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Fear, terror, panic and doom

Fear, terror, panic and doom

She sent pictures of doom

Drawn in her tiny bedroom

Fear, terror, panic and doom
The Residents, "Pictures from a Little Girl"

There are a lot of things that are Harmful to Minors. There are a lot of writers who like to subject kids to them anyway. Whether it's parental abuse or a run in with the Monster of the Week, the child ends up traumatized and left with a creepy tendency to draw whatever it was they saw over... and over... and over...

The combination of a disturbing image rendered in a crude, childlike style is a powerfully scary one in and of itself, but just as unsettling is the window onto a child's view of sex/violence/Cthulhu that it gives us. The idea of innocence being exposed to things it finds frightening, or things it can't understand, is a classic way to play off Adult Fear and at the same time deliver a bucketload of Nightmare Fuel rendered in red crayon.

If a Creepy Child draws pictures, they will be this trope. If it's the Monster of the Week the child has been drawing, expect the Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book to come in handy when the heroes come along - after all, now they've got a wall full of pictures of their enemy.

Compare Room Full of Crazy, Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant. Also related to Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour.

Examples of Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book include:


  • A PSA about domestic abuse had a child's drawing where the kid himself was a tiny figure with no arms and no mouth, and his father was a huge, monstrous figure with enormous hands and big, sharp teeth.
  • A series of PSAs on the dangers of unlocked guns featured crayon drawings of children accidentally killing their siblings after finding an improperly stored loaded gun.
  • This PSA shows the girl telling a fairy tale about her mother while drawing on the picture of her to show the abuse suffered.
  • A PSA from Japan about autism subverted this trope: A kid was shown colouring in many, many pieces of letter-sized paper in solid black. She's interviewed by shrinks, institutionalized, she keeps right on going. Then a social worker finds a puzzle piece in a drawer and thinks "hmmm..." The child is then shown arranging the pieces on the floor, and the camera zooms out to see that it is in the shape of a whale.
    • The music video for a Singaporean National Day Song had a scene strongly inspired by this one. The only difference was that it was a boy filling in the pages with solid red, and the final shape was that of a heart. D'aww!
  • A really creepy one from Singapore's Health Promotion Board, to provide awareness of cervical cancer, is a print advertisement of a child's drawing of his family. There's the sun in the sky, and stick figures for everyone: "me", "dad", "sister"... but above "mom", a tombstone is drawn instead. Brrr.

Anime and Manga

  • Little Mimi does this on the first page of the first chapter in Bokke San. She is seen filling pages with crayon eyes while repeating "he's coming" over and over.
  • In Mirai Nikki, twelve people are given magic diaries that can predict the future, and are pitted against each other in a battle royale. The youngest participant, the 5th, is a 4-year old boy with a coloring book as his Future Diary, which shows him the best moments for committing murder.
  • In the Neon Genesis Evangelion movie End Of Evangelion, we briefly see a series of an angry-scribbled crayon pictures, reminding the reader of Shinji and Asuka's horribly traumatic childhoods. Supposedly they were drawn by real-life abused children.
    • Also shown in the Director's Cut version of episode 22.
  • In Darker Than Black, this is essentially a Russian contractor's remuneration. He seems to really enjoy it.
  • The small girl in the fourth episode of Divergence Eve drew images of the Ghoul on the pavement of an alley with crayon before she got attacked by the Monster of the Week. Then she continued to draw it after she was shut in the White Void Room.
  • In Yuru-Yuri, Chinatsu's coloring book shows her True Colors. Unlike most other examples in this page, this is Played for Laughs. Also, Chinatsu isn't a kid, she's in junior high.

Comic Books

  • In the Swamp Thing comic book, an autistic child in a group home draws pictures, with accompanying text, of the Monkey King that (unbeknownst to the authorities) killed his parents. Soon, all the children in the home are independently drawing pictures of the creature, presaging its reappearance.
  • In the Watchmen comic, a rather disturbing picture is drawn by 13-year old Walter Kovacs (later known as Rorschach), showing his mom and a man, both naked and fused together. The picture is accompanied by a transcript of Walter describing a disturbing sexual nightmare he had where he watched his mother and this man having intercourse. The way their bodies merge together symmetrically makes the picture resemble a Rorschach blot.
  • Bio Apocalypse IS this. Literally.
  • The fifth (Or is it fourth?) Robin has an entire sketchbook full of violent and disturbing imagery. To be fair, Damian was raised by The League of Shadows and lives in Gotham City.


