Follow TV Tropes


Creator Thumbprint

Go To
No matter the story, Hayao Miyazaki will have someone/something flying.Clockwise from top left: 

A recurring item found across several works for a director, producer, or writer.

For recurring associates, see Production Posse. For recurring characters or items identified with a previous movie, see Production Throwback and Reused Character Design. The literary/unintentional equivalent of this is an Author Catchphrase, and the actor equivalent of this is just a normal Catchphrase (e.g. "I'll be back"). Does not include overarching Signature Style elements of a body of work, Signature Shots, or explicit trademarks, such as Alfred Hitchcock's silhouette or Walt Disney's signature. If the Thumbprint is something the author likes, then it's Author Appeal, and if it's lifted wholesale from another series by the creator, it's Borrowing from the Sister Series.


Examples with their own pages


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • In their Girls With Guns works, Bee Train always has a female character that wears a pair of red shoes - which started with Kirika in Noir. Also, Kouichi Mashimo went to a Jesuit university, knows a lot about the Catholic Church, and likes to feature some of Aquinas's and Augustine's ideas in his shows. He also has a non-sexual love for any Action Girl (especially with a gun), being a fairly well-known feminist in Japan.
  • Keiichi Sigsawa, author of Kino's Journey and Allison and Lillia, goes out of his way to profile in entirely unnecessary detail every weapon and vehicle that comes up, regardless of whether it is important to the plot. And as if that weren't enough, even his pen name is based on a gun brand.
  • Shirow Masamune loves drawing sexy, scantily clad women, but that hardly sets him apart; what does is his obsessive attention to detail regarding near-future/sci-fi weaponry and machines.
  • If you couldn't tell from the series itself, Hiroyuki Imaishi, the director of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann said in an interview that he liked drills and wanted a show where they were the main character's weapon. This becomes either hilarious or creepy when you see his previous work, Dead Leaves, where one guy has a giant drill (that's drawn just like the ones in TTGL because he's also the character designer for both) for a penis.
  • Most of the ridiculously hard to understand math and physics found around Haruhi Suzumiya (including an important in one of the later novels that is even illustrated) stem from Nagaru Tanigawa (the author of the novels) being a math/physics buff. See Alice in Wonderland for something similar.
  • Wataru Yoshizumi, the mangaka behind Marmalade Boy, Ultra Maniac, Mint na Bokura and many others likes her tennis. She tends to have at least one of her characters in each of her series be a member of their school tennis club.
  • Aside from uniforms and girls with hair decs, Hidekaz Himaruya loves bunnies.
  • Arina Tanemura really likes insane hair.
  • Shamelessly lampshaded by Ai Yazawa in her manga Gokinjo Monogatari, about an arts high school populated by eccentric teens. "In the Yazawa High School students have an unspoken agreement to dress in the most outrageous way possible. Why? Principal Ai Yazawa just loves outlandish clothes!". Before becoming a mangaka, she wanted to be a fashion designer, and she's a hardcore fan of Vivienne Westwood. She also loves rock and punk music. It becomes glaringly obvious since all of her mangas feature fashion designers, massive amounts of different outfits, designs lifted from Westwood, aspiring musicians and punk rockers.
  • Bleach: Tite Kubo is a huge music geek. As a result, he gives many of his characters theme songs from a wide range of styles and nationalities. His chapter and volume titles can be a Call-Back to songs and he often finds a way to insert music into character conversations. During the Turn Back The Pendulum arc not only did he have Captain Shinji trying to convince Vice-Captain Aizen that jazz was a brilliant invention but he also created a little character sketch at the end of the relevant volume to tell the reader that jazz didn't actually exist during Shinji's era, coupled with a sketch of Shinji looking absolutely baffled at what he's listening to if jazz doesn't exist. Kubo is also a huge fashion fan and takes every opportunity to sketch his characters in many different fashion styles from Japanese garb to punk outfits, tracksuits, and boxing gear. Even here, he often finds a way to insert music.
  • Hirohiko Araki is a big music fan, particularly of western progressive rock. This can be seen in the naming conventions of characters from his masterwork, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, with characters sporting such names as Dio Brando, Robert Edward O. Speedwagon, Vanilla Ice, and so forth. He even had a prog-rock song used as the ending theme of the new anime series. He also tends to use the death of dogs to illustrate just how evil a new villain is. Contrary to popular belief, he does this because he absolutely loves dogs, and killing one makes the villain viler in his eyes. In fact, one of the first things to happen in Jojo's is Dio kicking Jonathan's dog, then later killing him.
  • The Wallflower author Tomoko Hayakawa practically admits in her author notes that she simply made a series full of stuff she likes: Bishōnen, J-rock performers, horror and gothic pop culture, and the Elegant Gothic Lolita style.
  • Tsutomu Nihei, author of Blame!, has an obvious obsession with architecture, post-humanism, and cyborgs. The latter occasionally verges on fetish territory, and the former is something of a running joke amongst his fans.
  • Akira Toriyama has a thing for vehicles. Give the Dragon Ball manga a look through and count how many of the chapter cover pages not directly related to the storyline feature some kind of detailed vehicle. He outright admitted that the main character of his 1987 one-shot SONCHOH is the car and not the old man who drives it. This is also Lampshaded in an omake of his Doctor Slump manga, where Toriyama's editor calls him out for always drawing some sort of vehicle on the covers and asks him if the main character of the manga is a car. Theme Naming is another giveaway, particularly of the edible variety. If one or more characters in a given work are named after garments and/or food, even if the work in question is otherwise not meant to be tongue-in-cheek, there's a very good chance Toriyama had a hand in making it.
  • Ah! My Goddess scribe Kosuke Fujishima is a huge fan of exquisitely-detailed machinery, especially that surrounding vehicles, so it's no surprise that all his work features very in-depth discussion and imagery of the same.
  • Eiichiro Oda of One Piece fame very clearly loves afros. Not only do several major One Piece characters sport afros, but the story draws attention or uses the afro for comedy in almost every case:
    • Gaimon, who is mistaken for a shrub;
    • Kuromarimo, who has one afro on his head and three in his beard, fights with afro-shaped balls of hair;
    • Fleet Admiral Sengoku, despite being The Comically Serious;
    • Luffy wears an afro wig during his fight with Foxy, and everyone except Nami insists that the afro makes him stronger.
    • Strawhat pirate Brook, who is a skeleton, still retains his afro because he has deep roots, and has great emotional attachment to the hair because it will allow his old friend Laboon to recognize him even though he is a skeleton;
    • Emporio Ivankov, who can carry his right-hand man in his afro;
    • Wild Takes and silly expressions, in general, are another favourite, even if the situation in the story is serious.
  • Kozue Amano, the creator of ARIA and Amanchu! clearly has a thing for Scenery Porn.
  • Kaoru Mori
    • She is an Anglophile. It definitely shows in the immense attention to the details of upstairs-downstairs dynamics, costume details, and setting of Emma: A Victorian Romance.
    • She highlighted in her latest work A Bride's Story that she is also fascinated by Central Asian costumes and settings. All her female and male characters have exquisitely detailed embroidered clothes.
  • Isuna Hasekura, author of the Spice and Wolf novels, has a serious thing for economics. It features prominently in both of his works to date. In fact, he took the prize money he got for his first novel to the stock market and wrote Billionaire Girl and World End Economica which are about day trading.
  • Works by Studio TRIGGER prominently feature four-pointed stars: the stars on Goku Uniforms in Kill la Kill, the seven stars of the Shiny Rod in Little Witch Academia, the scars in Kiznaiver, and much, much more.
  • Kunihiko Ikuhara, most well-known for Revolutionary Girl Utena, has a very distinct style that repeats through every work he has directed - brightly coloured Stock Footage, surreal animal-based slapstick, queer themes, focus on family relationships (sometimes delving into incest), and a whole ton of Mind Screw.


