Follow TV Tropes


Art Attacker

Go To

The Art Attacker is a character who uses Art as a weapon. This could be paint, puppetry, music, video, etc.

Unlike a Starving Artist (who is dying for their art), an Art Attacker has someone else dying from their art. The attacker can be, but is not necessarily, a Mad Artist or a Cultured Badass. Their Weapon of Choice might be an Instrument of Murder, The Pen Is Mightier, a Weaponized Camera or something else. They may be able to create Anomalous Art. And if they run a Wax Museum Morgue, then their victims are very, very screwed.

Super-Trope to Comedy as a Weapon, Dance Battler, Marionette Master, Musical Assassin, and Paper Master. Those examples should be listed on their own pages. Sub-Trope of Improbable Weapon User. Compare Art Initiates Life, Brown Note, Imagination-Based Superpower and Rewriting Reality.


This trope has nothing to do with the TV series, Art Attack. Or someone literally or metaphorically attacking a piece of art.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • One Piece:
    • Mr. 3, who uses wax sculptures, and Miss Goldenweek, who uses color to paint on Standard Status Effects or other powers. They are paired together due to their art theme.
    • Giolla of the Doflamingo Family is an even more literal version of this, as her power lets her transform things (and people) into abstract art using thought clouds.
    • The former Supernova rookie Scratchmen Apoo ate a devil fruit allowing him to turn his body parts into musical instruments. The catch is that some of the soundwaves he produces cause slashes and explosions.
    • Evening Shower Kanjuro can make anything he draws come to life to help him. Though there's a hilarious subversion from other people in One Piece (and probably Manga in general) who use magical drawings; Kanjuro's drawings are awful, and most of his attacks are squiggly and pathetic, and turns what could easily be one of the strongest Devil Fruits in the world (an Imagination-Based Power in a world where power increases are entirely determined by imaginative thinking instead of linear increases) into a complete and utter joke. At least, until it's revealed that he's not using his dominant hand to be unthreatening while playing the part of The Mole, when he switches to his actual drawing hand he proves exactly as dangerous as his power should entail him being.
  • Naruto has a sizable stable of art weapon users. Sasori, Kankuro and Chiyo are trained puppetmasters, Deidara uses explosive clay, and Sai can bring his paintings to life. Sasori and Deidara, like the One Piece example, were partnered, but constantly argued over whose definition of art was superior (Sasori argued that art should be eternal and sought to make indestructible puppets, while Deidara believed true art was ephemeral and thus explosions were the ultimate expression of art).
    • The meeting of all of the above but Chiyo was the very first battle of the Fourth Ninja War arc. Chiyo got there later, after Sasori "left."
    • There's also Konan and her origami.
  • In Yu Yu Hakusho, Kurama goes up against a demon who uses make-up to power himself and de-power others.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Kakyoin does this while he's Brainwashed and Crazy early in the story. He attacks Jotaro by making a painting of him, then slashing the leg with red paint, causing a gash to appear on Jotaro's leg; later on, he uses a marionette to control the school nurse's body. After he's freed from DIO's mind control, it's shown that this was all unnecessary (since he then fights directly along with his Stand Hierophant Green), suggesting that it was just theatrical flair.
    • Koichi Hirose's Stand Echoes is mostly based around the use of manga-style onomatopoeias. Its first form can make people hear a sound that he paints on their body. He uses this for a number of purposes, including torturing a con artist by writing things like 'boom' and 'crash' on him over and over again, stopping his mother from committing suicide by writing 'believe in me!', and tricking another enemy into stopping for a nonexistent train by writing 'ding ding ding'. Echoes' second form can actually cause physical effects with its onomatopoeias, like making something intensely hot by writing 'sizzle' and making something bouncy by writing 'Boing!'.
    • Rohan Kishibe, from the same Part as Koichi, can turn people into books in which he can read their life story. He can also edit the text of those books, which can cause a number of effects on his enemies; his most common use of this power is writing 'Cannot attack Rohan Kishibe', which prevents the target from fighting against him, but he's also blinded people, catapulted them through the air, forced them to self-immolate, and taught them to speak Italian.
    • The stand Bohemian Rhapsody also gives Ungalo the ability to do it. The stand causes fictional characters over the entire earth to come to life if there's a picture of them. When a person runs into a character they like, they get the character's role and are doomed to share their fate. For example, if you really like Vincent van Gogh and run into one of his self portraits, you will cut off your own ear and kill yourself. How is the stand beaten? Weather Report has Vincent van Gogh draw a fictional character whose ability is to stop Bohemian Rhapsody.
  • Medaka Box: The last episode of Medaka Box abnormal introduces an painter by the name of Fude Ezumachi. His color of beauty allows him to control colors and their associations. For example, his brittle grey paint makes objects brittle and fall apart. His blue paint covers the opponent with "bruises" and the body registers the pain as real. He'd be a fearsome character if he weren't just a one shot filler character.
  • Black Clover has the captain of the Azure Deer, Rill Boismortier. Despite behaving like an energetic and excitable kid, he is an extremely formidable Magic Knight due to his Picture Magic creating anything that he paints. By proxy, the elf Lira possessing his body borrows his magic and uses it in forced blind hatred against the Clover Kingdom.

