Cover Art done in June for B.G. Hope’s New Body Switch Novella “Pat and Babs.”

As I post here once again, after two long weeks, I find the experience quite alien. The past two weeks have been a very difficult time for me on the personal front. And yet, however difficult times may get, we must try to return to our normal routines.

Two days ago, author B.G.Hope wrote to tell me that her book “Pat and Babs” has been published. I had illustrated the cover for her fascinating body-switch novella in June this year. I had also received a 20% bonus on this assignment, which of course, had got me sailing on cloud nine, back then. Thanks, Ms. Hope, for your continued patronage. (The lady in blue (Babs) is modeled on Ms. Hope.)

Here’s the Amazon link for Pat and Babs, and if you’d like to visit the author’s page, click here.

 If you are an author on the lookout for an illustrated cover, please use the contact form, or write to me at my email id (refer the above image.)

As things crawl back to normal, I’ll push myself to make some new caricatures and post them here.

 

 

R.I.P. Robin Williams.

Robin Williams died on Monday, August 11, 2014.  I will always carry with me the impressions of his movies, which unlike most other movies that I have watched, refuse to fade away with time.

His alcoholism and cocaine-addiction is being cited as the main causes of depression, which could have led to his suicide. In this hour of sadness, one must not give in to conjecturing, but one cannot imagine this Robin Williams giving in and taking his own life…and yet, drugs lead to unimaginable psychological consequences.

I had done the following Robin Williams’ caricature in 2012. Today, when I look at this caricature, his smile appears  stretched between two opposing emotions that culminate into an expression of knowing something that others don’t. A sadness that spreads from his eyes and reaches the corners of his lips, tilting them ever so little at the corners – stopping his smile from become carefree and happy.

The original caption of this caricature-portrait read, “I’ve seen everything.” At the time of writing it, I was guided by his expression; I am now saddened by the thought that if Robin Williams actually committed a suicide, this might have been the thought going through his mind around the time I did this caricature.

The Caricature, Cartoon, Sketch, Portrait of Robin Williams - the Hollywood Actor who played Patch Adams, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Peter Pan!

Robin Williams (1951-2014): “I’ve seen everything.” 

Thank you

and

R.I.P.

 

 

 

Pran – The Creator of Chacha Chaudhary and Shrimati Ji (1938-2014) – Memories of a brush with his Work.

I am writing this post in honor of Pran, the artist who gave India its own super-hero. At the onset, I confess that as a child, I didn’t appreciate his work; I also confess that today, when he is no more and when finally my daily newspaper decided to publish his interview (given to Alok Sharma in 2009,) I appreciate all that he did and understand why his work has a historical significance.

In these moments of realization, I sketched his portrait.

cartoonist-pran-portrait-sketch-of-the-comic-artist-creator-chacha-chaudhary-shrimatiji-saboo

Pran – The Creator of the Comic Strips, Chacha Chawdhary and Shrimati Ji. (1938-2014) R. I. P.

 

Pran was born in 1938, in Kasur, which is now in Pakistan. Like many others who had to leave their home, their occupation, their land, and their way of life, and move to India; Pran arrived in India as a nine year-old son of a family that had to start their life from scratch. He liked to draw, but in the India of those days art could only be a pastime of the kings and the nobles; obviously his parents were against the idea of Pran becoming an artist.

Before I recant his story further, let me draw a picture of those times for you. Pran must have been about twenty or so when he began sending his cartoons to magazines and newspapers. So we are taking about late-fifties. That was the time of no Internet, no computers, and no Photocopiers. All that was available was carbon paper. In all probability, when Pran sent his work to the editors, he either redrew the cartoons entirely, or he put a couple of carbons underneath the master to create copies. He could obviously not trace more than three copies in a row, because the lower-most copies in the stack would become dull and useless. So he must’ve tediously gone through the process of tracing them again and again; or worse drawing them again and again.

I salute his hard work and his dedication towards his work. Those of us who crab about how difficult things are for an artist (include me among them,) must be ashamed of ourselves. True, there was hardly any competition back then, but remember that artists like Pran had to break new grounds. In his interview, he recalls how he met the editor of Dharmayug, Mr. Dharamveer Bharti, and convinced him of running cartoons to supplement the poems that the magazine published. Guess what. Mr. Bharti gave him a chance, and his work accompanied the poetry of some great Hindi poets such as Dinkar, Nirala, and Pant .

And yet, his biggest gift to India was Chacha Chaudhary. He looked at the western comic heroes and thought that the Indian kid must have an Indian hero. Indians aren’t big and muscular, he thought, they aren’t all that good-looking either; but they are super-smart. So he created Chacha Chaudhary, the old turbaned man with a frayed-toothbrush mustache, who was small in stature, but who was the wisest and the smartest guy in the neighborhood. Chacha Chaudhary was the Indian male and relatively active counterpart of Miss Marple, who solved all kinds of crimes – small and big.

Chacha Chaudhary was my first brush with Pran’s work. I was nine, and totally in love with Amar Chitra Katha and Indrajal comics. I was shortly going step into teenage and  fall in love with Bahadur (character conceptualized by Abid Surti and illustrated by Govind Brahmania), but I hadn’t met that dashing young man until then. We were taking a train home, and one of my uncles bought me a couple of comics at the railway station. As is always the case, the child is never consulted about what he, especially she would like to read. So I ended up with a Chacha Chaudhary and if I remember right, a Lot-pot. My father saw that I had a couple of comic books in my hand, so he skipped buying me more, which meant that I was saddled with two comics that I had never read before and that, in this odd child’s opinion, had somewhat uninspiring covers. I was a kid who loved mythology and who loved beautifully drawn pictures; who’d not let my father buy an Amar Chitra Katha that didn’t have a specific kind of nice looking drawings (which I later discovered were all done by Pratap Mullick.) So, the comics were hastily flipped through; and then I demanded my kind of comics. A nine-year-old can be very persistent – so on the next big station, I got what I wanted, and the two almost unread comics were promptly seized by the other kids in the train compartment.

But the point is…
all those other kids devoured those comics and from the looks on their faces, savored them too. I still remember the scene, and also the twinge that I felt…I wanted the comics back – but that couldn’t have happened. What was given away was given away. I never read another comic by Pran, except of course, the comic strip Shrimati Ji that appeared in Sarita, that my mom used to subscribe to. And yet, I kept seeing Chacha Chawdhary on the stalls and in the hands of kids everywhere. That’s what Pran achieved; and that’s what makes him great – he reached kids. Only a handful of snotty kids like me preferred the heavily illustrated stuff; only a handful of us were left out when a conversation about Chacha Chaudhary and Saboo broke out. Then there were Pinki, and Billoo, and Rocket…but I never met them. Now I wish I had.

Today, Pran is no more. He succumbed to cancer. He continued to draw through his illness. He continued to bring a smile to the faces of Indian children – with his comics and later with the Chacha Chawdhry TV show.

Today, I understand his work, his strength, his will, and his love for the art of creating happiness. May his soul rest in peace. May his characters live forever.

Pran’s Facebook Page.

Caricature-Cartoon Jeff Bezos: Amazon’s Brilliant CEO who now owns The Washington Post.

Now that I think of it, I don’t really caricature business-people for fun. I did a couple of Mark Zuckerberg‘s, one of the Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg‘s, and that is about it. Oh, I also did a commemorative caricature of Steve Jobs for a business magazine long ago, but I didn’t post it here. I did Zuckerberg’s and Steve Jobs‘ as commissions, and Matt Mullenweg’s as a Thank You Note for building WordPress. Today, I drew/painted (it’s a partly painted sketch) Bezos, because I received David Farland’s Daily Kick in my mailbox and it mentioned the Hachette/Amazon battle. I saw Bezos’ name in the email and was suddenly reminded of his face, which is actually quite funny. He doesn’t look like a businessman at all.

