The Cartoon Avatar of the Caricaturist changes into a Caricature Avatar!

How my Smart Avatar saved its Job.

If you’ve been here before, you probably remember the cartoon-sketch that was employed as my online avatar.
Whenever I’d look at it, it looked worse than before. I wondered why. Perhaps after five years of hard work it was beginning to crack under the pressure of its job.  I concluded that a heart-to-heart chat between my avatar and me was in order.

I invited my avatar over for a cup of cardamom-ginger tea and gently broached the topic.

“You’ve worked hard all these years,” I said, pausing a little to watch its reaction. It sat there listening intently, quirking its brow a little when I paused, so I hastily continued.

“And you never took a day off…,” I noticed my avatar stiffen. I could also see tiny beads of perspiration on its forehead. It knew what was coming. Shit! I crossed my fingers and prayed that it won’t cry. I couldn’t handle tears!

Then my avatar squared up its shoulders and looked me in the eye. “Are you firing me?”

The question hit me like a missile. That’s what I was doing, wasn’t I? Firing my ambassador, my avatar – someone who had stood by me through the thick and thin of these five years! I was a heartless harridan trying to browbeat my avatar into retiring. 

“What?” my avatar was still looking at me with searching eyes, expecting a…a confirmation of its fears, I suppose.

“Firing you? C’mon, get real! The thought never crossed my mind.” I knew that my voice rang hollow.

My avatar could hear the lack of conviction in my voice. “Is it because I don’t look nice? I am rather plain, am I not?” it asked.

“Umm…you could use a little color, I suppose, but…” I answered. It was a catch-22, I’d get caught, whichever way I went.

“Then don’t fire me – just paint me to look more like you. An implant in the chin, a change of hair-style, and some color – that’s all I need to  look more like you and fit in better with your work.”

I looked into the eyes of my avatar.

shafali-avatar-120-sharp

It was plain indeed. Just a few squiggles here and there – more of a cartoon than a caricature, but it was right. My avatar was smarter than me, and it had a solution – and it could be implemented in a few hours! My avatar had on-the-job experience of 5 years; it was recognized by visitors, readers, clients, and even my Facebook friends; and it was smart too. I would be an idiot to let it go!

And so my friends, here’s my new, improved avatar :) 

Caricature, Portrait, Cartoon Avatar - Shafali the Caricaturist.

 

Hillary Clinton runs for President in 2016 – Caricature Art.


Update:April 14, 2015

The cat’s out of the bag! Hillary Clinton announced her bid for President on Sunday. After a video-collage of Americans (of all ethnic  backgrounds and beliefs (couldn’t spot any Indian in the video though) showing them planning their futures, she said, “I am also getting ready for something. I am running for President.”

Watch the video and read some pro-Hillary commentary on the Guardian site, also check out the coverage by Fox News here.


Will she…won’t she?

She did…didn’t she?

While Hillary Clinton’s formal declaration on her candidature will be made tomorrow, almost everyone who knows anything about American politics already knows that she’s running for elections. Most of us have been privy to this open secret for years. Consider this caricature that I did in 2013. I didn’t pay a psychic medium, nor did I get a crystal ball to forecast this – I just knew that Hillary Clinton would run for the President in 2016.

Hillary clinton announces her intention to run for the white house in 2016 elections.

Hillary is ambitious, smart, and has been a politician all her life. Before you spring up one of those zillion emails floating around, and tell me that I am a fool to call her smart – I’d reiterate that she is indeed smart. You can’t survive in politics if you are a fool; and she has not just survived – she has thrived. If she wasn’t smart, she’d not have taken the opportunity to be the Secretary of State during President Obama‘s first term. If she wasn’t smart, she wouldn’t have forgiven President Clinton for his Oval-office misdemeanors. She is smart and she knows it.

You’ll also tell me that she doesn’t have a sense for fashion – I’d like to agree but add that this goes to prove that she’s a lot more sensible than the heel-tapping, fashion-conscious women who spend an hour each day, and so about 4% of their lives trying to please the onlookers. I think it’s idiotic…and I feel that nobody with a modicum of common sense would do it. Fashion doesn’t just make you waste time and money, it also makes you stress over stuff that’s done only to please others. Hillary doesn’t need that sort of approval – she’s a confident woman who knows that she has better things to do with her life.

Here’s a closeup:

Hillary Clinton announces her bid for US presidency - American presidential elections 2016.

Will she indeed be chosen by the Democrats as their candidate for the US Presidency?
It’s impossible to say. In the 2008, she had lost to a newcomer in Politics.  As always, the US Presidential Elections would be interesting to watch.

Other Newsy Stuff:

To sum it up…tomrrow Ms. Clinton will make a formal announcement begin her journey to the White House. Whether or not she will reach there and sleep in the bedroom she used to sleep in 14 years ago, is something that the American voter would decide.

Sketching Tutorial – How to Sketch the Facial Profile of a Beautiful Girl.

I haven’t posted any tutorial in a while and I wanted a break from work, so here’s a short sketching tutorial for everyone who loves to sketch.

This is the end-result of our sketching exercise:

Sketching Tutorials by Shafali - how to sketch the profile of a beautiful woman - step-wise.

 

Most of us, women artists included, like to sketch beautiful faces. (I think it’s a cultural thing.) So I decided on using the profile of a beautiful woman as the topic for this tutorial. In this tutorial we won’t be drawing a portrait, just a beautiful female face – so don’t kill yourself trying to establish likeness. Just find a pencil and get going.

Step 1:

Sketching Tutorials by Shafali - how to sketch the profile of a beautiful woman - step-wise.

The first step, as shown above, is to get your tools together. In the above image you can see what happens when an artist gets lazy. Instead of pulling out her camera and shooting a couple of pictures, she just roughs in a couple of pencils, an eraser, and the reference pictures. Once you’ve got your stuff together, start sketching.

Step 2:

Sketching Tutorials by Shafali - how to sketch the profile of a beautiful woman - step-by-step -roughing it in.

Start with a rough outline of the face you want to draw. Remember that we aren’t going to do a portrait here, so don’t worry about getting the likeness right. Instead focus on making the face pretty. So if the lady in your reference picture’s got a really long nose, chop it down to size (with your pencil – if your thoughts turned to gory means, you aren’t meant to be an artist, really!) At this stage, keep your lines loose – you may want to tweak them later.

