If you ask most people today they could probably run down a list of cartoon shows that they watched as a kid. More than likely they watched these shows on Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network and chances are they still remember a lot of the characters from it. Even though Nickelodeon may not have as many popular shows as it did in the past, it is making a comeback. Just like any business, they have their own fair share of bad and good years and it’s clear that they have had more good years than bad. They allowed artists to show off their talents to the world and even if the characters weren’t necessarily liked, the artist still got a lot of respect for what they were able to create.
Considering that many of us grew up watching these shows, it’s hardly a surprise when you learn that there is almost an endless amount of fan art related to them. Though a lot of the artwork that you will run into is in line with the source material, there is a good amount of artwork that is something entirely different. Not only will you run into artists that reimagine our characters in the way that they saw them as children, but we also get a good portion of artwork that takes it into the extreme ends of the spectrum. As you will soon find out, simply by turning our favorite characters into a more realistic adaptation can produce some pretty scary results.
25 A Strange Stare
I’m sure you remember those games where the camera would suddenly pan to a character and zoom in really close. Often times we would see details of the character that we never expected and it helped to underscore what they were really thinking at that particular moment in time.
In this particular rendition done by G-Lulu, we can see that she follows the kind of art style in popular games like Borderlands. She uses a comic book sort of style to show SpongeBob in a whole new way and is able to add a lot of detail to him as a result. As strange as this particular depiction of him is, I could defiantly see it being used in a parody of the show. If you look through her gallery you will find that she loves to take our favorite characters in some very strange directions.
24 A Bit More Terrifying
It’s interesting looking back on it now that I was even able to watch a show like Aaahh!!! Real Monsters. As a kid you are often preoccupied with the idea that there is something lurking somewhere in the dark, and yet, I was able to watch a show that detailed just that. Thinking back on it, I am pretty sure that I was more afraid of Goosebumps then pretty much any other show as a kid.
In reality, there are a lot of things we were scared of as kids that today we would laugh off as silly.
Having experienced something similar, LanceRousseauArt decided to make those same characters a lot more terrifying then we remember seeing them. In a way, he depicts them in a way that I imagine we were all seeing them when we had some sort of fear toward them.
23 A More Realistic Appearance
The Ren & Stimpy Show was a shock from start to finish. It’s hard to imagine that such a show could be on a network like Nickelodeon at any point in time. Sure, there is cartoon violence on many different levels, but Ren and Stimpy took it into the stratosphere. The producers of the show pushed what was considered acceptable for a children’s show.
To say that our next artist is good at rendering things in great detail would be an understatement.
NickDeSpain loves showing his process and he creates some of the most amazing backgrounds you will ever see. If we look at his realistic illustration of Ren we can see the immense talent that he has in this particular medium. He does a great job of keeping the colors balanced in the piece and his highlighting and shadow work are fantastic.
22 Not The Same Turtle
When you think about the Ninja Turtles you probably see them as they have always been depicted during the television shows. Even though we come face to face with turtles in life we don’t see things like the Ninja Turtles in that way. It’s probably why the newest film had a bunch of detractors from the get-go given that they were rendered in a way that was far different from anything we had seen before.
Though the most recent depictions of the turtles might not be well liked, DaveRapoza creates a rendition that I am sure many would have been fine with. He shows Raphael as he might be in reality, but he does so in a way that it doesn’t go too far into photo-realism. This makes it easy to recognize the character and helps to keep some of the major qualities of the character.
21 Taking A Big Bite
When you think about a show like SpongeBob SquarePants you probably don’t think about anything particularly terrifying in nature. Like most cartoon shows, we see the characters as they are depicted within it and we don’t often think about how they would be in reality. It’s not until we sit and think about it that the idea of such characters becomes rather scary.
It’s always nice to see an artist take you through their process.
Like many artists on our list, IsaacMontoya does just that. He goes through the process with his viewers and lets them see just how much layering goes on. Like the majority of his artwork, his Patrick rendition is an exaggerated photo-realistic rendering. He takes a beloved cartoon character and turns them into something that is straight out of the worst horror film.