So, what do businessmen look like?
Typically, they looked like the furniture they own. They look like the stuffed but polished leather chair they sit upon, they look like the rich and lustrous tables that they sit behind, they look like the steel skyscrapers that they have their offices in; in short, they look stuffy, rich, and absolutely unreachable. Bezos looks like none of these. He looks like he’s bubbly bottle of soda, a cotton-candy, a merry-go-round; in short, he looks like he’s tons of fun.

Here’s what I painted.

Caricature, Cartoon, Sketch of Jeff Bezos - The Founder and CEO of Amazon, and now owner of The Washington Post.

The Next Big Idea?

A Little about Jeff Bezos:

Bezos was born in 1964, which makes him about half-a-century old. He was a smart kid who liked to dissemble and assemble stuff. Bezos comes from a Richie-rich background. His maternal grandfather owned about 10,000 square km of land, but in my opinion Grand-dad was somewhat stingy, because despite having such huge tracks of land, he started Amazon.com from his “garage.”

But the lack of space didn’t deter Jeff and he ended up making Amazon.com what it is today – you know what it is. It’s the online paradise of shoppers, it’s the answer to the prayers of self-published authors, it’s a company with a market capitalization of 146.37B!

According to Forbes (http://www.forbes.com/profile/jeff-bezos/) in 2013 alone Jeff Bezos became richer by $13 Billion! In November 2013, he sold just 1% of Amazon’s stock and got 260 Million for it. So, this cute, deliberately bald, funny looking gentleman is one of the richest men on the planet (#12 on Forbes 400 list.)

Bezos is a libertarian (please do not confuse the term with libertine…though some who search for “Jeff Bezos Creepy” would only be too happy to accept the latter meaning.) His personality leaks from the first name he thought up for Amazon (relentless.com.) His biological dad John Jorgensen discovered that he fathered a billionaire quite late in life. Bezos is considered to be a micro-manager…oh, and his awesome laughter? He inherited it from his biological dad. (source: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/10-things-you-didnt-know-649386)

Bezos is here because…well, I guess I love oddballs; and also because without Amazon, I wouldn’t have published “Evolution of a Caricaturist“.

How to Draw Caricatures - Evolution of a Caricaturist - by Shafali Anand - Click to Download from Kindle.

Click to View the Book on Amazon.

 

5 Professions that Gandalf could’ve followed in the Modern Real World: A Caricature of Gandalf the Grey.

Here’s a grey caricature of Gandalf the Grey that I did a couple of weeks ago. Just some sketching in Photoshop. As I said earlier, I don’t do a lot of digital sketching…but every once in a while, when I want to take a short break, digital sketching comes in handy.

A Caricature, Cartoon, Sketch, Portrait of Gandalf the Grey - The Wizard the Middle Earth - Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

Gandalf the Grey – Without his hat, because he’s unable to decide which grey hat goes with his new grey robe.

Gandalf is a wizard of the Middle Earth. We first see him in The Hobbit (well, the chronology of the movies in which Gandalf’s character is played by Ian Mckellen, is different from the fictional chronology of the Lord of the Rings saga.) In fact, we see him almost right at the beginning of the book – when he meets Bilbo Baggins the short-statured but totally lovable hobbit, who is persuaded by Gandalf to join a group of dwarves who desperately needed his help to open a door guarded by the dragon.

Among all the characters that populate this famous trilogy (which gets rather verbose and on-the-verge-of-tears boring, at times,) I like Gandalf the best. He is multi-skilled and his personality multi-faceted.

In fact, if he was a real person instead, he could have chosen any of the following five highly remunerative and rewarding professions.

1. Gandalf the CEO of a Megabucks Corporation:

The guy is smart and sensible; on the inside he’s quite like the CEOs of today who specialize in getting others to do things that themselves couldn’t accomplish in ten lifetimes. Here’s an example.

He tries to recruit Bilbo for the team; when he doesn’t succeed, he sends the dwarves to Bilbo’s hole, and then attempts to get him onboard. Later, when he’s sure that Bilbo is sub-consciously sold on the idea, Gandalf leaves with the dwarves. When Bilbo joins them later, he thinks of it as his own decision. That’s exactly what CEOs do. They make us believe that we are the ones making our choices, when actually, they’ve already made the choice for us. Trust the judgment of a cynical caricaturist: a highly successful CEO of today lurks behind that grey beard and grayer robe.

2. Gandalf the Politician:

In today’s world, Gandalf would be a politician par-excellence. He understands the need to create a persona…thus the hat (not seen in this caricature, though), the robe, the muffler, and the gnarled stick. He is a slick talker and has the knack to disappear from the scene just when things begin to heat up. Remember the time when the dwarves and Bilbo meet those three trolls who’d have enjoyed a dwarves-roast, had Bilbo the blundering underdog of the story not blathered to save them? Where was Gandalf then? Guess what – He was away…working, sweating, finding information – for them…not for himself. Gandalf doesn’t do anything for himself does he? It’s all for the people he represents. And we are always expected to take his word for it.

While I don’t see his robe sweeping across the Eagle Rug in the Oval Office, I think he could’ve mentored Mitt Romney and Barack Obama and helped them burnish their political acumen.

If you don’t remember Mitt Romney, here’s the gentleman doing just the thing that Gandalf would’ve advised him against.

Mitt Romney's Gaffes - A Visual Interpretation - A Caricature, Cartoon, and Sketch of Mitt Romney, the Republican Presidential Candidate in the 2012 US Elections.

3. Gandalf the Consultant:

Gandalf would’ve really made his parents proud, had he chosen to work as a consultant. He comes across as an extremely risk-averse guy. You never see him putting a single penny of his into the adventures. He just rides along. He guides the adventurers with his knowledge and uses his contacts to ferret out useful information, but do you see him creating or manufacturing anything?

For a moment, assume that those adventurers didn’t have Gandalf to consult with; then what? Would they not reach their goal at all? Would they all sit like morons and do nothing. I don’t think so. In the good old times that existed before the now-ubiquitous-consultants arrived on the scene, the world was doing well. In fact, consultants are needed only when people and organizations get into businesses that they know nothing about, so thinks the caricaturist.

4. Gandalf the Shrink:

In this world of ours, Gandalf could’ve been a psychologist with a roaring practice. The LoR trilogy presents ample examples where Gandalf attempts to soothe crushed egos and bleeding hearts. (OK, not just a shrink, an agony aunt too.) He understands how the human mind works. In fact, he also understands how elves, dwarves, trolls, orcs, dragons and all the other creatures of the middle earth think. In fact, if he were real and he lived today, Sigmund Freud might’ve been his disciple – after all Freud could only claim that he knew about the machinations of the human mind, and especially how every mundane human act was powered by sexual desires.

I request those with a keen sense of observation, to compare the expressions of Sigmund Freud below to those of Gandalf’s above. You’ll see what I mean when I say that Gandalf could’ve been the coolest shrink ever.

Cartoon, Caricature, Drawing, Portrait, Sketch of Sigmund Freud the man who gave us the Oedipus complex and the freudian slip.

I know what you are thinking.

5. Gandalf the Internet:

And yet, we couldn’t have an LoR without him, because he’s the guy who knows – and in the days of the yore, in the times of the middle earth, a man with knowledge was indeed handy. He was the middle earth counterpart of the Internet. The adventurers of the LoR trilogy had to just spit out a search-string and Gandalfoogle would whirr into action – spitting out results.

 

Coming up soon: Caricatures of Gandalf the Grey, Taylor Swift, and Jesse Jackson.