Step 3:

Sketching Tutorials by Shafali - how to sketch the profile of a beautiful woman - step-by-step -roughing it in.

If you’ve read my book “Evolution of a Caricaturist – How to Draw Caricatures,” you know that I am always drawn to drawing the eyes first. I recommend you do the same, but of course, if you choose to start differently, be my guest. There’s a reason behind my recommendation though. Eyes breathe life into any picture. When you’ve done the eyes, the lady in the drawing will come alive, and you, the artist, will begin to feel responsible for the drawing. Think about it.

Step 4:

Sketching Tutorials by Shafali - Drawing a beautiful face - how to sketch faces.

Darken the profile and the lips to complete the profile. At this stage, it’s a good idea to check whether the features are of the right size and placed in the right position.

Step 5:

Sketching Tutorials by Shafali - Drawing a beautiful face - how to sketch faces.

Rough in the hair by drawing the locks. When you draw hair, it’s a good idea to draw the locks first because they determine the hair-style. Notice that I wanted to space the locks out so I darkened the space between the locks that lie on the top.

Step 6:

Sketching tutorial - how to sketch a beautiful face.

 

Work a little more on the hair so that the direction in which the locks flow can be seen more clearly. At this point, I also remembered the existence of the ear, and shaded it a bit. Artists have a tendency to ignore the ear because it’s…well, a complicated organ to draw. However,  the good news is because people seldom look at each other’s ears, and they don’t really impact likeness – so if you work hard and understand the structure of ear once – you’ve got it bagged (eeks!)

Step 7:

Sketching tutorials by shafali - How to draw a pretty girl's head.

Next add some shades to the face. Notice the cheek that now looks more rounded. Also note that I’ve used two darkness levels while shading the cheek – this allows for a slight gradient, bringing roundness to the face.

Step 8:

Sketching tutorials - shafali - drawing the locks of hair on a woman's head.

Return to the hair. If you are wondering why I am making you hop, skip, and jump all over the drawing – it is because that’s how almost all artists (excluding the hyper-realists work.) We go on adding lines and textures intuitively. At this point, I felt an intuitive need to make the hair bulkier, so I filled it in some more. Notice that the individual strands are now more defined than before.

Step 9:

Sketching tutorials - shafali - Drawing hair and sketching a beautiful girl.

Some more work on the hair. Notice that I suddenly realized that when the hair is pulled up in a pony-tail – between the bangs and the pony-tail, the hair must appear to be darker because of the shadows – so more sketching…

Step 10:

Sketching tutorial - how to sketch a beautiful face.

Add more definition to the hair. Nothing special going on here, except that the front locks now look like they are made of individual hair-strands. Also note the addition of tiny wisps of hair that have escaped the confines of the lock. They make the hair look more natural.

Step 11:

Sketching tutorial - how to sketch a beautiful face.

When a persona stands against a background, the background usually contrasts with the face – this provides form to the face and makes it look more three-dimensional. This is why I darkened the area right behind the front profile. I left the white-space behind the pony-tail as-is, because the dark-hair automatically contrasts with the white-space.

Step 12:

Sketching tutorials - How to sketch the face of a beautiful girl.

 

The human neck is more or less cylindrical. So far, the neck has remained un-shaded and flat. Shade the neck by using lines that are parallel to the jawline in this case. The idea is to create a cylindrical shape through the shades.

Step 13:

Sketching tutorials - How to sketch the face of a beautiful girl.

 

Now return to the eye and the lips to darken them. Notice the slight shade near the nostrils – it makes the cheeks look more rounded and puts accent on the smile. For accentuating the smile, I’ve also upturned the corner of the lips a little. Add some shadow under the locks. The shadow makes the lock look more realistic.

Step 14:

Sketching Tutorials by Shafali - Sketching the facial profile of a beautiful woman.

 

Finally, if you like color – add a little color to the cheeks, the lips, the neck, and the hair. If you have Photoshop scan your drawing into your computer, set the layer to “multiply” and give a color-wash in the layer underneath. If you prefer to stay traditional, bring out your box of water-color pencils and add some color to it. This step is, of course, optional :) If you were aiming at a black and white sketch, your job was done at Step 13!

Sign your work and pin it up on your soft board. Better still, photograph/scan/export it and share it with your friends :)

Cracker Goats: Episode 1 – Breaking News: President Obama meets his Spiritual Guru.

RoboquitoX13 Reporting…
Connecting to Cracker Goats…

Reading Robot Mosquito Files…
Found 12 files…
Reading 1 of 12…
Accessing…
Printing…

Surveillance Subject: President Barack Obama

icon-caricature-closeup-barack-obama-crowning-himself-cover-art-the-american-spectator-april-2014

The Robot Mosquito Unveils the Truth!

April 07, 2015.

President Obama’s Secret Visit to his Spiritual Guru was meant to remain secret.

It didn’t.

The Toaster had sent a little robot mosquito that had a tiny camera fitted into its head, to snoop on them.

The robot mosquito began transmitting immediately after President Obama bowed to his mysterious Guru. After the exchange of pleasantries, the conversation veered towards Obama’s insomnia.

Guru: Sleeplessness is quite common among the Heads of State.

Obama: And I am equally concerned about my gray hair. Should I color it? Michelle thinks I should…

Guru: Don’t listen to her. The gray hair makes you look dignified and dependable. Trust me when I say that those gray shoots brought you back into the White House.

Obama: But Michelle thinks that they are premature…

Guru: I said, don’t listen to her. In fact, their arrival couldn’t have been timed better. Now about that sleeplessness… when you are not able to sleep, what is it that you think about?

Obama: Actually, I keep seeing a number, and the number reduces by 1 every day. Yesterday it was 633; today it will be 632…

Guru: I know what that means. You are counting your days in the White House.

Obama: Oh…so that’s what that number signifies. I was worried that I might be counting the number of black hair left on my head.

Guru: Forget the hair. I’m trying to find out why you aren’t able to sleep. Is there a problem with the White House air-conditioning?

Obama: No, but there are a lot of other things that I wish Mitt was handling. The IRS issue… for instance. I had absolutely nothing to do with it. Then all that criticism of my lukewarm attitude towards Israel – I mean, I’ve got to strike a balance, right?

