Wiki-Leaked – the High and Mighty run for Cover!

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Breaking News!—Breaking New!—-Breaking News!

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New information of highly sensitive nature has been leaked by the Wikileaks. Experts are unanimously of the opinion that this information will cause turmoil among not only the politicos of the world; it will also raise the blood-pressure of other kinds of celebrities.

It’s being conjectured that the leaked document is part of the Caricaturist’s hit-list, and it contains famous names such as:

When the Caricaturist was contacted about this leak, she refused to talk to the media, saying that “media only worked to made bad things appear worse!”

Important Note: The Journo who called up the Caricaturist notes: “It appears that The Caricaturist is suffering from a bloated ego. It is amply clear that her success as a still-not-starving artist has gone to her head.”

We shall shortly discover whether or not this partial list really is a part of the Caricaturist’s hit-list. However, the visitors would do well to remember that the Caricaturist is known for changing her plans at the last-minute, so we really can’t be completely sure!

But we shall see.

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Remember that you first read this here.
—Shafali’s Caricatures News Service…Making News out of Nothing!–

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Caricature/Cartoon – Harry Potter the Boy who Lived and Changed the World of Fiction!

Presenting the caricature of Daniel Radcliffe as the Harry Potter I liked. I don’t think that Harry Potter needs an introduction. We all know who he is. The boy wizard, the boy who lived, the wizard who defeated Lord Voldemort…but wait a minute.

Who’s Lord Voldemort?

  1. An avatar of Osama Bin Laden
  2. A reincarnation of Adolf Hitler
  3. Eidi Amin in disguise
  4. All of the above.

In the estimation of the witches and the wizards of the world, he is all of the above and more.

But wait. We are losing our focus here. This post is about the famous Harry Potter and not about the infamous Tom Marvolo Riddle or Lord Voldemort. So here’s Harry’s Caricature 🙂

A Cartoon, Caricature, Drawing, Sketch, (you might even call it a distorted portrait) of Harry Potter, the wizard boy character created by JK Rowling

Ah... I knew that the world will never have enough of me! They need Pottermore! What was that spell... Hermione? Oh...I remember now - Potterdom Morem!

About Harry Potter

So let us talk about Harry now.

Harry Potter, the character who took the world of fiction by a storm, was conceived in a train compartment. Yes he was. His literary mom JK Rowling (or Joanne Kathleen Rowling), who was fighting off penury with some financial help from the Government, thought him up while traveling in a train. This British lady envisaged a character that took everyone including its creator by surprise. She imagined an orphan boy with magical powers, who despite his shortcomings (weak eyesight, small stature, young age, average grades, mediocre looks…and so on) won his reader’s hearts.

Harry’s celebrated success as an icon makes me wonder whether we actually want our heroes not to be too heroic, because heroism makes them different from us?

I should fall off my chair upon hearing that you haven’t ready even one of the seven books…and so I will not add a Spoiler warning here.

Without the archaic further ado, let me begin with the theme or the core premise of the HP series:

The Core Premise of Harry Potter’s Wizarding World

If you haven’t read any of the HP books, you’ll find it difficult to visualize the interactions of the magical world and the human world, because they are interwoven. In fact, the wizarding world exists alongside the normal world, and the core premise is that this overlap is kept carefully hidden from the muggles (the non-magical beings,) so a lot of people amongst us might be witches and wizards; in fact, I could be a witch for all you know.

Harry Potter – A Quick Biography of a Fictional Character

The first book introduces Harry as a wailing infant (I am not sure about the wailing part – but it’s reasonable to assume that any infant would begin to wail when discovered by the likes of Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia. He spents the first decade of his life in the human or the muggle world, but later pursues his education in magic at the Center of all magical learning, Hogwarts. Most of his adventures are set in Hogwarts however, Harry is also found in various other magical places, for example the burrow where the Weasley’s live and where Harry is fawned upon by Mrs. Weasley, who is his best friend Ron‘s Mom.

Harry prefers Hogwarts to Privet Drive – as it’s at Hogwarts that he makes his first friends, and learns the truth about his parents. In the first book, “The Philosophers/Sorcerer’s Stone,” Harry first meets Lord Voldemort, his arch-rival, the villain, the sicko who killed Harry’s parents with an unforgivable curse, and who now wants to kill Harry. Why? Because his curse couldn’t kill Harry when he was a one year old infant as his mother died to save him.

The remaining 6 books contain Harry’s adventures at Hogwarts, at the burrow, and elsewhere. Each book ends with a fight between Harry and Voldemort, who wants to kill Harry and use his blood to return to power. The last book, however, kills Voldemort and shows that Harry is leading a normal life with his wizard wife and kids.

About JK Rowling

JK Rowling – Love, Hate, Criticism, & Jealousy

JK Rowling, the creator of Harry Potter is possibly one of the richest women in the world. Her rags to riches saga has made many writers wonder whether they too have that x-factor in them. She’s spawned all kinds of feelings among people. Harry Potter fans hang on every word that falls off her lips (or her pen,) while her critics attempt to establish how staid and prosaic her writing is. With jealous unsuccessful authors sitting on one end of spectrum and with starry-eyed readers on the other, Rowling is comfortably settled with Millions (perhaps, Billions) of Dollars. I think she deserves everyone of those Dollars. She’s got an extremely powerful imagination, and she knows how to tell a story – these are the two things that matter the most. You can write the most decorative prose, use the most vivid metaphors, and churn out pages after pages of content – but if your content doesn’t tell a story that sets the reader’s imagination on fire…you won’t sell.