    Comic Books 
  • Caricaturist Al Hirschfeld was known for hiding the word Nina (his daughter's name) within the elaborate cross-hatching of his cartoons. A number next to his signature indicated the number of hidden Ninas.
  • Keno Don Rosa
    • He put the acronym D.U.C.K. into the first page of all of his comics, as a homage to his favorite Carl Barks ("Dedicated to Uncle Carl from Keno").
    • Furthermore, he is a recognized Scrooge/Goldie shipper.
  • The late comic book writer Mark Gruenwald apparently loved his home state Wisconsin. In Captain America, he made the villain Sidewinder a Wisconsinite, while his hero Quasar also hailed from "America's Dairyland". His love for Wisconsin really showed in D.P.7., as most of the early issues were set there, and many of the characters were from Wisconsin.
  • Likewise, Brian Michael Bendis really seems to like his hometown of Cleveland and has set many of his stories there.
  • Paul Dini is a gigantic zoology buff, which accounts for a great deal of the animal references he tends to make in his scripts. Examples from Batman: The Animated Series include the inclusion of the extremely obscure cassowary in "Almost Got 'Im", the conversation between two of Ra's al Ghul's mooks about how crocodiles kill their prey in "Out of the Past", and the fact that Dini got Bruce Timm a STUFFED PIRANHA as drawing reference for "Mad Love".
  • Rob Liefeld and his obsession with pouches. This was originally justified, as the characters in question used things like machine guns in combat and needed plenty of ammo (that's what the pouches were for). He has since leaned into this, by creating a singular drawing of a character simply called "The Pouch".
  • The Flash's John Broome seemed to have some sort of fixation with second-floor burglaries. It has been suggested that maybe he was burgled while living on the second floor and developed it because of that.
  • John Callahan has at least two cartoons with quadriplegic protagonists. It's likely because the man himself is also quadriplegic.
  • Anything Geoff Johns writes frequently involves a character receiving an injury to their hand or arm.
  • Bill Amend of FoxTrot really loves his math/computer/geek humor. (He was a physics major.)
  • Neil Gaiman of The Sandman fame likes mythology, cats, and gothic imagery and/or clothes. And expect stories within stories within stories, and the story will be talking about other stories.
  • Mike Mignola has said in interviews that he created Hellboy because he loves drawing weird monsters, big gorillas, and mad-science devices and wanted an excuse to get paid for it. All those elements showed up at one time or another in his earlier work for Marvel and DC.
  • Doug TenNapel's comics usually have a cat. Even when they aren't main characters or even important to the plot, there's usually at least one scene that prominently features one if not several. Also, big, freaky monsters make appearances often, even when there's no reason for them.
  • Legendary comic book artist George Perez
    • He has a non-sexual fetish of redesigning characters' costumes to be much more detailed than the average artist is willing to draw. It gets sexual because whenever he draws Wanda Maximoff, AKA the Scarlet Witch (whom he has singled out as his favorite character to draw), he draws her in this costume, which references her Roma heritage. Furthermore, this outfit is designed to indicate that Wanda does not wear panties (the two sections of fabric over her hips are connected by gold loops that rest over bare skin). When asked to provide Word of God information that nobody else could give, Perez stated that Wanda prefers to go commando and dared readers to find an instance in which she is proven to be wearing underwear. He even found other ways to subtly convey this sexual trivia - such as showing her wearing a very long t-shirt to bed. It is worth noting that no other artist draws this costume if they can avoid it, although that is likely because of the prohibitive level of detail rather than the designer's fetish appeal.
    • Perez just has a fetish for costume design in general. His second-favorite Marvel girl to play with is the Wasp because he can design any-and-as-many costumes as he damn well pleases for her with no one batting an eye about it. Hilariously enough, though, even with the dozens of outfits he's given her, none of the rare Stripperific costumes she's had were of his design. Not that he couldn't. His design for The New Teen Titans ' Starfire
    • This continued into his Wonder Woman run where he had Diana wear a variety of outfits beyond her famous Leotard of Power, such as an armorered hoplite look and a tank-top and shorts look she wore when on Themyscira.
  • D'Israeli's artwork always includes the word 'fishpaste' somewhere, usually as graffiti.
  • Bill Watterson cites Charles Schulz as one of his main creative influences, and it shows in his art style. A few of the stylistic twists Schulz used in his strip, such as profile shots of characters that show only their eyes and nose but not their mouths, or the use of the word "AUGH" when uttering a cry of surprise or dismay, were adopted by Watterson and later used in Calvin and Hobbes.
  • Stan Lee and his fondness for alliterative names - Peter Parker, Reed Richards, J. Jonah Jameson, Susan Storm, Bruce Banner... He's explained that alliterative names were just easier to remember since he was writing tons of books and creating new characters all the time. A recurring trope that happened several times in every series Lee wrote were stories about an Identity Impersonator, ranging from iconic stories about slander campaigns by Mysterio and invasions by the Skrulls, as well as some less beloved copycats.
  • Garth Ennis has a fondness for Irish and British characters, especially working-class ones.
  • Scott Snyder has a penchant for starting every story with—as comics journalist David Brothers says it—the main character relating “[Aged male mentor figure] used to say [anecdote relevant to the plot].”
  • Bill Finger, the unsung early writer of the Batman comics, loved doing stories around giant-sized but functional versions of props like typewriters, cigarette lights, and similar displays.