Guru: All that is the daily rut for a President, isn’t it? You shouldn’t take it so seriously.

Obama: Not taking it seriously is exactly what they accuse me of. But I do; I do take everything very seriously. In fact, that Healthcare bill took a toll on my own health. I just wanted everyone to have healthcare…and I was banking on the average middle-class American’s philanthropy. I didn’t know that they were so stingy and selfish! But I did the right thing, didn’t I?

Guru: You must have. They re-elected you, didn’t they?

Obama: Yes they did. The point is, I am still not sure whether they like me, and I think that makes me sleepless. Remember the way they went crazy about me when I was elected for my first term? That didn’t happen when I was re-elected. Makes me, sort of sad. And then there’s the gun-control thing – do they want those guns or not? These days, I am not sure of anything…

Guru: Of ANYTHING?

Obama: For instance, are Indians good at Math? I used to say they were, but then they’ve not won the Math Olympiad in many years. Do I like women? I’ve stopped looking at women since the paparazzi went berserk claiming that I was assessing a lady’s rear assets – and all the while it was Sarkozy who was doing the real ogling. Do I like dogs? I’ve just discovered that Bo has gone Republican. Am I pro-minorities? They say that Whites will become the minority in the US in the next couple of decades. Do I need you? You haven’t helped me with anything the whole year…

Guru: Oops!

Obama: You are right. “Oops,” is what I said when I got re-elected.

(And this is when they discovered our robot mosquito.)

Obama: What in the name of Al…God – is this?!

Guru: Looks like a mosquito.

Obama: Damn all mosquitoes. And this one’s really bugging me.

Guru: A Republican, I suppose.

Obama (lunges at it with a newspaper): Not anymore.

(That was the last transmission from our robot mosquito, if we discount the faint sound-byte that when cleaned up sounded like…”I am feeling better already!”)

Cast (In order of Appearance):

President Obama:

(from this…)

Political Cartoons - Caricature of Barack Obama, the US Debt Burden, and S&P reducing the credit rating to AA+

Illustrated for The Suit Magazine – Issue 43 (Copyrighted Image – Please don’t use without Permission.)

to this…

American Spectator Obama Crowns himself - Issue April 2014 on my desk

 

Michelle Obama:

The Caricature of the First Lady Michelle Obama with Two Rabbits.

First Lady Michelle Obama’s smile dazzles humans and animals alike.

Mitt Romney:

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

 

Nicolas Sarkozy:

A Cartoon on the Eurozone Crisis - The Caricature, or Portrait of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who managed to charm Angela Merkel into making a decision that could help sustain Euro.

 

Our Robot Mosquito was squashed before it could relay a picture of the mysterious Spiritual Guru. Our apologies.

 

Caricature Sketch of Jesse Jackson Sr. – Civil Rights Activist.

I did this caricature-sketch of Jesse Jackson Sr. last year. This is a quick sketch, done digitally. As you can see, most of the line-work is fairly rough. The idea was to paint it at a later point in time.

caricature, cartoon, digital sketch of jesse jackson senior - PUSH, civil right activist

Jesse Jackson – The Civil Rights Activist:

Jesse Jackson (Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr.) is an American civil rights activist, who was born in North Carolina, studied at the University of Illinois, and then joined Dr. Martin Luther King‘s movement at the age of 25.

King appointed him the Director of Operation Breadbasket of SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference.) However, Jackson was considered a bit of a rebel by others in the organization. Later King too began to feel that Jackson was too assertive. The relationship between the two began to deteriorate, just before King’s death in 1968. This is why when Jackson claimed that King died in his arms, many questioned the plausibility of his assertion. Among those who didn’t appreciate Jackson’s methods, was also Al Sharpton.

In 1971, Jackson formally parted ways with SCLC, and started PUSH (People United to Save (later changed to Serve) Humanity.) This was also the time when he began to explore the political possibilities.

Jesse Jackson – The Controversial Celebrity:

In the next two decades, Jackson rose from being a national figure to an international personality. His rise to fame however was marked with controversies. His anti-jewish remarks drew a lot of flak (he called the Jewish people, “Hymies” – hymie being a disparaging term used for a Jewish person.) He has also been criticized for his anti-Israel sentiments.

On the personal front, just a week ago, Jackson’s handsome son (who’s got dimpled cheeks,) Jesse Jackson Jr., was released from the prison. He had been sentenced to a term of 1.5 years for misusing about $750,000 of the election funds for personal use (and buying stuff such as a $43K Rolex watch, and believe it or not, $7K worth of stuffed elk-heads!) After his release, his wife would serve her sentence of 1 year for the same offense.

Jesse Jackson has also been in news for fathering an illegitimate child who, her mom Karin Stanford calls a “miracle child”. His daughter Ashley, now 15, wants to be a singer. Karin was a worker in Jackson’s organization PUSH. (Such mentor-mentee, boss-subordinate, leader-worker kind of affairs transcend national and religious boundaries and are found almost everywhere – refer to the Kumar Vishwas – AAP party-worker affair, or to Bill Clinton – Monica Lewinsky affair.)

But then…I must be turning into a cynic. Reading Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy does that to you. I am on the 888th page of “Edge of Eternity” and John Kennedy‘s numerous flings with the fair ladies of his staff must be crowding my imagination.

Jesse Jackson – Quotes:

I like the following two:

  • “If my mind can conceive it, my heart can believe it; I know, I can achieve it!”
  • “Never look down on anybody, unless you are helping them up.”

The book “How to Draw Caricatures – Evolution of a Caricaturist”…

This book could be a starting point or a mid-journey reflection point for an artist who is inclined to do caricatures. I am grateful to everyone who left their reviews for the book. As I mentioned in my earlier posts, I completed my work when I finished writing the book and made it available on Amazon. I am first an artist, then a writer, and finally a learning-facilitator; I am not a marketer and I don’t know the first thing about “getting” people to write reviews, so I am really glad that some readers of Evolution posted their thoughts on the book.

The book “How to Draw Caricatures – Evolution of a Caricaturist” is available on Amazon, and regardless of the device you own, you can download the eBook and read it. I hope you find it interesting as well as useful :)

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

Click the book icon to reach the Book-details page on Amazon.