But then I am not a literary critic, so you can toss the above assertion out of the window, and move on 🙂

JK Rowling – A Short Biopic!

Here’s a quick biographical sketch of JK Rowling.

Joanne (who later acquired the pen-name JK Rowling) was born on July 31 1965, in England. She had begun to write early (as it happens with most writers, artists, singers…who make it big. They start real young. We can’t say the same about the surgeons and engineers; however, the politicians, I hear begin to play politics as embryos!) and the first story that she wrote was about a Rabbit called Rabbit. Thankfully, she decided to call the boy who lived, Harry; instead of calling him “a boy called boy” and we shall remain eternally grateful to her for it.

Harry had first introduced himself to her in 1990, and it was then that she had begun the write the first book. However, one thing led to another, and Rowling saw the darkest time of her life in the next four years. Her marriage had failed, her mom died, and she was on welfare (also known as Benefits, dole…etc.) In 1995, she finished the manuscript for the first HP book, but alas, what happens the every eventually successful author happened to her too. Her agents submitted the manuscript to 12 publishers and they all gave it thumbs-down (Possibly for the very same reasons that those green-eyed critics of hers use to malign her.) But then Rowling’s stars found that once-in-a-million-years alignment, and she was given a measly sum as an advance by Bloomsbury. (Now that should teach me not to crinkle my nose and wrinkle my eyebrows at the peanuts that I am offered for my work – but did I ever tell you that I never enjoyed the process of learning?)

Well…I guess I am done with the most interesting part. A talented person needs just one success, and with that first book, Rowling got hers. She had the talent to weave stories and build characters, places, and events, and so every new book that she published became a bigger hit than the previous one.

You know the rest – right? If you don’t, then you should check out this link at Wikipedia:

Here are the 7 books in the Harry Potter Series (Source: hp-lexicon.org)

  1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s (Sorcerer’s in the US) Stone
  2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

More of Potter at Pottermore?

Right now the world is waiting for PotterMore!

What is Pottermore?

Well, I think that it is an Online Community RPG (Role-playing Game.) Why? Read my reasons here.

Why Pottermore?

Frankly, I believe that Warner Bros., couldn’t afford the dampening of interest around Harry Potter. They still have one last movie (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part II) to profit from and they have a lot of merchandize sales to make. Because they need to keep the hype alive, and because they want the Potter fans to be clamoring for something again, they’ve decided to launch PotterMore! Look at the hoopla around it. Don’t you think that we’ve gone back into that lost era of new HP launches? Everyone’s talking about Pottermore – aren’t they?

But then, for us Potter fans, that doesn’t change a thing – does it?

Before I end this post, here are some popular Potter Fan Sites:

Alohamora Pottermore!
(Find the list of spells here.)

POTTERMORE UPDATE – NEWS!:

About an hour ago, Pottermore.com was launched with a video of JK Rowling talking about Pottermore being an online reading experience for the Potter-fans. The books will also be relaunched as e-Books. The Potter fans will also be re-building the same stories alongside. Rowling also said that she’d be contributing the info that she had been hoarding for her readers…

All-in-all, a disappointing launch for me – but I guess, there are other more loyal fans who appear to be very happy with it.

Let us wait and watch…once again.

Preparing for the Launch of PotterMore – Coming up today…More on Potter!

Harry’s caricature (updated) has been waiting in the queue for a long-long time. First it was shoved out of the line by William and Kate who had just got married and had to be given preferential caricature-treatment. Then, when Harry’s caricature somehow wriggled its way back, that bearded terrorist Osama bin Laden happened to regretfully leave his stash of pornography and women behind, making it impossible for me not to caricature Osama. Next, I got caught in the cartoon making non-billable business, and forgot all about dear Harry until I read about PotterMore.

What is PotterMore?

Recently, JK Rowling launched a new website called, PotterMore. This website displays two owls who look at you owlishly, making you wonder what PotterMore might be. When you click any of the owls, you are directed to a Youtube page, which shows a countdown to a moment on Thursday (that’s tomorrow.)

Now, according to my keen sense of reason, PotterMore can be nothing but an online community sort of roleplaying game, for which they’d attempt to create an Online Hogwarts (along with other magical places, for instance the 12 Grimmauld place, the burrow, and so on!) The logic behind my deduction is simple…it’s called “immersion”. On an immersion continuum, books score the lowest, movies are somewhere in the middle, and roleplaying games score the highest. As they’ve called it Potter”MORE”, I think the “More” has to do with an online game community.

Let us wait and watch…the countdown ends tomorrow – but your wait for Harry Potter‘s Caricature ends sometime today!

(It has ended. View Harry Potter’s Caricature here.)

A Question about PotterMore:

The Youtube page says, “The Owls are gathering”.

Guess who are actually gathering? Potter Fans (yours truly included)!
The inference? Potter Fans are owls!

Can you tell why the inference is fallacious?

(If you can, do leave a comment. It will help dispel the general notion, which in my opinion is incorrect, that artists can’t think logically.)

Takashi Murakami Twisted me out of Shape.

I am not keen on abstract art that doesn’t explain itself. Art, as I once said, should result in multiple interpretations. Everyone who looks at an artistic creation should take away with him or her, something personal – sometimes, this takeaway isn’t all that personal and unique (take the example of caricature art, the kind I do,) at other times, it’s so unique that everyone has a different takeaway – even among such art, is the art that cannot be duplicated and that demonstrates unsurpassed skill. Takashi Murakami’s art is of the latter kind.