Have you ever seen them together? In the same place? This has never happened before! But now it will. Now you will see them together here – at this caricaturist’s blog!

Caricatures in the Offing!

Blogging Plans for the Next Two Months:

  • Tutorials – Cartooning and Caricature-Drawing
  • Tutorials – Pen & Ink Drawing
  • A couple of Short Satires (I may not publish them on SmashWords like the earlier ones – just here.)
  • Snapshots/Final Artworks/Caricatures that I do during this time.

Possible To-do’s for First-time Visitors:

Keeping this post short :) Got to get back to sketching a very interesting scene for a magazine-spread. I need a cup of tea before I start…

 

Caricature/Portrait of Selena Gomez – The Poster: Come and Get it while the Stars Dance.

This caricature of Selena Gomez is one of my recent creations. It’s part of a poster collection that I am working on.

Selena Gomez’s Caricature:

Caricature, Portrait, Poster of Selena Gomez - Stars Dance - When you are ready come and get it.

Actual Size: 12 inches by 18 inches.

 

5 Steps to Painting Caricatures and Portraits:

Digital painting is quite like oil-painting or color-pencil painting (an odd term to use but when you look at the stuff artists create with color-pencils, painting is the only term that really does justice to the magnificent works they produce.)

So what do I mean when I say Digital Painting is like any other painting?

Simply speaking…

  1. Begin with a rough sketch that gives you the outlines.
  2. Block in the basic colors-shades – the darks and the lights, paint in the background to get your edges clean and sharp.
  3. Mix the colors so that you don’t see them as patches.
  4. Detail the features (in the case of portrait/caricature painting.)
  5. Finish by adding the highlights.

There was a time when I fretted about brushes – which to use for which purpose; but then decided that it was too confusing and so I now paint the whole image with one brush – it’s a natural brush that ships with Photoshop – and I just change the brush-sizes, which is pretty easy to do if you paint in Photoshop. If you use a tablet, program your strip to “[" for reducing the size and "]” for increasing it; or just push the corresponding keys on the keyboard.

Selena’s Caricature – A Recap of the Process:

Here are three important stages of Selena’s Caricature.

Drawing and Painting Caricatures - Three Stages in painting the caricature portrait of Selena Gomez - When you are ready come and get it.

The Sketch:

I begin with a sketch. I always do; and that’s how I think it should be done – mainly because a sketch allows you to fix the important mistakes before you carry them over in the final work. It’s about risking 15 minutes of work vis-a-vis risking a couple of days worth of effort, so the decision is actually a no-brainer.

The sketch stage is where I stretch and squeeze her features to make her face look funny. I am not a distortionist, which means I exaggerate only to increase the funniness quotient of the image. In my opinion, a caricaturist must not just exaggerate certain features of a face, but to also exaggerate the main element of the subject’s personality. A strong man should look stronger, a haughty person, haughtier; a shabby person should look shabbier, and a cute woman, cuter. The last bit applies to Selena’s caricature. (“Evolution of a Caricaturist – How to Draw Caricaturesexplains how a person’s features impact the overall impression cast by the person. The book also discusses Neoteny (that specific quality of the facial features that helps them make a face look child-like,) and describes how a feature must be exaggerated to enhance/reduce neoteny.)

Her hair, especially her ponytail in this image, makes her look cuter…or in other words, younger and childlike. Caricaturing her ponytail made sense to me, as she’s an icon for kids. Her eyes are rather small. Small eyes aren’t considered beautiful on a grownup woman’s face, but they do their part in making her look younger. When I did this caricature-portrait, I was asked why I didn’t caricature her frontal assets more. It’s almost a habit among caricaturists to make their women subjects look exceptionally well-endowed – frontally as well as dorsally. (I plead guilty of doing it once – but the subject was Pamela Anderson, whose silicon-enhanced, almost spherical assets have been the subject of much speculation and mirth. I only did it because it was Ms. Pamela Anderson, and her Pancho and Lefty really deserved to be noted.) In the case of Selena, such exaggeration would destroy the young and innocent look that I was trying to achieve.

As you can see, the sketch is fairly basic. In fact, it was done right there in Photoshop…and it didn’t take a lot of time. Until a couple of years ago, I used to sketch on paper, then scan the sketch and import it into Photoshop. I did this for years…but in the recent years, I’ve found myself doing a lot of my base-sketches (that I use as a base for painting) in Photoshop. It’s cleaner and quicker (changes can be made easily and you don’t need to waste your time scanning the sketches in)…so while I still draw a lot on paper, especially when the final artwork has to be done by hand; for my digital paintings, I now prefer a digital sketch.

The Intermediate:

The intermediate image that you see here, presents the color-coding. I’ve added the colors to the image and have tried to ensure that the light and dark colors are put where they belong. At this point, I am still focused on the face (neck-below it’s still an almost solid expanse.) The brush size is rather large and you can see the paint-strokes clearly. The eyes are almost done (I always sketch and paint the eyes first.) I chose a light background (specifically the sky/emerald blue combination) because it further reinforces the child/girl factor in the artwork. The sequined dress that she would wear in the final image, can merely be seen as a shadow in this image. At this point, I was struggling with the idea of leaving the dress out – too much of work, I thought. But then I caved in to the desire of making her look like a princess.

The Final:

The final image was the result of a lot of work and ended with my right wrist refusing to bend – it had been in the same position for almost the entire duration of the painting process – poised on the keyboard, helping me use the shortcuts. I am sure that art-schools have a special class on how to avoid the carpal tunnel syndrome.

I really don’t have a lot to say for the final look – except that the hair took a lot of time, so did the dress (on a different note – why women wear terrible dresses with bells and shells sewn on them?) I added finishing touches to the eyes, the nose, the teeth, the neck too…but that was the easier part. As you can see…the sketch makes her look a lot younger, but after I watched her recent video, I thought that it would be a good idea to introduce a little maturity to the face (slight squaring of the jaw-line and the slightly naughty look in her eyes.) Finally, my reviewer OKed it and signed the proverbial release form.

Here’s a closeup of the eyes:

Eyes - details - Selena Gomez Portrait Caricature by Shafali - Closeup for details.

About Selena Gomez – The Actor/Singer who’s won the hearts of millions:

Here’s a shorter version of an already short biography of a very young Selena Gomez.

The actor-singer was born in 1992 in Texas, and she did her first role in Barney and Friends, a television serial, when she was just ten. Her first film was Spy Kids 3D: Gameover in which she did a cameo. She also appeared as Mikayla in three episodes of Disney’s serial Hannah Montana, but her real success came from her role in Wizards of Waverly Place, after which she was also compared with the now incomparable Miley Cyrus.

Somewhere around 2009, Gomez began focusing on music in which she got her first major success in 2010 with the song “Tell me Something I don’t know.” The last four years have been a very busy time for Selena.

On the Personal Front:
Selena Gomez’s dad was a Mexican. While the details of her arrival in the US evade me, she has herself confessed of her fears and wondered what would’ve become of her, if she had remained in Mexico. (It made me wonder too…) Her dad had left her mom and her mom struggled to meet the expenses of the household. (I’ve repeated this story so often that I now wonder if there are many in Hollywood who come from a two-parent family.)

Random Bits:

Currently…
Her Solo Debut Album “Stars Dance” has been doing well. Her single “Come and Get it,” became a top 10 hit and this is why I thought that the poster must mention it.

A Color Portrait of the Dog who walks with her nose in the Air!

Folks,

Last Week I did this Color Portrait of my Dog. You’ve already seen the Pen and Ink Portrait of my Canine Lady…now I present the color pencil portrait done using the same reference picture.

Here’s the reference photo with the final artwork.