 

And here’s your tool-kit to experiment with the art of caricature-creation, without drawing :-) Click the icon to download Toonsie Roll – a free photo-to-caricature app on your iPhone or iPad.

Icon Toonsie Roll - Caricature App for iPhone and iPad - create funny caricatures of everyone - Toon 'em all!

Click to download Toonsie Roll into your iPad or iPhone.

 

Now off on a short trip to Pluto, the planet of artists.

Fantasy Art in Pen and Ink – A Knight and a Beautiful Prisoner.

…Archaeological Excavation reveals drawings done 12 years ago!

So…

all the stuff that was going on in life is finally settling down. The dust still swirls, but who cares…certainly not this caricaturist. During this time, I was also a part of an archaeological expedition. The digging resulted in some long-forgotten, ancient artworks, two of which now adorn the wall behind me. These works were done in 2003 and are some of my first pen and ink drawings.

The ink drawing at the top illustrates a knight striking the final fatal blow, and the illustration at the bottom shows a beautiful woman prisoner being read her death warrant. The second work actually illustrates one of the inflection points in the story – the beautiful woman is in fact a good witch who can’t really be held back with manacles, and she has deliberately put herself in this position – so that she could get inside the castle and save the man she loves. The man is a human (why on earth an all powerful witch falls in love with a mere man, is totally beyond my comprehension, but it often happens in fantasy literature. Perhaps Ms. B. G. Hope can enlighten us.)

Pen and Ink Fantasy Art: Knight, demon, orc, witch, woman, prisoner, death-sentence - Pen and Ink art.

Actual Size: The Fatal Blow (Top): 11″x11″ – The Beautiful Prisoner (Bottom): 13″x10″

 

There were some others too…but the space on my wall is limited. So they had to go back into the loft. I’ll share more pictures and more news…and some caricatures too, but they must be scanned and made blog-ready, so please bear with me.

Later,

Shafali

 

10 Tips for Drawing Crowds in Caricature- and Cartoon-Illustrations.

Sometimes, a search-string catches your eye and brings back memories of an assignment that you did a while ago.

“Drawing Crowd Scenes” is the search-string that led to this post.

O’ dear searcher, I understand your confusion and your anxiety. If you’ve landed an assignment that requires you to draw a crowd and you’ve never done crowds before, your anxiety is natural. It happened to me last year. Most of my work comprises creating portraits and caricatures, and most political and business compositions don’t happen outdoors; so the requirement of drawing a scene with a cheering crowd made me somewhat anxious. I am sure I must’ve searched for drawing crowd scenes then…and most of what I saw in the resulting images was a slurry of heads and shoulders. I am a detail-oriented artist. I like my work to have nuances that make it more interesting with every viewing (or so I hope :)), so I didn’t want a nondescript crowd for the magazine spread I was doing. I wanted my crowd to have character and life.

Let me first share what I ended up painting:

How to draw crowds and crowd scenes for cartoon and caricature compositions.

Two-Page Spread painted for Talk Business & Politics Magazine (Issue Sept-Oct 2014.)

 

As you can see, the crowd here is composed of the spectators who have gathered to witness a jousting match between two political rivals. There interest in the match is a clear indication that they support one or the other candidate and this is why some have brought banners along. The excitement levels are fairly high here.  In medieval times jousting events were one of the few forms of entertainment available for families of the bourgeois – so I thought of including families in the event. A closeup will reveal this connection shortly.

Let us first look at the closeup of the bottom-left of the painting.

Closeup of the spectators on the left-side:

How to draw large gatherings, crowds, people, spectators for events.

 

These are Mike Ross’s supporters, so they carry a banner of his name. They are excited about the match and fairly optimistic that their candidate will win. They are here for a picnic-match combo and hence the attire. Nothing much to see here, except the body language, the expression and the attire.

Closeup of the spectators in the middle:

How to draw large gatherings, crowds, cheering crowd, spectators for events.

Here, the spectators present a cross-section of society. Political illustrations must be politically-correct at times, and your publisher would usually draw the line for you. However, as an illustrator, you too must take some decisions. The crowd here cannot be “all men”, “all women”, “all white” and so on. The crowd should be inclusive. So you see different races represented here…The woman at the bottom left corner (in orange) actually has in infant in her arms (that’s why she’s sitting sideways), the man in yellow who is sitting on the grass as brought along his dog. To add some humor for those who revel in detail, a man is trying to climb over the heads of two guys (top-left) and in the process, incurring their wrath. Overall, the crowd is happy and excited, and comprises of individuals who have their own personalities, should someone decide to look.

Note that I could have added nondescript heads in the background, but I thought that it might take the attention away from the main crowd and so I used my artist’s license and did away with them – keeping the focus on the main crowd.

Closeup of the spectators at the right:

How to draw large gatherings, crowds, cheering crowd, spectators for events.

These spectators are quite like the spectators at the left. They round off the picture quite nicely, and also add an illusion of continuity beyond the left and right borders of the image.

Now, after one run, I feel that I can create crowds of all kinds – it’s a mammoth task, I admit, but once you are done with it, you get a strong sense of accomplishment too. But all that cool talk aside, it isn’t easy.

10 Tips for Drawing Crowds:

Here are a few pointers for the first-time crowd painter.

1. Decide upon the importance of the crowd. Is the crowd there to merely represent a locale and is distant from the actual action that you are illustrating? If so, you may have generic heads, hands, and shoulders without closing up enough to show their expressions. If your crowd is there to play a part in the composition, then expressions and faces become important.

2. Don’t make all the faces round/oval. People have different types of faces – long, squarish, pear-shaped, pentagonal…work in different face-shapes.

3. Work with different hair-styles and colors. They make people look different. Have some bald characters too (unless its a crowd of all kids/all women.) Don’t work too much on the details of the hair (you don’t have to capture all the lights falling on everyone’s head) – you can work with the outlines to show curly hair or a bald head.

4. Don’t make everyone look in the same direction. It’s humanly impossible for a hundred people to be looking in the same direction at the same time, even if they are watching an opera. Some look at others, others look at their finger-nails, a few look mesmerized…work with expressions. Remember that they are a crowd, so you don’t have to bring out every feature and paint the whole set of teeth, a couple of upward curves would make a smile, and if you fill the gap between the curves with white, you’ve got a laughing spectator.