  • The Mothman Prophecies. An orderly says that Mary was sketching "angels". Well, angels that look like black-shrouded demons in the general shape of a moth. Seems like the residents of Point Pleasant were, too.
  • The mentally ill girl in Dark Floors draws stylized versions of the monsters that attack the group--before the attacks happen. She also tends to draw constant circles which symbolize the fact that she's been living the events of the movie over and over again for an indefinite number of loops while the monsters try to convince her to come with them.
  • The pictures drawn by the little boy in the English-language version of The Ring.
    • This was later spoofed in the third Scary Movie with the kid's drawings of "Tabitha", the Samara-lookalike.
  • In the Silent Hill movie, Sharon draws many pictures of Silent Hill.
  • In The Sixth Sense the boy says that he got into trouble for drawing a man being stabbed with a screwdriver. Now he only draws pictures of rainbows, because teachers "don't have conferences about rainbows."
  • Adult example: In American Psycho Patrick draws pictures of naked women being killed. Sometimes he draws them in public.
  • Godzilla vs Biollante has a scene where an entire class of psychic school children hold up drawings of Godzilla emerging from the volcano he was imprisoned in the last movie.
    • At the end of the film, their teacher, Miki Saegusa, is seen drawing a rose in space, which foreshadows the eventual fate of Biollante.
  • In the extended edition of Dark City some time after May the prostitute is murdered by Mr Hand and the Strangers, the police discover her daughter hiding under a bed; she's drawing a picture of three white stick figures in black trenchcoats standing over her mother's corpse with knives in their hands.
  • The mountain from Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
  • In Snakes on a Plane, a boy draws the snake that bit his brother while they're still on the plane. It's later used to identify the type of snake so he can be treated.
  • Inversion: The (adult) protagonist of Dreamscape drew a picture of the Snakeman, a monster he encountered and battled in a boy's bad dream. In a later foray into dreams, a villain who's seen this drawing adopts the Snakeman's shape to fight the hero: a reversal of the usual Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book cause-and-effect.
  • The beginning of Children of the Corn.
  • Poltergeist 2: Carol Anne draws a picture of the sinister Reverend Kane, who looks uncannily like Fred Phelps.
  • Subverted in Superbad, as no real motive is ever given for Jonah Hill's penis drawings.
  • Played for laughs in Role Models with the famous "Beyonce pouring sugar on my dick" artwork drawn by Ronnie who is a foul-mouthed streetwise miscreant obsessed with breasts
  • The Butterfly Effect features a subversion: the picture 7-year old Evan draws (of himself standing over two mutilated prison inmates with a bloody knife in his hand, which he has no recollection of drawing) appears to be an example of this trope, but is in fact an example of something else entirely.
  • In Noroi: The Curse, drawings made by Kana and Marika depicting strange patterns and (in Kana's case) hanging figures. Hori's fliers about ectoplasmic worms might also count.
  • In Halloween: Resurrection, some characters find one in Michael Myers's childhood bedroom. It turns out it was a fake planted there by the reality show producers.
  • In Tales From The Hood, a little boy keeps drawing disturbing crayon pictures of the "monster" that comes to his house... we come to find out that the "monster" is actually his abusive stepfather.
  • Subverted in The Addams Family movie, where Wednesday makes disturbing art that her parents don't find worrisome in the least, and nor does she. Her teacher of course is a bit put off.
  • 28 Days Later: At the climax of his walk around abandoned London, Jim finds a board of messages, notices and pleas for help, including a child's drawing showing "Daddy" shooting "Mummy" because she's infected with Rage.
  • In Mikey the title character draws a picture of a turkey decapitating a pilgrim with an axe for Thanksgiving, this disturbs his teacher and this is what leads her to question his upbringing.
  • In Silent Night, Deadly Night Billy, due to being traumatized by a maniac in a Santa costume murdering his parents, draws a picture of Santa shot with arrows and a reindeer decapitated with an axe.
  • In Joshua the title character draws a picture of a man with a bloody knife and a pile of dead bodies. He did not do this because of abuse or trauma-- he did it because he wanted to get rid of his parents.
  • The Nightmare On Elm Street series seemed fond of this trope.
  • An interesting variation appears in Knowing. In the prologue set 50 years ago, a classroom of schoolchildren is asked to draw pictures depicting the future, to be locked into a time capsule that will be opened in the present day. However, one disturbed girl writes down a seemingly random series of numbers, instead of a drawing. MIT professor John Koestler's son takes the piece of paper home, and he accidentally discovers that it is a doomsday prophecy.
  • In Dragonfly, Joe's dead wife tries to reach him through the terminally ill children she cared for in the hospital. They begin drawing unnervingly similar pictures of rainbows (which they say are "loud"), and squiggly crosses which appear to be (but are not) dragonflies.


