Ben Affleck as Batman – A Caricature of Ben Affleck vs. A Caricature of Batman.

As a woman I not expected to talk about Batman, but as a caricaturist I couldn’t care less about what I am expected to do, so here are my two cents about the recent controversy about Ben Affleck playing Batman.

I admit that I’ve never caricatured Ben Affleck, but I may put him on my hit-list when he becomes the Batman, because then I’ll just have to draw him as-is – and voila, I’ll have a caricature of Ben Affleck AND Batman – two characters rolled into one 🙂
Let me be honest. I think that the Batman costume is enough to transform even the manliest of men into…ah…well…BATS!

Why Batman’s Costume freaks me out?

The costume creeps me out for three reasons:
  1. It’s black and gold. In my opinion, this combination can look good only on a fair-complexioned woman. I understand the logic – bats are black – Granted.  But then why is the utility belt all golden?  Do bats wear golden belts?
  2. It’s got those two cat-ears jutting up – why? What purpose do they serve, except making Batman look like more like a Catman than a Batman? Check out the ears of a bat here, and those of a cat here. I mean, just because they didn’t want Batman look like a gremlin, they twisted the ears sideways.
  3. The gaping hole in the cap (or head-shroud or whatever else it’s called.) Remember the only hole in the costume where Batman’s mouth fits in. Now if Spiderman can talk through the spandex costume that he wears, why did Batman need this wide hole that exposes his cheeks, chin, nose, and jaw? I think it was designed to make it easier for him to kiss women, when he wasn’t fighting the Joker. (Actually, that makes me wonder whether his costume has a zipper camouflaged with a black fly? What if he has to take a leak at a time when he’s trying save his city from the Joker’s wrath?)
But then these things don’t matter. What matters is that the selection of Batman has historically never gone down well with his fans.

Actors who’ve played Batman in the past – through my Distorted Lenses.

  • Remember Michael Keaton? If he could be Batman with the Koala face that he borrowed from Sheldon and never returned, what’s wrong with Affleck?
  • Remember Val Kilmer as Batman? He could’ve been the coolest Batman – and everyone was cool about his becoming Batman,  but it didn’t work out at all, did it?
  • Then you had George Clooney filling in the shoes? George Clooney?!! Really?  Ten years from now or even five, Ben Affleck would have mutated completely into George Clooney – so if GC has been the Batman – what’s wrong with Ben Affleck?
  • Oh, and then came Christian Bale. There are horror tales of people tearing up the seats in the halls so that they may use the sponge to stopper their ears. They hated his voice. Now look. Who’s swooning, drooling, and dribbling all over Mr. Bale?
(Actually, there were three others who also played Batman, but they belonged to another era. They were:
  • Robert Lowrey (I’ve no idea…honestly.)
  • Adam West (the Batman who batted the longest.)
  • Lewis G Wilson (the first Batman who was short and stocky.)
 (info garnered from where else but the DenofGeek.)

So what’s wrong with Ben Affleck?

  • True, he looks more like a banker than a storehouse of steroids, but then Michael Keaton has that used-car-salesman look about him – yet he did okay.
  • True, he doesn’t look athletic, but then Clooney didn’t either. And honestly, there’s nothing that can’t be handled through CG effects. In fact, I’ve not been spotted yet, or I could be Batman.
  • True, his voice has the Boston Accent (I wish I knew what that sounded like – but I am tone-deaf.) But then Bale’s voice had an alien bass, and now we’re drooling all over him – wondering why he threw the offer of $50M (Gosh!)
 
I think we get used to seeing them – the way they make us see them. I know the Ben Affleck will look like this unreal, batty character when he dons that suit – but then that’s what we expect from Batman, don’t we? 
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“The Evolution of a Caricaturist – How to Draw Caricatures?” is being republished.