Pet Portraits from Photos - Color Pencil Portrait Art by Artist Shafali.

Reference Photo with Final Artwork (Frame Representational) Actual Artwork: 8 inches by 10 inches. Medium: Color Pencils.

Here are some more images in a chronological order.

When I was just about start giving it the finishing touches.

Color Pencil Pet Portraits - Oorvi's Portrait by Shafali - Almost done...

It’s almost done. Final Size of the Artwork: 8 inches by 10 inches. Check out her eyes and her nose :)

Finished – ready to be delivered (read the story about “how this portrait came to be” at the end of this post.)

 

Color Portraits of Dogs and Pups by Pet Portrait Artist Shafali.

Oorvi’s Pen and Ink Portrait on my Desk with the reference image on the screen.

Later…after the dust settled and the portrait got framed.

Color Pet Portraits - Portrait of Oorvi - Dog and Pup Portrait Artist Shafali.

After Ms. Oorvi got her portrait framed, I took the opportunity to photograph it on my desk :) (CLICK for a LARGER and CLEARER View.)

Now some backstory for those interested :)

Behind-the-Scenes Drama – How this Portrait Came to Be!

Some people and their dogs never cease their demands.

First they demanded a Pen and Ink Portrait of the canine lady in question; once that was done, they wanted more. This is how the conversation went between us – the pup had brought her owner and translator along.

An Innocent-eyed Pup: “Those color-pencils…”

A Curious Me: “Yes, what about them?”

A Stoic Pup: “You still have ‘em, don’t you?”

A Confident Me: “Yep, I do.”

A Pushy Pup: “Why ain’t you using ‘em?”

A Confused Me: “Because I’ve been busy working on my other assignments and they had to be done in Pen & Ink or painted digitally…that’s why.”

An Apparently Illogical Pup: “Don’t you think you should take ‘em out…they could turn rusty, you know?”

A Gloating Me: “Pencils don’t turn rusty…”

A Persevering Pup: “or flaky?”

A Worried Me: “Come to the point.”

A Demanding Pup: “Do my color portrait.”

A Shocked Me: “What?!!”

An Ultra-specific-Down-to-the-Minutae Pup: “A color portrait – with my golden fur and green-brown eyes looking golden and green-brown.”

A Cautious Me: “What if I refuse?”

A Gloating Pup: “Remember the Pen & Inks that you are doing for that book…you’ve not scanned them yet, have you?”

A Filled-with-Trepedition Me: “No…but I will.”

A Smirking Pup: “Oh, yeah?”

So I rush to the drawer where I had them neatly stacked…only to find that the drawer had been denuded of its contents.

A Confident Pup: “You do my color portrait and you get them back. OK?”

A Defeated Me: “Hey, but color portraits are more expensive than the Pen and Ink ones…are you prepared to pay?”

A Triumphant Pup: “Sure…I’ll pay. I’ll give all those Pen and Ink drawings back, so that you can scan them, and send them to the client.”

This is how, ladies and gentlemen, A ” totally brow-beaten me” was brow-beaten into accepting a commission of a color pencil portrait of Ms. Oorvi. I did get my drawings back – all twenty-four of them…and I breathed a sigh of relief. 

 If you are interested in looking at my Pen and Ink Pet and Wildlife Portraits, I request you to visit my Pen and Ink Portraits blog here. I am open for pet-portraiture/wildlife art commissions and you are welcome to contact me with your requirements.

Caricature-Portrait of Serena Williams as her Serene-self.

This Caricaturist’s blog is proud to host the Caricature of Serena Williams :)

The Making of Serena Williams’ Caricature – A Recap.

Ms. Williams has done it again. She’s got another artist to create a caricature portrait of her magnificent self. As some of her awesomeness spills over the edges of the tennis court and floods this blog, I am so very glad to host her caricature here.

After Malcolm Gladwell’s caricature-portrait, I wanted to do something different. Gladwell’s portrait has cooler colors and has no additional objects. I thought of painting a portrait of a musician or a sports-person, because I thought that a musical instrument or the sports paraphernalia would give me an opportunity to work on something different. In one such random yet guided search, Serena Williams came up. In the picture, she was holding the Trophy after winning the French Open World Cup  of…I think…2012. I though that she looked cute and happy and with that sweet smile on her lips, she looked quite innocent too; she also held that sparkling cup in her hands, which was, in my un-sportist opinion, a far better object to paint than a tennis racket.

I was so taken in by the overall image that I decided to paint it – but I wanted the racket too. The racket was the means to the cup – and though the players often toss away their racket after they win…I feel that for a tennis player, the tennis racket is more like an extension of their hand. I just felt that the picture would be incomplete without a racket. So I added one.

While I don’t post my roughs (something that I learned from my fictional hero, Howard Roark of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead,  my mistakes should end in my dustbin,) I must tell you that I made a few changes in my first sketches. They pertained to the angle of the racket, the caricaturing of the trophy, and Serena’s hair. The changes were minor – but they made a difference.

To cut a long yarn short, here’s Serena Williams’ Caricature.

 

Caricature portrait of Serena Williams holding the French Open cup - Caricatures Sports - Tennis Stars

Caricature: Serena Williams Actual Dimensions: 12 inches by 12 inches.

 

Here are the details of her face:

Caricature portrait - Face details - Tennis Star and Sports Celebrity - Serena Williams holding the French Open cup - Caricatures Sports.

Face Details: Caricature – Serena Williams.

I doubt there are any in the blogosphere who don’t know who Serena Williams is, but for my clients from Atlantis and Krypton, I must provide a short biographical sketch.

Serena Williams – A Short and Quick Biographical Sketch:

On the Personal Front:

Serena was born in Michigan, in 1981. When they were just four-and-a-half, Serena’s dad Richard Williams started giving them tennis lessons because he wanted his daughters Serena and Venus to become tennis players. For a very long time Richard Williams continued to be Serena’s and Venus’s coach. It’s only recently that he married a much younger lady (in 2010.) He divorced the Williams sisters’ mother Oracene Price in 2002. Oracene Price, who did coach the girls technically as well, focused more on building a system of strong values and beliefs in the Williams sisters. Price taught them the virtue of staying pressure-free.

On the Professional Front:

She’s ranked world #1 in women’s singles. She’s got a zillion other things to her credit, but all that is overly complex for this simple-minded caricaturist so she’ll leave you with this awesome wikipedia link of Serena Williams’ page here.

This year hasn’t been good for her so far. Her coach said that she’s going through a difficult period.

————————-This marks the end of Serena Saga in this post—————————-

If you are interested in learning how to draw caricatures…check out “Evolution of a Caricaturist – How to Draw Caricatures” on Amazon. It simplifies and distills caricature-making to a science. Remember that to draw caricatures you needn’t be a super-painter or a super-sketch-artist: what you need an eye to see the funny angle and a way to exaggerate features in a fun way, WITHOUT destroying the likeness. How can you achieve this? Click the following icon to find out :)

How to Draw Caricatures - Evolution of a Caricaturist - by Shafali Anand - Click to Download from Kindle.

Click to View the Book on Amazon.

Sorry for a rather longish post…but at times, even we, the visualiti, slip into the quagmire of verbosity.  “Tchah!”

 

About the Crazy Stuff that’s been happening all over this place – A Personal Post.

The more observant readers of this blog must be seeing some changes here – and I hope that the changes meet the approval of my visitors and readers.

Let me sum up all these changes :)

1. The Color Artwork section of the Art Gallery has gone through a complete overhaul. I am no techno-geek but the gallery looks cool in my browser (Safari.) I’ve been told that Firefox plays its own dirty tricks on the presentation of this page – so be it. If I’ve to choose between spending my time figuring out html style sheets and drawing, I’ll choose the latter.