  • In Congo by Michael Crichton, the gorilla the heroes are studying repeatedly draws shots of a forest with a yellow eye in the middle. It's implied that said eye belongs to whatever's inhabiting the jungle.
  • In a Mickey Mouse novel, he's investigating a case in which dreams are involved. Mickey finds out that a girl that has been exposed to said dreams... and then we find out she spends all of her free time drawing black spiders.
  • In House of Leaves, the Navidson children draw entirely black pictures when asked to draw their house. Eventually, the narrator starts doing it too.
  • Have you heard The Call of Cthulhu?
  • In Angela and Diabola, Evil Twin Diabola terrifies her teacher by drawing an almost photorealistic picture of an execution. The school principal takes her in for special art classes, and Diabola freaks her out by drawing Diabola's family burning to death. The picture catches fire and burns down the school.
  • In Amityville Horror, Missy draws a picture of Jody (her "imaginary friend" demonic pig) for her father after they abandon the house.
  • This Trope apparently goes hand in hand with autism in media: In the Stephen King novel The Regulators, an autistic boy who is posessed by a demonic creature draws pictures of the drive-by shooting in which his entire family was killed. The pictures are actually included in the text.
  • In The Sisters Grimm, Little Red Riding Hood draws pictures of the family that she use to have before she went mad. At first, they look normal, cheerful and bright. Then, the pictures slowly become darker, until the only colors she used were black and red.
  • David invokes this as a child in John Dies at the End, after getting bullied, in order to be put into a special class.
  • A milder version of this Trope occurs in Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules. Manny (who's only about 3-5, mind you) accidentally watches a horror movie that Rodrick (who's about 17) left in the VCR. Greg comes across Manny's drawings later, and remarks that "some of them were enough to give ME nightmares."
    • The Trope is played with earlier in the book. Greg and his mom and dad had to bail Rodrick out on his science project; Greg had to draw what he thought teenagers would draw after watching violent movies (imitating this Trope, but not actually playing it straight).
  • In the Jacqueline Wilson book Dustbin Baby April recalls how she was once sent to a psychiatrist, where she is left to play with the toys. She starts to draw a dustbin, but notices she is being watched and makes it into a vase of flowers instead. The reason she drew the dustbin was because there wasn't a toy one to put the baby doll in.
  • Of course, artists draw all kinds of things, but Beth Ellen Hansen's pictures at the beginning of The Long Secret would tend at least to indicate her frustrations.