Folks,

I know that everyday some of you arrive here looking for “The Evolution of a Caricaturist,” my book on how to draw caricatures. I know this because WordPress catches the search-phrases used by the visitors to this blog, and prints them out in my dashboard. The searches for the book always top the list for me, and this has been happening for about an year-and-a-half, ever since Google pulled the plug on Knol, where I had first published this book.

I should tell you that when I first put the book on Knol, I had never expected such a heart-warming response. I had written and drawn it because I just wanted to share my experiences in an organized manner – so that if one went through the book and learned how to caricature each feature using my easy-to-use anchor-point technique, they would be able to create caricatures that exaggerate the right features without losing the likeness in a face. However, the book was received extremely well – the comments that the readers left, the questions that they asked, all told me that the book was useful.  Unfortunately, I had to take it down when the Knol platform died.

I then began thinking about how I could bring it out again but in an even more useful and interesting avatar. I confess that I love interactivity, and more so, I love designing interactive experiences. I think that a live book that allows you to read, see, tap, zoom, pan, link, and sometimes do; is worth a lot more in learning than the traditional book where you just read and see. So I’ve been rewriting and redrawing “The Evolution of a Caricaturist,” – the spine of the content has remain untouched, however, the scope, the examples, the chapters, and the experience – all have expanded.

The book shall soon become available on the App Store and will be priced competitively. If you own an iPad/iPhone/iPod or a Mac, you may be interested in looking for it on the App Store in 4-6 weeks from now, or if you’d like me to remind you of it, you can use the following form to signup for an announcement email.

Signup to receive the Announcement:

Thanks once again for inspiring me to republish it.

Caricature/Cartoon – Hillary Clinton on her way to The White House

Everyone knows that Hillary Clinton will be running for President in the 2016 Elections. Period.

Here’s my take on the story.

Caricature cartoon in color - Hillary clinton - democratic candidate - US Presidential elections - 2016 - with donkey and 3 feathers in her cap.

Will Hillary run for the 2016 Presidential Elections?

Here are my reasons for believing that she will.
  1. In 2006, she was among the Democratic candidate hopefuls and narrowly lost to Barack Obama. This confirms that she is interested in becoming the President of the US.
  2. In 2007, she took up the position of the Secretary of State and happily co-existed and co-managed the international affairs of the US along with President Obama. This kept her in the public eye and made her a much stronger candidate than before.
  3. She took a break from a job which she was performing rather nicely. The only reason that makes sense to me is that she wanted to spend her time preparing herself for the next elections.
If the reasons given by me don’t convince you, read 5 Signs that Hillary will run for President here.

Hillary Clinton’s Dressing sense…

…has often been criticized. I’ll forever continue to wonder why it is so easy for men to get away with the same outfit (note that the only thing that ever changes in President Obama’s clothes is the color) while women fret over what they have to wear. I have nothing against Hillary dressing up in oddly constructed pant-suits and even in the outfit that you see in her caricature. I think that she still dresses up a lot better than Michelle Obama.
This deserves a closeup view of her outfit in this caricature.
Caricature cartoon color drawing painting of Hillary clinton - running for the 2016 US presidential elections - shown here with a donkey.
However, if you like women to look like made-up dolls and have the time and energy to read about Clinton’s fashion faux-pas, click here… or search for “Hillary Clinton’s Fashion Faux Pas”.

About Hillary’s Caricature

(This bit should be of interest to the artists.)

I had been planning on doing Hillary’s caricature for a very long time, but it wasn’t until last week that I really attached myself to my seat and decided to plunge into this caricaturing exercise. This is a digitally painted illustration done for the purpose of print (it measures 12 inches x 12 inches at 300 dpi.) I first did a rough sketch (a sort of doodle), then made a final sketch, scanned it, and then painted it in Photoshop CS6.

