A Creativity Carnival – for Artists, Writers, Poets, and other Oddballs!

Friends, I still haven’t decided upon a Feature I’d want to go ahead with, but I did have a Creativity Carnival in mind.

I trust the following image captures what I had in mind for it. I’d like to thank my blogging101 friends for their inputs on it. While I am still not sure whether this should be a weekly event, I was wondering if some of us would like to give it shot, if I started it, say, coming Friday (July 31, 2015.)

Possible rules in a nutshell (Please recommend addition/deletion)

  1. Participating bloggers will have a week to make the post.
  2. The Pen and Ink Caricature drawing will serve as a cue.
  3. Participating bloggers would be welcome to write a story, an anecdote, a poem, or even draw a picture or post a doodle in response to the cue.
  4. Participating bloggers  will integrate the caricature-drawing into their posts.
  5. Participating bloggers will provide a ping-back to the carnival post so that other participants can visit their blogs and comment, like, and socialize.

Creativity Carnival for wordpress bloggers

Should I, should I not?

I had tried it once, but such an event cannot thrive on its own. I looked at the Daily Post event form – and a Creativity Carnival doesn’t fit into any of the given categories.

If you think that you’d like to be a part of it, please leave a smiley in the comments :)

More later – Keep drawing, writing, and smiling!

 

Oh No! My child is an Artist-in-Diapers!!

Yesterday, once again, a well-meaning parent wrote to me about his little one…and he sent me looking for this post I did a couple of years ago. This post is for parents who believe that their little one is an artist. I’ve said it all in this post, so I won’t say it again here. If there was a way to repost the post, I would :)

Do read it, especially if you’ve got a little one who dabbles in colors and makes you wonder if he or she is the next Picasso.

5 Childhood Symptoms of an Artist: A Post for the Parents of an Artist-in-Diapers!

And a little something to help you overcome your art-addiction.

The 4 Types of Artists - A Verbal Caricature eBook by Shafali the Caricaturist

Click to download in a format of your choice.

Another post coming up for blogging101 friends :)

The King’s Chamber (A Short Story) – Weekly Challenge: Literary Lion. King.

Egyptian Eye - Artwork for short story "The King's Chamber" by shafali.

Intef turned to change his side and felt sweat trickle down his back.  The heat roused him from his slumber. The first thing he noticed was the darkness. His chamber was never completely dark. He touched his bed. The sheets were of silk and the pillow was made of dove-feathers.
This wasn’t his bed.
Then he remembered. He was now King. He was the Pharaoh of Egypt, and he was sleeping in the King’s chamber. His father Pharaoh Akhnaten was no more. He had died thirty days ago, and the period of mourning had ended just yesterday when his embalmed body was finally taken to his pyramid for burial.
For some odd reason, his memories were choppy. It must be the heat, he thought, and swung his legs down the bed. His leather slippers were right where he had expected to find them.
Intef slipped his feet into the slippers and called the servants. His temper was now rising.
Where were they? And why were the curtains drawn close?
He tried recalling the layout of the King’s bed-chamber. It wasn’t easy, because he had never slept in there, never before last night.
“Where were those lamp-sconces?” he murmured, trying to focus on what he remembered of the Pharaoh’s chamber.
The pictures began forming. He saw himself in the royal chamber a week before his father’s death. Sekah-seshat, his sister was there too. The sky had already darkened outside but the Pharaoh’s chamber was lit bright with a dozen sconces, each of them holding a dozen oil-lamps. Two of these wall-sconces were right near the headboard of the Pharaoh’s bed.
Intef turned left. Moving against the edge of the bed, his outstretched hand touched the wall. He moved his hand up along the wall. There it was. Now he needed a flint-lighter.
Where could he find one?
He tried focusing on his memories again. Perhaps they would help him locate the lighter. In his imagination, the Pharaoh’s chamber lit up again. Sekah was asking the Pharaoh her father, for a boon. She didn’t want to marry Intef, her brother – as she was destined to. Sekah was her father’s favorite, and when the Pharaoh had smiled at her, Intef’s heart had sunk. He knew that Sekah was in love with Khamose, their cousin, and Pharaoh’s smile had confirmed that she now had his blessings for her marriage with him. His sister always got her way with their father.
Intef shook his head. Those memories won’t help him. Right now, he must focus on finding the lighter.
Where in the name of Osiris were the servants? He bellowed again. There was no answer. Something isn’t right, he thought as his voice echoed through the place.
He ran his fingers around the edge of the sconce once again, and his fingers hit something. The lighter. A wave of relief washed over him. He hated the darkness. It had been dark when he had stolen into this very chamber that night and poisoned the jug of water that stood on his father’s bedside table. The explosive mix of anger, jealousy, hatred, and fear had driven him to kill his father, the King, the Pharaoh of Egypt.
He released the clasp of the flint lighter and put it to the wick of a lamp. An unearthly yellow glow filled the chamber. Intef heaved a sigh of relief, and set about lighting the other oil-lamps.
Tomorrow he’d punish those servants. Hanging them alongside Khamose will be a good idea.
“But Khamose will die only after he has seen Sekah get married to me, the new Pharaoh of Egypt!” he chuckled.
The lamps burned casting a steady glow. They didn’t flicker at all. There was not even the slightest breeze in the chamber.
He pulled a sheet from the bed and wiped his face and neck. “let me draw the curtains myself,” he whispered wiping off the sweat that had accumulated on his brow, and turned to face the windows.
There were no windows.
He stood facing a wall that was painted in blue, yellow, and gold; a wall that told the story of Pharaoh Akhnaten’s rule. Blood drained from his face and he felt a chill run down his spine. Very slowly, pivoted on his spot, he turned again.
His father’s tomb, hewn out of a single block of marble and inlaid with gold and precious jewels, and within which his embalmed body lay, stood proudly in the center of the room. He stood inside the King’s burial chamber which was sealed shut after the ceremony had ended and he had left the pyramid.

