There are many styles of fan art when it comes to classic cartoons, and this art comes in many formats. Many artists just try to replicate something they love in their unique artistic styles. There are also artists that specialize in gender swapping artwork or pieces that turn animals into humans, delivering something for everyone in the world of fan art. With that said, one of the most popular styles of fan art when it comes to cartoon reproduction is reimagining what classic cartoon characters might look like when they are all grown up.
Nickelodeon offers a lot of options when it comes to fans coming up with their spin on characters. For one thing, Nickelodeon is one of the oldest networks geared towards children, launching in 1977. Unlike a network like PBS, which is all about educational programming, Nickelodeon existed to create great original cartoons as entertainment, as well as live-action shows for kids and teenagers. With cartoons like SpongeBob SquarePants and Avatar: The Last Airbender as franchise titles, there is a lot of material for artists to choose from. With so many classic cartoons based on child characters, there are also plenty of chances to bring these characters into adulthood. Here is a look at 15 pieces of the best fan art showing Nickelodeon cartoon characters all grown up.
15. DANNY PHANTOM
Danny Phantom didn’t last quite as long as many other Nickelodeon cartoons, but it did stretch out for three seasons and 53 episodes from 2004 until 2007. The hero in this series was a 14-year-old boy named Danny Fenton whose parents were ghost hunters. When Danny tried to enter the Ghost Zone, an accident infused him with ectoplasm, turning him half-ghost, which also gave him superhuman powers. He then protects his hometown from ghosts.
The show didn’t last long, but it did give way to video games, toys and other spin-off merchandise, all with the young boy hero front and center. While the series ended with Danny revealing his secret to the world and becoming a real hero, there was no telling how his career would progress. An artist on Deviant Art called LividPhoenix created a piece showing what they believe this Nickelodeon character would look like when he was an older and distinguished looking man.
14. GO DIEGO GO
Go Diego Go debuted in 2005 as a spin-off of the popular Nickelodeon series Dora the Explorer. In Go Diego Go, an eight-year-old boy named Diego sets out to rescue animals and protect the environment. Honestly, Diego had a lot of luck on his side as he rescued everything from wolves and jaguars to crocodiles and dinosaurs with just the aid of his camera and backpack, and he somehow managed not to end up as a carnivore’s dinner.
Diego lasted five seasons and 75 episodes and he never aged a single day, much like his cousin Dora. As such a young child, it was interesting to wonder how Diego might look when, and if, he ever grew older, considering his childhood obsessions with dangerous animals. Deviant Art’s aru98 decided to lend her talent to see what Diego might look like once he started to grow up, and thankfully he still has all his limbs.
13. HEY ARNOLD!
Hey Arnold! was a Nickelodeon cartoon that aired for five seasons, stretching from 1996 until 2004. Interestingly, Arnold was a character that Craig Bartlett started working on while on the staff of Pee Wee’s Playhouse and picked up the deal from Nickelodeon to bring him to life. The cartoon was about a nine-year-old named Arnold who lived in a boarding house with his grandparents.
Hey Arnold! only lasted the five seasons but also got a movie that wrapped up the various storylines, since the cartoon was set up like a sitcom. While Arnold was a character that sets out to help anyone in need, the female character of Helga was a tomboy who bullied Arnold, even though she secretly had feelings for him. InvisibleDeath from Deviant Art created this piece of Nickelodeon fan art that showed Arnold and Helga finally getting together once they were both grown up.
12. FAIRLY ODDPARENTS
One of the most successful of the Nickelodeon cartoons at the start of this century, Fairly OddParents debuted in 2001 and lasted for 10 seasons, followed by some live-action movies after its cancellation. Interestingly, there is little in the way of wondering what a grown-up Timmy Turner looked like because the first Fairly OddParents film was about a grown-up Timmy, albeit played by a real actor in Drake Bell.
