aka: Hollywood Scribbling
Surely, this will convince any cynic.
— Ichigo Kurosaki
(regarding Rukia Kuchiki's "artwork"), Bleach
A subtrope of Stylistic Suck
. Whenever a character not already informed or displayed to have any talent with art creates something, it will almost always be a crudely drawn thing that would make a grade school art teacher weep. Expect inconsistencies, weird space and size relations, a lack of perspective, and the coloring (often in crayon) to be both uneven and often go over the lines, while being professionally drawn in other departments. Often, the actual drawing won't be near as bad as the reactions they garner (this is the entertainment industry, after all), making this similar to Hollywood Homely
in a sense.
If the drawing is so bad
no one can tell what it's supposed to depict, it's Playing Pictionary
Often combines with Her Code Name Was Mary Sue
when in comic form. In some ways the opposite of Fourth Wall Portrait
. When applied to the calligraphy, becomes The Illegible
, and when this is applied to music, Dreadful Musician
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Anime and Manga
- Johnny the Homicidal Maniac features Happy Noodle Boy, a "Comic within a comic" about a gibberish-spouting stick figure, drawn by the main character himself. The segments are deliberately done to be so awful, they actually end up extremely funny. The creator, Jhonen Vasquez, also uses them as a nifty way to illustrate Johnny's current mental state?
- Max's scribbles and graffiti doodles in the Sam & Max: Freelance Police comics are crude, but quite stylish and proportionate with decent shading. Averted in the Telltale games, though, where they're convincingly bad drawings - presumably a less artistically-gifted member of the team was drafted in to do them.
- The cover of The Powerpuff Girls' second comic book appearance (Cartoon Network Starring #5, October 1999) took on the appearance of the art of a five-year-old child as the story itself entails the girls' artistic interpretation of how they spent their weekend.
- Napoleon's bizarre artwork in Napoleon Dynamite. Napoleon covers his notebooks with crudely drawn sketches of monsters and magic. He is apparently oblivious to his art's Stylistic Suck, and he tries to impress Trisha by drawing her picture. Unfortunately for him, the result is just awful. Still Napoleon says "It took me like three hours to finish the shading on your upper lip. It's probably the best drawing I've ever done."
- In The Rebel starring Tony Hancock the Hancock character is an artist who thinks he's a genius despite having no talent whatsoever. In an effort to prove himself he goes to Paris and shacks up with a genuine art student. His roomie surprisingly swallows all of Hancock's pretentious guff about art theory and decides to copy Hancock's "naive" style. Naturally the roommate's art ends up getting mistaken for Hancock's and Hancock is hailed as the greatest thing since Picasso, while his real art is dismissed for the rubbish it is.
- One Doctor Who Eighth Doctor Adventures novel has the Doctor attempt to draw a map for his companions. It includes squares which obviously represent houses, but there are also some... other things. Everyone who sees it feels compelled to comment on them, describing them as "trees", "duck ponds", "giant pools of jam", and "puffy shapes". Oddly, in an earlier book, he showed that he's more than competent at sketching.
- In Artemis Fowl, when Mulch is helping the heroes break into Koboi Laboratories, he makes some diagrams, the crudeness of which Root is quick to comment on. Koboi Labs itself is represented by a rectangle, a fissure leading up to it is a wobbly line, and a foundation pillar ends up looking kind of snake-like.
- Galaxy of Fear's Tash Arranda writes and provides illustrations for her inter-term assignment. The drawings are crude and appear to be colored pencil.
Live Action TV
- In Heroes, Peter absorbs Isaac's ability to paint the future, but not his artistic ability, and ends up doodling a stick figure prophecy. Later, when he tries to finish a painting that Isaac had left incomplete, the lack of detail in his part ends up creating a Prophecy Twist.
- When Sylar does the same, his paintings are strange and deformed.
- Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. First in "Hush", with his stick figure explanations of the Big Bad that lead Buffy to mime that she doesn't have hips that big and second in a season 7 episode where he's explaining to the new Chinese Potential what's going on and she freaks out. Understandably. (There's also Andrew's whiteboard in, um, "Get It Done" (S7), and possibly "Storyteller" also.)
- At one point on Angel, Fred as part of her presentation provides a crude drawing of the MacGuffin they're about to steal. Just then Angel, who was quietly doodling on a sketch pad, holds up a much much better more detailed illustration of the MacGuffin than Fred's sparking jealousy and embarrassment.
- He also had it when he drew a near photorealistic portrait of Cordelia, while Fred just drew a crude Bedsheet Ghost.