Note: This story was written for Weekly Challenge at iSmithWords.com. This specific challenge was “Literary Lion. King.” The challenge required us to write a story in 400 words or less. This story has exceeded the word-limit, and so it doesn’t fulfill the requirements.  I tried my best to squeeze it down to 400, but couldn’t.

However, since I had taken this challenge as an assignment for Blogging101, I think I’ve managed one of the two things that I had set about accomplishing – I’ve finished my assignment :)

The Egyptian eye above can be seen sans-makeup here.

 

Finite Creatures: The Evening of the Storm (A Short Story and Ink Drawing of a Sinner)

The Evening of the Storm

(A Short Story)

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Finite Creatures.”

I can’t really remember when I first discovered that our lives were finite, so I’ll take refuge in fiction and tell you the story of a girl who wouldn’t die.
 
It had happened on the evening of the storm. The townsfolk still remembered that evening. They talked about the storm and the brave truck driver who died that night.
“He died trying to save her,” said her grandfather, pointing a knobby finger at her.
“Not a drop of gratitude,” said her grandmother, adjusting her bifocals and looking across the room at Leah.
She tried to drown their voices by turning her attention to the storm that was brewing outside. Lea hated her grandparents who whiled away their time recounting events that had turned to dust, except in their minds.
She had trained herself to ignore them but she knew that it wasn’t going to be easy, especially tonight. This treacherous night looked a lot like the night that they were talking about. Before she could steel herself, the stormy night colluded with her grandparents’ conversation and pulled the plug. Memories tumbled in.
Terrible memories. Of the storm, and of death.
Leah was returning from school when the skies had turned dark. She was just a hundred yards away from home; she just had to cross that wooden bridge across the river and she would have been home. 
But at that point, right before the bridge, her memories slowed down – they turned into a series of snap-shots.
First, the cold steely feel of the knife on the skin of her throat, then the violent shove; little later a familiar smell riding on a hoarse whisper, “come with me.”
Then it all turned into a blur.
A blur of rain, the sound of clothes being torn off, a raspy voice, an unbearable stench of sweat mixed with that of rotting teeth, and throttled cries for help…
That was all she remembered of it. But the memory of the pain still made her clench her teeth and cross her legs, really tight.
It must’ve lasted an hour or more – she couldn’t remember, but those bruises were everywhere.
Later, he lay satiated on the rotting floor of the log-cabin and said in his slimy, wheezy voice, “Don’t tell anyone, or you will die.” She didn’t know then, what dying meant, but she nodded. And then it happened. A strong gust of wind was all it took. The last thing that she remembered was that the cabin shook wildly and then rotten logs under him gave way. They crumbled, then cascaded down into the wild river. The logs were swept away, but he wasn’t. She saw him impaled upon one of the jagged rocks. The overhang was all gone and she lay on the edge, face down, watching his body twist and turn as the water hit it.
She was found two days later. She didn’t tell anyone. She was eight and she thought that if she told, she’d die too. She didn’t want to die.
Leah turned and looked at the pictures on the mantel.
They were all there. Her mother, her father, and he. All three. All dead.
Caricature Cartoon of a sinner - angry mad man with a guilty conscience - fire of hell.

The Sinner

 

The Genesis of this Post:
When Lydia and I discovered that we had both used the Photo-prompt for our blogging assignment, we decided to do the assignment once again, with the correct prompt this time. So we set ourselves a time-limit of one hour for the post, in which we had to think about the prompt, crystallize our thoughts, and make the post. I overshot it by 10 minutes :( She was in time with hers :) Please visit her blog here.

Half and Half make one Half Full – Let the Knights Joust.

Half and Half make one Half Full – Let the Knights Joust.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Half and Half.”

Where there’s black, there’s always some white; when there’s dark, there’s a possibility of light;
You may have to look for them, but in a world full of wrong, there are always things that are right.

This world is half-and-half, and until I saw this prompt, I didn’t realize that a lot of my illustrations are half-and-half too. One of these half-and-half illustrations is a two-page spread for the Talk Business and Politics magazine that has Mike Ross and Asa Hutchinson jousting to become the Governor of Arkansas.

Half and Half - Daily Prompt - Mike Ross and Asa Hutchinson Jousting for Arkansas Governor.

Left Half: Mike Ross (Democrat)
Right Half: Asa Hutchinson (Republican)

This image and the prompt together make me wonder:

These two valorous knights galloping towards each other with their lances targeting the other’s chest, hoping to throw the other off his stead, are the reason why this scene exists. The State Capitol building is essential to the scene because forms the quest, but why is the crowd there? The crowd is there because of the two knights. It is there to watch them joust.

And this makes me ask questions, that I admit, are totally unexpected of the happy-go-lucky right-brained arty-kinds.

  1. Why do we like to see fights? Why, we even make animals fight one another, and wager bets? 
  2. Why on one hand we cheer the winners and on the other, root for the underdog?
  3. What kind of thrill we get from seeing people spill blood or even kill one another?
  4. And if we don’t, if we have actually arrived at point in human history where our senses have become more refined and our battles are now fought with arguments, votes, and referendums, why still wars continue to rage through out the world?

I think there aren’t any answers to these questions, but we have opinions – and our opinions matter. They matter with all two warring-halves of the world – from the smallest halves to the biggest halves. Our opinions matter when we can influence the two halves and help them stand on the same side of the picture so we can help them become one. Our opinions also matter in bigger issues too as we can influence the course of history by voting the right decision-makers to the top-office of our country.

Until that happens, let the knights joust and the pugilists box.

 

Giggle-wiggle with Bernie Sanders: Why he can or can’t win?

Reblogging for my American friends and fellow-bloggers :)

There was a time, not in too distant past, that the only democratic candidate who registered in our minds was Hillary Clinton. Then came Bernie Sanders (Oh, he was already in the race, alright, but I am speaking of the moment when we realized this fact.)