I being the unaware, uncaring, artistically-un-inclined, forever cynical artist, don’t go out looking for art that I like, but once in a while fate throws it into my face, making me feel ashamed of my cynicism. This is exactly what happened about a half hour ago, when I switched on my computer and opened my browser, which defaults to Google.

Google Doodle by Takashi Murakami.

Google Doodle by Takashi Murakami.

(Note: I’ve added a low-resolution screenshot here, because I know that this image will be gone by tomorrow.)

I looked at the First Day of the Summer “doodle” by Takashi Murakami and became curious. Then I did the next obvious thing…I did a search on him – and then I was hooked.

Even if you disregard the semen and the milk, you still are left wondering how he visualized his creations, and then when the shock of his idea wears off, he mesmerizes you with his skill. You’ve got to see this strange combination of colors, geometries, figures, ideas, and presentation methods.

I leave you with the following three links:

Shafali’s Cartoon, A Football Rat, and Handsome Indian Men – Some Long Tail SEO Humor!

Before I begin, let me tell you that the long tail that I am talking about is a funky name for a simple concept.

Most of the people who land on your blog through searches reach there by typing in search terms that aren’t a direct match to your content.

Here are some inspirational long-tail search terms that brought some innocent, unsuspecting visitors to this blog. In this post, I attempt to assuage their hurt feelings by addressing them directly.

Search Term 1: Nobody answers my question, cartoons:
My dear visitor, nobody answers my questions either. I think that we need to start a group of people with unanswered questions and start answering questions for one another. In fact we could swap one question for one answer. What are your thoughts?

Search Term 2: shafali’s cartoon:
Check out the sidebar. That maniacal looking brush-wielding woman with hula hoops in her ears, is Shafali – and the image that you are seeing is an extremely realistic portrait that has an unbelievable likeness to the subject – one of the many Shafalis who burden this Earth with their presence.

Search Term 3: naked avatars:

The Handsome Navi Avatar
What?
Naked Avatars?
Whose?
Not of the Gods or the Goddesses or their messengers, I hope, for your sake. If you don’t know what I mean, please read about the Danish Cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, the British Writer Salman Rushdie, and the Indian Artist Maqbool Fida Hussain whose lives became miserable because they attempted to create the naked avatars related to such delicate matters – either realistically or metaphorically. You won’t find that kind of explosive stuff on this moderate caricaturist’s blog.

However, if you are keen on a Non-naked blue-colored, long-bodied avatar of a human-turned Na’vi called Jack Sully, click here.

Search Term 4: football rat cartoon drawings

Troy Polamalu of the Steelers - NFL
I have a question.
You want a cartoon drawing of a football-like rat, or a rat playing football, or rat-like football. I like the mouse type of rats who are homey and who prefer to play chess, dine with family, and raise nice educated kid-mice. I am slightly wary of the sword-wielding gladiator mouse, or even the rifle brandishing terrorist mouse…yet they have managed to chew their way into this blog. However, I don’t yet have football playing mice or rat here. Never thought of inviting them over – but thanks for the idea:)

The only time I’ve touched base with football is with this caricature of Troy Polamalu the Pittsburgh Steeler who blocks with his locks (Oh God, please…please…please – let me be right about blocking…or everyone would know that I know nothing about Football!)

Search Term 5: cartoons to draw out difference between force and pressure
This one is easy.
Close your eyes. Now imagine that you are…well…sitting on the toilet seat (a golden one perhaps!). Here’s the difference that you seek to discover:

  • Before you-know-what…is pressure,
  • during you-definitely-know-what…is force,
  • and after you-know-what is – RELIEF!

You got it, didn’t you? Now be a doll, draw that cartoon, and leave me a link 🙂

Search Term 6: joker caricature
You must be joking! A joker’s caricature?! How do you caricature a joker? Uh…oh! You meant Anthony Weiner’s Caricature! But he’s already done a fantastic job of caricaturing himself – trying to beat him at it would be like trying to improve upon perfection.

Search Term 7: definitions of art by known people
You’ve reached the right place, my friend. Click here to read a definition of art by a known person. I am known to my family, my dog, those pesky squirrels in my garden…I am a known person, believe me.

Search Term 8: pen and ink foxes
Pen and Ink Drawing - Dewey Dewster
Pen-and-ink drawings fox me too…and with dogged determination. I mean how do you correct an error in a pen-and-ink? And how do you end up creating all those shades by using only one shade of black! If you find an answer to that question, please leave it here.

Search Term 9: how to draw lady gaga’s outfits

Lady Gaga and her crazy hairstyles!

It’s simple. Create a figure drawing of Lady Gaga (or use a cutout from a magazine – it’d serve equally well.) Keep two large buckets of paint handy. One should contain black paint, and the other white paint. Close your eyes. Dip your brush into one of the buckets and splash paint on the drawing. Then do it again, and again, and again. Then open your eyes, and rush into the kitchen. Find that bottle of tomato ketchup, open it up, and from a distance of at least six feet, throw the ketchup on the drawing. Remember to use the ketchup only once.

Every time you repeat this process, you’ll design a new Gaga Outfit…and yes…when you are done, call the spiders to help you spruce up the Lady Gaga outfits you’ve designed.