5. Bring in different skin-tones – depending upon the region that you are illustrating. It also helps your drawings stay inclusive.

6. If your crowd is shown standing, work with different body-types. Some would be pot-bellied, others reed-thin; some would large, others really small. When you add these little details, your crowd comes to life.

7. For large crowds and gatherings, allow people to spill over the edges. It helps the illusion of continuity, thus making your crowd appear larger than it is.

8. Some artists gray out the crowds so that focus stays on the main artwork (the jousters in this case.) I think that the treatment works better in case of cartoon-illustrations. Caricature-illustrations (my kind) require a more realistic treatment of the crowd too, and graying them out completely doesn’t work. You may want to cool the tones of the crowd a little (if the crowds are in a distance.) I didn’t, because I like working with bright colors and I also thought that the size-difference between jousters and the people in the crowd will automatically result in a sense of distance.

9. If you really want to pack people in, draw more details on those in the front (and nearer to the foreground,) then reduce the details over a few rows (the rows must mix for a standing crowd, but for a crowd that’s watching a stage-show, they’d automatically be clearly defined.) Farther away, circles could replace the heads.

10. In the end, don’t begin drawing your crowds without researching the region for which you must draw the crowd. American crowds look different from Indian crowds, which look a lot different from mid-eastern or Japanese crowds.

 Happy Crowd-drawing :)

 

Caricature-Cartoon Jeb Bush: US Presidential Election 2016

While Hillary Clinton has still not confirmed her intention of running for the President in 2016, Jeb Bush has made it amply clear that he would.

Here’s a caricature that I did of Jeb Bush.

Caricature Cartoon in black and white drawing - US Presidential Elections - Jeb Bush - Republican Candidate

President Bush the Third!

 

About Jeb Bush:

Jeb Bush or “John Ellis Bush” Bush is George W. Bush‘s younger brother who has been Florida’s Governor for two-terms could be running for the 2016 Presidential elections. He was born in 1953, he grew up in Texas, then attended the University of Texas. Professionally, he was first a banker, then a real-estate marketer, then an entrepreneur. In 1983, he moved to Miami because he was made 40% partner in a firm – in his own words, “”I want to be very wealthy, and I’ll be glad to tell you when I’ve accomplished that goal.”

Bush was Governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007. He brought about educational reforms, implemented certain fiscal policy changes (bringing down the governmental spending along with the taxes,) and signed into Florida law, the Stand-your-Ground law.

Read more about him at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeb_Bush (source.)

Jeb Bush and 2016 US Presidential Elections:

(The Caricaturist’s View)

With Mitt Romney having stepped away from the race, his chances of his being chosen the Republican candidate may appear to have brightened and yet, there are a couple of reasons why it may not be really be a cakewalk for him.

The first reason could be his family. His surname is perceived to be more of a burden than a boon. I read the remarks left on his Facebook page, and I was mildly surprised to note that there were many who said they wouldn’t  vote for another Bush in the White House. He will have to differentiate (and perhaps distance) himself from the personality and philosophy of his brother George W. Bush. 

Another reason that could undermine the possibility of his becoming the republican presidential candidate could be his image of a moderate republican,  resulting mainly from  his soft stance on illegal immigrants. He might be correcting course on this issue, but it may not be enough.

Illegal immigration is a burning issue in the US and with the Obama administration’s continual attempts at appeasing them and converting them into a democratic vote bank, the republican camp may not want to field a candidate who has moderate, even democratic views on the issue.

President Bill Clinton Presented with the Signed Print of his Caricatures done by this Caricaturist :)

Folks, I am feeling happy and honored that President Clinton loved my caricatures of him, and that a framed signed-print of his caricatures (that I created for the TBP Magazine‘s Nov-Dec 2014 Issue) was presented to him by the Clinton Foundation staff for Christmas.

President Clinton's Caricatures by Shafali - Signed Print Presented to him by Clinton Foundation.

President Clinton loved his caricatures and Clinton Foundation presented signed print of his caricature to him :) This caricaturist is honored. (Print size: 12″x 18″ Landscape.)

In November end, I received an email from the Clinton Presidential Center that President Bill Clinton loved the caricatures that I did for the TBP magazine cover and inner-spread, and that they’d like to present a signed print of the artwork to him. Finally, three signed prints were ordered – one for President Clinton, another for the Executive Director of the Foundation, and a third for the Chairman of the Board. They too loved the artwork.

I shipped the prints on December 10th and President Clinton was presented his copy on December 14th. I am so glad that I got the opportunity to create those caricatures, and while I don’t think that the subject of my caricatures has time to browse the blog of a caricaturist, I still want to use this space to thank him for liking my work. It isn’t easy to appreciate caricature-art, especially if you are the subject :)

You can read about how these caricatures were created, in my post “Caricature Art – Bill Clinton’s Charming Smile envelops Little Rock, Arkansas :)”

Caricature/Cartoon – Pen and Ink – Can you tell who he is?

Here’s the guy for you identify :)

caricature portrait in pen and ink - an escaped convict, a goon, robin-hood, killer etc.

Who could he be?

Possibilities:

  1. A convict who has escaped from Alcatraz (The Rock) – one of most heavily guarded prisons in the world.
  2. Lothar of Mandrake comics fame, in another life where he wasn’t such a nice guy.
  3. The Rock (Yes, another one – whose real name is Dawnye Johnson) – caricatured.
  4. A Foundry-man proud to showcase his products around his neck.
  5. A balding Hercules?
  6. A Mountain-man completely ignorant of the greatest invention of mankind (more specifically, by ean-Jacques Perret in France or by Gillette in America) – The safety razor? 
  7. Just one happy-go-lucky, hydrophobic, lazy young man?
  8. Robin Hood sporting a devil-may-care attitude?

Whoever he is, he and I both wish our visitors,

A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!

:)

Caricature – Sinner: The Fire of Hell burns within the soul of a sinner and singes his insides!

Another long day of sitting in the waiting area resulted in a stiff back, a head full of images that I’d rather not see again, and another caricature.