Today, Bernie is being seriously considered as an alternative to Hillary, who he admits, he likes. But why or why not would he become the blue-eyed boy of the American public? The Giggler-wiggler takes a shifty-stance on this hot topic.

View the Original post and Funfographic here: Giggle-wiggle with Bernie Sanders: Why he can or can’t win?

The Highborn Lady and the Golden-haired Girl (A Short Story and an Ink Drawing.)

The Highborn Lady and the Golden-haired Girl
(Fiction…hopefully.)

She looked down her powdered nose and peered at them. She hated them all. That she was forced to walk the same earth they did, was a fact that rankled all the time, oozing acid into her heart.
“Cretins,” she mumbled, then mused, “how could they have been created by the same God who created me?”
As she looked at them under the wavering light of the torches lit in the wall-sconces behind her, a thin smile crept over her lips.
She looked through the iron-bars into the dungeon from where the tear-stained faces of seven teenaged girls looked up at her silhouette, and wondered if she was an angel who’d free them from their misery.
Free them, she would. One by one. Her eyes moved from one scared face to another, evaluating them for a purpose of her own.
“The one with golden hair and green eyes,” she turned to the gaoler and said in her strong, stern, and clear voice.
A hushed silence fell in the dungeon. The cries stopped, and twelve jealous eyes turned to the girl with golden hair and green eyes. She was going to be freed tonight. Others will remain. Right now, they were all the same, and she was different. The similarity of their fates bound them together in their hatred for her.
The girl with golden hair and green eyes looked up, and through the bars that made up the dungeon’s ceiling, she tried to look into her savior’s eyes, but her face was in shadows.
The lady turned and left. She walked through the labyrinth that took her away from the darkness of the dungeon into her palace above.  In an hour, her bath would be drawn. In the shimmering glow of a hundred candles, the silky smooth mixture of milk, honey, and blood will enter her pores and rejuvenate them. God had given her the boon of eternal youth, and this was why the same God who had created her, had created them. For her.
She smiled again. The thin, controlled smiled of a high-born lady.
Caricature - a pen and ink drawing of a proud, rich, and evil woman.
About the Artwork:
This artwork is important, both due to its inspiration and its timing. I did it about 8 months ago. It was inspired by a high-born lady who I’ve known quite well. Not directly, but through someone I deeply care about. I did this caricature-art when I was hospitalized – a day after my surgery. (That’s why the line-work isn’t clear. There’s only so much you can accomplish when you are propped up on pillows and still under the influence of pain-killers and other medicines.) This artwork is about things that are seldom spoken, and never talked about in public. It’s about mothers who should never have been mothers, about ladies who aren’t ladies, about empathy or the lack of it, and about the pain that’s inflicted upon you, merely because you are you.
The story, however, is fiction; perhaps inspired by a historical account of a countess…I think. Let me google it out. Oh   yes…Elizabeth Bathory.

5 Reasons why America must vote for Limberbutt McCubbins.

Shafali:

Reblogging this from my totally non-serious, completely fun blog :)

Originally posted on Giggle, Wiggle, and Poll-dance with the Presidential Candidates of 2016 Elections.:

LIMBERBUTT for PRESIDENT!

Presidential candidate Limberbutt McCubbins - A Demo-cat candidate from Louisville - for 2016 elections.

Visit Limberbutt McCubbins’ site and support his campaign.

  1. Limberbutt McCubbins is impartial and cannot be lobbied.
  2. Limberbutt McCubbins has a limber butt than all other presidential candidates, so he’d be up and about, all the time.
  3. Limberbutt McCubbins doesn’t belong to any human race and is untouched by the scourge of racism.
  4. Limberbutt McCubbins will get your cats, dogs, and all other pets covered for healthcare.
  5. Limberbutt McCubbins will not meddle in Congress’s decision-making; he’ll follow a paws-off management policy.

View his Wikipedia page here.

SUPPORT LIMBERBUTT McCUBBINS for PRESIDENT!

MEOW is the time!

(Note: Limberbutt McCubbins is a Demo-cat. That brings up the number of major democratic candidates to 6…right?)

View original

Blogging Neighbors make a Modern-Day Hamlet Soliloquize.

My Blogging101 Neighbors have changed me into a soliloquizing modern-day Hamlet.

In the past 10 days I’ve made some new friends and these friends have made me ask the following to-be-or-not-to-be questions:
  1. To Cook or not to torture the collective tastebuds of my family?
  2. To run or just snuggle under the sheets for a couple-of-more-hours?
  3. To buy new yoga-pants or wait until my tummy begins to jiggle?
  4. To be an Earl’s cat or a plain old boring human?
  5. To run along with ZuZu and checkout Berkshire or be a couch potato and watch Despicable Me?
  6. To fill the lives of those around me with positivity or just not bother?
  7. And finally, To be a fanatic and fly at the throats of anyone who dares disagree  even slightly with me, or respect other people’s opinions?
I know that I have missed a lot of other fantastic blogs that’ve moved me in the past few days, and consequently deprived this post of other deep and relevant questions.  I’m known to be more forgetful than that allegorical scientist who drank the glass full of bacteria-infested water.  I hope those sweet bloggers will forgive my lapse and leave me a reminder. I can and should soliloquize some more – and your reminders will make me answer more of these important, philosophical questions.
Coming back to my list of questions, here’s what I think, and regardless of what it makes you think about me, I stand (nope, lounge) by it.

1. To cook or not to torture the collective tastebuds of my family?

I cook, but each time I cook, the same dish ends up tasting different! Why? Because I can’t follow recipes. I admit that the kitchen reminds me of a Chemistry Lab, and the recipes remind me of those chemistry experiments that I disliked and even feared. Measure, pour, heat, add something else; let it simmer; when the color changes or when there’s a distinctive smell, do something else! It’s erringly similar to a Chemistry Lab experiment. So to make myself feel positive about the kitchen and cooking, I think of myself as a kitchen-witch who brews magic potions – but that’s a different story and needs a different post.