Live Action TV

  • In the TV series The World Chronicle, a boy is exposed to the view of an alien eating his dog. When the heroes arrive, they ask to see any drawings he's made. We're shown the kid filling in the color of a Pikachu sketch... until the camera pans out to show that the wall is full of menacing drawings of the alien's eyes.
  • In one episode of House, a severely autistic boy constantly draws squiggly lines on his whiteboard. The reason? He sees them constantly because he has parasitic worms in his eyeballs.
  • Young Locke liked to draw the Smokey monster in the 'Cabin Fever' flashback in Lost. Strange in that this was years before he first encountered it on the island.
  • Inversion: The Empty Child from Doctor Who drew hundreds of pictures of houses and families, in keeping with the "Are you my mummy" theme.
    • And a variant in "Fear Her", where today's Monster of the Week is a possessed young girl. She has drawings of her abusive dad, and of every missing kid in town on her walls... and it's because she drew them that they're missing to begin with.
    • The "Fear Her" example got worse when the picture of the abusive dad actually came to life. The first time it came to life was after a tense period while Rose tried to find out what was in a wardrobe. When she opened it, the picture glowed red and growled, much the same way a screamer would do in something like the Ghost Car video. The second time, it actually escaped from the wardrobe that it had been drawn on and walked towards them, intent on abusing them from beyond the grave.
    • The Eleventh Doctor's companion Amy Pond repeatedly drew images of "The Raggedy Doctor" after he first visited her as a child. It's not creepy in the usual way, but it's clear her meeting the Doctor when she was seven has left her with some... issues.
  • In an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a little boy at a hospital compulsively draws a monster that adults can't see. After Buffy kicks its ass, we see a picture he drew of the monster with X-ed out eyes and Buffy standing over it all triumphant-like.
  • In an episode of Supernatural, Dean connects with a little boy who's been traumatized into mutism by witnessing his father's drowning. Said boy presents Dean with a picture of swirly dark water, representing the lake, and a red bicycle...
  • In an episode of Battlestar Galactica Reimagined, Hera Agathon horrifies her mother, Sharon, by drawing pictures of the Eye of Jupiter, yellow-haired women, and the number 6. Sharon, meanwhile, had been having dreams of Cylon Number Six taking Hera away from her, and walking into the Opera House on Kobol. It's creepier when you watch the show.
    • And she does it again later in the second half of the season. Her seemingly harmless drawings of "stars" turn out to be musical notation Kara uses to remember a song from her childhood - "All Along the Watchtower". Helo and Athena really need to get their daughter a new hobby, or at least take away Chekhov's Crayons.
  • In Heroes, Molly Walker suffers from nightmares and continually draws the same symbol in her more nightmarish drawings. Then she was Put on a Bus and we never found out what it meant.
  • One episode of the The X-Files centers around a young boy who compulsively writes seemingly random lines of zeroes and ones on sheet after sheet of paper. At the end, these hundreds of sheets of paper covered in binary are laid out across the living room floor, forming an image of a smiling girl.
    • Another one had a painting gorilla (you know, apes are sometimes taught stuff like painting or sign language) - the paintings were UFOs or something. The ape in question, however, was more communicative than most human Trope examples, as she explained it (as good as an ape could) using aforementioned sign language.
    • Yet another one had strange insect creatures tormenting the family of a little girl, who drew pictures of strange insect creatures tormenting people. Turns out, she's a Reality Warper of sorts with very morbid thoughts that become incredibly realistic hallucinations. The solution? Put her in a blank white room and have her watch TV until it cripples her imagination.
  • A more realistic (and possibly more horrific because of it) example is in Law and Order SVU, where a girl draws a picture of herself on a sports field, with an imposing and scary man standing off to the side in a football jersey. Initially they think it's the coach- her uncle- who's been molesting her, but it turns out he was falsely accused, and loses his job because of it. It was actually one of the high-school students on his team.
    • Another example is a little boy who witnessed his father bash his mother's head in with a lamp. He trusts Olivia the most, so she's the one who sees the picture he drew of the attack. Lots of red crayon there...
    • Then there's the episode where Benson and Stabler are called in because a little girl is drawing some rather interesting pictures, and her teacher is concerned. Turns out she saw her (underage) big brother and her stepmom doing it.
    • Semi-related, while she didn't draw the pictures, a young girl has been stated to have repeatedly mutilate pictures of men, it's eventually found out that she killed a younger boy.
    • Yet another one with a young, bullied boy with apparent split personality disorder, who draws a picture of basketball-playing kids lying dead on the ground with a shadowy figure holding a gun standing over them. The scary guy is "Zoltar", the kid's alter ego that he insists killed the boys when it was the kid himself in response to intense bullying that he couldn't take anymore.
    • Possibly the saddest example from SVU: a little boy who accidentally shot a little girl on the playground at school, draws himself while being interviewed in the squad room. When he's asked what he thinks should happen to him, he draws flames engulfing him because he believes he should burn in hell.
    • One girl had her throat slit but lived. She couldn't talk afterwards, so she drew her attacker. She drew the Devil.
      • It gets revealed that the man who attacked her was just nicknamed the Devil.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Datalore", the crew found a bunch of drawings on the wall in Soong's laboratory depicting the Crystalline Entity.
  • Eureka had this in its second or third episode, thanks to autistic savant Kevin Blake and a really freaky ghost... well, kind of.
  • One of the films in the swedish police series Beck (no, not that one) involves an autistic boy drawing penises over and over again. It turns out one of his caretakers is abusing him...
    • In a rather humorous turn, when the titular detective tries to get the kid to draw (in a hope that it'll give him clues), Beck draws a rather simplistic pig (another detective later remarks that it looks like a potato). When we later see the kid, his father is rather puzzled by the fact that the kid keeps drawing really detailed pigs.
  • Not sure if this actually fits, but Kamen Rider Ryuki explains the origin of all the Monsters in the series as actually those drawings of abandoned children Shiro and Yui Kanzaki, which the former brought to life when he became a Mad Scientist.
  • In Stargate SG-1, there is a character named Cassandra. She's Janet Fraiser's adopted daughter, and an alien. She's adopted and living on Earth because a Goa'uld decided to use her, a ten year old girl, to set a trap. This trap involves murdering every single person on the entire planet besides her. And then, Cassie was left alone on the planet for at least hours, possibly days, surrounded by the corpses of her family and everyone she knew, completely alone. Later in the episode, when she's at the SGC, Cassie shows Sam her drawings, which are full of stick figures bleeding, lying on the ground dead, or both. And one single stick figure standing up, surrounded by stick-figure corpses.
  • Sketch Comedy Show Bienvenidos had an sketch about a school psychologist calling a mother because the son had suddenly shift from bright, colorful pictures to ominously-looking drawings on black crayon. After discussing what this could mean, they decide to call the boy. The kid of course, is very sane and his drawings are truly innocent, is just that he already used all the other colors of his crayon boxes, and in fact he is truly pissed that they have to come to these extremes so his mom could believe that he really needs a new box.
  • Kamen Rider Fourze had a teenager named Hiroki Makise who had diaries detailing how he would hold hands with a girl he liked... only to then reveal that he had an entry on how he'd crash a bus filled with girls who dumped him (with good reason) and he was happy about it because they were going to be "shooting stars".