20 Not How I Remember Them
As I’m sure you are well aware by now, Rocko’s Modern Life was far from your average kids show. Sure, you could argue that every kids show has adult jokes sprinkled throughout, and this is true, but Rocko’s Modern Life did far more than that. It isn’t really surprising though, considering that it was slated to be a grown-up cartoon from the start.
As is the case with a lot of renditions on this list, GabbyVee takes things in a strange direction with the help of photo-realism. He doesn’t have too many different illustrations within his DeviantArt gallery, but it’s clear that he likes to take them into a similar direction to what we see here. Though this particular illustration isn’t as detailed as his others, it doesn’t need to be.
19 A New Set Of Heroes
With the popularity of the Ninja Turtles, it’s hard to not have more than one rendition of them on here. They have continued to rise in popularity with each passing year and by the creator's own admission, they never expected it to take off the way it did. It was a simple concept that was thought of as having the possibility of being a short run series. What started as a sort of joke ended up turning into something no one could have imagined.
CutieClover loves gender-bending some of our favorite cartoon characters.
She does more of the same with her TMNT rendition. I really like what she does here with placing them in a big square and showing their distinctive personalities next to each other. Her decision to create custom backgrounds for each is also a nice touch.
18 A Strange Rendition
Finding odd characters and odd situations that are a bit unbelievable in cartoons is nothing new. After all, that’s what cartoons are all about. That being said though, CatDog was something else entirely. It didn’t make much sense from the get-go, but I am not afraid to admit that I did enjoy watching the show from time to time.
It was the odd nature of the show that has allowed it to continue to live on long after it graced our televisions and it has spawned a large amount of fan art as a result. As is the case with many renditions out there, Guilherme Ashma shows CatDog as they would be in reality. It makes you rethink just how terrifying the idea of the character is and also brings into question how such an occurrence would have actually affected one of the characters.
17 Preparing For Invasion
Invader Zim was one of those shows that you either loved or you hated. It was defiantly odd and it was out there to be sure, but there was a whole host of characters that you could enjoy. It took personalities farther than most shows and it allowed you to see how breaks in the norm can directly affect people.
It was more then just a story about an invading alien and even if you weren’t a fan of the show, chances are you were a fan of Gir.
In looking at this girfreak8’s rendition I’m glad that the animators didn’t go in this direction when making the show. Seeing Zim in this way really changes all aspects of the show and it makes things a lot more terrifying than they originally were.
16 A Bit Too Realistic
When I first saw SpongeBob SquarePants I didn’t imagine that it would last as long as it has. Having a long running series is no easy feat and eventually, you get to the point where creating a unique story-line is no easy task. Eventually, you feel like you have done everything and there isn’t much left to explore.
In terms of photo-realism, there are a lot of different ways that you can pull of the effect. Traditionally, artists have used varying painting techniques to pull it off and it’s hard to argue against it given how many fine pieces of artwork that are out there. Nowadays though, the increase in render programs has allowed artists to approach it in a whole new way. Miguel Vasquez uses such a program to create his photo-realistic renditions and his depiction of SpongeBob and Patrick is like nothing else I have ever seen.
15 Brand New Perspective
In searching through fan art you begin to see that there is a wealth of talent that is just waiting to be discovered. It brings to light the fact that no matter how great of an artist you are, it is becoming increasingly difficult to break through. There are so many great artists out there that sometimes others get lost in all the commotion and never get the recondition they truly deserve.
Wil Hughes has a massive gallery filled with incredible artwork.
He takes a lot of our favorite characters in directions that we could have never imagined. While a lot of his renditions are rather terrifying, he does have more then a few that are far from that. He has a good grasp on how to create depth through color and he does a fantastic job with lighting.
14 The Stuff Of Nightmares
There are always cartoons that love to poke fun at themselves for what they are. Considering the fact that Rocko’s Modern Life was slated as a grown-up show first and foremost, it is understandable that they would put the characters in many situations that reflected society at the time. Whether it be a popular film or a popular television show at the time, nothing was safe from the show.