2. To Run or just snuggle under the sheets?

Is that even a logical question to ask? If your whole family is into running, then I understand that you must – or how will you be together? Imagine breakfast time in a family of runners. Dad has already run 500 yards, son is at 250 yards mark, mom tosses the sandwich and the OJ to Dad at 50 yds/second to get it to him in 10 seconds. Can’t imagine all that action! It makes me run (no, amble) for cover! The thought of all that action makes me exhausted – but kudos to our runner mom – I can only doff my hat to her.

3. To buy new yoga-pants or wait until my tummy begins to jiggle?

It jiggles a bit, alright. But getting into those yoga pants is something that I haven’t yet made up my mind on. Sorry Yoga Guru. First my boss who is now in Canada started organizing Yoga classes in our office and asked if I wanted to join. I checked my then hourglass figure in the mirror, and snickered at the idea. Later mom and dad watched me getting chubbier and slower; they tried to train me in yoga but failed. Now, I’ve begun to wonder whether I should’ve heeded their advice. BTW, Yoga is for people of all shapes and sizes. But what about those yoga-pants? I don’t want to look like a stuffed pillow, and doing yoga without yoga-pants isn’t my cup of green tea.

4. To be an Earl’s cat or a plain old boring human?

Is this even a question?
Of course I want to be an Earl’s cat. Why? Because then I’d speak Elizabethan English, purr a lot, and while purring, I’d casually remark upon who the Countess may or may not hoist her tail for. As a human, if I did that, I am sure the Earl would have me captured and flogged to correct the error of my ways. Earl’s cat – for sure.

5. To run along with ZuZu and checkout Berkshire or be a couch potato and watch Despicable Me?

Is this, too, even a question?
ZuZu… wait for me! Just allow me a few minutes to brew myself a cup of Felinosca potion and turn into a cat. A chubby woman scampering behind you on all fours will attract the eyes of entire Berkshire, and then you may have to drop your adventuring like a hot pot of boiling milk.

6. To fill the lives of those around me with positivity, or shutter myself in?

As I grow older, I cement my views and opinions, and I become unwilling to change. What I often forget is that even the unwillingness to embrace change is a choice.    Do I want to shutter myself in, is a question that I ask myself, especially when meet someone as cool  as these two bloggers.
 I know I’ll try to remember this all, but then I can’t really trust the absent-minded kitchen-witch whose idea of a perfect day is a quiet afternoon with a Wilbur Smith novel. She travels at the speed of thought and sees the world through the words of her favorite authors…and now…bloggers!
And finally,

7. To be a fanatic and fly at the throat of anyone who dares disagree  even slightly with me, or respect other people’s opinions?

As I said before, if possible, I’d like to live in a world sans fanatics. I don’t like fanaticism. And so I’ll set aside the only unpleasant experience in the blogosphere, and continue to Draw to Smile!
Feeling blessed - a pen and ink drawing - shafali's art. Artists and Commissions.

Feeling frazzled but blessed!

Happy Blogging :) and thanks Blogging101!

Heads Roll as the Header gets a Makeover!

When your header is full of heads, and you update it, heads are bound to roll.

While I’m going to miss some of the faces that I’ve been seeing on my blog everyday for the last one year, I want to tell them that they’ll never be far gone from my heart, and that there’s always a possibility that they return to the header as wild-card entry.

If you visit here regularly, you’ll miss the caricatures of Malcolm GladwellThe Three Presidents (Kennedy, Reagan, and Coolidge,) Liam Neeson, and Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister. Their places have now been taken by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, Mike Huckabee, Hillary Clinton, President Bill Clinton, Jeb Bush, and Jimmy Fallon.

Here’s the header that has now retired with benefits.
shafalis-caricatures-blog-header-jul-2014.jpg

The Rationale behind the update was as follows:

  1. A blog is a window through which I interact with the world. It allows people to peep into my world – and my world is made of pictures. The header of my blog lets my visitors get a glimpse of those pictures.
  2. As time passes, an artist’s work matures, changes, or sometimes, even transforms. My previous header was updated an year ago. Some of my new works were hankering for attention – and so, a change was due.
  3. My blog has some regular visitors. The header-image (I think,) also works as an anchor. When they visit my blog, they get a sense of familiarity, and I didn’t to destroy that. This is why retained some features of the old header. (The sign on the black background, the images at the edges, etc.)

This update has been due for a long time and today’s Blogging101 assignment couldn’t have happened at a better time. I’m also working on a new sidebar widget – one that I hope, will make you go ROFL :D

Caricature Illustration: Hillary Clinton and Mike Huckabee take Uncle Sam for a Boat-Ride.

Here’s my recent illustration for the July-August Issue of Talk Business & Politics. This artwork accompanies the feature, “Hillary Huckabee and those fickle Arkansas Voters” by John Brummett.

Caricature Illustration Mike Huckabee and Hillary Clinton (Presidential Candidates for 2016 Elections) Row a boat and take uncle sam for a boat-ride. Illustration for Talk Business and Politics, Arkansas.

America…hold tight! (Click for larger image.)

