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Stick Figure Comic
Your level of detail may vary.

Need to make a webcomic, but have trouble transforming your scribbles into recognizable figures? No problem! Stick figures are easy, simple, and will get your point across without the pressures of drawing "real" art to a deadline. Used as a stopgap in some webcomics whenever the artist doesn't have the time/energy to draw his or her normal characters.

Doing this as an "off-art" day in a normal comic is acceptable, though do it too much and you may annoy your fanbase, who came expecting better of you.

Choosing to do this full-time means that the plot, characterization, and/or jokes have to stand up on their own two line-drawn feet. If your writing is not up to scratch, you'll sink into the murky, stagnant waters of the Internet to join the rest of the ignored. Of course, if it is, you'll reach Geek Nirvana.

More profoundly, a stick figure, with its lack of definite appearance, age or even gender (though stick women are typically equipped with Tertiary Sexual Characteristics), is the ultimate Everyman: every audience member can project themselves into them.

The main example for the modern-day manifestation of these is Matt Feazel's Cynicalman, in the late '80s and early '90s. Feazel was an accomplished artist, but he drew Cynicalman as a stick-figure comic (admittedly with full perspective, shadows, etc.) to get across the idea that anyone could do this. Any xkcd fan who sees Cynicalman, their jaw will drop.

See also Stick Figure Animation. Compare Sprite Comic.


Examples

Full-Time Comics
  • anti-HEROES: Heavily inspired by The Order of the Stick and proudly admitting it.
  • Awkward Moments A stick-figure comic that has similar artwork to Cyanide and Happiness.
  • A Beginner's Guide to the End of the Universe. Interactive Comic using sign-like Stick figures manipulating GIS Syndrome objects.
  • The Belch Dimension Comics: Although only a dozen or so characters, including the Author Avatar, actually appear as such; the rest of the characters are fully-drawn.
  • The recipe blog Cooking Comically presents recipes in webcomic form, combining stick figures with photos (and more than a few video-game references) to demonstrate various recipes.
  • Cyanide and Happiness is a Black Comedy drawn by four different guys.
  • Done in printed comics by Matt Feazell (a quite skilled artist) in Cynicalman, to demonstrate that anyone who can write can do a comic.
  • The Dog House Diaries: has its own unique brand of stick figure.
  • Dubious Is My Niche, a Journal Comic / Slice of Life comic on deviantART.
  • electric melon, a webcomic of two parts: a story arc and the funnier gag a day comics.
  • Evil Genius, a webcomic about life of evil mastermind and his not so bright henchmen.
  • Greenroom uses colorful stick figures with unique features to signify the characters' personality.
  • Grim Tales [1] is a "stick-figure-and-crayon webcomic about faerie tales".
  • Hyperbole And A Half
  • The Incredible and Awe-Inspiring Serial Adventures of the Amazing Plasma-Man is a weekly updating superhero comic which makes use of realistic stick figures. If one will pardon the oxymoron.
  • Insanity Corp started out as a (normally) single-panel, gag-a-day, 5-times-a-week stickman comic. However, the author's professed inability to keep things horribly simple led to the addition of backgrounds and colors early on in its creation. It now updates "Frequently" (three times weekly, on average) because of other projects the author is working on.
  • John: An intentional example as the creator was trying to evoke the look of an amateur comic, although often the comic will suddenly become a completely different style for a single panel.
  • Keychain of Creation. The author freely admits that his webcomic is like Order of the Stick, but with Exalted instead of Dungeons & Dragons. While they both have similar art styles, this ends in comic 319, where the character art gains proper arms and legs. This change is explained in the plot by Marena and Secret learning to see the reality differently while learning sorcery.
  • Legendary, a webcomic about console RPGs, whose art is directly influenced by Order of the Stick. When it still updated, that is.
  • Lynion15 has gained a well sized following for their stick figure parodies of Mass Effect 2 and Fallout 3.
  • Magic And Physics: Reasoning behind it is unknown as of now.
  • Also done in printed comics by the French artist Lewis Trondheim, best known are his Mister O and Mister I series.
  • A Moment Of Peace: A sweet post-apocalyptic romantic Slice of Life that involves monsters and gods. While gods and monsters sometimes have more meat on them, all of the human characters are stick figures.
  • Mountain Time fits this trope to a T. A very inconsistent, rudimentary T.
  • MS Paint Adventures uses this for Jailbreak and Problem Sleuth, though the latter comic manages to have some incredibly detailed art anyway.
  • Murphy's Law: A comic based on The Order of the Stick.
  • The Order of the Stick. An unusual case, in that the stick figure style is a deliberate artistic choice rather than the result of the creator's limited drawing skill. This becomes fairly obvious when considering the astonishing range of expressions Rich Burlew imparts to stick-figure faces, or the sheer level of detail in many panels (check out, for example, the first panel of "Wands Are for Suckers", or "Shattered" or "C.P.P.D. Blues"). Also, almost certainly the Trope Codifier for the full-time stick figure comic.
    • As seen in the page image, the characters also frequently lampshade the fact that they're stick figures.
  • Phil Likes Tacos
  • pictures for sad children
  • Positivity: Of the square-body kind.
  • RPGeneric: Heavily inspired by The Order of the Stick though using more effects.
  • Ruby Quest, which makes its characters anthropomorphic animals in order to make them distinguishable from each other.
  • Servants of the Imperium. A Warhammer 40,000 webcomic that draws some influence from The Order of the Stick.
  • The Sliding Scale Comic: A stick figure comic about role playing games.
  • Spikeboy Another example whose art style seems to be based of The Order of the Stick, Spikeboy is about superheroes. Who all live in the same apartment complex. Basically, a superhero sit-comic.
  • Stick Figure Hamlet. It's Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Stickfodder sets itself to xkcd standards, "and constantly fails to come close to [those standards]."
  • Stickman and Cube. The title pretty much sums it up.
  • StickManStickMan is an early example.
  • The Symmetrical Breadpazoid (whose unusual title is a reference to Teen Girl Squad) is by troper Anthony Mercer.
  • Three People Get It is an often NSFW (dialogue) comic strip which pokes fun at anyone and anything. The author frequently includes notes indicating where an idea came from, which is often humorous and occasionally insightful.
  • (tsuduku...) has a random stick figure guy named "Guy," a circle named "Circle," and so on. Some characters, like Evil Thing, were scribbled out once long ago and have become copy/pasted like self-made clip art ever since.
  • UnCONventional is a comic about the staff of a fictional Anime Convention. The main cast is portrayed as clothed stick figures (with hair, facial hair, and other distinguishing features), while background characters are often portrayed as plain stick figures (although they often are given clothes as well in later comics). The artist chose stick figures so the comic would "look as different from Anime as humanly possible."
  • The Way of the Metagamer: Started out copying The Order of the Stick, kept the art style after Jumping the Shark.
  • The Whiteboard has two variations. One, since the author can't draw people (It's a furry comic), they are usually drawn as very simplified with their heads floating above their bodies. The only features are eyes and hair. Second, on days when Doc N doesn't have the time to post a regular comic and/or days the server fails to post a regular comic, a filler strip goes up with the characters drawn in a simpler style. Once the current storyline gets back on track, the filler strips are taken offline. The characters once hung a lampshade on the fact that they only have one pose in the filler strips.
  • The Word Weary characters are called "R2-D2 Elves" by one of the protagonists. The characters' bodies are drawn as rectangles with dome heads with pointy-toed legs . Women have two "u" shapes on their chests to represent breasts and stick arms that come out of their shoulders. Male characters' arms seem to come out of their clavicles.
  • The supremely geeky xkcd is both an exemplar and a subversion, since the author actually draws some more complicatedscenes. In one early comic, he drew some facial features on his stick figures. They... weren't that good. Maybe he's just bad at drawing faces, or doesn't like drawing complex drawings of people. Likely not the first one.