  • In episode 10 of The Residents' The Bunny Boy series, the titular character gets an email containing bizarre drawings from a girl named Wendy, specifically three pictures of rabbits in disturbing situations, and one of a cyclops covered in roaches. The song based on the video (or the other way around) also mentions pictures of faces covered in scratch marks, a horse split in half, and a big black spot surrounded by the word "NO!" scribbled a hundred times.
  • From Pearl Jam "Jeremy".

 At home drawing pictures

Of mountain tops

With him on top

Lemon yellow sun

Arms raised in a V

And the dead lay in pools of maroon below

Daddy didn't give attention

To the fact that mommy didn't care

King Jeremy the wicked

Ruled his world

New Media

  • Parodied, like many things, by The Onion, which played this trope on Janet Jackson's infamous "wardrobe incident".
  • Not really an example of this Trope, but this SomethingAwful Photoshop contest based on a literal Nightmare Fuel coloring book was too good to pass up.
  • This /x/ thread. (NSFW[1])
  • Most of Sonichu and the art of Christian Weston Chandler looks like this. CWC is a 28 year old Man Child who draws like an eight year old... and uses his webcomic as an outlet for gory revenge fantasies and sexual wish fulfillment, as well as drawing porn of himself outside the comic in the same infantile style. The overall effect is very much like one of these.

Newspaper Comics

  • The first chapter of The Prehistory of The Far Side consists of what Gary Larson claims to be drawings from his childhood. They depict his parents as cartoonishly abusive -- playing fetch with the dog using him as the stick, making him ride in the trunk of the car, and putting bars on his bedroom window.

Tabletop Games

  • Comes up several times in the New World of Darkness Sourcebook Innocents, which is based around playing as a child. One chapter opener in particular concerns a boy who, over several days, draws a monster getting closer and closer to his bed. The last drawing he made shows the monster standing directly over his bed, him hiding under the covers...

 "Carl drew this one yesterday. When he had art time today, he refused to draw anything. When the teacher threatened to discipline him, he broke down in hysterics."

  • In the Vampire: The Masquerade Sourcebook Time of Thin Blood, the fictional prose included insane asylum patients drawing simplistic stick figures with hungry maws in place of heads during the Week of Nightmares.