Search Term 10: prince charles cartooning
Guys and gals, this is news! Prince Charles is one of us! He’s a cartoonist! Imagine how difficult it must have been to keep such a phenomenal skill hidden from the paparazzi for so long? On second thoughts – can we thank Camilla Parker for inspiring him? Or was it Prince William who asked his father to follow his un-princely passion?

Search Term 11: muammar gaddafi 40 outfits
If a god-man can amass so much, what is 40 outfits for a dictator? I think Muammar Gaddafi is a miser who doesn’t spend on himself, he really needs to look towards certain god-men for inspiration!

Search Term 12: animated photos of handsome indian men
Bollywood Actor Legend Amitabh Bachchan
I don’t know about the “animated” part, but the term “handsome Indian men” makes me think whether the searcher would have done better by using a more specific search, such as: Hritik Roshan, Amitabh Bacchhan, Dev Anand, Salman Khan…at best a dozen more perhaps? Frankly, I am yet to see a “handsome Indian man” on the streets, though “beautiful Indian women” are aplenty. (I know I know, your son is the handsomest, fairest, and tallest man you’ve ever laid eyes upon, and young women swoon when he rolls past, but anyone other than your son, ma’am?)

(Important Declaration and Clarification: I know that using these terms here would bring some vicarious pleasures-of-the-flesh seeking netizens here, and I’d like to apologize to them for devastating their hopes.)

So what search terms on your blog have made you giggle/guffaw?(girls giggle, guys guffaw – please select what applies – unless you are new-age boy or girl…then you have the right to mix and match!)

How to Draw Expressions – Part I – Raised Eyebrows and Artistic Salvation!

Interactive Art Tutorials - Cartoons and Caricatures - By Shafali

A Famous Artist is made of Raised Eyebrows!

If you’ve got your eyes set on becoming an artist of international renown,  and you’ve never ever done anything that raised eyebrows, you are in trouble, my friend. Real artists, artists who make it big, are the ones who raise eyebrows. They are endowed with the ability to raise eyebrows…of others.

Here are some examples:

  • Leonardo da Vinci: Raised eyebrows by digging up and stealing corpses.
  • Vincent Van Gogh:  Raised eyebrows by chopping off his ear.
  • Pablo Picasso: Raised eyebrows through the cubist rendition of his innumerable mistresses.
  • Salvador Dali: Raised eyebrows by transforming himself into a piece of work.
  • Hussain: Raised eyebrows by painting stuff that he wasn’t supposed to be painting at all.

So, have you raised any eyebrows yet?

The least we cartoonists can do is, raise the eyebrows of the characters that we draw. And why stop at raising them? Why not bend, rotate, twist, dip, curve, curl, or spike the eyebrows to change expressions?

Here’s an Interactive Art Tutorial to help you discover the extraordinary role that eyebrows play in helping your characters express their feelings.

Click the image below to download the first tutorial in the “How to Draw Expressions” series. Find more Interactive Art Tutorials here.

(Click the Image to Download the zip file of the tutorial.)

An Icon for How to draw expressions - Part I, an Interactive Art Tutorial by Shafali
So bring out your sketchbook and roll up your sleeves. Let us express ourselves!

Indian Cartoonists/Caricaturists – The Great Mario Miranda

Updated: 12:45 PM, December 11, 2011

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Just heard the news…The Great Cartoonist Mario Miranda passed away today.
He will remain an inspiration to many generations of Indian cartoonists and illustrators.
May he rest in peace.
(A Commemorative Caricature of Mario Miranda)
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In this caricaturist’s list, there are two Indian cartoonists of note and one of these two is also a caricaturist. These two, and only these two artists make me look like a glazed-eye zombie when I look at their work. Only these two remind me that not everyone is willing to let go of the skill of drawing after finding a job. I have obviously not seen every Indian newspaper published in every Indian language, so there might be random lights of talent shining elsewhere too. But of whatever I have seen, these two have made me, the jaded and faded caricaturist, experience a strong need to write a couple of posts in their honor.

You already know that the first name on this short list, is Mario Miranda…the second is Ajit Ninan.

In this post, let me introduce you to the astonishing work of Mario Miranda.

Mario Miranda’s Cartoons and Illustrations:

Wait a minute. Let me find my artistic aptitude. It was lying at the edge of my table when I last saw it…it must be here somewhere. Oh…it’s here – on the floor! It must’ve somersaulted off the desk to avoid commenting on Mario’s work. I mean, how do you comment on a Master’s drawings?

I will keep my promise and tell you what I feel about those highly detailed, cleanly drawn, stylized cartoons – but before I do that, I’d like you to look at his work at the following links.

I first saw Mario’s cartoons in the Illustrated Weekly of India (In retrospect, I am glad that my dad loved that magazine or I’d have grown up an art-duffer.) I remember looking at his drawings again and again, because every time I looked at them, I’d see something new. If I were to list the top five things that I like in his drawings, they would be as follows:

  • Details (He draws crowds…literally. Most of his drawings would have people of all sorts thronging to get their share of limelight, and he draws those crowds as collections of individuals – everyone in his crowds has a personality and a story. You can see connections running between people, you just have to look long enough to find them.)
  • Confidence (His lines are so confident and steady – he can bend them to his will like no one else can. I don’t know if he does rough drafts, he probably does for the crowds – but something tells me that he doesn’t do an intermediary. He just leaps into drawing the final illustration. If I ever get an opportunity, I’ll ask him if I am right.)
  • Style (Mario has a style of his own. A cartoonist whose work you can recognize while standing 10 feet away from his illustration, is a rarity – not just in India, but in the world. His lines are usually curves, and his lines always end in a strong black dot.
  • Perfection (Mario Miranda’s work exemplifies perfection. You can’t find stuff that would make you think that there was no need for it to be there. You don’t look at his drawing and think, “Oh, that line’s going where it shouldn’t.)
  • Life (Mario Miranda is one cartoonist whose cartoons come alive through their interactions with one another. Even when they don’t talk, they communicate. There are always so many of them that you’ll always find someone to party with.)