I don’t think I am an authority on religious stuff of any kind, and yet I’ve read tomes on Hindu Mythology and Indian History…and you can’t separate religious teachings from mythology…not from Hindu Mythology at least, which is intricately woven around our gods and goddesses. I mention this as in religion (and not just in Hindu religion, but other religions as well,) there’s an underlying concept of your being rewarded or punished by being sent to heaven or hell, as the case may be. I don’t know if other religions too share some sure-fire, quick-relief after-death remedies of ensuring that regardless of a person’s misdeeds, he or she may arrive in heaven, if certain procedures were followed.

Within the purview of my currently limited knowledge in this area, Buddhism is the only religion that confirms the finiteness of life in a body and speaks of your soul being the vessel that can be filled either with your reward (peace and happiness) or your punishment (pain, guilt, and humiliation,) all in your lifetime.

This caricature captures the fire of hell that burns within the soul of a sinner; fueled by guilt and humiliation, it starts in his mind, spreads through his entire existence, and then gradually eats through his sanity and darkens his visions with soot and smoke.

Caricature Cartoon of a sinner - angry mad man with a guilty conscience - fire of hell.

I am waiting for the wait to end…

There still are caricatures waiting to be drawn, hiding in the future…when they happen, I’ll bring them to you.

Caricature – A Happy Gypsy: Pen and Ink Work.

When I am most anxious, I take refuge in drawing. It helps reduce anxiety, and to some extent, mental anguish and sadness too. However, the output of art created when you are anxious, comes out looking pretty random. Sometimes, I get a glimpse of hell in the soul of a sinner and I draw that; at other times, I see light at the end of the tunnel  and I draw a happy image.

The following pen and ink caricature of a happy gypsy man happened because I had to wait in an office. It helped me fill my empty minutes that could’ve come-together, gathered force, and spiraled into a twister capable of plunging me into an ocean of anxiety. Simply speaking, this gypsy guy’s laughter helped me stay happy.

Pen and Ink Caricature of a Gypsy man laughing.

Stay Happy!

I’ll publish the darker ones too…but only after I am sure that looking at them will not make me anxious…for now, it’s the gypsy guy.

And he reminds me of another gypsy…Sir Isaac Newton. More on that later.

Meanwhile, all iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch owners can become caricaturists by tapping/clicking here and downloading the Free Caricature Maker App Toonsie Roll on the App Store.

Icon Toonsie Roll - Caricature App for iPhone and iPad - create funny caricatures of everyone - Toon 'em all!

Toonsie Roll – Toon ’em All!

 

 

 

Toonsie Roll – The Intuitive Caricature Maker App for Everyone’s iPhone and iPad…

is now on the App Store. Download it at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/toonsie-roll-make-caricatures/id921958679?ls=1&mt=8

Icon Toonsie Roll - Caricature App for iPhone and iPad - create funny caricatures of everyone - Toon 'em all!

Toonsie Roll – Toon ’em All!

Now you can caricature everyone in a nice, easy, and fun way! All the caricatures that you see in the following image have been created from scratch to finish in Toonsie Roll…just using observation, intuition, and tapping! If you like the app, leave a rating…and tell me if you’d like a FB page for Toonsie Roll to share your creations.

Caricature-making App Toonsie Roll for iPhone, iPad - for everyone.

 

And to discover how easy it is to caricature using Toonsie Roll, check out my previous post “How to Create Cool Caricatures using the Toonsie Roll App.”

Now I should get back to sculpting some caricatures in a mountain…more on Toonsie Roll later.

 

How to Create Cool Caricatures Using the Toonsie Roll Caricature App.

UPDATE:

Toonsie Roll is available on the App Store as a FREE download 

It’s almost here! Toonsie Roll debuts on the App Store this Saturday…on November 22, 2014! So when you wake up this Saturday, checkout the App Store and download the smartest Caricaturing App (I’ve worked really hard to make this app as intuitive as possible, so please forgive the vanity ☺)

Toonsie Roll - Caricature App for iPhone and iPad - create funny caricatures of everyone - Toon 'em all!

Toonsie Roll – Toon ’em All!

 

If you think you might forget, and you’d like to put me to the task of reminding you, please use the contact form on this page, and I’ll send you an email with the App Store download URL.

Without mincing any words, Toonsie Roll is an app that helps you intuitively create cool caricatures from photographs!

For the experimental reader of my blog, here’s the process in a nutshell.

Just get a picture in Toonsie Roll (shoot from your camera or import from your Albums,) crop it to center the face (give the face about 1/3 to 2/3 space in the picture,) and hit “Toonify.” Toonsie Roll Toonifies the picture and presents you with 3 toonified options. You’ll intuitively know which one’s the best. If you like one – tap that toon; if you don’t, then tap the “More” button to get more options. When you tap a toon, Toonsie Roll takes it as the picture that you now want to toonify further, and then presents three more options based on the selected toon. This is how you continue – until of course, you are done with tooning, and you finalize the image to “Artify.”

And now, for my details-oriented audience, here is the process – Step by Step, screen-by-screen!

Download Toonsie Roll to you iPhone or iPad and tap the icon to open it. (Don’t rap me on the knuckles for being cheeky. You wanted it step by step!)

You get the following Opening Screen.

Toonsie Roll - A Free Caricature Maker App for iPhone and iPad that lets you create expressive caricatures by observing and tapping.

 

Just tap anywhere to load the “Get a Picture” screen, shown below.

You can get a picture into Toonsie Roll by either importing from “Photos” or by shooting one then and there, using your device camera. (The second option is pretty useful when someone in your group is being a real nutcase.)

Toonsie Roll - A Free Caricature Maker App for iPhone and iPad that lets you create expressive caricatures by observing and tapping.

Now move and adjust that red-rectangle on the image to select the face. It’s a good idea to keep the face centered (you get interesting results by being off-center, but when you are starting, it’s a good idea to stayed centered.) Also, let the face occupy about one-third to two-third of the final cropped image area.

When you are satisfied, hit the Toonify button to arrive on the “Toonify” screen, which is shown below.

 

Toonsie Roll - A Free Caricature Maker App for iPhone and iPad that lets you create expressive caricatures by observing and tapping.

