• 07.16.13

See Your Favorite Pop Culture Characters As “Simpsons”

Illustrator Adrien Noterdaem loves The Simpsons more than you do. He also enjoys many other colorful characters and turning them into yellow Springfield dwellers.

Joffrey Baratheon is too tall. In an illustration that made the Internet rounds recently, the cruel, young king you love to hate on Game of Thrones appears to be just half a head shorter than the gargantuan Khal Drogo, which is not as it should be. Otherwise, however, the depiction is sound:
This is exactly how these characters would look if they were featured on The Simpsons. The artist who drew them is someone who would know, too: He draws pretty much everyone that way.


Co.Create has covered obsessive tributes to The Simpsons before, as well as cartoonists dabbling in other creators’ styles, and now both aspects have come together in one project. Adrien Noterdaem is an illustrator and art director at an agency in Belgium, a graduate of art school in Saint-Luc Brussels, and a huge Simpsons fan. In fact, he’s so much of a fan that he runs a website entirely devoted to drawing characters every day from various tracts of pop culture real estate as an homage to Homer.

“I was still young when The Simpsons started, and since then it has always been in a corner of my mind,” Noterdaem says. “I think that even after these 24 seasons, the show is still really creative and always funny. I can see an old episode for the 10th time and see a new episode and have the same kind of enjoyment.”

Years ago, the artist created an interactive map of Springfield and began to draw some fan art in appreciation of the show. After he made a Simpsons-ish avatar of his own visage on Facebook, lots of friends asked him to do the same. He soon became more and more immersed in drawing various people as Simpsons folk. Eventually, he started to experiment with characters from other shows this way, too.

“At first, it was the idea of doing some guests who might never be guests on The Simpsons,” Noterdaem says. “Basically, I googled some names to see if they had already appeared on the show. If they hadn’t, then I drew them–which is probably why I’ve drawn so many Belgian Simpsons, for example.”

Although the artist has a small to-do list of characters to try out in the future–his personal favorite thus far is Christine Hendricks’ Joan from Mad Men—there’s no real rhyme or reason to who he draws each day. It’s mostly whichever show or movie stumbles into his purview that day. One thing that remains consistent, however, is the challenges of rendering familiar, nuanced physical specimens in the yellow style that many of us have enjoyed for going on a quarter century.

“The main difficulty is that the drawings are always really ‘simple,’ but you have to be able to recognize the person,” Noterdaem says. “You have the shape of the eye and just a line for the nose. If you make it even a little bit too curved, you have a completely different person. The character should have almost no chin. It’s simple on the surface, but it’s really difficult in the details.”

Have a look through some of the artist’s best Simpsonized characters in the slides above.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. His next book, Away with Words, is available June 13th from Harper Perennial.