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Terrible Artist
aka: Hollywood Scribbling
Surely, this will convince any cynic.

With your crappy drawings, the comprehensible becomes incomprehensible.
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.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga  
  • In Sket Dance, Himeko's animal drawings end up looking like grizzled/mutated/freaky versions of whatever she intended to draw.
  • Rukia from Bleach, who would accompany her explanations with incredibly cheesy drawings (of rabbits) that everybody treats as a lot more horrific than they really are.
    • Come on, Aizen was a teddy bear with glasses and a kimono.
    • Byakuya can't draw any better.
    • The promotional material for her division, the thirteenth, includes bunny-Ukitake. Apparently, his taste is also questionable, as he writes "Kuchiki, your drawings are good as usual!" on it.
  • In the third episode of Sailor Moon R, Usagi creates a series of pictures using crayon as a visual aid when she was trying to convince an amnesiac Mamoru about their past (shown in the page pic). The other person present mocked Usagi for being "too old for Fairy Tales" while Mamoru just wandered off.
  • Azumanga Daioh: When Osaka tries to draw a panda, it scares the rest of the group.
    • Sakaki-san's inability to draw anything resembling anything is also pointed out more than once.
  • Nogizaka Haruka is good at almost everything... except drawing.
  • Slayers. Gourry draws a picture of Lina. People think he has drawn a monster which, given Lina's reputation, isn't that far from the truth.
  • On Eyeshield 21 art is the one class at which A-student Mamori doesn't excel, and her bad drawings are a running gag.
    • Conversely, Togano of the Ha-Ha Brothers is said to excel at Art, which is in fact the only class he isn't nearly failing... But when we see a few pages of the extremely derivative and unoriginal manga he's working on, the art's incredibly rough and difficult to follow, in what might be an in-joke about Art Evolution.
  • Ranma ˝
    • Akane and a vengeful doll switch bodies. Akane, now in the doll's body, tries to draw a pictures of herself to convince her pet pig (a transformed human) of this. The resulting picture is less than convincing, but because Akane's sketches are so awful, Ryouga recognizes her. Akane isn't very good at arts and crafts...
    • Not that Ranma is much better. In the manga chapter where they both moonlight as Miko, they try to draw a(n already very ugly) horse for talismans while making him look better. Ranma's drawing is only slightly less awful than Akane's.
  • In Part 3 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Boingo's Stand, Thoth, takes the form of a comic book which tells the future. It's drawn in a childlike, almost surrealistic style. This might be to reflect Boingo's youth.
  • Major Klaus Heinz von dem Eberbach has a great many skills, but drawing is not one of them. His underlings are greatly amused whenever he has to pick up a pen, and on at least one occasion Agent B (if I remember correctly) was disappointed that the Major only wrote down a description instead of trying to draw the person being described.
  • Subverted in Ichigo Mashimaro. Miu's manga drawings won't make it into professional publishing anytime soon, but they're still very acceptable for someone her age.
  • Subverted in InuYasha - given that he's the Kitsune equivalent of five years old and working in crayons, Shippo's not bad.
  • When Konata from Lucky Star is asked by Kagami why she doesn't join the manga club, she draws terrible pictures of her friends in response, including one of Kagami breathing fire!
  • Monkey D. Luffy from One Piece is really bad at drawing although he doesn't seem to realize this himself. His first draft at a jolly roger had Zoro commenting that the flag is meant to inspire terror, and that he was terrified by it.
    • In a hilarious case of his idiocy hitting the spot, Luffy's scribbles of a disfigured carpenter accurately predicted the appearance of their shipwright. Even later, his sketch of what mermaid Nami would look like (a cartoon fish with legs and long hair) is exactly what a fishwoman or mermaid in the background of one shot looked like.
  • Mirajane in Fairy Tail.
  • Yellow's drawings in Pokémon Special are like this.
    • Ash also tries his hand in the anime. He's not bad, but his traveling buddy Tracey did kinda set the bar pretty high...
  • When Daikichi is looking for Rin's birth tree in Bunny Drop, he asks Masako (Rin's neglectful mother), who is the only living person who knows where it is. She draws him a map. It's terrible. The fun part: Masako is a published mangaka.
    Daikichi: I thought you were an artist?!?
    Masako: Not the kind that draws maps!
  • Miyako of Hidamari Sketch is a variation. While she is a Ditzy Art Genius, her drawings can sometimes range from demented scribbles to horrifyingly freaky depictions of however the object being drawn appears in her messed-up brain.
  • In The World God Only Knows, whenever Keima tries to explain something via drawing, the first reaction he gets is usually "wow, you suck at drawing".
  • In GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class, Homura's membership in the Art Club clearly did not improve his drawing skills any.
  • Kimi ni Todoke's Sawako. Because Sawako is generally so skillful, her friends crack up at the fact she's a truly inept artist.
  • Tai's "map" in Digimon Adventure
  • In Kirby of the Stars, as shown by the episode in which King Dedede attempts to make an anime, virtually every Cappy is this, along with Kirby and the king himself. Then they all became very sleep deprived and overworked thanks to Dedede having promised Holy Nightmare Co. that it would be ready to air in an impossibly short amount of time, which didn't help.
  • In Yu Gi Oh ZEXAL, Gilag draws some manga samples and submits them to a manga artist. They didn't make the cut.
  • In the anime of Tears to Tiara, Ermin writes a badly illustrated book about Arawn's previous adventures. "Whack whack, they defeat the enemy!"
  • In Love Lab, Maki draws a crude-looking, Gonk man on a body pillow and practices kissing with it, claiming it is a drawing of the ideal man. Riko thinks it looks disgusting. Later, the art teacher gives Maki a "D" and she honestly doesn't understand why.
  • Haruka in Sakura Trick. Her attempts at art are... offputting.
  • Izumi of Love Stage is an aspiring manga artist whose dedication is far greater than his artistic skill.