 

This is the screen where you get to play around with different possibilities. The original image is at the top-left corner (Selected Picture). The other three are the Toons that Toonsie Roll has generated. If you aren’t satisfied with any of them, tap the “More” button. If you like any of the three toons then select the one that’s closest in likeness to the original subject, and one which you’d like to caricature some more by tapping the face in the toon. You’ll see that the tapped toon moves to the top-left and replaces the original and now becomes the Selected Picture. Now this picture becomes the image to be toonified further.

As all of us have been blessed with the intuitive ability to determine likeness (whether the caricature looks like it belongs to the subject) and funniness (whether the caricature/joke/situation looks funny or not,) just by tapping, selecting, and tooning, we can create cool looking caricatures.

When you are satisfied with one of the toons, tap the green tick on that toon to finalize it. When you hit the tick mark, you get the chance to crop the image once again (if you’d like to) and then you arrive at the following “Artify” screen where you can enhance your artwork with 20 artistic effects.

Toonsie Roll - A Free Caricature Maker App for iPhone and iPad that lets you create expressive caricatures by observing and tapping.

I’ll be posting a separate tutorial on how these effects can be used individually or one-after-the-other to create interesting artistic effects. At this point, my recommendation is, “play with the effects.”

When you are done…tap the “Personalize & Share” button at the bottom of the “Artify” screen, to arrive at the following “Personalize & Share” screen.
On this screen you are presented with a photo of your toon.

Toonsie Roll - A Free Caricature Maker App for iPhone and iPad that lets you create expressive caricatures by observing and tapping.

On this screen you see three ways to personalize your creation.
Sign your creation (Actually write/draw your unique signature – all great artists sign their work.)
Add an emoji (from a cool collection of 75 emojis.)
Add a witty caption to your artwork (In the above screen, “You know you are famous when the Internet explodes with your caricatures,” is the caption added by the artist.)

Once you are done with personalizing the artwork, tap the “Share Your Creation,” button and share your artwork on a social network – Facebook/Twitter etc. of your choice, save it to your iPad/iPhone, or email it :)

So the countdown has begun…and we are all set to become Toonsie Rollers on November 22 :)

UPDATE: Toonsie Roll is now available for download on the App Store

 

Caricature Art – Bill Clinton’s Charming Smile envelops Little Rock, Arkansas :)

Everyone knows Bill Clinton. We know him for a multitude of reasons. Here are those engraved upon the tip of the iceberg.

  • Being the President of The United States
  • Having a super-cute smile and his boyish charm
  • Being involved in an oval-office misadventure with a certain Monica Lewinsky
  • Being the husband of  Ms. Hillary Clinton

I think he is one of the most recognized American Presidents, with possibly just one exception (who else but  President Barack Obama,) and trust me when I tell you that until a month ago, I had never caricatured him! Not even a sketch. I did paint his wife Ms. Hillary Clinton as someone who’d be contending the presidential elections of 2016 (yes, in a lucid moment of epiphany, I saw her in the race to the White House.)

Let me come to the point – and tell it to you straight. When I came to know that the Nov/Dec issue‘s cover and inner-spread would require Bill Clinton’s Caricatures, I was shocked to realize that this would be the first time I’d be caricaturing Mr. Clinton.

Bill Clinton Cover Art for Talk Business and Politics Arkansas - Clinton Presidential center, River Market, Heifer International, Pedestrian Bridge Illustration.

We discussed the idea and came up with a gardening metaphor that would capture how the Clinton Memorial Library has led to a lot of development in the surrounding area. You can see that in the spread, the left page shows Clinton planting the library in 2004, and then you see Clinton again, 10 years later feeling happy and proud as he surveys the development. Read the article here.

A Note for Caricaturists/Illustrators:

In 10 years, a person ages. Clinton had also faced certain health issues (in 2004/2005 he underwent surgeries,) which had made him lose a lot of his facial-fat. This is why the pre-2004 Clinton had to look clearly younger than the 2014 Clinton.

But even before I began ironing out the details, I hit a road-block. I like my caricatures to look cute and nice, and despite Clinton’s half-smile, he’s a not an easy guy to caricature. I actually felt glad that I wasn’t caricaturing when he was the President and I honestly don’t envy the caricaturists who were.

Caricaturing Bill Clinton’s face is a challenge, and in this case, ensuring that the age-difference is visible between the two, was an even more difficult task. I worked with the skin-tone, wrinkles (especially those around the eyes), chubbiness, and hair-volume to get the desired effect. 

I’ve also been working on a few other projects (paintings as well as pen and ink drawings) and I’ll post about them soon :) Meanwhile, if you are interesting in learning how to create caricatures, check out “Evolution of a Caricaturist” on Amazon.

 

Wedding of an Apple, How to Become a Caricaturist, and a Cute Guy with a Spherical Nose.

The caricaturist was away.

No. I hadn’t been whisked away to Atlantis.

This was different. I was away attending the marriage of an apple. Some of you would know that I shun company. Artists do that. They are a terribly moody lot who oscillate between being gaudily gregarious and deafeningly silent. You can usually find me hanging precariously from the cliff at the right-end of this continuum, and so it knocked the breath out of me when I realized that I was attending a wedding!

Here’s a picture of the bride in her wedding gown.

apple-bride-in-wedding-gown

When I returned from the wedding and checked my blog’s stats, I saw an odd search string (and not “hacked nudes”, which I must mention is still a far milder search string than some of the others that bring visitors to these shores.)

This odd search string read, “how to become a caricaturist.”

The quick and dirty answer to this question is, “learn how to draw caricatures,” but then my work on the apple-bride above cannot really motivate anyone to learn how to draw caricatures, let alone inspire them to become caricaturists.

So for those who are wondering why they must get Evolution of a Caricaturist, I must tell you that I didn’t spend all my away-from-the-blog time attending the apple’s wedding, I spent a substantial part of it working on Bill Clinton’s Caricatures (yep, two of them) for a cool magazine…and speaking of caricatures, I think I simply love these caricatures…and I love them more because of Bill Clinton’s cute spherical nose (any guesses why?)

More later. Meanwhile, leave your good wishes for the apple-bride in the comments below.

Random Caricatures and Portraits (2009-2014)

 

Blast from the Past: The Caricaturist Travels through Time and returns with the Funny Man!