And…how can I forget those unforgettable characters – Bundaldas – the Politician, Moonswami his toady, and Ms. Fonseca the buxom secretary. (I remember asking my father whether Ms. Fonseca’s dress was a uniform for secretaries!)

Mario Miranda’s Concise Biography:

Mario Joao Carlos do Rosario de Britto Miranda (yes – we are talking about just one man!) lives in Goa and in the hearts of all those people who’ve enjoyed his art. Miranda’s work was first noticed by his mom (naturally,) on the walls of their house (naturally, again.)

He drew a lot of whatever he saw around himself including dogs (a dog-lover? another reason for me to like him); but then as it happens with almost every young man in our country, he too was swayed by the Ambassador Car with the red revolving lights, and tried to become an IAS officer – but thankfully his inner calling screamed at him and pulled him away from that mundane pursuit. He ended up working in an ad-agency. I can realize how painful the ad-agency stint must’ve been for him, but then his inner calling was all tuned up and in fantastic shape, so it screamed at him again, and he found himself working for the Illustrated Weekly of India. The Times of India, which had not selected him earlier, rebounded to him after they saw his work in the Weekly, and soon he was working for them too.

(If you are wondering whether a screaming inner calling is grammatically and linguistically correct, I can’t help you. Instead, I’d advise that you read on…there’s a lot of good stuff coming up about Mario Miranda’s rise to the Cartooning Stardom.)

Mario Miranda spent about 5 years of his life in Europe. His stint in Europe helped his work find international recognition. His cartoons featured even in the MAD magazine. (Sigh! Those mad guys (Oops! I stand corrected – those MAD guys) don’t accept email submissions…gotta get my portfolio sent to them by snail-mail…and they say that due to the population problem, it could be months before they’d get to lay their eyes upon my caricatures. Their loss…right?)

Then of course, he returned to India – back to The Times of India and to another Indian legend of Cartooning,  R.K. Laxman, who he respected a lot.

In 1988 he was awarded a well-deserved Padma Shri and then again in 2002 a Padma Bhushan. Miranda’s solos have been organized in 22 countries! Wow! He still draws, but now he’s settled in Goa (the same house where he grew up…it must be a dream come true.)
(Sources: Wikipedia here.)
Read Mario Miranda’s interview by Romola Butalia here.
Also check out “Cartooning Not Funny: Mario Miranda” here.

A Personal Post – You’ll know if it is for you :)

Important Note:

This is your Opportunity to Bail Out!

This is a personal post meant for the regular readers of my blog. If you are here the first time, you’d be more interested in exploring the following links.

So…if you aren’t really interested in the monologue of this crazy caricaturist, use any of the above links to bail out. The decision is yours.

What?

You want to read on? So…go ahead, who is stopping you?!

Let us begin by answering the micro-dollar question.

Why the heck don’t I keep my Personal Posts Private?

The bloggers among you might wonder why I need to make an open-for-all personal post. Why don’t I mark my post private (I’ve never done it – so I don’t know how it’s done), and send passwords to everyone who I’d like to invite over to read it? An excellent question that evokes a mundane answer from this jaded caricaturist. I don’t do it because I really don’t know who among you feel close to me. I don’t actively attempt to draw commentators to my blog by commenting on other blogs (I hear that some use commenting as I scratch your whatever and you scratch mine!) When I leave a comment on another blog, it’s usually on an impulse – it’s because you post really touched my heart. (Now you know.)

I don’t believe in measuring cognitive relationships in microns, and so there are those blogs that I visit quite often but don’t leave a comment (bad manners, I know) and I know that there are people who visit my blog regularly but don’t leave a comment. It’s fair…and it’s fun. A relationship (even a dotted line relationship, such as the one that a blogger shares with the visitors) is a happy one only as long as it doesn’t develop expectations and generate a high-pressure situation for the any or both the parties.

Reverting to the original point of this post. I don’t mark any of my posts private, because I really don’t want to exclude anyone who has a relationship with this blog, and who for his or her own reasons, doesn’t want to make that relationship public by commenting/writing to me.

Momentous Changes in the Caricaturist’s Life:

With that little kink worked out, here’s what I wanted to tell you:

I am right in the middle of a sweeping change in my life. If you’ve known artists, you’d know that their sweeping changes seldom have anything to do with kids, sweethearts/spouses, even their stupid day jobs – so you can rule all that out. This change is more about the way I want to live – and in all honesty…I don’t want to live with senseless clutter. I qualify the clutter that I want to get rid of because I want to replace the senseless clutter with sensible clutter.

What Goes Out – The Senseless Clutter!