Click the following image to view my Art Gallery comprising my magazine/book cover illustrations, inner illustrations, and other color and black and white caricatures.

Click to view my color and black & white illustrations.

Click to view my color and black & white illustrations and other caricatures.

2. The top-bar has been cleansed of the sections that I was no longer doing justice to (I know how unfair it is – the pages pay for my disinterest) and it now has a new super cute section – a gallery of my Pen and Ink Portraits. I have another blog dedicated totally to Pen and Ink art, but as this blog is a holistic representation of me and my work, I thought it must be added here too.

Click the following image to arrive at the page.

Click to View my Pen and Ink Portraits of Pets and Wildlife.

Click to View my Pen and Ink Portraits of Pets and Wildlife.

3. The sidebar has been shuffled to present the recent changes.

4. The header image has been changed to reflect some works from this year. Hopefully it looks nicer.

The next post will present Serena Williams’ caricature, complete with a trophy and a tennis racket :) (You can steal a glance at her caricature on the header image, but I’ll post a bigger one, with a closeup of the face….and yes, the post would be about my painting experience.) So if you are a sports enthusiast and would like me to notify you about it, click the Follow button :)

 

 

Caricature/Portrait of Malcolm Gladwell – The Caricaturist’s blog reaches the Tipping Point.

In my previous post, I had promised a caricature of Malcolm Gladwell. Here it is :)

Caricature Portrait of Malcolm Gladwell, the Author of The Tipping Point, Blink, and What the Dog Saw.

Caricature Portrait of Malcolm Gladwell – Digital Painting – Actual Size: 10 inches by 12 inches at 300 dpi.

 

Why Malcolm Gladwell?

An apt question.

Here’s how it happened. I was talking to a friend in Pittsburgh, and she happened to mention Malcolm Gladwell. She had seen him on a TV show and she appeared impressed by him. I had heard of the guy’s name and somewhere in the far recesses of my mind and in my faded and almost invisible schema of the management world that I once belonged to, a forgotten node began pulsating. A decade ago, he had written something that had catapulted him into fame…this was all I remembered of him.

So I did a web-search and there he was. Looking dapper in that glorious cynosure of a hairdo. On his twitter account, he calls himself “The Skinny Canadian,” which of course is a euphemism for his vertically linear framework. He has a rather striking personality, and quite obviously, it immediately struck me that I must caricature him.

The first rough sketch was done right then and there – the two-minute sketch as the art-gurus would call it. I had Mr. Gladwell’s profile beaming at me from the monitor, and I made a rough. It was close but not what I really truly desired. This prompted me to make another sketch – this was done in Photoshop, and this was something that I could paint.

Rest was all painting. As you can see, I was focused on the face and skin… and I wanted to capture that look in his eyes. Unlike my full-length caricatures where fun is the primary goal I strive for; in this particular artwork, I wanted to take it nearer to a portrait in treatment and yet keep it a caricature that adds to the personality of Mr. Gladwell.

As this blog’s tradition dictates, I must now talk about Mr. Gladwell and his life thus far.

Malcolm Gladwell’s Shortest Biography on the Web:

I know I can’t beat the short and succinct autobiographical statement on Mr. Gladwell’s Twitter Account, which just reads “The Skinny Canadian.” I won’t even try to, because I think that there’s actually a lot more to him than the fact that he’s skinny and Canadian.

He was born in England, in 1963. In 1984, he graduated with a degree in History from the University of Toronto. His first job as a journalist was with The American Spectator (now that info byte is extra-special because as some of you know, I’ve been illustrating for The American Spectator for almost a-year-and-half now.) Then he wrote for another magazine before moving on to writing for The Washington Post. It was in 1996 that he began his career at The New Yorker.

Malcolm Gladwell’s Books:

Gladwell’s written 5 books. They are:

  1. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (2000),
  2. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (2005),
  3. Outliers: The Story of Success (2008),
  4. What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures (2009),and
  5. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants (2013).

(Source for all the above information is dear old Wikipedia here.)

Gladwell isn’t married, he writes about everyday stuff that happens in malls, in streets, in homes, and in corporate boardrooms – and I think he and his hair are super. BTW, when he was younger, his hair wasn’t that wild. In fact he used to look quite normal :) But then, I wouldn’t care to caricature him then, would I?

 

A Pen and Ink Pet Portrait from a Photograph – Guess who got framed?

Fridays are Furry Furry Furry! (translating for the un-dogly, “Fridays are very very furry.”)

How so?

Through a Pet Portrait Commission of Ms. Oorvi. (Yep! A proper commission, I got a check for it – and I’m going to buy another box of color pencils with it.) I thought it’s a good idea to show you the photograph and also the Pen-and-Ink portrait, so here it is:

Portrait of A beautiful Dog in Black and White - Medium: Pen and Ink, Done from a Photograph.

Size: 8 inches x 10 inches

 

One of these days, I am going to write a tutorial on making pen and ink portraits. This year I’ve done a bunch of them and I’ve been falling in love with the crisp beauty of the medium all over again. If you are interested in reading how this portrait happened, read about it at my Pen and Ink Portraits blog here.

Caricatures of Malcolm Gladwell & Serena Williams Coming up.

Now to the regular matters of Caricatures etc. I’ve been working on some cool caricatures (the left-brained would recognize the name of Malcolm Gladwell, and the non-studious population of the sport-loving kind would appreciate one of Serena Williams…perhaps.) I’ll be posting them soon. These portraits are special for me, because they are painted upon the sketches that I did directly in Photoshop – something that I never did before. Until about a week ago, I’d always sketch in my sketchbook, scan the sketch in, then send the sketch to the client for approval. I knew that people sketched in Photoshop, but I expected a steep learning curve, and so I stayed away…until last Saturday.

Guess what? If you are doing detailed pencil drawings (for example, the black and white caricatures that I do) where your want a finished look for your artwork; I’d recommend you stick to your art-paper and pencils. However, if you are doing sketches that you want to ultimately paint – Photoshop is cool. Just fetch a really small (say 4 or 5 point) round hard brush from Photoshop’s basic brush library, set pressure-sensitivity on, and start sketching. I found cross-hatching to result in a ball-point sketch kind of look…and I think it works. One of these days, I’ll share a few sketches that I did this way.

But enough of this…you are a busy person and you need to get back to your easel – digital or otherwise.

However, if you aren’t all that busy, do visit my Gallery. It has been refurbished and updated, and I think it looks better than before :)

Caricatures: Mark Pryor and Tom Cotton – Cover Art for Talk Business & Politics Magazine.

This is one of the recent magazine-covers that I worked on. It was for the July/August Issue of Talk Business & Politics Magazine of Arkansas.

Caricatures of Mark Pryor and Tom Cotton - 2014 Senator Elections in Arkansas - Cover illustration for Talk Business & Politics.

Senator Mark Pryor and Congressman Tom Cotton fight it out in the 2014 Senator Elections of Arkansas. – Cover Illustration for the Talk Business & Politics Magazine.

 

US Senate Elections in Arkansas – 2014: Mark Pryor vs. Tom Cotton

The US Senate Elections in Arkansas for 2014 will see Senator Mark Pryor being challenged by Congressman Tom Cotton.

Here’s a quick biographical snapshot of the two politicians that you see in the boxing ring. Senator Mark Pryor is seeking a third term as senator. He is a Democrat, he’s recently been through a divorce, and has a background in finance. Republican Congressman Tom Cotton, on the other hand, is an army veteran, a lawyer; and of course, a lot younger than his opponent. Arkansas is considered to be Republican territory; and while in 2008 Mark Pryor had won without facing any Republican challenger, the story appears to be different this time. According to this article on Huffington post, it’s going to be a closely contested election.