- Which ties back to Angel doing quite detailed portraits of Buffy, during his time in Sunnydale as Angelus; he's got artistic talent and a habit of drawing rather stalker-esque pictures of girls he likes.
- When Miley loses her horse, Blue Jeans, during part 1 of the Hannah Montana episode, "Miley Says Goodbye", Lilly draws a sketch of the horse to use for the lost-and-found poster. The horse looks very stick-figure-like, to Miley and Robbie Ray's chagrin.
- At one point in episode 16 of Engine Sentai Go-onger, Gunpei draws something that resembles a carp flag more than anything. The other Go-ongers are baffled when he tells them that it's meant to be a penguin.
- In the Supernatural episode "Bedtime Stories", Sam pretends to be a police sketch artist and turns out to be an example of this trope.
- In the pilot of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Maria Hill drew a picture of a porcupine under the Social Skills section of Agent Ward's assessment. Coulson however thinks the picture looks more like a "piece of poop with knives in it."
- Played with in Calvin and Hobbes. In a variant of Art Initiates Life, Calvin becomes the scribbly version of his drawings and ends up not knowing what to do because he can't for the life of him figure out what he's supposed to be.
- Inverted in one FoxTrot strip, where Paige's still-life paintings begin in a very photorealistic and eventually progress to the strip's cartoony style. Her parents praise the latter as evidence that her skills are getting better.
- The Family Circus has some strips "drawn" — crudely — by the character Billy on a semi-regular basis. This has become more amusing since the real kids have grown up, as the real "Billy" — Glen Keane — is an animator for Disney. He animated (and in some cases designed) such characters as Aladdin, Ariel, Rattigan, Beast, Tarzan, and the cyborg John Silver.
- In A Very Potter Musical, Draco Malfoy draws AWESOMELY!
- I know. Did you see the shading on that sweater? And the crosshatching? It was rather good.
- Larry's bad drawings are, naturally, very important to the last case in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials & Tribulations.
- His artwork is actually surprisingly good for the living incarnation of Just Eat Gilligan; it's the fact that his painting displays something utterly impossible from a certain perspective that puts his talents (and sanity) into question.
- A similar occurrence happens with his autograph in Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth. While not technically impossible, the discrepancy is very important to the case.
- In The World Ends with You, the kid shows Neku a drawing of this caliber while trying to explain the Mini-Game to him.
- Not only was the drawing bad, but it was such a chaotic mess that it's wonder how anyone is suppose to realize it's about said mini-game
- In Ratchet & Clank 3, Captain Qwark's "Genius plans" for military operations against the robots are crayon scribbles mostly involving air-dropping Ratchet alone in the battle zone and hoping for the best. Which is, nonetheless, a good plan.
- In Anachronox, a minor NPC (the doorman to Rowdy's bar) will show various pictures he drew to the main character; they range from crude stick figures to bizarre but well-drawn scenes to nonsensical scribblings, finally ending with a blank piece of paper. Most of the time, he'll just comment with "It's not very good" or "I think I'm getting better", but if you approach him with the party's Omnidisciplinary Scientist, Rho Bowman, she will go into art expert mode and they'll veer off into deep and bizarre analysis of each picture.
- For someone who expresses her powers through drawing, Naminé's artwork in Kingdom Hearts II consists mainly of abstract scribbles. One wonders if she had to work with crappy, fat crayons or something for those, since her colored pencil sketches in the opening video are incredible.
- The Chain of Memories manga implies this is the case. It also shows off the fact that Sora is a terrible artist when he attempts to draw Riku and Mickey.
- Actually, some of her sketches of places in KH2 are quite good, crayon or not. It's people she can't draw, and considering that some of them are people she's only briefly, if ever, met...
- Hyperdimension Neptunia V has Rei Ryghts showing off her drawings to the party. Doubles as an Actor Allusion because this is how real life seiyuu Yu Kobayashi draws.
- In Tales of Xillia 2, Ivar proudly displays some wanted posters for Ludger and Julius that drew himself, done with the level of quality one might expect from a pre-schooler. They don't actually end up using them, however (Unlike the poorly drawn wanted posters present in previous games of the series).
- This happens in a2 ~a due~ when Hao draws a picture of Sona to show to strangers, since he's running around town trying to find her and doesn't know any English. It's so bad that Sona even comments on how his doodle (more specifically, the way he drew her mohawk) makes her look like "a weird, mutant hedgehog."
- Most of Strong Bad's drawings are like this.