Here’s Senseless Clutter:

  • Fears that stop me from doing harmless stuff that can actually help me. (Note that I DON’T include “learning to drive” in my list of “harmless stuff that can be helpful” – for a disaster magnet like me, that stuff could be pretty harmful!)
  • emails that offer me work for peanuts – telling me that other Indians are working for peanuts so why can’t I (Quality of work notwithstanding.)
  • Movies that are a drain on my time and money (I am definitely not talking about the newest release in the X-Men series – X Men First Class, which I intend to watch this week.)
  • People who make me miserable instead of making me happy.
  • My blog needs to go through a transformational process too – especially if it is to reflect the changes that I wish to bring in my life.

What Stays Back and Comes In – The Sensible Clutter!

And Here’s the Sensible Clutter that I am keen on adding around me (Note that the right-brained thrive on clutter.)

  • A new set of pencils.
  • A few sketchbooks for rough work.
  • A few new fictional characters to share my mental space with.
  • Some books about places that I haven’t visited and I never will.
  • A degree in art (oh well, I can dream…can’t I?)
  • A new income-generating mechanism (I need to do something to keep my body and soul together – and that, dear readers, cannot be art – because whatever else, I am not prepared to sleep on the pavement. At least not yet.)

These changes will obviously reflect upon the nature and the content of this blog. You must’ve already noticed a few changes. For instance:

  • A new section called the Time-Machine has been added. This section would contain the summary of whatever I learn about the popular comic strips, when I research them for my learning.
  • Another new section called the Interactive Art Tutorials has been added. This section would include tutorials on cartooning. Don’t worry. This still remains primarily a caricature blog, but we’d see more cartoons here, as I suddenly have this wild urge to simplify my lines and create some cartoons.

While we are talking about the Interactive Art Tutorials, I would like to clarify that these tutorials are in Flash, they are interactive, can be downloaded to your computer, and they won’t put you to sleep. I’ve started by presenting two simple Owl-Drawing tutorials but you can expect a lot of other interesting stuff to appear in that section. If you’d want me to create a tutorial on something specific in cartooning, leave a comment here.

Be Warned. More new stuff is expected in the days to come. So if you stay away you miss out on the fun!

See you soon with a crisp commentary on the Comic Strip that once gave jitters to the US Army.  Which Comic Strip am I talking about? Any guesses?

MF Husain Dies – Leaves the World Five Short of a Century.

MF Husain or Maqbool Fida Husain, who was born on September 17, 1915. died in London sometime last night. He was 95 going on 25 – and so despite his age, his death came as a surprise to a lot of people in India.

Here are the things that made MF Husain, who was called the Picasso of India by the Forbes magazine, the only Indian artist who acquired the status that Indians reserve for cine-stars and politicians.

The Cake:

  • He became the highest paid Indian Artist ever! His single canvases have fetched up to $2 million at a recent Christie’s auction.
  • He was possibly the first Indian artist to get international recognition. In 1952, his solo exhibition was held in Zurich. Remember that in those days, the world wasn’t as small as it is today.
  • In 1955, he received Padma shri from the Indian Government. This was followed by a Padma Bhushan (1971), and then a Padma Vibhushan (1991.)
  • The vibrancy of his works and the way they changed the course of Indian Art that was dominated by the Bengali Art until the 1950s, made many Indian artists go modernist.

The Icing:

  • Husain’s personality was as vibrant as his work. He did stuff that no other Indian painter dared to do. He changed his muses every 3 years, and his muses were almost always the prettiest Bollywood actresses. For the actresses as well as for Husain – the muse-making was a win-win situation. Everyone got the lime-light.
  • Hussain was an extravagant spender. When he first came into money, he made “Gaja Gamini” with Madhuri Dixit, his current muse from Bollywood (who is now the matron of a US-based Rich Doctor’s Household.) Then he made “Meenaxi” with Tabu, his second muse.
  • He got caught into the web of controversies by drawing Indian goddesses in the nude, and even representing India (Bharat Mata) as a nude. Some Hindu organizations felt that this was stretching the artistic license too far, especially with his painting, the Rape of India, and so they petitioned in the court against him. With the public sentiment having turned against him – it became safer for him to stay away from India. For this reason, he became known as the “exiled artist”. Recently (2010) Qatar granted him their citizenship. This controversy further improved his x-factor with the Indian media and public.

Husain, the man behind the painter was so full of life that it makes you sad to see him go. But he had a good life and he was a happy man most of his life (except possibly the last decade when he had to remove himself from India) – and this is what we should remember him by. We should also remember him for repainting the image of the Indian Artist from the Bata Hawai Chappal shod (Husain went barefoot) no-gooder to a celebrity whose work could fetch millions.

I think I’ll miss him…and I hope that when he is reincarnated he does everything the same way, but refrains from painting the nudes of Hindu Goddesses and of the country that he is born in.  On the other side, I should acknowledge that it’s impossible to really figure out Husain’s work – so I personally am not sure about whether he really drew that stuff – it looks like it, and then it doesn’t.

We’ve had more realistic (and some times more suggestive) nudes by Amrita Shergill whose princess status gave a her an immunity from societal persecution when she photographed and then painted herself in nude (imagine a bourgeois artist engaging in that sort of behavior) and Anjolie Ila Menon, whose work becomes more graphic with each passing year. But oh…we never had anything against nudity…did we?

Thinking of Husain and of the tug-of-war that always went on inside my head when I looked at his work – May the universal God who doesn’t belong to any religion, rest his soul in peace.