Kageboshi-Washu tends to focus on only a couple shows at a time in his artwork, but he does a fantastic job of depicting the horror film episode of Rocko’s Modern Life. Though it does look similar to the source material, we can see parts of his art style shining through. It looks simple enough on the surface, but there is a lot of variation in the shading of each character.
13 Lack Of Water
There’s just something about a vibrant and colorful artwork that really draws your attention. In a way, it is much more difficult to create shading and lighting when your artwork is already so bright. Even though this is the case, Helbetico manages to pull it off and not only that, but he is able to change his line work and color pallet on a whim.
He brings back memories of some of my favorite 8-bit games.
He is able to make is artwork stand out with ease. His line work is equal to a trained professional and his understanding of color mixing is top notch. Though the majority of the drawings have a sort of marker-like quality to them, we see a stark contrast with his SpongeBob rendition. It reminds me of the pages of comic books and looks fantastic.
12 A Nightmare Transformation
Our next artist is rather well known by many, but I included his artwork because it is in stark contrast to what we are used to seeing. Though Invader Zim was strange to be sure, Jhonen Vasquez could have gone in a much different direction with his characters. That isn’t to say that he didn’t take them into strange directions, but in looking at this particular rendition, we can see that he had some other ideas in mind.
For the most part, Gir was the catalyst that helped the show move along and he had a personality that was vastly different from Zim’s. It was this large contrast that helped you to see the extremes of both characters and really helped to bring the show together. This particular illustration of Gir by Jhonen, though, is quite different from what we are used to seeing in the animated adaptation.
11 Nightmarish Scenario
My Life as a Teenage Robot was a pleasant surprise in terms of popularity and I am sure that the show's creators didn’t imagine that it would garner as much attention as it did for a total of six seasons. With the average lifespan of a cartoon being just three seasons it speaks volumes about the overall quality of the show.
Llortor takes his time with showing his followers the complete process to his artwork.
From sketch to completion, you get to see it all. Not only that, but he loves explaining how he came about creating his particular renditions. At first glance you might not see XJ-9 in this image, but after starring at it for some time you begin to see it. It is a truly unique rendition that mixes elements of Venom with everyone’s favorite robot.
10 A Little More Lifelike
As I’ve talked about a bit before, there was a bit of a blow-back to the latest rendition of the Ninja Turtles in the movies. The idea made sense in a way, but a lot of people just didn’t agree with the way the artists went about creating it. They felt that rather then giving a good mix of the two they went to the other extreme of the spectrum instead.
Knowing this, an artist decided to try to create a more realistic rendition that still stayed true to the characters. He spent time during his lunch breaks tweaking the character until he came to a good balance between cartoon and realism. He notes that he took a lot of time thinking about where to add a photo-realistic quality and it’s hard not to be impressed. I think that had the animators done something similar to this for the latest film they would have had a more positive response.
9 Not Something You Want To Mess With
Avatar: The Last Airbender wasn’t just an amazing show thanks to its large range of characters and stunning visuals, but also due to its terrific story-line. You can have the best visuals on the planet, but if you don’t have a good story to go along with it your popularity is sure to wane.
When you have the best of both worlds it creates a long-lasting show that creates many spinoffs.
JoelWhite loves playing around with different paint brushes. He pushes himself to create sharper images with the help of textured brushes. It’s clear through venturing into his gallery that he has a good grasp of human anatomy and it helps him to create natural lines and curves in his characters. His Koh rendition is like something straight out of a Stephen King novel.
8 Making Eye Contact
There are a lot of theories about the true origins of CatDog. The creators have been tight-lipped about the cause, but they do leave clues here and there that allow people to speculate. One such theory is that they were created through some sort of nuclear disaster and another is a government experiment gone wrong. Both are plausible given the environment and the whole host of other characters like them within the show.
Thinking about this, Leo Santarelli takes it in a bit of a different direction by depicting CatDog as a creation likened to Frankenstein. The quality of the stitching and the deep detail throughout really helps to sell this idea. You can see the joining together piece by piece of the characters and you also see the partial breakdown as a result.