    Comic Books 
  • The Green Lantern foe the Tattooed Man and Batman villain Pyx from The DCU have the power to bring their tattoos (body art) to life.
    • Also, Kyle Rayner is an artist, and while it's not always explicitly shown, he wields his ring as an art form; that's his style.
    • Meanwhile, John Stewart was an architect, and all of his ring constructs have blueprint-like attention to detail.

    Fan Works 

  • The Joker in Tim Burton's Batman (1989) describes himself as such to Vicki Vale.
  • In Velvet Buzzsaw, the curse on Vetril Dease's artwork uses art itself as a weapon to kill the greedy art dealers and snobbish critics who profit from it.
  • Art of the Dead: Not only can Mad Artist Dorian Wilde's seven cursed paintings corrupt those in their presence, and leave them open to possession by Wilde, they can also attack people directly. When Douglas Winter attempts to blast the Wrath painting with a shotgun, the painting sucks the shotgun into itself. The now-painted shotgun barrel then emerges from the painting and blasts Douglas.

  • Rithmatists from The Rithmatist. They can use chalk to create barriers, wards against Rithmatic attacks, and animated drawings. With a special glyph, these drawings can be allowed to interact with the real world, often by ripping people into tiny pieces.
  • Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising series novel Greenwitch. A man working for the Dark paints a picture that acts as a spell to control the Greenwitch.
  • The Sword of Truth has a court wizard who places spells on people by drawing them, using their likeness for Sympathetic Magic.
  • In the final novel of The Dark Tower, this plays a major role in the defeat of The Crimson King.
  • Another Stephen King novel, Duma Key, involves both a protagonist and an antagonist who use this...sort of. The protagonist, Edgar, is possessed by an Eldritch Abomination named Perse who gives his paintings power. Edgar uses a painting to kill an Asshole Victim who wholly deserved it, but Perse uses the paintings to do worse things.
  • In Catching Fire Peeta uses his solo session with the game makers to paint an image of Rue covered in flowers to hold them responsible for her death.
  • The titular character in the Oriental tale of The Boy Who Drew Cats.
  • The boy Ma Liang who was blessed with the Magic Brush.
  • Battle Is An Art
    • The MC, Herah, has the ability to manifest any art she creates into reality, once using this particular ability to create exploding hand tattoos.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: In "Fear Her", Chloe has been drawing children out of the real world and onto her paper. Turns out she's been possessed by a lonely little alien, but before the Doctor can find the spaceship, the alien captures him and the TARDIS in her paper. She later abducts the Olympic Stadium in London, and almost does so to the entire planet.
  • A season 2 episode of Eagleheart has a variant of this when Monsanto becomes a hot new artist with blood spatters from the people he shoots as his pieces. At one point a woman in line for a club asks him to do her dress so he shoots the guy in front of her, covering her outfit in blood as she shrieks with excitement over "wearing a MONSANTO!"
  • One Get Smart villain used "Dorian Gray" paint - he painted pictures of his victims who would then rapidly age and die.
  • In Misfits, a tattoo artist turns out to be able to use his tattoos to control and attack people.