  • Mark Waid loves to take formerly dark or unhappy characters and brighten their outlook (and the tone of their stories). In general, he favors more positive storytelling and will often address this directly in his plotlines. Examples include The Flash and Daredevil both learning to stop worrying and love being superheroes, and Waid's Kingdom Come dealing directly with the conflict between light and dark styles of superheroes.
  • John Byrne likes to use the license plate GNU 556 in various vehicles (including a zeppelin) in different stories. According to him, it's a tribute to a song by British musical comedy duo Flanders and Swann.note  He also likes to draw himself in some stories as he did on Fantastic Four, Star Brand and She-Hulk (this time, combining with her Medium Awareness and Breaking the Fourth Wall). He is also fond of depicting the Neck Lift, to the point that some comics fans refer to it as "the Byrne Hold".
  • Frank Miller
    • Frank loves Ancient Greece, particularly the Battle of Thermopylae. References to the battle pop up all over his oeuvre, even outside of the obvious place: the climax of Sin City: The Big Fat Kill features an ambush in a city alleyway that's directly compared to Thermopylae, and The Dark Knight Returns includes a blink-and-you'll-miss-it reference to a porn star called "Hot Gates" (the literal English translation of "Thermopylae"). Not to mention that he's the creator of Elektra, a Greek-American ninja named after a heroine from Greek tragedy. And he put a sleazy photographer named "Agamemnon" in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. And his film adaptation of The Spirit features the Blood of Heracles as a Macguffin, and an army of cloned thugs with Ancient Greek names.
    • If you give him half a chance, Miller will find an excuse to fit ninja and samurai into a comic book. In addition to being the author of Ronin (1983), he created "The Hand" for Marvel, sent Wolverine to Japan, gave Daredevil and Elektra ninja training, and put a shuriken-throwing female ninja into the middle of urban America in Sin City.
  • Just like Shirow Masamune, Steven A Gallacci, the creator of Albedo: Erma Felna EDF tends to include beautiful girls and lots of technical data about the military, guns, machines, or anything geeky. Unlike Shirow, Gallacci justifies this because he was a member of the USAF and a Vietnam War veteran.
  • Nell Brinkley's early serials like "Golden Eyes" and Her Hero "Bill", The Fortunes of Flossie, and The Adventures of Prudence Prim all featured curly-haired blondes with wide eyes and spindly limbs, plenty of Costume Porn and billowing fabric, and love interests with dark, slicked-back hair.
  • Brian K. Vaughan really likes to share obscure trivia about whatever topic is being discussed. It's particularly easy to notice in Ex Machina, where virtually every character is (sometimes inexplicably) knowledgeable about the intricacies of state- and city-level government and the history of New York.
  • Most of Warren Ellis's characters are struggling with and/or defined by their various addictions: cigarettes, coffee, alcohol, reckless behavior, etc. He also loves protagonists who began as idealists, and by the time the story starts, have become embittered and cynical by life.
  • Jeremy Whitley (The Unstoppable Wasp, Princeless) is married to a black woman and has two daughters with her. Much of his creative output is a deliberate attempt to create books and stories for his daughters to read; as such, Whitley is virtually guaranteed to introduce at least one dynamic, confident female black character in everything he writes.
  • Greg Pak has created or reintroduced at least one Asian-American character in almost everything he's ever written at Marvel.
  • Alan Moore is famous for his fascination with the Apocalypse. Many of his stories are about characters attempting to bring about the End of the World, but his stories also frequently explore the idea that "The End of the World" might just be the beginning of a new age (for good or for ill). To name a few notable examples:
    • Watchmen is set in an alternate version of 1980s America where an apocalyptic nuclear war is seemingly on the horizon, the climax involves a (fake) alien invasion that's compared to the End Times, one of the main characters regularly waves around a sign that reads "The End is Nigh!", and it ends with the characters facing an uncertain future after the Cold War comes to an abrupt and unexpected end.
    • V for Vendetta is about a fascist dictatorship that rules Britain in the aftermath of a nuclear war that leaves the rest of civilization in ruins, and the protagonist is an anarchist terrorist who dreams of a new age without laws or governments. It ends with V successfully overthrowing the British government, but leaves it ambiguous whether the next regime will be better or worse than the last.
    • From Hell portrays Jack the Ripper as a mad occultist who views his murders as a magic ritual that will bring about a bold new age in human history. The ending implies that it actually worked, and that his "new age" was actually the 20th century.
    • The later volumes of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen involve an occult sect attempting to bring about "a strange and terrible new aeon" by summoning an entity known as "The Moonchild", who's presented as a composite of various Antichrist-like characters from classic literature and film (and Harry Potter). The series finale ultimately depicts the end of the world, which is presented as a composite of various fictional apocalypses.
    • In Promethea, the titular divine entity is prophesied to bring about the end of the world, but the final issue reveals that this isn't such a bad thing—because the "apocalypse" is purely metaphorical, and it just involves merging the material and immaterial worlds. In the end, Promethea succeeds in fulfilling the prophecy, bringing about a new utopian age.
  • William Moulton Marston - One word: Bondage.. Joye Hummell, Marston's assistant and eventually ghost writer on many early Wonder Woman comics said you could tell which stories were hers by the ones that featured less bondage.
  • E.P. Jacobs, creator of Blake and Mortimer, included in every story he wrote characters spending some time underground, be it a subterranean military base, Egyptian tomb, sewers, or an entire civilisation hidden in a complex of gigantic caves.