7 Trying To Keep It Together
When attempting to create artwork it can be difficult for many reasons. We may not think of it right away, but the fact is that what really helps a character to stand out in personality. It helps us to see ourselves in a character and it also helps to understand how their muscle structures would react in a particular situation. He’s already made his way on our list, but Wil Hughes created such a wonderful rendition of Squidward that I had to include it.
He uses a very different technique here and it shows.
Just taking it all in for a moment it is truly amazing how much variation in color and shading there is in a single area of the face.
6 Plotting Their Next Move
It’s easy as an artist to stick with what you know and stay within your comfort zone. After all, it’s much easier to create a good work of art when you have the confidence to do so. As with most things though, challenging yourself and doing something you are not used to helps you to grow and improve. Practicing new ways of creating art helps you to see where you are lacking and also helps you to view your artwork in a whole new way.
Labrenzink knows this all to well and he pushes himself into all areas and all techniques in his artwork. From the start of his gallery until now you can see the ways in which both his technique and color style has changed as a result of these constant challenges. His photo-realistic renditions have continued to improve as a result and he has gained a better understanding of color blending.
5 Ingredients Of A Nightmare
Rugrats was a very popular show and rightly so. It spanned many generations and ran over fourteen years and it probably could have gone longer. It was so popular at the time that it ended that it caused a spinoff to be created later on. Though the spinoff didn’t do nearly as well as the original, it reinvigorated the artistic community and spawned a ton of interesting artwork related to the show.
When it comes to art, there is no set technique or set style that is normal.
This is what makes the area of art so exciting. It’s not just about learning how to color and learning how to create lines; it’s about bringing your imagination to life. When it comes to creepy renditions of the Rugrats, Brieana’s is certainly that.
4 Not Sure What’s Going On
When it comes to hit shows on Nickelodeon, Drake & Josh is certainly in a realm of its own. It was a show that had a good amount of characters that you could really relate to and it produced real life situations that mirrored those that we might see. It was shocking to see it end the way it did, but disagreements between actors brought about it’s early demise.
If you were to describe the gallery of NAveryW you would probably use words like strange or odd to do it. It’s not a bad thing by any means though and it allows you to see the characters you know and love in ways you might not even have dreamed of. It’s easy to create artwork similar to source material, but it’s an entirely different thing when you create something from scratch.
3 Some Serious Changes
The first time I watched The Wild Thornberrys I fell in love with it. It reminded me of the days of watching Steve Irwin, and as I learned later, there was a good reason for this. As it turns out, the creators had Steve Irwin in mind when they created the show and though it is different in a lot of aspects, there are some elements that pay homage to Steve.
Taking a peek at the gallery of Monotypical we can see that he enjoys creating comic-book-like renditions.
Not only that, but he also creates some of his very own comic strips. In looking at his Nigel Thornberry illustration we can see the application of comic book like qualities. His coloring technique and line work is right in toe with what you will see within the pages of any comic book.
2 Hatching A Plan
When it comes to shows that didn’t get near the love that they deserved, The Angry Beavers is at the top of the list. The voice actors were simply amazing and the animation was top notch. Sometimes though, even the best shows just never seem to take off like they should. There is good news for the fans of the show though, in that it is slated to make a return to our televisions very soon.
To say that our next artist loves drawing cartoon dogs is a bit of an understatement. If you were to look at brookibrooki's gallery you would quickly find that almost all of her artwork centers around dogs. Even though this is the case, we can see that all this repetition has paid off by giving her the ability to create a wonderful rendition of the beavers.
1 Finally Satisfied
As strange as Ren and Stimpy was, can you imagine what it would have been like if they were more in line with what we are used to in reality? I mean, it’s easy to not find things as strange as you might normally when they are placed into the context of a cartoon. After all, it’s normal for cartoons to be a little bit abnormal from time to time and it’s not odd to find them to be a bit different then what we are used to in reality.
When it comes to creating in-depth 3D renditions of some of our favorite characters NickDeSpain can’t be beaten.
He goes through the painstaking process of shading a little bit at a time. This gradual shading technique allows him to create an image that looks extremely realistic and very three dimensional at any angle.