Video Games

  • Inverted in Silent Hill 1: Alessa kept on drawing monsters that ended up being in Dark Silent Hill.
    • In Silent Hill 3, this becomes even creepier if you haven't played the first game. You go through the whole game fighting these truly horrifying monsters... only to discover them all, in the last level, as drawings strewn about the floor of Alessa's room. Given who you're playing in that game, it's even worse in a way. though hindsight says the fight on the carousel was foreshadowing.
    • Also, in Silent Hill 4, you see one of Walters' kiddie drawings of Eileen... the drawing gives her a big, bloody, spikey mess growing in her belly.
    • Present in Silent Hill Homecoming, where the protagonist's younger brother, Josh, has left disturbing crayon drawings throughout Sheperd's Glen and Silent Hill. Bonus points because most of them are accompanied by couplets that add up to a local children's rhyme about the Bogeyman.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines has you explore an abandoned hotel that's haunted by the spirit of a guest that went mad and slaughtered his family. In one bedroom, amidst a pile of toys and colouring books, you find a picture drawn by one of the murdered children: it shows a happy family holding hands- but the father's been replaced by a hideous wild-haired creature surrounded by flames.
  • In the hospital level of Max Payne 2, one wall is adorned by a child's crayon drawings that recap the blood-and-tragedy-filled first game.
  • Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth features one of these drawn by a fairly precious Creepy Child. The "pictures of Mommy and Daddy", along with her comments about Mommy make the book a perfect candidate to this category.
  • In The Suffering: Ties That Bind, Torque's son Cory draws a picture of his father's mental state: Torque lies pinned to the ground by his monstrous insanity form as Carmen and Blackmore look on. An impressive feat of Nightmare Fuel considering that Cory has been dead for quite some time when this picture was drawn.
    • Also, Jordan's guide to the various Malefactors not only includes photographs and artistic sketches, but a few drawings clearly produced by children. Thankfully, the game doesn't go into explicit detail as to what happened to these young artists, though players can probably guess that it wasn't pleasant.
  • Some storybooks in Rule of Rose.
  • In Parasite Eve 2, your main target is Eve, a young girl who was grown from your own superhuman DNA, in order to control the genetic monsters that the evil organization are also making. Her 'upbringing' has left her rather disturbed, as you see when you find her 'play-room'... childish crayon-drawings of people burning to death or being devoured by monsters...
  • In Project Origin, one of the classrooms at Wade Elementary has a bunch of crayon drawings by the children posted up on the wall. These drawing include flaming demon heads, towering piles of dead bodies, people on fire, random drawings of Alma, and the Point Man shooting Paxton Fettel.
  • In Heavy Rain, after the Time Skip, Shaun's room contains a crayon drawing of the accident that killed his brother and hospitalized his father.
  • Occurs in both Bioshock and Bioshock 2 by the Little Sisters, one Tear Jerker example includes tombstones with "Mom" and "Dad" on them.
  • Condemned 2 has this in spades in the doll factory.
  • In the intro cutscene to AMY, the title character is seen drawing a chaotic scene of the Zombie Apocalypse that left most of the city's inhabitants dead.
  • Carrie Careless and the Galette des Rois from Ib.

Web Comics

Web Original

  • The John Dies at the End tie-in blog features an entry in which John and Dave start appearing in the crayon pictures of a young boy that they've never met. (possibly NSFW)
  • Marble Hornets has Alex drawing hundreds of pictures of the Slender Man, as well as the mysterious Operator Symbol.
    • Just Another Fool, a spinoff ARG blog of the Slenderman Mythos, includes an entry where the journal that was passed to both of the Slenderman's victims is examined via YouTube video. The video reveals not only the Slenderman drawings that the journal's owner made, but the ADDITIONS to said drawings that the journal's next keeper made, outlining stick figure corpses that were only faint outlines on the original sketches.
    • Because of MH and JAF, almost ALL of the Slender Man ARGs that came after include creepy drawings of this nature.
  • Madame Talbot's Victorian Lowbrow blog has featured, among other things, the webmaster's childhood drawings. Most of them involve some combination of vampires, coffins, skulls, and syringes... not too different from the rest of the site, really.

Western Animation

  • Boo draws a picture of Randall in Monsters, Inc., though she only draws him once, and once Sulley sees the picture, there's no horror or confusion.
  • Not a monster example, but Bart draws a seriously disturbed illustration expressing his first days in kindergarten in "Lisa's Sax". Fans commonly refer to it as the "SAD drawing".