  • Jhonen Vasquez (Invader Zim and Johnny the Homicidal Maniac) gives frequent homages to Alien, The Fly (both the original and David Cronenberg's version), Scanners, and video games in his comics/ TV show. He's also a fan of giant robots, space in general, horrifying imagery, Body Horror, and certain words, most notably: doom, cheese, piggies, tacos, monkeys, moose, noodles, dooky, nachos, and bunnies. He even stated at ComicCon '07 that he's fascinated with plotlines of people who are "controlled and used" by others (Johnny and the Doughboys, Devi and Sickness) and that he also hates dogs and little kids (sans Squee).
  • Nick Cave loves flowers, violence, horror, poetry, and religious debate. He also enjoys portraying the Deep South, although it would be a stretch to say that he loved it.
  • Glenn Danzig enjoys singing about death, Satan, and demons.
  • Mamoru Oshii really likes Basset Hounds. He also has a thing for tanks in the rain.
  • Toby Fox has used various arrangements of his song "Megalovania" for The Halloween Hack, Homestuck, and Undertale.
  • Scott Fellows' Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide and Supernoobs both have a girl in the main cast who mostly goes by her last name and whose first name is Jennifer; Moze and Shope, respectively.

    Fan Works 
  • Blackout77's various Mario World hacks often have the following:
    • Forced Game Genie usage (DDC1-64DD and DDC5-6DAD seem to be the codes Blackout likes the most)
    • Ridiculous Kaizo Traps
    • Glitched custom music
    • An unedited overworld
    • Plagiarizing other hacks
    • Pokemon creepypastas
  • How can you spot a Kalash93 story? Firstly, he loves his Gun Porn, especially Kalashnikov rifles and other Soviet weapons. Expect to see stuff about mercenaries, paramilitaries, guerillas, militias, and positive depictions of civilian gun ownership. Secondly, Gratuitous Foreign Language, especially Russian, because he is a Russian Language major in Real Life, but he's also studied Latin and German. Russian cultural and military references abound in his war stories, with many of his characters wearing a telnyashka. The guy adores his booze, particularly rye whiskey. And he's written a few stories that involve prostitution, as well as male virginity.
  • ThatPersonYouMightKnow floods his stories with Shout Outs, ranging from easy spots such as Aladdin to bizarre 80s game shows like Interceptor.
  • Dahne, the author of Stray, loaded the story with Shout Outs, and seems to have a particular interest in Neon Genesis Evangelion (justifiable in-story, as one of the protagonists is a mecha anime Otaku), Planescape: Torment (which provides the Arc Words), and Norse Mythology.
  • Ri2's most well-known fics are Darker and Edgier continuations of works like Kingdom Hearts or Pokemon that tend to Go Cosmic near the end. Also, a character named "Mewgle" that tends to show up for a cameo appearance or some sort of sub-plot.
  • Holmes!angst and Holmes!torture are something of a Motif in Children of Time, a series by Aleine Skyfire and Riandra, whose Sherlockian novels (Mortality and A Study in Regret, respectively) deal very heavily with these subjects.
  • With the exception of short vignettes (and not always then), stories by the Total Drama fanfic writer, Gideoncrawle include at least one reference to a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. His pen name is also a G&S reference.
  • Iron117Prime's crossovers are usually epic in scale, and will often diverge from the canonical work of both franchises. But it's consistent Eviler than Thou moments that put him on the map: there can only be one dominant villain faction in the story and the other will succumb to a rather gruesome end.
  • Nimbus Llewelyn has a few.
    • Everyone will be sarcastic. Literally, everyone.
    • The female protagonists will all be badass (though not necessarily physically), and the main character, if male, will usually be an Amazon Chaser.
    • He has a penchant for lots and lots of references to The Princess Bride. Shout Outs generally abound, most particularly either to Marvel Comics or to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, depending on what fandom the story is written in.
    • Minor characters, especially villains, will be retooled, made exponentially more dangerous, and sent shooting over the Moral Event Horizon.
    • It will also look at what happens if you break a powerful hero and let them loose on the world.
    • Either it's a hero or a villain expect them to be The Chessmaster in some form.
    • He likes characters to be more in the morally grey area. You'd have even the most heroic characters more willing to do whatever they need to do to ensure a threat is eliminated - though there are some exceptions, like Superman, and they are not criticised for their scruples in this regard (indeed, they're admired all the more for trying to be better than an imperfect world).
  • Fanfics written by E350tb can usually be identified by their accurate historical references, references to (and occasional pot-shots towards) his home continent Australia, usage of Nazis as villains of varying competency, or multiple of the above.

    Films — Animation 
  • Hayao Miyazaki
    • All of his films have at least one scene depicting characters at great heights or on the edges of precipitous drops: most of his films also feature at least one of Those Magnificent Flying Machines. Many of his films feature flight as a prominent theme. There are also pigs, and characters that get so angry their hair levitates.
    • Around half of his stories also tend to have some sort of pacifism or anti-war theme, either directly or indirectly, in them.
    • Many of his works also include monsters made out of black goo.
  • As an homage to Al Hirschfeld, artists working on the "Rhapsody in Blue" segment of Fantasia 2000 (which was inspired by Hirschfeld's drawings) added their names within the backgrounds as Freeze-Frame Bonus. They even throw in a couple of Ninas for good measure.
  • Wes Anderson:
    • He likes to use intentionally dated objects and technology. Even in stories set 20 Minutes into the Future like Isle of Dogs, the technology may look outdated to the point of Zeerust. This gives his films an air of nostalgia and a sense of timelessness.
    • Many shots will be symmetrically framed, with the main character in the scene standing dead center, often looking directly at the camera.
  • Marcell Jankovics:
    • Metaphoric Metamorphosis, transforming characters, places, symbols and colors in and out of each other. It was an assignment to create such a scene for an airline commercial that made him fall in love with animation. Most of his characters change visually in some way.
    • Symbolism. Everything, even the tiniest background details, compositions, character design elements have to mean something. In Jankovics works, symbolism and thematic allegory always trump narrative and his "characters" are treated more as symbols. He wanted to make viewers think rather than entertain them.
    • Deliberate rejection of Disneyesque art styles to strive for a more "European" feel, with looser forms and exaggerated expressions.
    • Old traditions, folk art, tales based on classical literature and ancient legends and religions.
    • Mature subjects and imagery (mainly nudity, lots of uncensored breasts, genitals, allusions to sex and gore), often incorporating them into his metamorphosis. Expect to see some even if the work is aimed at kids.
    • To a lesser extent, most of his work contained some form of blatant Hungarian nationalism, social satire and conservative ideas.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Ian Livingstone, co-creator of the Fighting Fantasy gamebook series, seems to enjoy sailboat racing, given how he's snuck Author Avatars of himself and his teammates as minor characters in some of the gamebooks he's written. He appears as one of the crew members who can ferry the hero to Kaad in Return to Firetop Mountain, and the rest of the crew have real-life names that are spelled phonetically ("Eeyun" instead of Ian, "Ndroo" instead of Drew, etc.), and also appears as an innkeeper who reminisces about his sailing days to the hero in Armies of Death.