With that said, just because the Drake & Josh actor was cast to play an older Timmy, that didn’t stop fan artists from wondering what the cartoon version of the boy with the fairy godparents would look like when he grew up. This artwork by nintendomaximus of Deviant Art supposes that Tommy and Tootie end up married, much to the pleasure of Tootie herself.
11. AAAHH!!! REAL MONSTERS
This piece of grown-up fan art based on the Nickelodeon cartoon Aaahh!!! Real Monsters is more disturbing than anything else. The cartoon itself aired from 1994 through 1997 with a total of 52 episodes and was about three child monsters who attend a school that teaches them how to scare humans. There are a lot of reasons to believe that this cartoon influenced the Pixar movie Monsters Inc.
The three child monsters are Ickis (who looked like a rabbit), Oblina, and Krumm. Most episodes saw the three monsters trying to scare humans as part of their classroom assignments. The entire premise was that the monsters were children and looked very silly, but tried to act scary. This fan art by Deviant Art user deaddoll00 took the child-like monsters and turned them into horrific looking, fully grown creatures.
10. ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS
Alvin and the Chipmunks is not an original Nickelodeon property. The animated characters initially debuted as a novelty music project where cover songs were recorded in a sped up voice that sounded like what some believed a chipmunk might sound like if singing. The three brothers — Alvin, Simon and Theodore — were then adopted by music producer David Seville as part of a cartoon back in 1961.
In 2015, Alvinnn!!! and the Chipmunks made their debut on Nickelodeon as a revival television series, following a number of big-screen movie adaptations starring Jason Lee as David Seville. Now in its third season, the boys are still pre-teen children musical stars, never growing over the 50 years since their introduction. Robaato from Deviant Art created the above image to show what the Chipmunks might look like if they ever aged into teenagers.
9. SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS
Quite possibly the most successful Nickelodeon cartoon of all time is the long-lasting SpongeBob SquarePants. A favorite for both young kids who love the silly adventures of the sea sponge and his friends as well as adults who love the absurdist humor, SpongeBob has lasted 11 seasons with well over 200 episodes with four movies and one more in development.
While SpongeBob has lasted for over a decade, he is still the yellow sea sponge, who isn’t a child but is very childlike and does not look anything like an adult, especially compared to his co-workers Mr. Krabs and Squidward Tentacles. However, in this fan artwork for the Nickelodeon cartoon, the artist showed a very adult SpongeBob in what can only be described as fan shipping with his buddy Sandy Cheeks.
8. DORA THE EXPLORER
Much like Go Diego Go, the hit Nickelodeon series Dora the Explorer was about a child who sets out on dangerous quests in jungle settings. At the age of seven, Dora was accompanied by her monkey friend Boots, her reliable Backpack, and always had to worry about the dishonest and thieving Swiper, as she set out to explore nature with her TV friends leading her on her way. It lasted a Nick Jr. record, at the time, of 172 episodes.
In 2009, Nickelodeon wanted to make a pre-teen makeover for Dora and then unveiled it to criticism due to the addition of too much emphasis on fashion over the innocence and childhood interests of the original Dora. Mortalshinobi of Deviant Art went one step further. He reconfigured Dora as a grown up and added a very fierce looking Boots looking over his friend.
7. INVADER ZIM
This photo is a mixture of two different styles of fan art. Invader Zim was a Nickelodeon cartoon that had an incompetent and young alien named Zim arrive on Earth with the intention to conquer it. He enrolled in a school and happened to end up in the same class as a young boy named Dib, who happened to be a paranormal investigator and seemed to be the only person who realized that the green-skinned Zim was an alien.
Deviant art user snakehands chose to do two different things with this piece of Invader Zim fan art. First, he took the characters of Zim and Dib and designed them all grown up. The second thing he did was change Zim into a female and ship the two. Of course, you can’t have Invader Zim fan art without the robot GIR in the background screwing everything up.
6. JIMMY NEUTRON
Jimm Neutron debuted on Nickelodeon in 2001 on the cartoon The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. While the series only lasted for three seasons with a total of 61 episodes, it followed an actual theatrical movie about the intelligent youngster. There was even a spin-off a decade later called Planet Sheen, but the series only focused on Jimmy’s friend Sheen Estevez and not on Jimmy at all.