While painting this artwork, I found myself wondering what would happen if Mike Huckabee and Hillary Clinton were chosen by their parties for their ultimate face-off?
What would happen if they weren’t facing away from each other, merrily rowing away the boat of the American sentiment in their own directions?
Honestly, I can’t really imagine a civil debate. I think…
  1. They’d leave their lecterns,
  2. They’d roll up their sleeves, bend their knees, and begin circling each other,
  3. They’d put on their boxing gloves and lunge at each other, and
  4. America will be left all the more confused after their high-octane, energy-packed, verbally violent debates!
Huckabee is as conservative as Hillary is liberal – they are opposites that don’t attract…at all. Recently Huckabee said that Hillary’s interview on CNN was too painful to watch, and I think Hillary isn’t smitten by him either.
But my opinion on the duo and all other Presidential candidates is a matter for another blog. Here I must talk only about…

Illustrating the Hillary Clinton & Mike Huckabee Boat-ride Scene:

The brief that I received from the client mentioned Hillary and Huckabee rowing a boat in opposite directions…not flying at each others throats, not debating…just doing their own thing. It was a full-page inner illustration. I read the brief early in the morning…I think it was around 5 AM..right after the morning tea. A picture popped up in my mind and I rushed to my whiteboard and did a two-minute sketch.
After I had sketched the figures for Hillary and Huckabee, I stood back and looked at the sketch. It appeared a little bland. It was a full-page artwork and there wasn’t enough happening. It didn’t have enough in it to make it look funny – so I wondered how I could make it look more colorful and at the same time add more meaning to it. I thought a little more about the boat…and then it clicked. Who was it that these two were trying to ferry across? Of course, the American people. So I added a visibly perturbed (actually, thoroughly disturbed) Uncle Sam with the American Flag to the image, took a photo of it, and emailed it to the Editor. He liked it – and within an hour I had my first approval. I don’t normally send rough sketches (they are neither required nor appreciated – because they don’t really say a lot. Perhaps they work only after you and your client have worked together long enough to see behind your squiggles.)
The next step was of course the sketch, which in my opinion is the most important stage of any illustration. I always put in a lot of effort at this stage – trying to come as close to the picture that I have in my mind. So I sketched the ocean, the pitched ships, the boat, the oars, the flag, the water…everything. I don’t kill myself establishing likeness at this time, but if I have the time, I try to come as close to it as possible.  After I got a thumbs-up, rest was simple. Just filling colors in those lines. I just follow one simple rule while coloring…don’t deviate from the actual too much, but add as much color as possible. So the sea is the stormy frothy green and grey, the faces and the hair are their normal hue, and the political symbology remains correct too. Yet, I went a little “liberal” with the color of Hillary’s dress and gave her some big pearls (expensive ones, I assure you.)
This work took a lot of time and tons of conscious effort in trying to put in details that matter, without making them look like they weren’t part of the scene. Notice the splashing water, for instance. It splashes up, covering the Arkansas State Flag and the clothes of the characters. But then the feeling of overcoming a challenge is a reward in itself.
The painted artwork was approved without any modifications… and I got a pat on the back from the client…something that makes me feel really good and grateful.
Draw to Smile :) I should now return to Blogging101. If you are a WordPress Blogger and you haven’t taken this course, do enroll for the next one. It’s awesome.

6 Celebrity Body-parts that Deserve their own Wax Statues at Madame Tussauds

I had written this post almost a year back – for Cracked.com but they thought that it required more work. They weren’t happy with the quality of my links  :)
Had my topic read, “7 Advances in Medical Science that could change Humans into Birds,” or “10 Proofs that Aliens walk Among Us,” I’d have definitely spent a few more months in research. But the idea of spending hours and days gathering links that prove that these specific celeb-body parts have gained fame and brought fortune to their human-carriers, didn’t exactly fill me up with drive and enthusiasm. So I strangled my dream of writing for Cracked.com and forgot all about these rather interesting celeb-appendages. 
Today, this article just popped up as I was scrolling through my notes in Notes looking for forgotten blog-post ideas – and I thought why not :)
So, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you 6 Celeb-body-parts that deserve their own wax-statues at Madame Tussauds (and their own caricatures by Tom Richmond.)

Miley Cyrus’s Forever-out Tongue:

Miley’s tongue would be one of a forerunners in a race for a place at Madame Tussauds. Why? Her tongue possibly has more fans than Miley herself, which is not at all odd – because her tongue has wooed its own fans all over the world by popping out of her oral cavity with unfailing regularity. In fact, her tongue beats Miley in connecting with the audience. Her tongue has struck every possible pose for the camera – it has leaned out of the corner of her mouth with its tip curving provocatively; it has curled up in a lip-smacking, come-hither look; it has cascaded out of her mouth in an attempt to ape the Niagara falls! Her tongue deserves its own place in the history of mankind.

Michael Jackson’s Crotch:

The candidacy of Michael Jackson‘s crotch for a dedicated wax statue is undisputed, and while it is no longer possible to actually sculpt a statue to honor it, credit must be given where it’s due. Before the King of Pop began clutching his goods to the beats of music, the poor crotch was a shamefully hidden, never celebrated part of the human body. Nobody touched it in public; definitely not under the glare of a zillion lights and in full view of a million fans. The fame of Michael Jackson’s crotch transcended borders and reached the remotest corners of the planet. It became the only crotch in the world that was not just pointed at, talked about, but literally clutched again and again, as he sang and danced his way into people’s hearts. It’s the crotch that inspired videos such as “Fifty Ways to Grab your Crotch“.
When I see four-year-olds grabbing their crotch and imitating Michael Jackson, I can’t help but think how his crotch led every crotch out of darkness, into the world of glitz and glamor.

Jay Leno’s Chin:

Jay Leno‘s chin is a Chin with a Man attached. If prognathism was considered a mark of beauty, Mr. Leno would be the handsomest man on the planet. I am not disputing the fact that Jay Leno is a super talk show host; all I want to say is that his chin had a big hand in the success of his shows. Whether he is connected with the House of Habsburg, and thus, is royalty; or whether he has a Habsburg jaw, is a matter of speculation; but in my absolutely certain opinion, his massive jaw deserves a special place of honor at Madame Tussauds. I’d like to tell you that internationally, Jay Leno’s magnificent jaw is known better than he himself is.
If anyone has any doubts, I’d like to mention that man who owns this unique chin himself believes that all his life, he has but followed his chin, or why would he name his autobiography, “Leading with my Chin.”
Caricature, Cartoon of Jay Leno - The Tonight Show Host (Portrait, Sketch, Drawing - event: Retirement.)

Handing over?