    Live-Action TV 

  • John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants appears to enjoy writing about cranial trauma, while John Linnell likes personifying inanimate objects.
  • Rapper DMX is known for his love for dogs, which makes its way into many of his songs. His fifth album, Grand Champ, took it a bit further and stated that they can't just be any dogs, but pit bulls.
  • Trent Reznor likes pigs. A lot.
  • Mozart seemed to really like writing parts for basses and sopranos, as evidenced by many of his most famous characters, such as Figaro, Sarastro, Osmin, Leporello, the Queen of the Night, Constanze, and Zerlina. He also liked Toilet Humour.
  • Almost every song recorded by Modern Talking has a chorus sung in two ways: in an unison way, mostly without harmony, but with different octaves, and after that in a more high pitched way, with harmonies.
  • Pink Floyd's Roger Waters:
    • His father, a pacifist, was killed in World War II in 1944 in Anzio, Italy. This proved to be a pivotal event in Roger's life. As a result, themes of war, politics, miscommunication, isolation, and mortality often occur in his work in Pink Floyd and as a solo artist, especially starting with The Wall.
    • Other common Pink Floyd/Waters themes include madness, the music industry, and the dangers of recreational drugs, all of which played a part in the breakdown of founder Syd Barrett and reoccurred after the band's success in The '70s. The Wall and especially Pros and Cons note , along with many of his works at least before them (if not since) explore relationships and faithfulness, a subject he was familiar with. His marriage to his first wife Judy Trim fell apart by the mid-1970s, particularly as Pink Floyd became more successful, and the relationships and marriages other Pink Floyd members were also falling apart around him.
  • David Bowie loves writing and singing about apocalypses, dystopias, and cocaine. And science fiction/space-inspired subject matter shows up so often in his work that it became the basis for an article in The Onion, "NASA Launches David Bowie Concept Mission".
  • Olivier Messiaen was a lifelong birdwatcher and traveled around the world to learn bird calls he could incorporate into his compositions.
  • Anton Bruckner had a specific rhythmic pattern that he used in many of his works, of two equal-length notes followed by a triplet of that note, and vice versa, i.e. 2 + 3 or 3 + 2. The most prevalent examples are the opening theme of Symphony No. 4 in E♭ major and Symphony No. 6 in A major, where it is used in the first movement to a much greater extent than anything he composed before.
  • Leonard Bernstein apparently had a passion for ferocious percussion assaults, as demonstrated in the opening scene of On the Waterfront, the Credo of Mass (which at its climax has the percussionists "ad lib. hitting everything in sight"), and the prologue of A Quiet Place; this may also explain why West Side Story, whose original production got by with just two percussionists, has as many as five drum parts at once in the published full score. Bernstein also liked transferring rhythmic motifs to relatively pitched drums, as in "Prelude, Fugue and Riffs," the prologue of West Side Story, several sections of Mass and the first movement of "Divertimento for Orchestra" (which calls for snare drums in four pitches).
  • With the exception of her first album, every single one of Shiina Ringo's official albums' track listings is symmetrical (excluding bonus tracks). She also frequently deliberately gives her albums meaningful running times; for example, Karuki Samen Kuri no Kana runs for 44 minutes and 44.4 seconds, in conjunction with the album's Four Is Death theme.
  • David Byrne, both in his work with Talking Heads and in his solo music, is interested in the effects of mass media on consumers, and in the fluid nature of identity. Characters in his songs will consume a lot of fiction (particularly by watching TV), or they'll be unsure who they really are—or they'll be unsure who they are because they constructed their own personality from all the TV they watched.
    • A large number of L.E.D.'s songs have English titles in "(adjective) (noun)" format with all uppercase letters, such as "BLUE STRAGGLER", "THE BLACK KNIGHT", "STELLAR WIND", and "THE DEEP STRIKER".
    • Ryu☆, when composing under his Seiryuu alias, always makes his songs run at 191 BPM.
  • Bathory had the Instrumental track, "The Winds of Mayhem", serving as the Every Episode Ending for their early albums. While it went missing for a while, it reappeared in Nordland II likely intended as a Call-Back, although considering that this was the last Bathory album due to Quorthon's death, it serves as a fitting Book Ends track to his career.
  • Pharrell Williams opens any track he produces with the first beat repeated four times.
  • Richard Wagner's later music dramas exploit the dissonance and tonal ambiguity of the half-diminished seventh chord so much that the chord is known in some circles as the "Wagner seventh" or "Tristan chord."
  • Downplayed with CG5. While it's not every song, he has written multiple unrelated songs in the key of C Sharp Minor. Examples include "Let Me Through," "Phantom Dancing," "Every Door," and "A Man Has Fallen Into the River in LEGO City." He also did a cover of "Infinite," which is in the same key.
  • Voltaire writes many of his songs in the key of D Minor. Examples include "When You're Evil," "BRAINS!," "Goodnight, Demon Slayer," "Don't Go By the River," "Headless Waltz," "Beast of Pirate's Bay," and "Land of the Dead." The last two share similar melodies.
  • Giorgio Moroder likes giving songs a Slow-Paced Beginning before bringing in the drums and kicking up the tempo 40 seconds to a minute in.
  • Warren Zevon had a liking for inserting a name into the lyrics to rhyme off of or to keep the beat. One of the more famous is "You better stay away from him/He'll rip your lungs out, Jim" from "Werewolves of London".

  • Greg Kmiec always includes a solid red post on his playfields. The tradition started in The '70s, when Bally refused to identify their designers for fear of competitors poaching their talent. Kmiec included a single plastic red post (at the time reserved for bingo games) as a way around the edict.
  • Pat Lawlor
    • His pinball games almost always include some reference to "The Power", either as part of in-game dialogue or as an actual playfield element.
    • He also often has an illustration of a person holding a joystick with a red fire button.


    Professional Wrestling 
  • Vince Russo loves pole matches. If you see a pole match in a WWE, WCW, or TNA show, Russo's booking this match. The pole matches are also for the craziest things. These include a rat, a bottle of Viagra, Judy Bagwell (they needed to use a forklift), a pinata, and the keys to Mick Foley's office, among other things.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Gary Gygax, co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons.
    • Mushrooms
      • Gary created a variety of fungoid monsters for the game: ascomoid, basidirond, phycomid, shrieker, ustilagor, violet fungi, Zuggtmoy the demoness lady of fungi, etc.
      • Many of Gary's early Dungeons & Dragons adventures have Magic Mushrooms and Fungus Humongous, including D3 Vault of the Drow, EX1 Dungeonland, S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, S4 The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth and T1-4 The Temple of Elemental Evil. Module D1 Descent into the Depths of the Earth had underground fields of normal mushrooms.
    • Shades of the color purple (violet, amethyst, heliotrope, lavender, lilac, magenta, mauve, plum, puce, etc.)
      • They appear repeatedly in Gary's Dungeons & Dragons modules B2 The Keep on the Borderlands, G3 Hall of the Fire Giant King, D3 Vault of the Drow, EX2 The Land Beyond the Magic Mirror, S1 Tomb of Horrors, T1-4 The Temple of Elemental Evil, WG4 The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun, WG5 Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure and WG6 Isle of the Ape.
      • Dungeons & Dragons monsters he created that are associated with purple: azer (love purple gems), bar-igura demons (can change their color to purple), crysmals (can be deep violet-colored), drow (violet eyes), forester's bane plant (stalks are purple), mind flayer/illithid (mauve skin), ogres (purple eyes), phoenix (plumage, beaks and claws are partially violet), purple worm, retch plants (globes can be violet or lilac), shade (eyes can have a purple iris and pupil), storm giant (could have violet skin and purple eyes), twilight bloom (purple flowers), violet fungi, Wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing plant (eyes can be violet).
    • Gygax made a number of Lovecraftian references in Dungeons & Dragons, as evidenced by such creatures as the Kuo-Toa (inspired by Lovecraft's Deep Ones), the Aboleth (inspired by some sort of Great Old One), the Illithids (which are a race of Cthulhus without the bat wings), the Elder Elemental God (shown in G3 Hall of the Fire Giant King as being shaped like a Chthonian) and certain elements of terror in the temple of the Eldritch Abomination gods. He outright acknowledged H. P. Lovecraft as an important influence on D&D. Gygax needed a lot of content to make the game work, so he drew from a very large number of sources. He didn't quite make D&D into an All Myths Are True setting, but he came pretty close.
    • His fantastically large and baroque vocabulary, which might have had an element of showing off. Such as "quaff", "dweomer", "draught", "chapeau", "billet", etc. He regularly used certain phrases such as "Of course", "Let us say" and "So to speak" as well.
    • Polearms. Gygax included a large number of polearms in the weapon selection of the 1st Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules and wrote an article called "The Nomenclature of Polearms" that appeared in Dragon magazine #22 and the 1st Edition AD&D supplement "Unearthed Arcana". Ever want to know why the glaive-guisarme seems to crop up in D&D so much?
  • Former Wizards of the Coast employee Monte Cook, creator of the game's 3rd Edition and a strong hand in creating 5th Edition too. Monte really, really believed in Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards and went to great lengths to enforce it in all the wrong ways. For years, martial classes were either built on poorly conceived rules (3E Monks), ridiculously generic and boring to play (3E Fighters), or just straight-up sucked (3.5E Samurai). Caster classes, on the other hand, enjoyed highly overpowered spell lists granting them an unprecedented breadth of ability plus new-fangled metamagic feats to back them up; by mid-level, a lone, half-competently played Druid or Cleric was probably equal to three well-played martial PCs of the same level. And don't get us started on Wizards, the preferred class of Monte and people who hated losing in 3.5E, utterly dominant at all levels and pillars of play (except being perhaps a tad weak at 1st level).
  • James Jacobs, one of the major contributors to Pathfinder, really likes dinosaurs. In general, the Paizo creative team seems to like dinosaurs; Lovecraftian abominations; horror, pulp adventure, and sci-fi elements; and putting the iconic characters in elaborate outfits.
  • White Wolf, the writers of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, made it very obvious they preferred Humans, Elves, and Dwarves over the other races (especially the Trolls and the entirely absent Draenei) in the series. Even in the Horde Player's guide, they'd go on about elves, dwarves, and humans.
  • David Pulver, best known as a setting writer for GURPS, has stated that many GURPS players will always want to play a Cat Girl, regardless of the setting. So in every setting he makes, there will be an option for a Cat Girl of some kind.