Off-art Comics

Other Media
  • The series Animator Vs Animation uses stick figures.
  • The MMORPG Kingdom of Loathing, despite being a videogame, is pure 100 percent Stick Figures. This mostly started out because the creator, Jick, couldn't draw anything better.
  • Stickin' Around is a rare example of a stick figure TV show.
  • StickmanExodus is a Web Animation Black Comedy about the trials and tribulations of the two-dimensional.
  • The rulebook of the free RPG Risus is illustrated with stick figures, which fits well with both the extremely simple rule-system and the generally whimsical nature of the game.
  • There is also Stickguy: The RPG Where all the characters are to be drawn as stickguys.
  • StickPage contains dozens of stick-figure animations and games.
  • StickDeath gruesome flash and gif movies featuring primitive stick figures.
  • xkcd creator Randall Munroe has now started a blog, What If?, using the xkcd art style to illustrate hypothetical science problems.
  • The introductory cartoons in What the Fuck Is Wrong with You?. Also, Stick Boy.
  • Adventures of Alfredo, originally released on disk-based magazine Softdisk, is a series of short cartoons (originally created on the Apple ][) starring a hapless stick-figure man who ends up dead at the end of every episode. He was created by Matthew Heeschen and debuted in "Alfredo's Lost Cause", after which he was "adopted" by Mike Nuzzo for 11 sequels. A fifth-anniversary installment, "Alfredo's Stupendous Surprise", was created by John Romero, and added an interactive element, allowing you to make some decisions for Alfredo, though the end result would always be the same.
  • The Xiao Xiao series of Flash animations.

Sprite ComicWebcomicsTransformation Comic
Sprite ComicWebcomic TropesWebcomic Time
Squashed FlatGraphical TropesStrong Family Resemblance
Shark PoolImageSource/Web ComicsStop Helping Me!

alternative title(s): Notable Stick Figure Webcomics
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