Pamela Anderson’s Upper-Anterior Assets:

Some have boasted of bigger ones (Dolly Parton), others, may have shown off better ones (Carmen Electra); but the height of fame reached by Pamela’s silicone-enhanced bosom still remains unchallenged. Pamela Anderson’s silicon-spheres drew eyeballs like a flame draws moths. Men watched them and drooled. Women looked at them and depending on their financial might, either rushed to the plastic surgeons to get theirs pumped up, or to the lingerie store to buy the newest padded bra. And yet after getting her money’s worth from them, the voluptuous Bay Watch babe, the longest surviving Playboy Cover Girl  decided to swap her humongous pair of implants for a couple of dainty ones. Those original implants have been saved by her Plastic surgeon. I wouldn’t venture to suggest what use he may put them to but I’d recommend that he puts them up on eBay. If and when that happens, they must find their own wax replica in the museum of celebrities.  Madame Tussauds’ staff has its work cut out.
Caricature and Cartoon of the Model, Actress, and Sex-Symbol Pamela Anderson with two fish who've lost their homes.

They aren’t Pancho and Lefty!

The Fingers of Keith Richards:

Perhaps the only celebrity who can be recognized by his fingers, is Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones.  While his gnarled fingers are possibly the result of osteoarthritis and they could be Heberden’s nodes where the joints closer to the finger-tips swell up, they’ve often been attributed to his playing the guitar. Amidst a lot of speculation on how his fingers acquired those distinctive knobs, I feel that saving a space for his fingers in Madame Tussauds is a good idea.
Cartoon Caricature of Keith Richards - Guitarist of the Rolling Stones rock band - done for the American Spectator Magazine

Keith Richards of Rolling Stones for the American Spectator Magazine

The Hair & Skin of Donald Trump:

Whether they deserve two separate mentions or one, can be a matter of debate. However, this famous but controversial billionaire who is now hoping to be the next President of the United States, has something to offer to Madame Tussauds.  His skin has the oddest orange glow that reminds some of the Oompa Loompas of Charlie and the Chocolate factory.
This orange glow is local to his face and doesn’t reach his hands, so quite possibly it’s Trump-made and not natural. Whatever it is – it’s characteristic of Donald Trump, and helps his face stand out among a crowd of other normal-skin people. His hair that was once dark, later acquired a yellow hue that lasted him a good thirty years; but what actually makes his hair worthy of being celebrated and honored is the way they sweep down his forehead, only to lurch up again, right before they get into his eyes. His hair has a life of its own, but it in servitude. It serves a life-long bond as it guards that Dollar-minting mind by keeping it covered all the time.  When most of Trump’s contemporaries have only fleeting memories of a full head of hair; Trump’s dome of silken hair has defied all laws of nature – making Trump’s face one of the most recognized business-faces around the world.
Perhaps the American voters can swap their votes for Trump’s hair and donate the hair to Madame Tussauds.

Behind the Boarded-up Window – Portrait Art: Hat No. 3

Hats that Women Wear – Hat # 3

Boarded-Shut!
(Chapter 1)
I looked out of my window. The house across the park that was directly opposite mine, gleamed in the afternoon summer sun. The house looked like the houses around it, but in my eyes, it was different. I knew that if I opened the gate and walked along the southern wall of the house, I’d come across a window that was boarded-shut. I doubt if anyone else had noticed it. The honeysuckles that grow around the house are dense, and that particular window has a sandpaper-vine twisting diagonally over it – ensuring that even the board would be seen only by those with a lot of imagination.
Those others…their imagination was jaded, sucked dry by their daily rut. But I was different. I had seen strange things happening in houses that looked perfectly normal, so when I saw that boarded-up window, I knew something wasn’t right. I looked around. The streets, the park, the verandahs of the houses, all bore a deserted look. The hot sting of the summer wind kept everyone inside in the afternoons.  I knew that a middle-aged man lived in that house. Every morning, five days a week, he’d open the gate, wheel out his motorcycle, shut the gate, and ride away. Every evening around 7, he returned. On weekends, he stayed home. At this hour, on a weekday, the house would be vacant.
All I had to do was go down, walk through the park, open that gate and walk in.
I locked the house, set my phone on Silent, and went down the steps of my house. Outside, I looked around. If anyone were looking they’d just see a housewife running an important errand. Satisfied, I walked through the park, crossed the street on the opposite side, slid the catch on the gate and got in. I was there. I could hear my heart thumping, beating against my rib. And then the enormity of my action dawned upon me. I was trespassing. I looked around again. Surreptitiously. The streets were still deserted. I looked up – to check the windows. A few were open, and I wondered whether those dark square holes contained a pair of watchful eyes.
I shrugged the thought aside. I could just be lady calling upon her neighbors. What was wrong with it? Nothing!
I turned around and walked into the house – right to that mysterious boarded-up window. I bowed a little to reach under the sandpaper vine and tried to find a hole from where I could peep in, but in vain. Someone had done a thorough job of sealing it up. Then I tip-toed around the house and stepped into the backyard. I was shocked to see how beautiful it looked. For a moment, I lost myself in admiring the beauty of the summer-flowers that grew there.
Then I heard a sound. The sound of a person moving, a few yards away, inside the house.
There was someone inside, and the door was cracked open. I turned around and climbed the two concrete steps that led to the door – battling the issue of propriety within, I opened the door some more and peeped inside. It looked pretty. This was their morning room, I thought. The the flower-vases, the floral curtains; they all suggested a woman’s touch.
“Anyone in there?” I called out, cold sweat breaking in my palms and my heart threatening to break my rib-cage; I was ready to run. The curtain moved, and I almost bolted, but the vision that materialized in front of my eyes stopped me dead.
 I stood rooted to my spot; speechless, and shocked.
This is what I saw.
Hats women wear - hat number 3 - portrait art - shafali - emotional and physical abuse
Why was the window boarded up?
Who kept the garden?
Why didn’t the woman leave?
Other Hats that Women Wear:
Hat#1 and Hat#2
Hat #1
Women Girl Portraits - Face and Hat - Depression - Digital Painting by Shafali
Hat#2
Portraits of Women - Face, profile, side face, hats that women wear - this is hat 2, the hat of ambition.
(Note: The story began with the Clean-Slate prompt, which I misunderstood, at least partially.)

