adventures, A Pup Named Scooby-Doo and Darkwing Duck, Kennedy Cartoons would turn it into a squash and stretch show (usually) drawn on ones. Each Kennedy artist had their own style as well, but the quality varies from cartoony distortion to just Off-Model. In fact, Kennedy was let go after the first season.
    • One Tiny Toon Adventures character whose look tended to vary was Buster's rival Roderick Rat. When animated by Wang he is gray (except in one short where he was black) and has a cuter design, when animated by Kennedy he is brown and has a more sinister looking appearance.
  • Animaniacs also had a passel of different animation studios working on it, often leading to examples of this trope.
  • The Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes cartoon artist(s) seem to have given Johnny a chin you could put a eye out with.
  • Gorgonzola from Chowder is possibly an example of this. Most of the time he's only drawn slightly chubby, not much.. but sometimes he is drawn almost as large as Chowder but on quite a few other occasions he's drawn really thin. (sometimes resulting in him looking like a baby with a unusually large head) Plus the disappearance and reappearance of his monobrow. The other characters are subject to this kind of thing (not necessarily weight, though)
  • Froggo from Histeria! also falls into the whole "sometimes fat, sometimes thin" thing.
  • Prominent throughout Danny Phantom where the main trio (especially Danny) can either look ridiculously scrawny or look as though they got some meat in their diet and gained some muscles. Thought the series eventually progressed or gotten stiffer, they flip-flopped around often between these two kind of art styles throughout the run of the show. Then there was that brief "loose" style they had for the better part of Season One.
  • Ranger Smith constantly changed his appearance in the original Yogi Bear cartoons, even becoming a blonde in one episode of Yogi's Gang.
    • Yogi and Boo Boo's appearances also varied in the original shorts, until the feature film Hey There, it's Yogi Bear, whose designs for Yogi and Boo Boo were used from then on.
    • Parodied in the Spumco-made shorts, where Ranger Smith changed appearance between shots.
    • The entrance to Jellystone Park changed with every single short. It never had the same appearance. Ever.
    • In fact, many Hanna-Barbera productions were known for this until at least the mid-late 1960s (i.e., the beginning of the Taft era) when character designs and appearances remained mostly constant.
  • The art style varied greatly in the An American Tail movies. The only two with similar animation styles are the direct to video sequels, and Tanya still somehow managed to look completely different in both movies (she's the character who goes through the most extreme design changes from movie to movie).
  • X-Men fans will remember the different character appearances in the final episodes, thanks to a new overseas unit taking over for the prior one. Of note is Jubilee (she went from cropped to shoulder length hair and apparently ditched the glasses), Magneto (who also gained longer hair) and Jean Grey (whose design in-costume matched how she looked in the comics - the cartoons gave her a ponytail that stuck out the back of her "mask" until those final episodes, where she finally had the whole thing come out from the top.
  • Family Guy: Poor, poor Meg Griffin. In some episodes she simply happens to have a wide body type but a stomach most real life girls would kill for, while in others she's got a muffin top.
  • Much like The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, the storyboarders of Adventure Time very freely let their own style show in their episodes. This is usually most prominent in how Finn is drawn – sometimes he's a little more chubby or thin, his hat may or may not be rounded and more dimensional, his limbs may be more wiggly, etc. Jake's appearance widely varies too, but he may not count, being a Shape Shifter.
  • Kahn from King of the Hill. In scenes where he ends up shirtless, his body is portrayed in a wide variety of ways. Sometimes he looks similar to the other guys and has a slight gut, in others, he has a flat stomach and good pecs, and a few times, he's been shown with a six-pack.
  • Superjail! is built on this, with artists being encouraged to go off-model for all of the characters. Sometimes one artist will even have a few different styles for their take on the cast. Generally, every single character tends to show differences, but there are a few that normally stick out:
    • Alice's bust tends to alternate between being full-on Gag Boobs to even being smaller at points, while her stubble and body hair comes and goes. She may or may not have sideburns, and her mole tends to change places.
    • Jared's head size and facial proportions vary a lot, along with his hands going from having four fingers on each to having the usual five digit hands.
    • The Twins' wrinkles come and go, and their height alternates between them being on the taller end (nearly Alice's height, if not that) to the others towering over them. Their faces are generally either depicted as rounded and softer, or with heavier squared jaws. Their bodies can either be really scrawny, or have a considerable amount of muscle tone (even six-packs in one instance).
    • Just how horrific Ash is supposed to look from burn damage can vary. The common factors are his lack of ears (either shown as holes or puckered ones), only having nostrils for his nose, and his mutilated hands, although his face either can look skeletal or his head more rounded. Sometimes he looks as if he shouldn't even have eyelids.
    • Gary and Nicky have their hair colors alternate between a straight black, a brown-highlighted black, and dark brown. Gary's bird tends to change its general size as well, and sometimes Gary's hair is either center parted and slicked back, or he has a side part.