     Comic Books  
  • 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.

    Film 
  • 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.

    Literature 
  • 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."

     Newspaper Comics  
  • 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.

     Tabletop Games  

    Theatre 
  • 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.

     Video Games  
  • 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).

     Visual Novels 
  • 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."

     Web Animation  

     Web Comics  
  • 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.
  • 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.

     Western Animation  
  • Possibly the earliest example of this trope would be the Tex Avery Porky Pig short "Porky's Preview", which centers around Porky showing off an animated short he made-only the animation consists of doodles and the film as a whole is incredibly sloppily made. What makes this short even more amusing is that the ending leaves it ambiguous whether it was the skunk that scared off Porky's audience or the horrible quality of the picture that scared them off first. That being said, the skunk was impressed enough to applaud.
  • Followed shortly by the Popeye short "Cartoons Ain't Human." Popeye makes his own cartoon and screens it for his nephews and Olive. Popeye furnishes the voices, music and sound effects during the screening.
  • In Duck Amuck, Daffy asks at one point for scenery. The artist obliges with a very crudely drawn background (even though he's been shown as capable of drawing competently.) Daffy is not amused though mostly because there's no color.
    • Subverted since he's not really a bad artist; he's just being sadistic.
  • Wile E. Coyote's blueprints for catching the Road Runner feature what looks like stick figures.
  • Kim Possible: Any time Dr. Drakken displays his Evil Plan in pictures, it's like this.
  • Wacky Delly, a cartoon show within the world of Rocko's Modern Life. Made by Rocko and his friends, it is a poorly-drawn, poorly edited excuse for animated entertainment, epic in its amateurishness. It is also the single funniest moment in the entire series.
  • Chowder, in the episode "Sing Beans", once literally drew a straw, which ended up looking more like a wobbly vertical line on his sheet of paper. Mung, probably due to general scatterbrain-ness, still thought it was better than Schnitzel's much more realistic drawing.
  • Similarly, an episode of The Ren & Stimpy Show had Stimpy making his own cartoon, "Explodey the Pup in: 'I Like Pink'" and show it off to eccentric, borderline-senile cartoonist Wilbur Cobb. The cartoon is badly drawn, animated, and scripted, and makes almost no sense, in an endearing sort of way.
  • Sponge Bob Square Pants's crude drawings come to life in the episode "Frankendoodle". Even Patrick criticizes him on his lack of structure and perspective, and his drawings aren't any better.
  • A near Running Gag in Avatar: The Last Airbender is Sokka's failure at artistic rendering - which he does not allow to stop him from pursuing the aesthetics! This was even a part of his crash course in badassery.
    • Toph enjoys mentioning how similar to the subject his drawings look to her.
    • This goes against his ability to plan things out, as he demonstrates he can calculate things down to the minute (with "help"). Including bathroom breaks (offering to join them and eating times together). His art is fail, his planning is epic.
    • This gets a nod in the sequel series when Sokka's nephew Tenzin proudly shows off one of the drawings he inherited from Sokka, and it's apparent the quality never improved as Sokka got older.
  • An episode of Doug inverts this, with the school bully able to paint an amazing, full color sunset with only blue paint in less than five seconds.
    • Lampshaded:
    Doug: How did you do that?!
  • Now it's time for Kuzco Doodles!
  • In an episode of The Simpsons, Chief Wiggum mentions the police can't afford guns anymore, and he can now only carry a crude picture of a gun drawn in crayon named "Daddy's Bang-Bang". Lou thinks it was drawn by his son, Ralph, but Chief Wiggum reveals that he drew it himself.
    • Inverted in "Mom and Pop Art." Homer scribbles on a piece of paper when Moe tells him he can pay with a priceless sketch. Barney asks if he can do the same but is rejected, dropping his copy of "Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte". Homer's sketch is not shown.
  • In Unsupervised Gary draws pictures of his dad to remember what he looks like. When he shows one to Carol, his step-mom, she doesn't recognize him and remarks that "his mouth looks like an asshole."
  • The entirety of the Dexter's Laboratory episode "Dexter and Computress Get Mandark!," which suits the audio as it was submitted in by a 6˝-year-old boy.
  • Fillmore!: Danny O'Farrell is actually a pretty good artist - specifically, a photographer - but when he decides to start sketching impressions of the perp in "The Shreds Fell Like Snowflakes", things do not go well. His first is compared to Tiger Woods on a really bad morning; his second is an oyster without its shell.
  • Brittany on Daria; her first major appearance was actually when Daria had to help her draw in three-point perspective. Another episode focuses on an art contest with the theme of "student life;" her entries look like they might have been drawn by a five-year-old, but she wins anyway, presumably because she was the only one who presented a clear, positive message.


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alternative title(s): Hollywood Scribbling
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