 Homer: Oh, it's a lovely drawing, he's so creative, it's -- AAAAAH! Burn it! Send it to hell!

  • On Family Guy Lois is called in for a parent-teacher conference to discuss Stewie's drawings, all of which show him murdering her in brutal ways. The conclusion Lois and the teacher come to? He needs to spend more time with Peter since he is not present in any of the drawings.
  • One episode of Invader Zim had Dib drawing a picture of Zim being dissected while conscious and screaming at his now-exposed organs.
    • In another episode, Dib shows Gaz his blueprints for an invention to defeat Zim, while Gaz shows Dib a picture of him being eaten by a monster.

Real Life

  • On a documentary about the Israeli-Palestine conflict, there was this 10 year old girl who drew her dead mother bleeding over her as she was crying and her older brother holding his dead baby while its brains were spilling out.
  • Reader's Digest had a piece on a 12-year old boy who survived Hurricane Katrina and drew excellent pictures of the flooding that killed his mother and made him homeless.
  • A surprising subversion to this occurred in real life tragedy. Dedrick Owens found a handgun in his uncle's home and took it to school with him, and wound up shooting and killing Kayla Rolland when they were both only 6 years old. While Dedrick was at the police station, only fifteen minutes after the shooting, one police detective gave him a set of crayons to occupy him. Dedrick drew a picture of himself outside his house, smiling and the detective had the picture framed, keeping it hung in his office. Preserving the last moments of innocence, it could be supposed.
  • There's a whole sub-field of psychology devoted to this: art therapy. Like play therapy, where children are encouraged to act out their traumas so they can learn to deal with them, art therapists get them to draw pictures or make play-dough sculptures to work through it all. I believe it's also done with adults in some cases.
    • It's done with anyone who had trouble communicating verbally, which a lot of traumatized people do. It's especially useful, other than children, with teenagers and people with Pervasive Developmental Disorders, the family that includes autism.
  • In the book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, there was a story about a mother and her son who were abducted by the mother's ex-boyfriend. The kidnapper made the kid hide under a blanket while he beat the mother to death. Later, a psychologist asked the son to draw a picture; the result was a race car driver with a pair of humongous eyes.
  • As an art student or artistic person, one has to be careful to avoid invoking this. Obviously watching TV/reading books/absorbing popular culture will mean one might want to draw bloody things or bizarre things from time to time, that are completely non-indicative of one's experiences and personality. However people will often be a little disturbed if they see said pictures - well... except perhaps at an art school.
    • Also, in the case of children, drawing pictures or writing stories about death (as well as acting it out) is very common at a certain point in development. It's a natural exploration of the topic. It can certainly be triggered by a traumatic event, but most often the exploration is triggered simply by a child growing more aware of the world around them and aware of life and death. It's seen more in little boys than little girls; boys tend to love the action-packed drama of violent murder stories, while girls prefer to write stories about animals and relationships between people. It can be quite jarring for parents to hear their child (usually around kindergarten age) talking about violent acts of crime and drawing pictures of death, but it's no different than a child exploring other topics through writing, drawing, and play.
  • The children that were allowed to be taken out of the Waco compound before the fatal showdown happened had been given crayons and paper, and many of them drew cheery little houses and rainbows - with said houses going up in flames, and many of them were days before the actual compound went up in smoke.
    • Along with carefully drawn bullet holes in the walls and roof.
  • There is a genre of similar drawings, sometimes called "schkolnaya murzilka" ("The School Murzilka", Murzilka - strange furry soviet comic book characters) in post-soviet areas. It usually contains some combination of Mind Screw, Surreal Humor and Surreal Horror with famous cartoons, fairy tales etc. Also frequently occurs as a result of a post-soviet child watching horror movies.
    • Ukrainian Mikhail Bondarev drew stuff like this throughout his school years (sometimes with his classmates). Though the drawings are obviously tongue-in-cheek, a strange mix of video game and pop culture themes with over-the-top violence, absurdish situations and general surrealistic mindscrew make them at least slightly creepy. Check this, this or that one, inspired by H.P. Lovecraft. The fact that he's now studying medicine (pediatrics) does not help even though he's quite nice actually.


  1. female genital images.
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