    Video Games 
  • In de Blob, you can take over the occupying forces by coloring the world.
  • Dota 2 has Grimstroke, who fights with magical ink and paintbrush. One of the skills he can learn even makes an evil portrait of an enemy hero to fight on his side.
  • Dynasty Warriors:
    • Ma Dai fights with a giant brush that shoots off solid ink "pellets" as well as pictures of tigers and dragons.
    • As does Narsus in Arslan: Warriors of Legend, a crossover-spinoff of Dynasty Warriors.
  • In Epic Mickey, Mickey uses a brush and paint thinner to Set Right What Once Went Wrong. His opponent, par for the course, is the Phantom Blot.
  • This is Lunalu's power in Granblue Fantasy, she can draw monsters and they'll attack for her.
  • Amaterasu, the main character of Ōkami, uses her tail as a brush to cast spells. There is also her Evil Counterpart Ninetails, who in his first form can use similarly powerful spells whenever the player tries to sketch (his brush moves slowly, so sketching faster than him is important), and Shiranui, Amaterasu's ancestor who draws extremely fast and helps the player against the Wawku Shrine Dual Boss.
  • In Comix Zone, the artist (named Sketch, natch) and Big Bad of a comic series switch places, where the hero is in the series, and the Big Bad is in the real world. To make the switch more permanent, the Big Bad draws enemies into the comic to kill off the hero.
  • This is the player's modus operandi in the Scribblenauts games.
  • Relm from Final Fantasy VI has the "Sketch" ability which lets her use the target monster's special abilities.
  • Brauner from Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin. When you fight him, he paints on an easel with blood, making a pattern on the screen that damages you when you touch it. He also uses Art Initiates Life to summon monsters by painting them.
  • The Kirby series features many bosses like this, mostly as Mook Makers. The most well-known is Paint Roller in Kirby's Adventure. Kirby's Dream Land 3 has Ado, and Kirby 64 features Adeleine, as a boss turned ally.
    • Kirby Star Allies allows Kirby himself to take on this trope with the creation of the Artist ability, which allows him to attack his foes with paint and sculptures, as well as allowing him to create food from his paint.
  • The main protagonist of Graffiti Kingdom has a magic brush that turns himself into different creatures using cards. Some are hidden, some are dropped from enemies which turn you into that enemy and give you their powers. You can even acquire cards allowing you to turn into miniature versions of bosses.
  • Sly Cooper series has the Panda King, a firework artist who uses fireworks in combat and to help his crimes.
  • The various rudies from the Jet Set Radio series attack using graffiti.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, the ability you get from the ruby star is literally called "Art Attack." The amount of damage it does depends on how many times you can draw circles around your opponent.
    • Luigi's Mansion has Vincent Van Gore, whose paintings of ghostly Mooks come to life.
    • Wario Land 4 has Hoggus in the Doodle Woods, who sketches pictures of enemies that subsequently come to life and attack Wario. Deburinas also emerge from pictures in the same level.
  • The Splatoon games involve separate teams spraying their color of ink all over arenas, and the team with the most ink on the ground after 3 minutes is the winner. This also counts as Geo Effects, as players can swim through ink of their own color at high speeds, and are slowed down by touching enemy ink.
  • In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, Bowser Jr.'s Final Smash is him turning into Shadow Mario and obscuring most of the screen with an orange painted X, which damages opponents who make contact with it.
  • Zeri of Dawngate is an Art Attacker. When she's not lobbing blobs of paint at enemies, she even has one technique where she "desaturates" the opponent, removing some of their colour temporarily and stopping their ability to cast spells.
  • Skylanders:
    • Trap Team gives us Short Cut (a tailor armed with traptanium shears whose needle work immobilizes enemies) and Wolfgang (a werewolf rock star whose guitar—in addition to being a literal axe—emits destructive notes).
    • Superchargers gives us Splat (a satyr whose bo staff/double-ended paintbrush lays down damaging paint and summons paint constructs to aid her) and Fiesta (a ghostly mariachi player whose weapon is a trumpet and is backed up by his band).
  • inFAMOUS: Second Son features two artistic superpowers. "Neon" has various attacks that are accompanied by vibrant colors and one character can use them to pain glowing art wherever they want. The "Video" power set summons videogame angels and demons as minions to do various things, like carry away enemies.
  • Valerie Rose from Fantasy Strike fights with an oversized paintbrush that creates damaging trails of paint in the air.
  • In Hollow Knight, the player can encounter three Nailmasters, but one of them, Sheo, has hung up his nail and taken up painting. If the Knight insists on learning his nail art, he will demonstrate it with his paintbrush, leaving a wide splash across his canvas. When he is encountered again in Godhome, his entire fight is done with the paintbrush, leaving the arena splattered with paint.
  • The Foreigner-class Servant Katsushika Hokusai in Fate/Grand Order goes about with this as part of her attacks, attacking with her paintbrushes, various painted images, and even extends into her Noble Phantasm, where she paints one of her most distinctive paintings, The Great Wave Off Kanagawa, damaging enemies.
  • Eve in No Straight Roads is a variation of this, as she tries to kill you using her own pieces of abstract art.