Meet the Funny Man. I did this caricature last year, and if the date on the page of my 2013 diary can be relied on – it was done on April 15th – more than a year ago.

This drawing was done with Staedler’s Luna Pencils – the only color pencils that I had until I discovered Derwent. I had bought that set of pencils way back in 2001 or 2002, when a dear friend of mine and an exceptionally good artist told me that even grownups use color pencils. He had accompanied me to an art-supplies store (there weren’t many good ones in the city back then) and we had a bought a set for me, which unlike his set, didn’t come in a tin box (I still remember the slight twinge of disappointment that I had experienced then – so it must’ve been important for me back then. Today it won’t matter.)

Anyway, the point is, I drew this Funny Man with those pencils.

Caricature cartoon color pencil drawing sketch of a happy funny man with a big nose.

An Awesome nose on an awesome face…la…la…la

Then we started working on Toonsie Roll – a Caricature maker App that harnesses your intuition and your power of observation to help you tap out cute and cool-looking caricatures. Now everyone who’s got a smartphone knows that apps have icons…and I really wanted this app icon to cute, funny, and cool…and if possible, I wanted it to be intuitive too. So I sketched stuff out and we evaluated the sketches. We did everything that all the great artists do. We squinted, we walked backward to stand at a distance and look at the sketches, then we scanned them and zoomed them out to see if they were too cluttered. They passed the tests but they could make our hearts beat faster, because they all lacked the spontaneity that we were looking for.

Then we heard from some people who wanted me to create a few drawings for them…in the funny man style. So I went back to the post and checked it out – and when I looked at it, I knew that this guy could represent the spirit of Toonsie Roll. If it was a drawing app, we’d probably have gone ahead with the color-pencil drawing, but Toonsie Roll stays with the realistic photo-feel, so I painted the guy. Now he appears on the icon and also on the Splash Screen (I’ll share it with you soon.)

So this is how the Funny Guy got selected, got painted, and got framed! Toonsie Roll will soon be on the App Store for everyone who wants to create cute and funny caricatures (of friends, foes, or yourself – for a caricature avatar perhaps,) using a stylish app on their iPhones or iPads :) I’ll keep you posted on this – so if you want to know when you can grab a copy of the app, just leave me a note using this contact form here.

Toonsie Roll Caricature maker app on App Store for iOS (iPhone/ipad - universal) for creating cute and funny caricatures.

Click to Read about Toonsie Roll.

This week I need to sketch a cute ex-President of the United States. I am looking forward to it…but today I was totally booked for Toonsie Roll!

You keep smiling while I rock and roll with Toonsie Roll :)

A Toonsie Roll Caricature of Hrithik Roshan…

…Who Goes Bang Bang this Thursday, Despite his Health Problems!

This post is the result of Hrithik’s interview that was published in today’s TOI. At the onset, I must tell you that I am not a fan of Hrithik the Bollywood Actor. In fact, I’ve seen just one movie of his (one of the Krishh’s, and I’ve forgotten which one.) And yet, now I have become one of the biggest fans of Hrithik the person behind the actor. I like brave people, and I think that bravery is an attribute of the human mind. It doesn’t depend upon anything external to a person – neither their station in life, nor their physical strength. Some people are brave, others just aren’t; they whine and cry and want the whole world to understand their problems, without ever taking the first important step, which is realizing that they are the only ones who can solve their problems and all that whining actually drives the right kind people away from them.

Caricature Hrithik Roshan - Using iOS (iPhone, iPad) caricaturing app Toonsie Roll.

( Note: The above caricature was done using Toonsie Roll – A Caricaturing/Caricature-making iPhone/iPad app.)

In my estimate, Hrithik Roshan is one of the bravest celebs that clutter our waking moments. He is someone who is an inspiration to many who battle chronic illnesses and debilitating pain. Almost all his life, he has lived with excruciating pain and with bones that broke on the slightest pretext. He has been suffering from arthritis from a very young age, and when he was a teenager, his doctors had told him that he had the skeleton of an old man. He was advised against becoming an actor. In Bollywood, you can’t be a star if you don’t dance (yes, pelting your pelvis as far as you can in all directions and gyrating on the beats of a raunchy number – stuff that is really really bad for your back); or  if you don’t do stunts (toss yourself up in the air with your limbs flailing and hitting ten goons at once)! So Hrithik, the boy with a spine that was proclaimed geriatric by the medicos shouldn’t have done any of what he did. Instead, he should’ve stayed home, watched dvds, ate potato-chips, grown corpulent, started a blog, and talked about how unfair life was.

But Hrithik did something different. He looked at the hand of cards that fate had dealt to him, figured out a strategy to beat the odds, and stayed in the game. Yes, he came from a fairly affluent family. Yes, he could get a doctor’s attention whenever he needed it. But nothing could’ve made him the star that he is today – nothing except his own determination to beat the odds.

So far, this year has been terrible for Hrithik. When he was shooting for Bang Bang, he got ill because there were blood-clots in his brain and he had to undergo a brain-surgery. His backache, his companion of 27 years, has been troubling him so much that he travels in a convoy of three cars, because he can’t sit in one position for more than 30 minutes. On the personal front, he has filed for a divorce from his wife, who he confirms, has not asked for an alimony of 400 Crs. (The amount sounded ridiculous any way,) and when the divorce is through he may lose the custody of his two sons to his wife. That’s a lot for anyone to handle – and yet he handles it all so well. The boy whose was advised not to be an actor, is the one who has made Roshans a recognized name in the Indian Film Industry.  He’s an excellent dancer, he looks muscular in his movies, he does all those stunts that movies require him to do – and I think he is able to do it because he has a beautiful mind.

He says that he always tried being a nice person, but it didn’t work, because when you try to be nice to everyone and not hurt anyone, you try to achieve the impossible and end up hurting yourself; so you must try to be a good person instead. A good person does good whenever he or she can, but doesn’t try to please everyone. I agree – totally.

So that’s that about Hrithik. I wish him the best and I hope that he continues to win the battle that he is fighting with his illnesses. Another braveheart that I want to mention here is Shubhpreet Kaur Ghumman. This post isn’t about this one-legged brave beauty, but here’s the link to her Facebook page.

I’ll be writing a set of tutorials on How to Create Caricatures with Toonsie Roll, so do return.