During childhood, we are surrounded by dozens of iconic cartoon characters. Whether that be Dora the Explorer, the Simpsons, Scooby-Doo, or Arthur, these characters all stay with us throughout our lives.
However, while we grow up, they all stay young. Maggie Simpson, for example, has remained a baby for over 40 years.
Part of the attraction of these characters never ageing is that they remain a constant in our lives. Whereas cartoons can keep characters ageless for decades, other shows can only do this for so long.
This can be a good thing, since we get to enjoy these characters for potentially our entire lives and the executives get to make money on a winning formula for longer.
However, every now and then some talented artists draw what these seemingly ageless cartoon characters would look like all grown up.
Ranging from imagining what the cast of Arthur look like as millennials to reimagining an elderly Scooby-Doo and Shaggy, these fan art designs are interesting and strangely moving.
What is fascinating is why we find these examples of grown up fan art intriguing. It may be because we feel like we have a deep connection with these fictional characters after being exposed to them from an early age.
It could also be because it’s fascinating to imagine what anyone, particularly these iconic characters, will look like when they are older.
With that said, here are the 25 Iconic Cartoon Characters All Grown Up.
Have you ever wondered what the characters of Arthur would look like as grown ups? Well no need, this fan art depicts the whole cast as trendy millennials.
If transported from the '80s to today, it is incredibly likely that Arthur would be donning facial hair and a beanie.
From Buster’s tattoos to D.W.’s nose piercing, the rest of the cast appear to be wholeheartedly embracing this alternative image too.
While this reimagining of everyone’s favourite aardvark and his friends relies on heavy stereotypes, it is an interesting look at what could have been if this beloved cartoon had been created in 2018.
24 Dora the Explorer
From innocent child adventurer to Lara Croft-inspired action heroine, this may be the most dramatic transformation for a cartoon character.
When Dora isn’t helping children with their Spanish or counting, she’s hunting with a trusty bow and arrow.
Although she kept her signature pink shirt and talking monkey, this is all that remained from the seven-year-old Latina explorer.
This grown up version seems to have taken her cue from Katniss Everdeen. With her calm demeanour and powerful weapon she could probably challenge J-Law herself in the Hunger Games.
In the history of TV friendships, there have never been any close to rivalling that of Scooby-Doo and Shaggy.
Unlike Sherlock and Watson or Spock and Kirk, Scoob and Shaggy are a pair you can imagine growing old together.
Thanks to this fan art, we no longer have to imagine it.
This reimagining of the inseparable members of Monsters Inc is bittersweet. On the one hand, it’s saddening to see everyone’s favourite canine and pizza-eating human duo looking so fragile and old.
However, even after all this time – and regardless of the rest of Monsters Inc – they still look closer than they have ever been.
22 The Simpsons
One unlikely pairing in The Simpsons is the romance that has blossomed between Lisa and Nelson. Despite one being a bookworm and the other a psychotic school bully, there have been several hints that the two will be together in later life.
This fan art depicts an older pearl necklace-wearing Lisa getting close to a bearded Nelson.
However, while Nelson looks head over heels in this passionate kiss, Lisa seems to be more reserved. Hopefully she breaks it to him gently that she might not be entirely ready to say those three words back to him…
Surely there is nothing cuter than the three kittens from Aristocats. Well, these grown up versions of Toulouse, Marie, and Berlioz give them a run for their money.
DeviantArt user Perlenmond captured what many loved about the 1970 Disney classic while making all its fans feel a lot older as the kittens become cats.
Whether or not we will ever get to see these more mature cats remains to be seen. A sequel to Aristocats was planned to be released but sadly it was canceled due to various reasons.
The absence of a follow up movie does allow space for plenty of fan art like this, though.
This re-imagining of the Rugrats kids sees the original kids as we have never seen them before.
The main group of unruly toddlers have been drawn as troublesome teenagers instead. Previously we had only seen the gang as toddlers and as preteens in the '00s spin-off All Grown Up!
Leerer-Raum’s depiction of Tommy, Dil, Kimi, Lil, and Phil sees them in the next chapter of their life: high school.
It seems like Lil and Phil have got closer over the years, whereas Kimi looks happy as an independent teenager.
Tommy looks just as happy standing next to his eccentric brother, Dil. The only Rugrat missing is Chuckie.
While seeing 10-year-old Ash grown up may be strange, it is the lack of Manga-style that sticks out the most.
However, artist Jorn Siberian’s experimental decision to use a more Westernized style of animation does work well in this drawing of teenage Ash.
Even though the years have changed him, one thing that hasn’t changed is his love for Pokémon.
You would think that he’d have changed his clothes, but apparently his fondness for that jacket and iconic hat is timeless.
Regardless, it looks like Ash will be at the forefront of Pokémon for the rest of his life.