About this Cover Illustration:

A few points that I’d like to draw your attention to – 1. The client required that I make their bodies almost equal in volume and that their faces came up to the same level. However, there’s a lot of difference between the body volumes and heights of the two gentlemen (Pryor is short and stout; Cotton is tall and wiry.) When I read the brief, I wondered, but I trusted the client’s viewpoint (he’s the one who knows the other side; we were too early in the process for me to see the article.) So I researched and realized that the elections are going to closely contested and that both the contestants are being considered equally powerful (here’s the link again.) So, showing them as “visual” equals in the boxing ring, made a lot of sense.

Notice their complexions too. Pryor’s has a ruddy hue while Cotton’s is pale – almost oriental. I thought that I’d color-code their boxing gear to show their political affiliations – and to add more color to the cover. I love color and while I love play with semi-realistic/realistic treatments in skin, hair, and clothes; I like to push the colors…just a little.

So, that ends the story of this cover.

Do visit the website and if you are interested in this very interesting fight that comes to a conclusion on November 4, 2014; find the magazine here.

The Feature Frame Method of Drawing Caricatures – and the Evolution of a Caricaturist.

How to Draw Caricatures

(An Artist’s Eternal Quest for a Technique that always works!)

 

Or “almost” always works…
Because the experimental landscape of an artist’s curious mind forces an artist to change and evolve, defying the use of scientific methods and reducing the chances of a boolean result.

The Feature Frame Method © that you learn in Evolution of a Caricaturist – How to Draw Caricatures is a scientific method that provides a framework that a caricaturist can use to create caricatures that exhibit relevant-exaggeration and likeness.

Usually I don’t talk about the book. This is mainly because I think that a book should do well or not do well on its own merit. I had been thinking of making a post about how cool the book is – it appears that everyone who writes a book does – but somehow I couldn’t. I’ve always thought of Learning and Medicine as two professions that should rise on their own merit. This is precisely why I didn’t buy my book and send (“gift”) it to sundry reviewers who have no love for caricature-drawing.

Oddly, despite my own non-promotional, finicky attitude, the book’s sales have been picking up steadily. The only reason that I can attribute to it is a kind word-of-mouth.

Oddly again, the stereotypical artist’s aversion to writing has ensured that there aren’t any reviews. It’s fine. I know what being an artist feels like and I know that if reviews were pictures, I’d probably have one from every artist whose device has my book. I am not sure if it would be a cool review, but I am an incorrigible optimist, so I always think that it would be :)

Here’s a small effort to enhance the visibility of this book further. If you’ve read my book and found it useful, or if you’d like to help this book reach more artists/hobbyists who would like to learn how to draw caricatures, do share it.

Book to learn how to draw Caricatures - Evolution of a Caricaturist by Shafali - available on Amazon.

“Evolution of a Caricaturist” – A book for artists and hobbyists for learning how to draw caricatures.

As an artist and as the author of this book, I think that if you are an artist/hobbyist who wants to learn how caricatures can be drawn with confidence, this book is for you. “Evolution of a Caricaturist” is not about painting, nor about sketching. It’s about how you can look at a face and create a caricature of it – using any medium that you prefer. So if people tell you that you draw beautifully, but they aren’t able to recognize the person in your caricature (who they know through real/reel life, of course,) then I’d recommend that you click the following link/image and check out “Evolution of a Caricaturist – How to Draw Caricaturist.”

How to Draw Caricatures - Evolution of a Caricaturist - by Shafali Anand - Click to Download from Kindle.

Available as an eBook for your hand-helds and desktops. Click the above image to View on Amazon.

If you don’t want to head for Amazon straightaway, first download the preview of “Evolution of a Caricaturist” at ISSUU and then decide. And if you like it – with permission of the artist who dwells within you, please leave a review too :)

Coming up soon is a post with my newest Magazine Cover. It’s already on my Facebook page, do check out if you are interested.

Soon, then.

 

Dog Portraits in Pen and Ink – The Beagle and the Rottweiler.

Fridays are still furry beautiful. This week, I am glad to present two portraits – a Beagle and a Rottweiler.

Beagles are scent-hounds. In my opinion, they are the cutest scent-hounds of all. They look like young precocious children – curious, alert and energetic – unlike the avuncular Bloodhound.

Stephanie Lilley, Regency Romance Author, dog-blogger, and mom to several beagles, captures the beagle-experience beautifully.

“So much to sniff, so little time to bay. A pack of beagles sounds like a symphony with individual instruments–a low oboe, a staccato bell, a bicycle horn, a stuttering trumpet, crescendo and decrescendo until there is just the oboe…and then little whoops…then silence when the scent is lost.”

The Portrait of a Beagle

Dog-portraits, portrait of a beagle - scent-hounds - cute dogs, cats, and other pet portraits by shafali

Beagle Portrait, Medium: Pen and Ink, Size: 8 inches by 12 inches.

And the Rottweilers.

The Rottweilers are dogs of a different kind. They were bred to guard and to protect. Humans being humans, first bred them for protection – because they needed their protection; now they brand the Rottweilers as aggressive and dangerous dogs, because in the protected-by-law environment of today, humans don’t see much use of them.

The press too has been unkind to the Rotties – just the way they’ve been unkind to many other dog-breeds, the worst affected are the Pit Bulls, who were bred to entertain a certain section of blood-thirsty humans. When we denigrate dogs on the basis of their breed, we contradict ourselves on our stance of the nature-vs.-nurture debate.

We don’t automatically brand a murderer’s child a murderer, because we expect that even a child with the genes of a killer father, if nurtured right, has the potential of becoming a law-abiding, even productive citizen of the world. However, we don’t think twice before giving sweeping statements that brand specific dog-breeds negatively.

Dogs, you see, are more amenable to be trained into becoming adorable family dogs. Quite like in the case of humans, dogs too respond to their environment and the treatment that their families mete out to them. A boy born of non-criminal parents, if adopted by an uncaring family could grow up to be a criminal. This is also true for dogs.

So if at all you come across a dog that’s ferocious, check out the family. Chances are that the dog is kept on a leash even when inside, that it’s not petted or scratched or hugged ever by the “owner.” Also remember, a dog is supposed to protect his family and his house. As a human you would do it too – won’t you?

Here’s a portrait of one such misunderstood dog – The loving and caring Rottweiler.

The Portrait of a Rottweiler

 Portrait of a Rottweiler dog - Pen and Ink Drawing - Pet and other Animal Portraits by Shafali

Rottweiler Portrait, Medium: Pen and Ink, Size: 8 inches by 12 inches.

If you love dogs, do visit my Pen and Ink Portraits blog :) There are a lot of other dog and cat portraits, that you can view there. Some wildlife art is coming up too :)

 

 

Another Tryst with Color Pencils – A Beautiful Witch with Hypnotic Eyes Emerges.

Those pencils had been languishing in my desk drawers for a whole year. I wouldn’t have bothered with them, had I not gone to the stationery shop to buy pens for my pen & ink drawings. I had ordered some pens, and the shop-owner had called up to tell me that they had arrived. So yesterday, I went to the shop to pick them up.

Every artist knows how addicting these shops can be. Sketchbooks, notebooks, canvas-pads, diaries, drawing-boards, pencils, pens, brushes, colors, paints…I could go on and on…and still not finish the list. The point is that the way the stereotypical woman is addicted to showrooms that are stocked with clothes, shoes, and makeup material; the stereotypical artist is addicted to a stationery shop.