- But they're nothing compared to brother Strong Mad's crude doodles. One time, he drew a picture of an egg-shaped thing with oval-shaped eyes, a mouth, and stick arms and legs and labeled it "BABBY ALIEN" - it was supposed to be a drawing of Strong Bad when he was little.
- At the end of the Sbmail "Lunch Special," Strong Mad sends Strong Bad his MS Paint drawing of a brontosaurus eating breakfast◊ via email. Having been unable to receive a picture of a hot girl via email earlier, Strong Bad briefly flirts with the picture before declaring he needs to get out of the house.
- Teen Girl Squad, the animation-within-an-animation created by Strong Bad, has this. The characters are drawn crudely and the plots are completely bizarre.
- A few Brain POP episodes (mostly the older ones) have terrible drawings done with crayons.
- In Ultra Fast Pony, "Copywrong", Rarity's Zany Scheme to ruin Fluttershy's career is illustrated by a bunch of crude stick figures. Immediately after, series creator Wacarb inserts a caption mocking his own artistic skills (as those bad drawings are the only original art in the episode).
- One Penny Arcade strip had Gabe creating a character named "Dr. Raven Darktalon Blood" which was a satire of Todd McFarlane and the whole Darker and Edgier concept in general. Later on, there was a short arc depicting an indie comic book produced in a Kinko's following the character (opening with said character saying, "This tomb will be your grave!").
- One brief series of strips had Gabe and Tycho have a falling out, resulting in each trying to do the comic by himself. Tycho's comic is a poorly drawn version of a Bad Boys of Punctuation strip, while Gabe's is well-drawn but poorly written (consisting of nothing but Take Thats against Tycho).
- Early in 8-Bit Theater's run, Fighter posted a couple of comics up to the site, beginning here.
- Although they're technically in the same style as the rest of the comic.
- This page of Gunnerkrigg Court features cartoons drawn by Antimony, Kat, and Mort. The cartoons' shortcomings are revealing about their authors: Annie's has very precise linework, completely devoid of life or movement, in service of a bizarre pun. Kat's artwork, while energetic, is little better than stick figures, and her punchline is impenetrably geeky. And Mort's is actually pretty well-drawn, but the punchline is painfully punny.
- Justified and subverted in Zebra Girl: Sandra's comics are pretty well drawn for someone that has ten-inch-long claw-tipped fingers. And then she yields to her demon side, and her drawings become... disturbed.
- Averted with Tedd and Sarah of El Goonish Shive. Tedd once drew a picture of Grace; while the picture was a rough sketch it wasn't a particularly bad sketch. Sarah meanwhile draws in a chibi style that is the same as one of the author's alternate styles; her art is just as good as the author's in that style. Played straight, on the other hand with drawings by Grace.
- After the first story arc of Skin Horse, in which the main characters have to talk a genetically engineered lion down from a rampage, said lion decides to start a gaming webcomic about a couple of lions on a couch. Since then, the weekend strips have occasionally been examples of his work-poorly drawn (which is to be expected from a guy with no thumbs) depictions of a pair of lions discussing games and an antelope who is a ridiculous strawman for opinions Leo disagrees with (he's invariably eaten at the end of each strip).
- In this Dante Residential comic, Ralph has drawn a crappy stick figure comic that he shows to an unimpressed Torvald.
- Reid Family. Abstract art? Boo! (Two pages later everyone is in awe over the main character's realistic version.)
- In Homestuck, Terezi Pyrope can't draw very well at all◊. Justified, in that she's blind. How bad is she? In-universe, she was the inspiration for the unique art style of the deliberately-bad Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff.
- Later on, Karkat reveals himself to be even worse◊.
CTG: ok youre by far the worst artist out of any of us
CTG: and thats saying something
?CG: SHUT UP I DREW IT FAST
- Taken Up to Eleven when undyingUmbrage sends Dirk a drawing he did of them. Dirk calls it the worst drawing possible. He's not exaggerating - uu's art is completely indecipherable◊, when even Terezi or Karkat's horrible art could be identified as a picture and not a bunch of lines.
- A few Dark Legacy Comics strips have Donald as the artist (and hero). They're crudely drawn and after the 2nd one, Keydar remarks that Donald's never allowed to draw again.
- Any attempt at imitating the Sonichu art style - Chris draws so bad, it's impossible to imitate his style properly (especially if it's drawn by a talented artist).
- From Brawl in the Family, Dedede presents how good he is at making a comic.
- In Commander Kitty, Fluffy delivers her presentation of her and Mittens' plan to fake the crew having a transporter in this fashion.