The first question to ask when seeing this photo is: where is Snoopy?
Everyone’s favourite cartoon dog (apart from Scooby-Doo, of course) from the Peanuts comics seems to be missing. Hopefully this was just an oversight from the artist rather than implying he may have moved on from this world 10 years from now.
However, this is a beautiful drawing of an all grown up cast, led by a bat-wielding Charlie Brown. It appears from his hat and bat Charlie has taken up baseball, and is only recognizable by his signature shirt.
Likewise, it is possible to identify his other friends by their clothes. Thankfully they all appear to have aged well.
17 The Powerpuff Girls
If you looked up the word "awesome" in the dictionary, more than likely this image would greet you. Although only recognizable by their colours, these are the iconic Powerpuff Girls as you’ve never seen them before.
A world away from their previously innocent and short statured characters, this fan art sees them as realistic modern day superheroes.
Bubbles, on the left, looks exactly like Harley Quinn, while Buttercup at the front resembles a no-nonsense Black Widow. Meanwhile, Blossom in the pink at the back seems to have created her own superhero by herself.
One thing is for sure, though: no one would mess with this team.
16 Ed, Edd n Eddy
Nothing says grown up like a game of spin the bottle between adolescents in the basement. This is what DeviantArt user Blookarot imagined when drawing grown up Ed, Edd, and Eddy grown up.
However, while Edd seems to be enjoying the action he's getting in the game, Ed and Eddy can’t help but grimace on the sidelines.
The Kanker sisters seem more mixed about this game of girls and boys kissing.
May seems to be buying into the romance of the kiss, whereas Marie seems more repulsed by Edd.
Regardless, it’s a well drawn and amusing depiction of the three Eds all grown up.
15 Pepper Ann
Gone is Pepper Ann's frizzy hair, baggy tops, and gangly physique. Instead, we can see a grown up version of this character, who appears to have transformed from teacher's pet to trendy hipster.
With her crop top, bright primary colours, and trendy wardrobe, this incarnation of the beloved character is extremely flattering.
Considering that the tagline of Pepper Ann is “too cool to be twelve,” it appears that she is able to be cool at any age.
However, despite her new found fashion sense, Ann still appears to be self-conscious, as she tries to hide behind her legs.
14 Dexter's Laboratory
DeviantArt user Emilyena billed this grown up depiction of Dexter and Dee Dee as "Dexter’s Laboratory 2."
While this sequel is unlikely to happen, the image of the siblings reminds us of why we love them. The playful rivalry between them is still apparent years later, as Dexter bats away Dee Dee’s ruffling of his hair.
Despite falling back into their same routine, they seem to have both achieved their dream jobs.
Dexter still proudly wears his white lab coat, while Dee Dee is pirouetting around him in a tutu. This may be one of the happier endings for cartoon characters imagined by an artist.
13 The Wild Thornberrys
This grown up Eliza Thornberry from The Wild Thornberrys has more than a whiff of Jane from Tarzan about her. With the same yellow blouse and braided hair, you’d be forgiven for thinking that they were the same person.
However, Eliza does retain her signature glasses and loyal chimpanzee, Darwin, who accompanies her even when she is an adult.
It seems like she went on to become an explorer of the jungle, taking after her parents.
Although she may have outgrown her braces and prominent freckles, she appears to have never outgrown her thirst for adventure.
12 The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy
Considering that this kid's cartoon is about two children who befriend the Grim Reaper, it’s surprising that the series is so light-hearted.
However, this picture of a grown up Billy and Mandy is a lot darker and might not have been shown to as a cartoon aimed at children.
The picture’s terrifying depiction of the Grim Reaper himself – complete with a lethal-looking scythe – is a realistic imagining of the series.
Billy and Mandy look like street-smart kids who you would walk across the other side of the street to avoid.
Though it's deefinitely not as fun as the original cartoon, this is probably the grim reality if two kids really did befriend the Grim Reaper.
Doug may be one of the sweetest-looking cartoon characters from your childhood, so it’s nice to see that he lives up to this as a grown up.
Isaiah Stephens’ beautiful depiction of Doug and his friends translates them 10 years or so in to the future.
While they all look the same as when we left them, it is Skeeter Valentine who has overcome puberty triumphantly. From possessing a weedy physique and an oblong-shaped head, he has truly taken ownership of his iconic shirt and blue skin colour later in life.
Let’s hope that we all mature as well as Valentine.
Naruto and Sasuke are two extremely popular cartoon characters that have been re-imagined in various mediums and by various artists.
However, in this instance DeviantArt user DesignerRenan imagines a darker version of the two as they are surrounded by flames.
Naruto certainly looks like he means business as he zips up his jacket with a trace of a smirk.
Meanwhile, Sasuke has a dark glint in his eyes, which is accompanied by his usually dark wardrobe.
