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Polka-Dot Paint

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Sometimes, cartoon characters will paint with one or two strokes in color combinations that simply cannot be done that way in the real world, such as stripes, checks, polka dots, or even more elaborate patterns.

Finding one of these might be assigned to a naive person as a Snipe Hunt.


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    Comic Books 
  • In the French comic Les 4 As (The 4 Aces) about four kids (a sporty boy, a smart nerdy boy, a fat Big Eater and Supreme Chef, and a ditzy girl), the girl actually manages to paint a car with checkered paint, which she claims to have invented herself. The Smart Guy is stumped, of course. Strangely, the comic is without Magic and Powers and such.
  • In one Wallace & Gromit comic, Wallace uses tartan paint when making slippers.
  • In one anthology comic, a man sarcastically asks a delivery boy to bring him impossible objects, like a giant hook that can be hung on thin air, which the cheerful boy inexplicably provides anyway. One of them is striped paint. It's eventually revealed that the delivery boy is from the future, and those impossible items are not so impossible there.

    Films — Animation 
  • An Indian camouflaging his horse in the Lucky Luke film Daisy Town swipes his brush back and forth on the horse, and behold! the horse is coated in an elaborate landscape.
  • In An Extremely Goofy Movie, the toy factory Goofy works at is shown to use black and white checkerboard paint to color chess boards.

  • One Norman Hunter book had the protagonists needing to fulfill a promise by painting with striped paint. They fake the effect by painting the stripes in advance and whitewashing over them. The "striped paint" they then demonstrate is water, which removes the whitewash and leaves the stripes.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In one episode of Home Improvement, Tim claims to have a machine that can scan anything and make a color of it. Perfectly reasonable at first, but then Tim scans Al, produces "A nice can of Al", and proceeds to paint his portrait on a wall with a paint roller. Everyone else is shocked or amused by this, so in-universe it's probably just a magic trick (possibly done the way the Mission Impossible example below handled it).
  • The Goodies acquire the nation's art collection to stop wealthy Americans from buying it, but end up stuck with the bill. After all their efforts to foist the cost off to the National Gallery fail, Tim invites the Americans back in, but now they're only interested in a single painting, The Monarch of the Glen by Sir Edwin Landseer which Bill refuses to part with. Graeme then produces a roller brush that paints Monarch of the Glen over every painting they have.
  • Done in one early episode of Mission: Impossible with an explanation - the portrait had already been painted on the easel, and what the team member acting as artist was really doing was stripping away the second layer of paint concealing it.

    Video Games 
  • Some of the Rainbow Pool paintbrushes from Neopets. And the Chia pops, the transmogrification potions, and the Lab Ray colors.
  • In one of the episodes of Rockin Kats, a paint was used which made white-red striped paint for every odd swipe and blue-yellow polka dot paint for every even swipe.
  • Tagging walls in Saints Row 2 consists of painting a complex mural with a single spray can.
  • In Mumbai's "Chasing a Ghost level, " Disguising as the artist in Hitman 2 and blending in at the canvas has 47 do a painting of a stylized face of your target, Dawood Rangan, in about 30 brush strokes.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Modern Madcaps cartoon Travelaffs, a passenger has his bag checked: A few strokes with a broad brush, and it's painted with a checkerboard pattern.
  • In "The Vanishing Private", Donald Duck paints a field cannon with red, green, and yellow stripes, and black polka dots. All at once, with a single brush and bucket.
  • In "Easter Yeggs", Bugs Bunny paints Elmer's head blue with yellow polka dots in two strokes.
  • Wile E. Coyote has created painted tunnels by this means.
  • Topped by the "Nightmare Paint" in The Big Snooze, which paints different patterns with each stroke.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures would continue the Looney Tunes tradition from time to time.
  • Whenever something is drawn in Dog City, it's done this way.
  • In the Pac-Man episode "Invasion of the Pac-Pups", Pac-Man and his neighbor Morris are painting a garage:
    Pac-Man: What color is this, anyway?
    Morris: Pink polka-dot.
  • To get jobs in the fire department, Ren & Stimpy use "Dalmatian paint" — one quick swipe each with a brush and they're white with black spots — Stimpy's tongue included.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, it's shown that rainbows are this in Equestria.
    • Pinkie Pie dips a hoof in the liquid rainbow and it retains seven distinct stripes of color, despite dripping off her hoof. She then licks it... and starts breathing multicolored fire!
    • Earlier in the season, Rainbow Dash uses the pool of it in her own front yard as war paint as part of a Lock-and-Load Montage; it appears as red, yellow, and green stripes.
  • A common sight in the Silly Symphonies:
    • "Santa's Workshop" has one of Santa's elves paint chess boards with checkered paint.
    • "Funny Little Bunnies" had Easter eggs painted with checkered paint, polka dots, stripes, and finally one painted to look plaid. By a Scottish bunny, of course.
  • In Futurama, Fry paints a convincing military uniform on himself with three squirts from a can of "All-Purpose Spray."
  • Private Snafu: In "The Goldbrick", Goldie applies a coat of spotted 'measles paint' to Snafu's face to allow him to fake being sick.
  • In the Betty Boop cartoon "The Dancing Fool", while moving to the top of a building on a scaffolding, Bimbo and Koko end up spilling black paint on a hippo below them who's sleeping while standing up. The paint that falls on his white clothes ends up forming perfectly even horizontal stripes, making him look like an escaped prisoner. A passing-by police officer clubs him in the head with a billystick before dragging him away.

    Real Life 
  • One type of Snipe Hunt is to send someone out looking for striped or tartan paint.
  • Many paint programs have a tool, typically represented by a paint bucket icon, that can fill an area with either a solid color or a pattern.
  • Nail polish is paint for nails, so you wouldn't think it comes in patterns. However, due to the recent development of nail polish strips, nail polish can and does come in patterns.
  • There are some types of markers that are capable of this. These are usually sold through infomercials and the like.
  • Water transfer printing is freakishly close to being this in real life. In this video, for example, you can see a wheel being painted paisley by dipping it in a vat.
  • A British paint manufacturer actually developed workable polka-dot paint. The "dots" were little blobs of a contrasting color paint, held together with a thin waxy membrane, that "burst" when applied to the surface being painted. This was developed for the thrill of resolving a technical challenge: public indifference resulted in there being no market for it.
  • There was a time period when this was a classic magic trick (around when the popular look for magicians was to be "professors" giving "lectures on the latest scientific curiosities"). Prestidigitation-based solutions aside, the public wasn't generally familiar with the variety of chemicals that dry clear onto a canvas and change into varying colors when mixed with water (the other kind of "solutions"), making this easy.