    Web Comics 
  • Girl Genius: Simon Voltaire is a huge patron of the arts. When he's at the top of his game his attacks formed by rearranging the components that make up the city of Paris are arranged aesthetically. When making a tactical move against the Geisterdamen attacking Martellus's masquerade, he flourishes as if revealing an artistic opus ("VOILÀ!"), and the scene looks like a perspective picture.
  • In Paranatural, Ed's "tool" is a paint brush, which he can use to make ink paintings with which to fight off spectral beings.

    Web Original 
  • One group of interest for the SCP Foundation is the art group "Are We Cool Yet?", who specialize in producing artwork with anomalous properties - sometimes with deadly results.

    Western Animation 
  • ChalkZone: While in Chalk Zone Rudy can create anything he needs by drawing it with his magic chalk. Outside of Chalk Zone anything anyone draws with any chalk and erases becomes real inside Chalk Zone.
  • In one episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, an artist's pencil fell into Bikini Bottom, which could bring to life a disgruntled duplicate of SpongeBob. The pencil and eraser were both used to attack and defend.
  • Splatter Phoenix of Darkwing Duck is an artist who uses her reality-bending paintbrushes to commit various crimes, including various assaults on our hero.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: Nathanaël's akumatized form in the episode "The Evillustrator" has art themed powers, with the ability to draw and erase objects into/ from existence via his tablet.
  • Brushogun's ink is used to create minions for the Big Bad of Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo.
  • Mad Artist Zachariah Easel from Skysurfer Strike Force who can attack the Skysurfers with his art.
  • In Star Wars Rebels, Sabine is a consummate graffiti artist and the Ghost's Demolitions Expert. As such, one of her weapons is explosive, remote-detonated spray paint.

    Real Life 
  • Spiders. Their beautiful and intricately-woven webs are perfect for ensnaring prey into a trap.
  • Nibs. People who inked can tell you that at least once, when tried to master it, they've hurt themselves with them. They're like miniature swords. And if they're full of ink, congratulations, enjoy your new tattoo!
  • Pens and pencils are valid choices for a self-defense weapon if the wielder is trained to use them effectively, as they can easily be used as shivs that are socially acceptable to carry in public. "Tactical pens", made from rugged materials with an intentionally sharp design, are even designed with this use in mind.


Video Example(s):


Splatoon 2 - Splat Roller

The Splat Roller is a giant weaponized paint roller, perfect for both painting your turf and mowing down enemies.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / ArtAttacker

Media sources:

Main / ArtAttacker