    • Lord Stingray's helmet either acts more like one, or as an Expressive Mask. His eyes are either drawn behind the lenses or as part of them, and his teeth vary from being normal to him having a mouth full of razor-sharp fangs.
  • In Generator Rex, Van Kleiss' hair is usually upper back length, but sometimes, his hair is drawn ethier shoulder-length, mid-back length, waist length or hip length.
  • On Mike, Lu & Og, the size of Mike's pigtails often varied.
  • Classic Disney Shorts:
    • Whether Minnie Mouse is shirtless like Mickey or wears a dress varies. They usually lean towards a dress however she will occasionally still wear her classic skirt.
    • Ken Muse who would later animate for Tom and Jerry was the only animator to draw Mickey Mouse with buck teeth.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Fluttershy's eyes have been dark blue, bright green and every color in between. Though admittedly that could be due to confusion over differences in the ambient lighting. Since the show's Animation Bump, Fluttershy's eyes have become permanently cyan/teal.
    • Background characters, due to their status as simple placeholders to fill out a scene, are still prone to sudden changes. Sometimes they have they have a different build, different cutie marks, horn or wings appear when they don't normally have them, etc. Also, the color of a background unicorn's magic is subject to change.
  • In My Little Pony 'n Friends, Habbit the rabbit had three distinct looks (is he white? Is he brown? How anthropomorphic is he?) and while a pony's look remains the same (in fact, the same model was recolored for all the ponies; outside "Rescue at Midnight Castle," all ponies differ only in color and the presence/absence of horns/wings.) the same pony might have wildly different effects for using the same power. (On one occasion, the same pony teleports in with a Star Trek-like slow fade with shimmering particles, does what she needs to do, and then teleports out with a quick burst of white energy (the most common recurring effect for it.)
  • Kat from Kenny the Shark has two hairstyles used: One is just her hair down normally while the other variant has them ending in curls.
  • In Terry Toons shorts it is usually very easy to tell when animators are switched, one such example is from "A Wolf's Tale" the wolf's design wildly changes from scene to scene, in some scenes he's chubby with hairy cheeks, small ears and a short snout and in other scenes he's very skinny, has no hair on his cheeks, long ears, and a long snout, and when Jim Tyer joined his scenes were fast paced and rubbery.
  • Every storyboard artist for Steven Universe has a different art style and it shows in the episodes. For example, for Jasper, in "The Return", her jaw is much larger, her Rapunzel Hair is slightly elevated, and her body type is slightly broader. In the episode right after that, "Jail Break", her jawline is less defined, her hair is hanging loosely, and her body type is smaller.
  • Sometimes Eric from Jem has his hair styled in a manner that resembles devil horns and sometimes he doesn't.
  • Reoccurring characters, The Hex Girls, from Scooby-Doo have varied designs. The most noticeable is Luna. In The Witches Ghost she is black but in most future appearences, aside from Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, she is white. Her bandmate Thorn had red highlights in her hair originally but supposedly they were removed in other appearances because she frightened children, though Mystery Inc brings back the red tone.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: There's a few artists that had a distinguishable style, but the one that stood out the most was C.H. Greenblatt (who later created Chowder and Harvey Beaks). Watch any of his boarded episodes, and you can always tell that he's drawing those wacky facial expressions, especially Fear of a Krabby Patty, which was very Off-Model. In the post-sequel era, newcomer storyboard artist Adam Paloian is heading this direction as well. If you want proof, these are his drawings.
  • The Loud House: Although the show is animated digitally, the styles of the storyboard artists often show through. In particular, episodes boarded Kyle Marshall have the characters more prone to wonky, Off-Model expressions.
  • One particular animator for Tom and Jerry, Pete Burness, animated Tom with a hairy, scruffy looking coat, with big teeth and thick eyebrows which made him look very sinister and kind of ugly.
  • In Hulk And The Agents Of SMASH, Red Hulk's guns. They're big Hand Cannons with two barrels, but the details are in flux. In animation, this usually happens because you have more than one company handling the animation.
  • The last season of Captain N: The Game Master was done by a different studio from the first two, and the character designs were cheaper-looking than in the earlier seasons: in particular Kid Icarus haves more baby-like proportions, haves a slightly different hairdo and goes around barefoot instead of his usual sandals, Simon Belmont lacks goggles on his forehead, Mother Brain's design is overall simplified and Lana's footwear was changed from a pair of boots to what looks like a pair of shin guards worn over blue flats.

    Other 
  • Invoked with Jenny Everywhere - she's an open source superhero with a very vague description, so anybody can interpret her anyway they wish. The most common interpretation has her wearing aviator goggles and a scarf, and the official description calls her "Native American or Asian."
  • The NPCs on Gaia Online vary in appearance depending on who is drawing them. Sometimes the eye color, body type, or overall "look" is different.
  • Before the invention of photography, the only way to preserve the features of a famous person was by a painting or drawing. Unfortunately, some artists would add their own embellishments, and in many cases (but we can't be sure of exactly which ones), the artist never saw the subject at all, and based the painting on a description.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DependingOnTheArtist