Unlike many cartoons, Jimmy actually aged on the show, starting out at 11 and ending up as a 13-year-old in the final season. However, for those fans who possibly wished to see more Jimmy Neutron, or wondered what he would have looked like if the series did pick up a decade later, Chris-cgart of Deviant Art drew his version of the grown-up version of Jimmy Neutron, keeping the hairdo and the iconic shirt in the process.
5. WILD THORNBERRYS
The Wild Thornberrys aired on Nickelodeon from 1998 through 2004 as a show about a family of documentarians who had a wildlife series and their daughter Eliza who could talk to animals. Eliza, 12, and her 16-year-old sister Debbie end up embroiled in adventures with a feral boy named Donnie, aged 5, who was raised by orangutans and adopted by Eliza’s parents.
When imagining the three kids as adults, famed “all grown up” fan artist Isaiah Stephens made sure to keep the original identities of the three kids intact as adults. Eliza is still the master explorer, probably using her talents to continue to talk to and help animals. Debbie is still the most normal of the three and Donnie, as expected, is still a wild child, even as an adult.
4. ROCKET POWER
Rocket Power ran for four seasons on Nickelodeon from 1999 through 2004 and featured four young friends who loved the world of extreme sports. The four kids include the athletic Otto Rocket, his responsible sister Reggie Rocket, the smart but obnoxious Squid and their videographer, Twister. The kids get involved in all kinds of extreme sports competitions, and as pre-teens, usually learned about sportsmanship and teamwork.
ElectricNinja from Deviant Art brought all the kids from Rocket Power to adulthood and showed that even as grown-ups, they are still big on extreme sports. The piece of fan art goes into good detail, including keeping Otto’s dreadlocks as well as working to make sure that Twister showed his Hispanic origins more than his childhood character did.
One of the most successful and popular fan artists on Deviant Art when it comes to portraying childhood cartoon characters as adults is Isaiah Stephens. While there are plenty of options to choose from, we only stuck with two pieces from this talented artist, including possibly his masterpiece — a look at the grown-up versions of Nickelodeon’s Doug.
Doug was a hugely popular and successful cartoon that ran from 1991 to 1999, remaining so popular that it eventually moved from Nickelodeon to ABC’s Saturday morning cartoon lineup. The series focused on the 11-year-old Doug, a quiet and naive child who fought to overcome his insecurities. This grown-up artwork shows Doug, Skeeter, Roger, Patti, and Judy, and even included a look at Doug’s beloved dog Porkchop.
Avatar: The Last Airbender was a massive franchise for Nickelodeon, a three-season series that contained a complete story, rather than typical cartoons on the network that were just individual episodes. Avatar even gave way to a sequel called The Legend of Korra, which also contained a complete story, with a beginning, middle and end. Interestingly, Korra’s lead character was the reincarnation of Aang from the Avatar series.
However, Deviant Art artist moni158 worked on an updated version of Aang, which showed what he would look like when he was grown up, along with his friends and allies. In the original series, Aang is 12-years-old, although, in reality, he is well over 100-years-old, as he spent a century in suspended animation. This artwork sees Aang as an older man and also includes the villain Yakone, all tied up.
All the above pieces of Nickelodeon cartoon characters all grown up were drawn by fans. However, one of the original artists decided he wanted to deliver his answer to the fans who put their own spin on aging the characters. Specifically, Rugrats storyboard artist Eric Molinsky was responding to work by Isaiah Stephens, who made most classic cartoon characters look like hip young adults.
As a result, Molinsky decided to show fans what the Rugrats kids would look like when the one-year-old babies were all grown up. Unlike most of the fan art listed here, Molinsky kept the Rugrats kids looking very similar in style to his original storyboard art and made these Nickelodeon characters grow up to look like average people –more like their parents on the show rather than like fashion models.
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