Let me cut a long yarn short and tell you that the pens that I had ordered were ready, and I should have just paid for them, taken them, and left. Instead, I got hooked. I checked out their paper inventory, their notebooks/sketchbooks inventory, and then I came to a stop right in front of the shelves that held the color pencils!

Color Pencils! I had bought a stash last year!

The rest, honestly, is a blur.

All I wanted to do was reach home and get those pencils out and start drawing.

This is what I drew.

The Beautiful Witch - 12" x 16" - Done with Derwent Watercolor pencils (without water)

The Beautiful Witch – 12″ x 16″ Cartridge Sheet – Done with Derwent Watercolor pencils (without water)

 

The head-dress, I admit, is a little odd…a feather, a lace-edged fan sort of thing (a collar from an old ragged dress worn as a head-ornament), a feather, a colorful rag around her head. Why would a beautiful woman choose to wear something as unfashionable as that? Before you admonish me for the strange headdress, allow me to defend myself.

The headdress is odd, because I wasn’t really thinking. I just wanted to try out the pencils and see how I could blend the colors. I learned that the blending was terrible and that I might have to check out the Pastels when I went to the stationery store the next time.

I do like the eyes. They rivet you. I like the underbite too. It makes her look witch-like in a subtle but intelligent way. It amuses me to think how even the slightest of underbite can change the whole expression – how it can turn a smile into a smirk.

I’m not satisfied with the look, the texture, and the brightness of the colors; but I post this to record my experiments with color-pencils. Note that though I used Derwent Watercolor pencils to draw with, I didn’t use water on the image. The application of water could brighten it up by heightening the contrast, but I just wanted the dry pencil look.

More on this later…when I suffer the next bout of color-pencil inspiration.

Meanwhile, if you want to meet someone who simply loves color pencils, meet Creative Barbwire :)

Caricature-Cartoon Elizabeth Warren – The American Spectator July/August Issue.

Last month, I had the opportunity to illustrate the cover of two political magazines. I’ll post the other cover after the magazine hits the stands. Here’s the one I did for The American Spectator‘s July August 2014 Issue. If you hold Conservative views, pick a copy from the newsstand or subscribe to the magazine here. 

Elizabeth Warren Caricature on the Cover of The American Spectator Magazine - Cover Illustration Shafali

July August Issue of The American Spectator.

 

I must confess that this was a challenging assignment. On the face of it, it looked easy. A lady with a Red-Indian head-dress standing in front of a Teepee… it couldn’t be simpler, you’d say. Actually, you’d be wrong. Over the years, the lady has sported many different hair-styles, her preferred outfit is a loose jacket and a pair of trousers, and most reference images available on the Internet show her waist-up! Anyway, the point is that at the end of it all she looks rather cute standing akimbo in front of that teepee that she didn’t build. Of course, she didn’t build that teepee in the image. I did.

So…

Who is Elizabeth Warren?

Elizabeth Warren is the US Senator for Massachusetts. She is a Democrat and you can read her blog here. The controversy that the tag-line in the cover points to, is the fact that she had once identified herself as a Native American. It turns out that there isn’t enough documentary proof to support her claim. While most of the voters in her constituency say that this won’t affect their decision to re-elect her, the issue has attracted a lot of criticism.

While Elizabeth Warren has repeatedly denied that she’d be running in the US Presidential race of 2016, there are speculations that she might. She is considered to be a Democratic heavyweight and there’s a possibility that she might be in the race, along with Ms. Hillary Clinton. If you’ve not viewed my Caricature of Hillary Clinton, you can view it here.

I’ve been doing a lot of other stuff lately. This included Pet Portraits, a Couple of Wildlife drawings…and oh, yes. I’ve been experimenting with my color pencils. I had tried them out last year and drawn the Caricature of Samantha the Witch and this captive here – but these were both post-card size drawings. This is bigger.

Let me take a picture and show you what it is – await my next post :)

If you are interested in learning how to draw caricatures, check out my book “How to Draw Caricatures? Evolution of a Caricaturist” at Amazon :)

Learn How to Draw Caricatures in a Step by Step methodical way - A book by Shafali Anand.

Pen and Ink Pet Portraits – My New Site for Animal-lovers :)

 Fridays Just went Furry!

Pen and Ink Portrait Artist's Desk - Portraits of Dogs, Cats, Horses, Tigers…everything furry - other animals and wildlife.

My dog and I are super-happy to present my Pen and Ink Portraits Gallery and a Furry New Website to our readers.

Dear Friends, I welcome you to the new space :)

Pen and Ink portraits of dogs, cats, pups, kittens, and wildlife in pen and ink - created by shafali

Click to View the Pet Portraits Gallery.

Pen and Ink Portraits of Two Handsome Dogs:

Here are a couple of Pen and Ink pet portraits that I did recently. View more at my Pet Portrait Art Gallery.

The English Mastiff (The Gentle Giant)

The English Mastiff is one of the largest dog-breeds in the world. They are tall and big and heavy, but they have the sweetest temperament of all. They were bred to be guard-dogs, but they love to spend time indoors with other family members. I’ve written a detailed post on mastiffs to accompany the portrait. Read the post and see the portrait closer up here.

Portrait of the English Mastiff Dog - Pet and Wildlife Portraits in Pen and Ink by Shafali

 

The Cairn Terrier

The Cairn Terrier is, of course, a terrier; and that makes him an earth-dog – a vermin-hunter par excellence. He like his other terrier cousins, was bred to hunt foxes and other small animals including rats; but the Cairn Terrier of today is a family dog. Read more about him and view his portrait in more detail here.

Portrait of the Cairn Terrier Dog - Pet and Wildlife Portraits in Pen and Ink by Shafali

What made me grow fur?

Actually, I’ve always been furry close…I mean very close to dogs and cats. It is said that people are either cat persons or dog persons, but not both. Well, I am both…and more. I love dogs and cats with equal intensity…and every once in a while I experience a crush on a mouse, a lizard, a chameleon, a squirrel…the list is long. I guess I am an animal lover, because that makes me real cozy furry!

This Furry Artist is Open to Pet Portrait Commissions now :)

Now that I’ve gone furry, I am taking Pet Portrait Commissions. If you are interested in hiring me to draw the portrait of your furry son or daughter, and you don’t mind my falling in love with him or her, contact me here :)

 

 

Caricature of Julius Caesar – A Digital Painting and Thoughts on How to Color your Caricatures.

Here’s a painting that I did from an older black and white caricature of Julius Caesar.

Caricature, Cartoon, Portrait of the Roman General Julius Caesar.

“They use the most tender leaves to make his wreath!” – 12 inches x 12 inches at Print Resolution.

 

Following is the black and white caricature that I painted upon.

Caricature of Julius Caesar the Roman General by Shafali

 

I thought of sharing this image to elucidate how coloring a caricature is different from coloring a portrait. While there’s a lot that I learn with every caricature I paint, there are some caricaturists who have mastered the art of using color in a funny way. There are two caricaturists who I hold in high esteem when it comes to using the power of colors in caricaturing – Vizcarra and Thomas Fluharty. While Vizcarra’s work brandishes color as an almost fatal weapon to gain and fasten your attention to his caricatures, Fluharty’s use of color is subtle – it attracts you in a more sublime manner.

I gravitate towards the sublime. In art, I am a moderate. In caricatures, I stay away from hyper-exaggeration. I recently got a very nice compliment from a client. He said that my style was fun. “Fun” is what I gun for, especially when I create caricatures. I am not pro-seriousness, nor am I pro-ridicule – this is why I call myself moderate and this is why I am more pro-Fluharty in coloring.

Not using the colors for fun and staying realistically close to the actual coloring isn’t my thing for caricature-painting; nor is exaggerating the color values by pushing them to the periphery of the color-wheel.