  • William Shakespeare
    • He loves comparing things to gardening, falconry, and hunting with dogs. He also loves cross-dressing characters, but that was a fairly common schtick at the time. When he was writing, women were not permitted to be actors, and as such all of the female characters ''were'' men, and he thought it would be funny to make jokes based on that.
    • His continual description of rebellion and social breakdown in terms of cannibalism/self-consumption. Although perhaps this belongs in the 'Miscellaneous Paraphilia' section.
    • In many plays he has a designated metaphor that keeps cropping up. For instance, Hamlet is full of references to disease, the one set in Scotland has lots of mentions of birds of prey, and so on.
    • Cain and Abel plots with hate-filled rivalry between brothers, often leading to attempted or actual fratricide.
    • Also, you can bet that there will be lots of snarking, bad puns, and dirty jokes.
  • Tom Stoppard frequently references William Shakespeare. The guy who wrote a play deconstructing Hamlet with two of its bit players as the main characters

    Video Games 
  • Totaka's Song, a short, 19 note tune hidden in almost every game Kazumi Totaka has worked on as a composer, and first discovered in the tank game X. These three videos document but a fraction of the time and effort gamers have invested in finding the melody.
  • Shinji Mikami from Resident Evil fame has a thing for masked wrestlers and Sentai as demonstrated in games where he can actually get away with it. (Killer7 had MASK de Smith and the Punishing Rangers AKA The Handsome Men, God Hand had Mr. Gorilla Mask and the Mad Midget Five.)
  • Goichi Suda AKA Suda51 likes Mind Screw A LOT. He also seems to have a thing for gratuitous gore, semi-futuristic decadent places with slashes of Magical Realism, and rave music. He also seems to love lucha libre, as seen in No More Heroes, where the player character collects luchadore masks (who all have names like "La Guerra, Jr.") and learns new wrestling moves from finding masks with notes in them. Suda51 even wears a luchador outfit in some press releases. And as mentioned above, there is MASK de Smith, who is a luchador.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Hironobu Sakaguchi likes to "make players cry" and wrote most of the emotional scenes in the games he wrote scenario material for. His games use Standard Fantasy Setting, mythology about crystals, and a lot of Follow the Leader of whatever Dragon Quest was doing at the time.
    • Takashi Tokita has an internal reputation for always including time travel elements in his games and jokes about this, though this is not actually true (only two of his games included it).
    • Yoshinori Kitase is known for having strong overarching visions of what he wants to achieve and tries to enforce cohesion. He is the reason for the push towards 'cinematic' content in FF, as he felt it was important that even non-video game fans can look at the screen and know what's going on. (The push towards cartoony graphics over sprites in the mobile phone FF ports was his, as he felt sprites don't make sense to people who aren't familiar with game tropes.) His villains are usually Laughably Evil, Sissy Villain types, and draw a lot of influence from '70s and '80s Tokusatsu (a lot of his villains are connected to space or outright aliens). By Sakaguchi's admission, Kitase is better at 'big setpieces'
    • Kazushige Nojima: Unconventional Urban Fantasy settings and more psychologically realistic writing, often incorporating adolescent elements like Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World. Heroes who use performative personas in order to suppress elements of themselves that they dislike, and villains who are even more desperate to be something they aren't. He tends to focus on themes of memory and likes to deconstruct RPG stereotypes with Dysfunction Junction setups and, in his later work, World Limited to the Plot Absurdism where RPG gameplay tropes are Serious Business. His stereotypical main character would be an arrogant (but secretly insecure) Deadpan Snarker Defrosting Ice King with a real dark side, who acts detached from other people and has Laser-Guided Amnesia; even his innocent and cheerful Woobie heroes tend to have a few of these twists to them. He is also significantly more likely than the other major FF scenario writers to give All There in the Manual explanations for some of his more baffling plotlines.
    • Yasumi Matsuno also writes emotionally realistic material, but with a significantly less 'adolescent' tone than Nojima's, and favours Dark Fantasy settings with lots of Gothic Horror elements, extremely complex worldbuilding, and references to real-world Medieval history. He tends to deal with themes of class struggle, with nobles and peasants at odds and usually a finale which involves killing God.
    • Square-Enix designer Tetsuya Nomura is heavily inspired by Japanese street fashions and style trends, leading occasionally to Fashion Dissonance in his older work, as well as to Zipperiffic. He also likes to give his protagonists, and often as many of his characters as possible, a stud in their left ear, imitating Nomura's own piercing. Note that in Final Fantasy VII Remake, for which the characters were redesigned by a new artist, Cloud is missing his Nomura ear piercing (which he has in all other appearances). When in charge of scenario, he tends to write straightforward storylines along Whole-Plot Reference lines (e.g. Musashi vs Kojiro, Hamlet, etc.), and takes influence from pop culture ephemera such as fashion labels, music videos, and advertising. Over time he's become prone to Internal Homage, particularly focusing on storylines that contact the series' past legacy.
  • Tetsuya Takahashi, founder of Monolith Soft and Square Enix alumnus, has several. His games will usually feature at least one Humongous Mecha, if not more. The entire premise of Xenoblade, in fact, is about two races living on two continent-sized titans. They will also feature at least one Robotic Action Girl as a playable party member, and there will be lots of religious symbolism integrated into the plot and the lore of his games.
  • Castlevania Czar Koji "IGA" Igarashi seems to have a weird fixation with furniture, namely chairs.
    • Dracula always waits for the Belmont sitting in his throne before the final fight. His son Alucard and Soma who's his reincarnation can also catch some rest sitting down in the many chairs they encounter.
    • Castlevania: Curse Of Darkness. Former henchman Hector can collect more than 10 different types of chairs scattered all around the stages and store them in the aptly named "Weary Chair Room".
    • Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance. Most Castlevania heroes can collect weapons, magical items, and such. Juste Belmont collects random items of furniture and decorates an empty room of the castle with them. You know, the castle he intends to destroy.
    • In recent years, IGA appears to have acquired a taste for the Final Boss of the Arrange Mode to be the now-Rogue Protagonist of the normal mode. It started with the Julius Mode of Dawn of Sorrow and extended to Nightmare Mode in Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon and Zangetsu Mode in Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night.
  • Shigeru Miyamoto:
    • He has implemented personal interests into many of his games, including Pikmin (gardening), Nintendogs, Wii Fit, and Wii Music. Nintendo later banned him from talking about his current hobbies. His earlier works were definitely based on his childhood experiences, too. In fact, the premise of The Legend of Zelda was based on his exploration of caves as a child. In an interview for a game-developer site, he flat-out tells other designers to base their games on things they like.
    • Miyamoto has admitted to being a Western fan, which is particularly apparent in the 3D Zelda games. For example, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess all have Epona, Ocarina of Time has Lon Lon Ranch, Majora's Mask has Romani Ranch, and Twilight Princess has the redesigned Kakariko Village, the Hidden Village, Ordon Ranch and the plot similarities with The Searchers.
    • Miyamoto is an avid fan of classic arts like painting. He cited the work of Paul Cézanne as the main inspiration for the impressionism-based visuals of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, while The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild owes its visuals to gouache paintings and en plein air watercolors.
    • Miyamoto also designs things so that their function is apparent when looking at them, i.e. The Goomba was designed so you'd jump on them, and any enemy, or obstacle, with spikes is something you should avoid. He has said to his production staff "when in doubt, use spikes". This comes from his background in Industrial Design in high school.