Though we have seen the adult versions of these two characters in Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, it's nice to see a new reimagining of the iconic duo.
9 Codename: Kids Next Door
In this picture, the cast of Codename: Kids Next Door look completely unrecognizable from when they were… well, kids next door.
Far from the scruffy, hoodie-wearing children that filled our screen, these characters are young adults with attitude.
Whether it be Numbuh 2, who has shed some excess weight from childhood, or Numbuh, 1 who now wears shades, this is proof that people really do change, not just in terms of personality, but also psychically.
Someone just needs to tell Numbuh 4 that his orange waistcoat doesn’t really fit in with anyone else’s wardrobe. So much for squad goals.
This fan art design of the Digimon cast is a charming conclusion to the whole Digimon franchise. In this piece of fan art, we are treated to an approximation of how they all end up.
Perhaps most importantly, we are also allowed to glimpse with whom they end up.
Being able to see Tai finally tie the knot and settle down with a wife and child is touching.
It does feel strange, however, seeing this all considering the fact that we only see them as kids throughout the Digimon series. Seeing children finally growing up shouldn't be too alarming, but in this instance, it is a bit jarring to see these familiar faces suddenly aged.
7 Adventure Time
Even the biggest fans of Adventure Time may double take at this interpretation of a grown up Finn the Human.
No longer the meek-looking, pale-skinned teenager we know and love, this incarnation of Finn is a warrior.
He wouldn’t look out of place in an action movie with his mighty golden sword and an impressive beard.
From his many wounds and blood-soaked sword, it is more than likely that he has in fact seen plenty of battle.
Two things do stop him from turning into this unrecognizable generic warrior, however-- his trusty white bear hat and his touching tattoo of Jake the Dog on his left arm.
It's clear that he hasn't really changed after all.
6 Kim Impossible
While the Kim Possible we saw on TV was an awesome action hero, this older version of her looks like she could take down an entire army with the blink of an eye.
Gone is the innocent teenage girl of old. Instead, she is replaced by a weathered yet determined incarnation of the character.
One thing that she decided to keep the same was her wardrobe, which has consisted of the same three items from childhood to adulthood. She still wears this exact same outfit of a black crop top, brown belt, and beige trousers, which are complimented by her orange hair.
5 Magic School Bus
While the Magic School Bus may have enjoyed a revival last year on Netflix, it did not allow us to see the original cast all grown up.
However, this piece of fan art allows a glimpse of what could have been if the series had picked up the lives of its characters 10 years later.
It's interesting to see fan-favorites like Dorothy Ann, Carlos Ramon, or Arnold Perlstein grown up. These characters are given a second life in this picture.
However, perhaps original fans can still hope for a revisit from this now older cast if Netflix renews a second season of the revival series.
4 Totally Spies!
There seems to be a running theme among grown up iconic female cartoon characters in fan art: they become even more awesome.
This is certainly the case with Isaish Stephens’ imagining of the three female leads of Totally Spies. While they are still recognizable, their suits look more like the kind of costumes that superheroes would wear.
This attention to detail is brilliant, as are the new weapons that the team are entrusted with now that they have grown up.
With plenty of firepower, there is no way that any villain would get in the way of Sam, Alex, and Clover.
3 The Proud Family
It’s only fitting that fan art depicting the grown up characters of The Proud Family focus on a big occasion. What bigger occasion could there be than the graduation of Penny Proud, the protagonist of the series?
As expected, Penny is wearing her graduation gown and cap while the rest of her family smile on at her achievement.
We also get to see Bebe and Cece transformed from troublesome toddlers to cute kids.
The parents of Penny also look pleased for their daughter. In fact you could say they looked…proud.
2 Hey Arnold!
Nothing says grown up like growing out a beard. This must have been the thinking of most of the male cast members of Hey Arnold!, as most of them sport impressive (and, in a few cases, not so impressive) facial hair.
Apart from this, however, the main characters of the hit show look remarkably the same.
This picture is titled "Hey Arnold Ten Year Reunion," and its pleasing to see how so many of the characters turned out later in life.
DeviantArt user UndeadKings succeeded in a clever and nostalgic depiction of the grown up Hey Arnold! cast.
1 As Told By Ginger
The transition from middle school to high school is a tricky time for anyone. Having said that, the cast of As Told by Ginger managed to navigate it well in this inspired drawing.
While the three leads have remained relatively unchanged themselves, it is the little details that are inspired.
Ginger herself has adopted a fashionable purple hat, Dodie has a sleek brown bag, and Macie is donning a bold orange coat. These characters may have stayed the same in regards to personality, but they have certainly become more fashionable.
What do you think of these grown up cartoon characters? Do you wish you could see any of them on TV? Sound off in the comments!