Here are a few pointers for those who like to moderately exaggerate the colors in their caricatures.

How to Color your Caricatures?

1. Use colors to add color to your art.

So make the reds a touch redder, the blues bluer, the greens lusher, the browns chocolaty…move towards colors that encourage nicer, more fun-feelings in the viewer. This may not always be required, but when it happens, your caricatures look more lively.

2. Use colors to heighten contrast.

Lips are red, teeth are white? Actually, they aren’t. Lips have a red/magenta tinge and teeth vary from grayish-yellow to creme in color. When two different colors are adjacent to each other, increase their contrast. In the lip and teeth example, this would exaggerate the teeth and add to your caricature.

While painting Caesar’s head, I edged the leaves with gold, heightening their contrast with the shadows on his head; I contrasted his lips with his skin (I am sure that an aging Caesar’s lips won’t be raspberry red and so full as shown in the caricature, but painting them realistically would’ve killed the fun element in the caricature.)

 3. Use Stark Highlights and Shadows:

Don’t go super-realistic on highlights and shadows. A shiny knobby nose looks funnier than a realistically painted one, eye-balls that reflect an unnatural amount of light look more lively in a caricature. So stay with stronger high-lights and shadows.

So bring out one of your sketches and unleash the painter in you :)

I’ve also been hoping to tell you that I am rather happy with the performance of “Evolution of a Caricaturist – How to Draw Caricatures” though I often wonder why we artists are so averse to writing. If we weren’t, we’d leave a review or two on the books that we read. And yet, I shall stand my ground and not buy/request reviews by sending the book to professional reviewers who aren’t my real audience.

Very Important: If you’ve stopped here by chance and you love animals, follow this blog, because something awesome is coming up soon (as soon as this Friday.)

Until then… Draw to Smile :)

 

 

Stealing is stealing! Period. Don’t disguise Plagiarism as Appreciation.

This post is about creative effort. It’s about the ownership of content. It’s about calling a spade a spade and a thief a thief.

This post has been triggered by my friend Barb’s post here.

Artists, writers, music-composers – all those who earn their living through creative effort have felt the pain of their work being stolen. There was a time when I used to wonder why otherwise “honest” people are quick to steal the creative work of their fellow-beings; why people who’d never, not even in their dreams, steal a watch, a cellphone, a diamond ring, or money – would quite readily pounce upon creative content and present it as their own. But that was another time, another era. Since then, through many such misfortunes of my own, I’ve discovered why.

 

Why People Steal Creative Work?

I’ve realized that there are three main reasons why people steal creative work (an act that’s euphemistically called Plagiarism.)

1. The Quality of Creative Work is Subjective.

 I may say that James Bama or James Christensen are better artists than M.F. Hussein or Andy Warhol, but there are hundreds of thousands out there who’d verbally slash me into ribbons for saying so – and they’d have a more objective reason to counter me – the quantum of commercial success.

When quality of the output is subjective, everyone wants to be there and do that. And people who steal aren’t really the connoisseurs – they are those who just assume that all art is equal and available in abundance, and that if they steal an artwork, they are in fact, putting their stamp of approval on the artist. In fact, they presume that artists must be grateful for the attention.

2. Artists don’t/can’t fight back.

They don’t because the environment has trained them to be at the receiving end, just the way others are trained to think of artists as good-for-nothing bums who are just waiting for someone to notice their work and drop a penny in their bowl. They can’t because most artists whose work gets stolen are not famous and rich yet – and so they don’t have the means to drag the thieves to the court and make them pay. Have you ever heard a famous singer’s work being plagiarized in his or her own country? It doesn’t happen. But across borders, the thieves find their nerve, because law is often biased to favor the citizens of that country. And so the cross-border art-thieves are safe.

3. Copying isn’t Stealing!

In some cultures, copying isn’t stealing. Parents help the children trace, they help the children by drawing/writing for them, they even help the children change a few lines here and there so that the artwork appears to have been drawn by the child. The child grows up with the belief that copying isn’t stealing. Unfortunately, in art, in music, and in literature; IT IS! Rote learning is, in a way, learning to copy and learning to accept that copying is moral and legal. When a fourteen-year old learns an explanation of a passage by rote and regurgitates it on his examination answer sheet, only to get a perfect score, he also learns that creativity is crap.

Three Examples of Creative Work being Stolen

Stuff has been stolen from me all my life. Some of the things were material and I don’t recall most of them, but some were created with my sweat and pain, and I remember all those quite well.

Among many  such robberies that shredded my faith in the integrity of my fellow human-beings, here are three such incidents – going backwards in time.

1. Cross-border Stealing

Some months ago, I got an email from a German gentleman who preferred to stay anonymous. He told me that a studio in Germany was stripping my credentials from my caricatures and presenting them as their samples to generate business. They even had a Facebook Page for it. I tried to harness the power of social media to stop the studio from doing so. Of my 50 or so Artist friends, none responded. They didn’t want to fight back. (Point 2 in the first list.)

One of my artist friends once remarked that we shouldn’t waste our energy on trying to stop the scum from stealing, instead, we should focus on creating. I’d like to ask the artists who believe that there’s no need to fight back – if someone stole their car, would they be as willing to step back and let the thief have it, as they would if someone stole their art?

Stripping a creative work of the credit and using it – is stealing. Period.

2. Within-borders Stealing

A little more than a year ago, one of the most prominent newspapers here (this publication also happens to be one of the largest circulated English daily newspapers of the world) , carried a caricature that I had done three years ago. My credit, my signature, all neatly cropped off. It was presented in a manner that it cast the impression of having been created by one of the caricaturists that caricatured the guests at a restaurant featured in the newspaper. It didn’t just hurt me, it also hurt all those who went to the restaurant hoping to get a caricature in the style and quality that was mine. But that shouldn’t hurt me, right? After all, who am I to say that the caricaturists hired by the restaurant at possibly a measly $10 an hour weren’t better than me? Remember point 1 in the first list? The quality of creative work is subjective.

I wrote to the editor…she sweet-talked, then she tried to pin the responsibility on a junior editor, next on an external party – never once apologizing. I was willing to let the matter go, she only had to accept and apologize. So I gave up and wrote to the Managing Director of the Publishing House. I never got an apology, but those I know in there, told me that she did get pulled up for it.

Not apologizing doesn’t mean that it wasn’t stealing. It was, and it will remain. Period.

3. Stealing from a Child

When I was in eight-grade, I used to draw pictures (generally, figures with decorative borders) and sometimes leave them between the pages of my books. A teacher, let’s call her SB (those are her actual initials,) borrowed my book so that she could ask us to read the passages from the book. From my place on the first bench, I saw her open the book and surreptitiously drop that sketch in her desk drawer; my friend saw it too. I felt sad, because it was a rather nice sketch and I wanted to go home and show it to my father. Nobody said anything, but the whole class knew that our teacher was a thief and she stole from the kids.

People who tried rationalizing this for me, told me that she did this because she liked my work, and that I should take it as a compliment.

So, if you like someone’s wife, steal her, because you are just paying a compliment to the man.
If you like someone’s pen, pilfer it, because you are merely expressing your appreciation for the pen.

You won’t.
Because your morality tells you that it’s not right. Because you know, that you cannot clad the act in the cloak of appreciation.

In truth, when my teacher took my drawing without asking me, she stole. Period.
In truth, when you take a creative work and make it look like you did it, you steal. Period.

I know you won’t.
Because you know that it’s immoral. It’s like saying that you fathered another man’s child. You wouldn’t do it. Would you?

So my dear otherwise honest friends, if you want an image for a non-commercial purpose, request permission from the artist. If you want to use it commercially, pay for it. It’s that simple, really :)