  • Yuji Horii of Dragon Quest fame is a compulsive gambler which is why many of the games in the series have some sort of gambling mini-game in it. (Though it's been said that the fact that you can only save in the town's churches is a way to try to make going out in the field/dungeons feel a bit more of a gamble as well.)
  • Guilty Gear character designer Daisuke Ishiwatari seems to use belts as a unifying motif minus a few rare cases (Anji Mito has only a sash). Sol Badguy tops the list with 24 belts in his costume design. Funnily enough, the costumes still manage to look pretty cool. He also loves rock music; almost every character in the series is a reference to either a famous rock musician or a band. Queen seems to be his favorite, with nearly every aspect of Sol referring to something about either the band itself or Freddie Mercury.
  • There are so many Flash and Interactive Fiction games about escaping from a locked room remarkably like, say, a programmer's bedroom (usually complete with bed, closet and computer) that it has become its own genre. This might have to do with a throwback to early adventure games, which seized on the genre because of technical limitations; it's a lot easier to write and code a game about a single room than it is about, say even a small apartment.
  • Hideo Kojima:
    • He tells people that instead of being 70% water like normal people, he's 70% movies. As a child, he would often come home to an empty house and sometimes claims that he was raised by movies. As a result, not only do his games homage all his favourite movies to the point where they're almost Massively Multiplayer Crossover Fan Fiction, but many of his characters are also movie fans (although the only one explicitly 'raised' on movies is Raiden and he's anything but an upstanding member of society).
    • Kojima is also obsessed with butts, and tends to incorporate butt shots and prominent butts on character designs whenever possible, not even as Fanservice a lot of the time (the first visual in the E3 2018 Death Stranding trailer is a shot of a baby's butt...)
    • He also likes to include plot twists involving the betrayal or deception of an authority figure, and a player character who discovers they're not who they think they are. Most famously, in Metal Gear Solid Solid Snake discovers he's a clone of Big Boss, his former commander turned traitor who he had to kill. Oh, and he was sent to Shadow Moses as a delivery system for a bioweapon.
  • Matt Roszak of Epic Battle Fantasy fame loves Final Fantasy, Pokémon, anime, and cats. Every single one of his works contains homages to the first three, often in the form of blatant Shout Outs, as well as copious amounts of cats, and is drawn in a very Animesque fashion.
  • Games with Viktor Antonov on art direction tend to feature some very signature elements—clashing classical and futuristic architecture, angular blue-grey metal structures, and tall, spindly robotic creatures. Half-Life 2 and Dishonored practically look like they're set in the same universe.
  • Rare
    • Keys, enormous keys, bigger and heavier than the characters, the most famous being the infamous ice key from Banjo-Kazooie/ Banjo Tooie. Both Diddy Kong Racing and Donkey Kong 64 feature gigantic gold keys as plot coupons; finding or using a key is always a momentous occasion.
    • Really small main characters, compared to everything else around them, almost causing a perpetual Macro Zone. Even if the character in question is an animal that is very large in real life (like bears or gorillas).
    • Eyeballs on as many things as possible, even if the object in question is normally non-sentient (vegetables, books, etc.).
  • Masahiro Sakurai is quite infamous for this, with his games including SOME idea taken from previous works. Most of the time, said elements are from Kirby, but he also seems to have loved implementing elements from Kid Icarus: Uprising for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U & 3DS. Most commonly:
    • Hyperactive Metabolism using live-action food.
    • The use of a checklist that gradually fills up as the player completes various challenges in-game. Often the primary method of unlocking things.
    • An in-game encyclopedia containing every item found in-game (and in related games, in the case of Super Smash Bros.). It can be filled out either by collecting items in-game, through a gachapon-style lottery or by playing a mini-game.
    • Paying an amount of in-game currency to increase the difficulty level. Continuing after a Game Over lowers the difficulty by a set amount.
    • His games often have highly stylized menus, which are usually designed by his wife Michiko Sakurai. The Super Smash Bros. series and Kid Icarus: Uprising exemplify these.
  • Hidetaka Miyazaki of FromSoftware:
    • He loves incorporating Dark Fantasy into his works, particularly in the Dark Souls series. He also really, REALLY loves Berserk, with there usually being a reference to it at least once in every game he has directed or has been involved in.
    • Also, expect brutally hard swamp levels where you are both slowed and poisoned by the swamp water.
    • The characters in his games are also frequently wear face-obscuring headwear. Whether helmets, veils, masks, or cloaks, very few characters go barefaced. Expect most of them to do an Evil Laugh at least once during their dialogue as well.
    • Every game he's directed contains a Player Headquarters with a loyal female NPC who provides upgrades to you.
    • Expect the Final Boss to be a Duel Boss of some sort, usually a tragic one.
  • Bungie loves them the number 7 and its multiples. Expect it to show up as dates, names, and other things in their games. Also expect some form of artificial intelligence to go off the deep end at some point, most notably Durandal, 05-032 Mendicant Bias, and Rasputin.
  • Blizzard Entertainment absolutely loves both the Fallen Hero and Grey-and-Gray Morality tropes. There are very few out and out Card Carrying Villains and most of the antagonists have a very good reason for what they are doing.
  • Bethesda Softworks frequently references sweet rolls in their games. The most notable example is in The Elder Scrolls. At the start of most of the games in that series, you are described a scene where you decide what to do when someone accosts you for your sweet roll (a scene that is actually incorporated into the actual gameplay of Bethesda's later RPG, Fallout 3).
  • There is at least one Indy Escape segment in each Naughty Dog game. Be it a boulder, a polar bear, a collapsing bridge or exploding mummies, it'll be there.
  • Sam Barlow, the creator of Telling Lies, Her Story and Aisle (and the designer of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories and Silent Hill: Origins) is fond of incorporating fairy tales into the plot, the theme of dual identities, and profession-based surnames for protagonists (Smith, Mason, Miller).
  • Quantic Dream:
    • There isn't one game that doesn't involve or center around detectives or police officers in a police department setting. Also, expect there to be intense or sometimes goofy chase scenes, and two cops with very different personalities forced to work together as partners to solve their missions.
    • Story-telling is a major driving influence for their games more than anything else.
    • David Cage seems to have a thing for women with short hair. His female protagonists, such as Madison Page from Heavy Rain has short hair, as does Jodie Holmes from Beyond: Two Souls. In Detroit: Become Human, Kara starts the game with fairly long hair that's mostly kept in a ponytail but eventually has to cut it short because the plot requires you to do so later on.
    • David Cage is also infamously known for having a knack of adding/shoehorning in some kind of plot twist or supernatural/fantasy elements, which are almost near constant in each of his games. Fahrenheit goes from a story about one of the protagonists covering up a murder to the protagonist finding out he's actually a superhuman with incredible powers; Beyond: Two Souls has the main protagonist have a supernatural spirit connected to her by a tight invisible tether and can communicate to him; even games like Heavy Rain or Detroit: Become Human have some kind of supernatural element in them.
    • An Optional Sexual Encounter, often in awkward situations. Detroit: Become Human surprisingly doesn't have one despite making very clear a lot of the robots in-game are capable and have been used for sex.
  • Novotrade International under the design leadership of Ed Anunziata made both the 16-bit Ecco the Dolphin games and Kolibri, which share similar aesthetics, similar "environmentalism but with a coat of sci-fi surrealism" themes, and a similar "hunt for the key to pass a physical barrier" puzzle structure.