Interesting stuff about to tumble out of Shafarnia’s cupboard.

Ok. Blogging101‘s moderator Ms. Weber has given us a breather. She says that today’s assignment (about choosing the right theme for your blog ) doesn’t require a post. But this blog requires a non-blogging101 post – if I don’t make it pronto it has threatened to go on strike. I cannot be sure of how my blog got this absurd idea, but I suspect it has recently joined a union of blogs, and the disgruntled blogs are now demanding bonus posts!

Anyone who knows me (and I cannot claim that many do,) know that I am putty in the hands of those close to me – and after 5 years of togetherness, this blog and I have become rather close. So I’ve already buckled under the threat and planned three posts. The subjects of the posts however aren’t happy with the idea of being used for the purpose of pacifying this grumpy blog.

A Public Service Notice:

Please check whether your blog too has become a member of the Blog Union. If it has, you may be in serious trouble. My suggestion is to give in and make some good posts that help you win back your blog’s affections.

 

Cover Art for a Vampire Novel makes the Caricaturist travel into the Past.

Though this might be news to my Blogging101 co-bloggers, my old friends and visitors know that I own a Time Machine.

It is an old 2052 model TimMaX110, but except for sundry fuel issues, it works just fine. I confess that I bought it online. There were many options – at different price-points; the Chinese was the cheapest, the Made-in-Germany was the most expensive (and the possibly the best), but finally I settled for the Made-in-America TimMaX110. All these models are from the future, so you wouldn’t have heard of them. It should suffice to say that I own a TimMaX, which sputters a bit while revving up, its fuel gauge doesn’t work, once in a while it lands in odd times and places, and while its mileage does burn a hole in my purse, the pickup is so good that it almost leaves the rear-end of the machine behind.

When I took this specific trip into the past, for the first time, all through the trip my TimMaX didn’t splutter or faint on me. I had to pick up Rajveer the vampire in the thirteenth century, then stopover in the sixteenth and the twentieth centuries, before we returned to the present. The space-coordinates were all located in India – thanks to this particular Italian client o’mine who loves India (for reasons that she explains in her interview below.)

Before I introduce you to the author Ms. Barbara G.Tarn, let me show you the cover that I painted for her book Rajveer the Vampire, which you can pre-order on Apple USBarnes&Noble,  Kobo and Smashwords.

Cartoon, Comic Strip - Barbara G. Tarn and Hrithik Roshan by Barbara

Rajveer the Vampire – an historical fantasy novel by Barbara G.Tarn

In this new novel, Barbara G.Tarn combines her love for history (especially medieval) and fantasy. It’s the story of a vampire through the centuries that will appeal to both historical fiction readers and vampire lovers all over the world.

A “sun clan” warrior can never become a true child of darkness.
In 14th century India, Rajveer, a proud Rajput warrior of a Suryavanshi clan, is turned into a bloodsucker by an ancient Celtic vampire. Immortal, he loses his family to war and time and travels through northern India, seeing history unfold. Threatened by both human wars and evil vampires, can he remain true to his sworn vow not to take human lives?
A vampire’s journey through centuries.

Barbara G. Tarn write fantasy literature of a different kind. While most vampire-stories are set in a dark place with pale vampires who have scarlet lips and protruding fangs that drip blood, her stories are set in our world. They are spaced in time, but her well-researched descriptions of those other places and times makes one wonder whether she has lived it all.

She agreed to answer a few questions for this post, and I am mighty glad she did, because these questions have been troubling me ever since I began doing her covers.

Q1. You are an Italian but your novels have many Indian characters. And in your latest novel “Rajveer the Vampire,” not only your main protagonist Rajveer is an Indian, the novel has been set in India. Why are you so smitten with India? 

I guess I summarized it pretty well here… Gee, five years ago already! Where did time go?! Anyhow, it’s probably also a question of previous lives. I know I had some very good life in the European Middle Ages (before guns ruined everything for everyone) and then there was probably some other life spent in India, and it stuck to me… I have also noticed a lot of similarities – besides the name of the country (India-Italia – 5 letters, start with I ends with A) – so even if on the planet we look far away, I think we are very similar…

Q2. The Chinese, the Japanese, the Africans, the Australians, and the Alaskans are all waiting for their turn to feature in your novels. When is that likely to happen?

Japan is my next intercontinental destination. Some day I hope to get to visit my friends down under as well – and study the Aboriginal people. China and Africa will probably have their own vampire mythology, since Rajveer the Vampire will probably be the first of many… Alaska is a very cold place and I’d love to visit it one day! Although… I don’t really need to go there in person to write about countries and places. I haven’t been to India yet, after all… but hope to before I write the second book of the series, so I can show it with Westerner’s eyes!

Q3. Some say that you share a mysterious chemistry with a certain Bollywood star, and his dreams inspire some of your books. Is there’s any truth in these rumors?


barb and hrithik comic cartoon by barbara g tarn

Does this answer your question?

More can be found in 15 years of Creative Barbwire – and maybe soon in another strip or single vignettes (sometimes I publish them on my blog, sometimes I keep them private. Or you can admire my procrastination techniques… Now I better go back to writing!

Please visit Unicorn Productions for more of Barbara’s works. Do visit and follow her blog at creativebarbwire.wordpress.com.

 

Title, Tagline, and the Journey of this Blog.

  • Note for blogging101 co-bloggers: This blog’s title is: “Shafali’s Caricatures, Cartoons, and Portraits,” and it’s tag-line is: “Draw to Smile.”
  • Note for all other visitors, this is just another post from your quirky caricaturist.