Presenting Interactive Art Tutorials – How to Draw Cartoon Owls – Young and Old!

Interactive Art Tutorials - Cartoons and Caricatures - By Shafali

I’ll tell you all about the Interactive Art Tutorials, but only after you’ve answered the following questions truthfully.

Question 1: Can you hold a pencil?

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. May be

Question 2: Can you use the pencil to make a mark on a piece of paper?

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. May be

If you are the one who these fun-filled art tutorials have been waiting for, you must have answered both the questions with an emphatic “Yes.”

If your answer is anything other than a “Yes” to even one of the above questions, one or more of the following may be true.

  1. You didn’t answer the question truthfully.
  2. You answered the questions truthfully, but you didn’t want to agree with me, and so you changed your answer at the last moment.
  3. You weren’t paying attention.

Fret not. Your friendly caricaturist has already changed all your answers to “yes.”

With that decided, let me proceed to tell you about these interactive art tutorials of mine. To begin with, these tutorials will focus on cartooning, and if you promise to follow all the steps given in the tutorials, even if you haven’t done much of drawing in the past, you should be able to end up with a recognizable cartoon of your subject. However, if you are a dabbler, the results will amaze you! (If you are a fab cartoonist already, why are you reading this?)

I have begun with the “How to Draw a Cartoon Owl” tutorials, and I plan to add a lot more How-to-draw lessons on creating human and animal cartoon characters.

I’ll continue adding new tutorials to the “Interactive Art Tutorials” page. So if you like the tutorials, bookmark the page, and come back for more.

Here are the owl tutorials. Just click the image to download them to your computer. They are FREE 🙂

1. How to Draw a Young Owl

(Click the Image to Download the zip file of the tutorial.)

How to draw the cartoon of a young owl.

An inexperienced young owl – “How to Draw a Cartoon Owl – Part I (The Fleeting Youth)

and of course,

2. How to Draw an Old Owl

(Click the Image to Download the zip file of the tutorial.)

How to draw the cartoon of an old owl - an interactive tutorial, drawing lesson.

An old wise owl – “How to Draw a Cartoon Owl – Part II (The Sensible Stability)

A Wise End-Note from a Wise Old Owl:

Though they are fun to read and experience, they still are tutorials – so before you begin, swap the popcorn for a sketchbook and a pencil.

Caricature/Cartoon of Nicolas Sarkozy – the Bling Bling President of France!

The Caricaturist presents the Caricature of Nicolas Sarkozy, the President of France and the current husband of Carla Bruni.

The Caricature, Cartoon, funny drawing of Nicolas Sarkozy, the I-was-there President of France who's inspired his voodoo dolls.

I was there...I really was!

A Bling Bling Biography of Nicolas Sarkozy

Nicolas Sarkozy, was born in 1955. He grew up in a wealthy neighborhood of the Paris Suburbs. However, as his father had left his mother without any financial help, Sarkozy grew up in a family of limited means. He studied to be a lawyer and for many years he practiced law.

Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni

Carla Bruni is Sarkozi’s third wife. Sarkozi’s previous marriages had suffered from his extra-marital affairs, but this marriage is holding on though it’s rumored that both Bruni and Sarkozi sample other goods whenever they can. Nicolas Sarkozy’s and Carla Bruni’s affairs have kept the French media busy. However as both the affected parties were having their share of the fun, they must’ve decided not to let their escapades rock their marriage. The recent good news from the French Presidential Quarters is that Carla Bruni when spotted with a baby bump, announced that she was pregnant. Interestingly, Bruni’s biography at Wikipedia lists Nicolas Sarkozy as her 10th love-interest. You could question the sanctity of that number, but then her private life is her private life – 10 is the number that she’s made public.

More Bling-Bling Stuff on Sarkozy

A caricaturist thrives on abnormalities. Whatever is normal is of no consequence to someone who’s hooked to this silly art of distorting everything that she sees, hears, reads, and feels.

So here’s what I selectively saw and read:

  • He’s considered to be a protege of Jacques Chirac, former president of France, a gentleman whose caricature is due on this blog. But if he really learned from Chirac, imagine the Sarkozy-scandals that are yet to surface. However, we shouldn’t discount the fact that Chirac and Sarkozy weren’t really all that chummy.
  • Sarkozy is known to shoot from the hip (Uh…oh! Why don’t I use that idea for drawing his cartoon?)
  • Sarkozy is one cool dude. Oh yes. All you need to be a cool dude in today’s world is a Facebook page. Sarkozy has a lot more. In particular, he has to capability to use Photoshop! He posted his picture that showed him shooting from the hip and bringing the Berlin wall down (well…I’ve exaggerated it a bit. Let me whip out my artistic license…) Check out “Sarkozy was There – the Berlin Wall picture that he added to his Facebook page,” and then check out the spoof images of Sarkozy on the moon, at JFK’s assassination, and at lot of other interesting places and times in history.
  • Sarkozy loves to look good in the media, and so he’s called the “Bling Bling President” by the French Media. (I’d like to confess that I won’t mind being called the “Bling Bling Caricaturist” by the French Media. Really.)
  • The French so totally love their Bling Bling President that they have a Sarkozy Voodoo doll. Fabulous! If we had one of those for every politician of ours, we could actually get them to do some work. Believe it or not, Sarkozy thought that those dolls really worked, and so he sued the manufacturers – or could it be that he doesn’t have a sense of humor? (I hope he doesn’t get his knickers in a twist when he sees this caricature of his)

Wanted: A Cool Caption for the Caricature

I have been wondering what must be on his mind these days? Any thoughts?