    Web Animation 
  • There's an unclickable "Joy of Painting" toon on Homestar Runner that shows Marzipan dressed as Bob Ross painting a picture of a mountain landscape. Matt and Mike Chapman, creators of Homestar Runner, admitted that they only did this because they thought showing Granola Girl Marzipan with a beard would be funny. A lot of the stuff at Homestar Runner is based on the creators' childhood. Note the frequent appearance of breakfast cereals and Merchandise-Driven Saturday morning cartoons, the sibling rivalry between Strong Bad and his brother Strong Sad, the characters' Vague Age, and in-universe Nightmare Fuel.
  • STBlackST loves filling his videos with Funny Background Events, Sudden Video Game Moments, and Jojo references.

    Web Comics 
  • Erika's New Perfume contains certain things that pop up in most of the author's other works, such as Fountain of Youth.
  • Penny Arcade
    • It is all about things the authors like, but also seems to feature a lot of terrifying aliens and strange creatures for little reason.
    • Jerry Holkins (Tycho) is a massive Cthulhu nerd. Really, what else can you expect from a mind that writes things like this?
  • Living with Insanity: The writer's projects all have couples in them. According to the blog posts, LWI would include more gaming and comic references, but the artist avoids jokes he doesn't understand.
  • Andrew Hussie likes including horses, or horselike creatures such as centaurs, in his work, more often than not exaggerated in musculature (they also paid good money for a picture of a flaming stallion facing a football player, and used to do ironic reviews of muscular horse porn). When questioned about this, they responded that "horses are funny". They also seem to be very fond of hip-hop/rap and the culture surrounding it, perhaps best exemplified with And It Don't Stop.
  • Several works written by Mary Cagle feature the loss of limbs as a dramatic device, either in a character's backstory or as part of a significant plot development, and usually followed by the characters gaining some form of Artificial Limbs. Just for example, main character Steffi of Kiwi Blitz has a prosthetic leg, her recurring nemesis Gear has had most of the left side of her body replaced with cybernetics, and the side character Reed has his right arm cut off during an encounter with Gear, after which he eventually gets a bionic replacement. Meanwhile, in Sleepless Domain, Mingxing lost an arm protecting the infant Kokoro from a monster attack, and now wears a magitech prosthesis in the present day. Cagle herself at one point commented on the prevalence of "good ol' classic arm damage" in her work:
  • Many themes and tropes in We Are The Wyrecats are carried over from the creator's previous webcomic, Ruby Nation, such as Animal Motifs, deconstruction of the superhero genre, Idealism vs. Cynicism, characters with disabilities, and cats.
  • Freefall has this in-universe with the sapient AIs, who have a distinct tendency to be as proudly nerdy as the scientists who produced their neural networks.
    Florence: What were you expecting from minds designed by engineers?

    Web Original 
  • How else do you explain the contortion scenes in Sapphire Episode III?
  • The stories by SD40kanote  often enough star a male computer programmer, who marries/is married to a genius woman, and either or both of them recently served America proudly in Iraq thank-you-very-much. The characters are always staunch political conservatives, often actively reshaping the fictional universe into a Republican Paradise. He plugs that his (genius!) characters love the Cato Institute and, just in passing. There's even the occasional Easy Evangelism of a merely misguided (rather than Evil) liberal. And everyone accepts Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, without whom there was a great big hole in their hearts. In fact, it's a lot like the Chick Tracts, only with lots of monogamous sex with big penises.
  • They're best known for their Goth aesthetic, but Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab also really likes creating perfume inspired by the works of HP Lovecraft (and Lovecraft Lite) and pirates.

    Web Videos 
  • Doug Walker really has a thing for broken, insane jerks who'll never get what they want but they'll keep on trying. The Nostalgia Critic is a perfect example of this, and Ask That Guy with the Glasses is getting there (as a more depraved version) with the amount of Sanity Slippage he's been put through. You also notice that much of the comedy he enjoys (ranging from Daffy Duck to Blackadder) is based on this. Doug has repeatedly stated that, in his viewpoint, all good comedy is based on suffering.

    Western Animation 

Alternative Title(s): Creator Insignia, Director Trademark