This blog was born on December 11, 2009. I still remember that morning. It was so cold that if you stepped out of you house, you’d feel your marrow freezing in your bones, immobilizing you and then pushing you deep down into the abyss of hopelessness. Professionally, I was committed to a job that kept me comfortable and well-fed, but my need to draw had never left me. Art was that passionate and persistent lover, who would stalk me all the time and follow me everywhere. I’d have these little secret trysts with art, whenever I had a moment to spare. My notebooks were filled with doodles ready to tattle that the flame of my passion still burned bright for my one true love.

That morning, quite like many other mornings before it, demanded that I perform the chores of my job, without pain, but also without pleasure; with a sense of duty, but without any passion!

As I sipped my tea mechanically, I chanced upon a face in the newspaper. I just picked a pencil and caricatured it to make it funnier. I was drawing a face that could make me smile.

Here’s the face that I drew that morning.

Caricature Sketch of an anxious and worried man - the first caricature.

My first caricature

View the First Post here.

A few squiggles…and a confused yet mocking expression. It would’ve been consigned to the waste-basket where many of its predecessors had gone, but it was meant to change my life, and so it didn’t. My husband saw it – and along with it, he saw my pain.

“Nobody ever sees the drawings you make – why don’t you start a blog where you can scan and post your sketches,” he said.

I tried to wriggle out of it. “I won’t be able to keep it up,” “Nobody would ever visit,” “Who wants to see funny faces,” and many more feeble excuses were made that day.

And yet that evening, we sat down together and created a blog on WordPress – shafali.wordpress.com. At the beginning, it was titled “Shafali’s Caricatures,” then when I began doing cartoons the title expanded to “Shafali’s Caricatures & Cartoons,” and now, because I also do a lot of portraiture work, it’s called “Shafali’s Caricatures, Portraits, and Cartoons” The tag line however has never changed. Drawing has always made me smile, and I think that there’s no point drawing if it doesn’t make you smile :)

This was the first header of this blog :)

shafali_caricature_header.jpg

Then came this…

celebrity_caricatures_cartoons_shafali_header.jpg

Next was…

shafalis-caricatures-blog-header1.jpg

And now it is:

shafalis-caricatures-blog-header-jul-2014.jpg

 

In the last 6 years, this blog has grown along with my portfolio of works (which began demanding its own space and so I created another blog – of course, again on WordPress,) it has helped me get some very interesting commissions, and more than anything else, it has given me a space where I can present my works, my thoughts, and be myself :) I know I don’t do a lot of blogging stuff right, but I am open to learning and this is why I’ve joined blogging101.

So folks at blogging101, if you are just starting, don’t worry – blogging is like a little garden that you start from scratch…you must care for it and be patient with it. If cared for, it will bloom, that’s certain.

Who I am and why I’m here?

More importantly…why is this post here?

This post is here because I’ve enrolled in Blogging 101 program that will run for three weeks, and this is our first assignment :) I’ve already taken the whimsy in me to task, and she’s promised to stick to the guidelines. I don’t trust her, and I warn you not to trust her either.

The first question is: Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?

Answer: Bipeds are social animals. Why do you think we got up, straightened our limbs, forced our two hinds to carry our whole body weight? To free our hands so that we may use them for shaking other people’s hands. I could’ve kept a private journal, which would have been found by archaeologists in the year 3015; scanned and preserved in a 250 Zettabyte pin-drive – so that some historian could download it into her head and use it to craft time-travel stories. Oddly, that doesn’t appeal to me – I’d rather write, read, and be read, here and now :)

The second question (a mere guideline) is: What topics do you think you’ll write about?

Answer: No idea. I end up writing about the strangest things (People trapped inside computers, Atlantis, Tatooine, Politics, Art, Artists, Writers) and I write the strangest stuff (short-stories, parodies, serious commentary on world affairs, biographies of people who inspire/irk me.) I can, however, tell you what sort of images you’ll find here – you’ll see caricatures (people made to look funny with their features pushed, pulled, tweaked, and twisted,) cartoons (you know the stuff,) and portraits.

The third question (and a very important one) is: Who would you love to connect with via your blog?

Answer: Two kinds of people:

1. Personally, Fun-loving people – those who like to see the world through glasses tinted with humor. Who step into your world and brighten it up by their mere presence. They post a “hi” in your comments, and you grow wings :) BTW, most of us fall in this category…if you think you don’t, you’ve just misplaced your humor-tinted glasses.

2. Professionally, prospective clients for my illustration-work. As an artist, I illustrate for magazines, books, and novels; and I also license my images for commercial use. I have another blog where I maintain a portfolio of my works here.

And finally,

If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to accomplish?

1. New Friends for my Heart.
2. New Clients for my Art.

Signing off…

and

going back to “Draw to Smile” :)

The Fourth of July – A Happy Time for a Serious Introspection.

A Very Happy Fourth of July to my visitors from the United States.

Fourth of July - Eagle on flag background card for Independence Day of America

 

“My dream is of a place and time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth.” – Abraham Lincoln

Today, Lincoln’s words ring truer than ever. While Americans celebrate the 257th birthday of the United States – there are still things that must change, and some that must not. As Americans reinterpret their freedoms, new forms of intolerances are born. As Americans take a step forward toward equality of various kinds, individual freedoms are trampled upon. As Americans open their hearts and accept diversity, they let gender-inequality thrive in the land of freedom and opportunities.

The eagle looks skywards and asks – Is this the right direction?

Happy Fourth of July to everyone who loves what America has always stood for – hope, freedom, and opportunity.

Gallery

Some Recent Works – Caricatures and Deviations.

This gallery contains 12 photos.

Cartoon: Gay Marriage Legalized – Republicans Bristle, Democrats Giggle.

Now is the time for the elephant to pull himself up, dust himself off, and get to work on larger issues.
Cartoon: Gay Marriage Legalized – Republicans Bristle, Democrats Giggle.
.