I even added this thought-bubble to his picture…

What is he thinking? Caption for the Caricature Event - for French President Nicolas Sarkozy

What is he thinking?

The Time Machine: Exploration Mission 1 :: The History of the Popular Comic Strip – Dennis the Menace.

June 01, 2001, almost 10 years ago, Henry (Hank) Ketcham the creator of Dennis the Menace comic strip, died at the age of 81.

In his memory, here’s the story of Dennis’s birth…as imagined and told by the Caricaturist.

Dennis the Menace – The Beginnings:

Sometime in 1950-51, somewhere in Carmel, California…

Henry sat in his studio with his head in his hands. It was impossible to visualize any damn thing with all those noises that floated in from the attic. He expected Alice to come barging in, shouting how his son was the messiah of destruction, and how he took after his father…He knew the sequence of events by heart. Unfortunately, he didn’t know it when he had decided to work as a freelance cartoonist.

Well. He was right. The thoughts that I described above had barely crossed his mind when the door flew open and Alice came in huffing and panting.

“His room is in a mess again – and I had straightened it out just this morning!”

Henry knew that the safest course would be to stay quiet and nod, so he did just that.

“Don’t sit there and nod. Dennis is your responsibility too.”

He nodded again.

“Hank! You are impossible, and your son is too.”

“No, we are not!”

“Hank…your son is a menace!”

“Dennis? A Menace?”

And that’s how the idea of Dennis the Menace was born. So you see, Ketcham modeled Dennis, Alice, and Henry on the Dennis, Alice, and Henry of his own family! And if you look at Ketcham’s picture from his younger days, you’ll realize that he does look like his cartoon self, Henry.

Life and Times of Dennis the Menace

Ketcham used to work as an illustrator and an animator. (He also worked with Disney for a while.) In 1951, when he first published Dennis the Menace, it was syndicated in 16 newspapers in the US. Within two years about 200 newspapers in the US were carrying the strip.

For the next 32 years, Ketcham drew all those panels himself – but in 1983, he announced that one day he’d like to retire from drawing Dennis. During this time Ketcham got divorced from Alice (Dennis’s mom) and Dennis grew up away from his dad. Ketcham moved from one marriage to another (a total of four, I think) until his death in 2001.

Anyway, in 1993 when Ketcham announced that he’d like to retire, Marcus Hamilton approached him and said that he’d like to draw Dennis. For the last 17 years Hamilton has been drawing the daily panel for Dennis the Menace. Read about Marcus Hamilton and his drawing process.

The Sunday Page Cartoonist Ron Ferdinand was born in the same year as Dennis. He too joined Ketcham in the early 1980s and he’s been drawing Dennis since. Read about Ron Ferdinand and his drawing process.

Rock and Roll on Stranger Tides with Captain Jack Sparrow!

Quoting self:

People who use prescription glasses shouldn’t watch movies in 3D.

I watched the fourth movie in the Pirates of the Caribbean series, “On Stranger Tides”…and I watched it in 2D!

But wait. Who’s watching ME? Is he the imposter or is he Captain Jack Sparrow? Must be Johnny Depp, the guy who has been impersonating Captain Sparrow – right? Anyway, here are the eyes of this entity.

A Pen and Ink Drawing of Johnny Depp's (Captain Jack Sparrow of Pirates of the Caribbean) Eyes.

I'm watching you.

If you think that I have lost my head completely, you haven’t watched the movie. Right at the beginning of the movie, our dear dirtily dandy Captain Jack Sparrow arrives in London. Why? Well, it’s because he’s looking for someone who’s been going around telling everyone that “he” is Captain Sparrow. A sparrow she is, as we later discover, and she’s known in Hollywood as Penelope Cruz.

Do I see you with your mouth so wide open that your jaw is about to come unhinged? Didn’t you know  – PoC-4 doesn’t star Keira Knightly the thin but ethereal beauty. Instead the bulb-nosed, long-faced, funny-accented Penelope Cruz has taken her place (thankfully they called her Angelica and not Elizabeth.) She fits into the movie almost as well as Keira would fit into an XXXL gown. She looks horribly, horribly, and horribly out of place. But never mind her – you could close your eyes whenever she gave that funny smile of hers and not miss a thing!

Anyway, here’s the story.

************Spoiler’s Warning Begins**************

Don’t worry, you’ll not know a thing if you read on…so read on!

************Spoiler’s Warning Ends**************

Well, as I said earlier Captain Sparrow finds that the funny woman, who we just described, was impersonating him. This obviously infuriates him, and he plans his revenge, which would include spiriting the funny woman across stranger tides to a deserted island and leave her there, after (note…AFTER) he told her that he loved her. (What other kind of revenge would you design if you looked and moved like Captain Jack Sparrow?)

So, there wasn’t the Flying Dutchman, the Black Pearl, or even Elizabeth. But yes, there were the mermaids, the Spanish, the black magic wielding Blackbeard, and King George II.

PS: There indeed was some black magic going on in the movie. When I left the hall, two eyes followed me out.
PS2: I’ve got to stop. The eyes are watching my every move!

PS3: Though it seems impossible, yet if you haven’t seen this caricature of Johnny Depp, you should click the following image 🙂

Caricature of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow.

Where is the cheese...Captain Sparrow?