I approached this illustration more as an artwork than just a caricature. The somewhat bewildered donkey representing the democrats, at the left; the happy and alert Hillary checking her progress, in the middle; and the wooden signboard at the right – all on top of a hill, with cloudy skies behind – a composition that comes together nicely. The colors balance one another out (check the warmer hues canceling out the cooler ones) except in one place – in Hillary’s outfit, where I used never-wear-together colors, clothes, and accessories. The pearls and the formal jacket (in…GREEN?) create a jarring effect when coupled with her BLUE Jeans and high-ankle leather cowboy boots. It exaggerates her oft-criticized fashion sense, and strengthens the caricature.

Now let us ponder upon a more important question, one that can be answered only by Samantha the Witch.

Will Hillary Clinton become the next President of the United States?

I think the US has tried a “first” by electing a non-white President for the first time in its history and given him two terms to prove that a first works. Whether or not Hillary Clinton will become the first woman President of the US will depend on whether people really gained from their first-first. While I am sure that Hillary has a strong resume, I don’t think people care about resumes. I guess people would want a change – and that could help the Republican candidate (Though I don’t know if there’s any Republican with an image as strong as Hillary’s.)
This is precisely why Hillary is aiming to reach the White House, once again; except that if she succeeds, she’ll not be there as the First Lady (one of the many feathers in her hat,) but as the President of the US. I wonder what Bill Clinton will be called then. The First Gentleman of America? I guess the geniuses of the White House will put their heads together and come up with an answer when such a situation arises.
Wondering…Why Hillary?

A Quick Biographical Sketch of Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton has many feathers in her cap (and you can see three of those in her caricature above.) She’s been the First Lady of the US, a two-term US Senator, and the US Secretary of State; but there’s more. She’s got a Law Degree from Yale Law School where she met her husband Bill Clinton who she married in 1975. She’s held high-paying jobs all her life and there were times when she earned more than Bill Clinton.
  • Interestingly Hillary was born in a family with conservative values and when she was a student she was a Republican.
  •  Hillary’s marriage almost fell apart during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
  •  You can find a detailed biography of Hillary Clinton here.
And finally,

Hillary in Recent News

  • Hillary’s handling of the Benghazi incident led to some criticism, and even though the 2016 elections appear to be far away, some Republicans are already raking up the issue. It appears that everyone including the Republicans believe that she’ll run.
  • Recently Obama and Hillary Clinton met for lunch. This meeting is being seen as a sign of Obama supporting Hillary in the 2016 race.
  • She said that Huma Abedin, the wife of NYC Mayoral Hopeful Anthony Weiner, is like a daughter to her. While this may not be an important piece of news for you, but I mention it here so that you check out Anthony Weiner’s pole-dance caricature here and leave my blog laughing 🙂

Interactive Art Tutorials on Creating Cartoons are back!

Dear Readers,

Thanks for writing to me about your interest in the Interactive Art Tutorials. The links for the downloads weren’t working for the last one year or so, and I had been too busy with my illustration assignments to get the files in order. Finally, the tutorials are back. However, there’s bad news. I think I’ve lost the file for “Animated Faces.” I’ll try to locate the file, but if I am not able to, that tutorial will have to go. Instead, I promise to treat you with a “How to draw a Puppy” tutorial 🙂

So go ahead, check out the page – just don’t click the link for the Animated Faces Tutorial and everything should be fine.

Interactive Art Tutorials - Cartoons and Caricatures - By Shafali

If you’d like to hone your caricature drawing skills, perhaps you’d like to check out “The Evolution of a Caricaturist – How to Draw Caricatures“. The book is expected on the App Store in a couple of months, and if you sign-up using the form on the page, you’ll be sent a notification email when it becomes available for download.

Thanks 🙂

Draw to Smile!

– Shafali

Book Cover Art for BG Hope’s Body-switch Novellas.

I’ve been somewhat busy and rather unwell (yes, I’ve been watching “Mind Your Language” – almost 4 decades after it was first telecast and, I confess that despite my inability to forget that I come from a family that fought for India’s independence,  I just love Mr. Jeremy Brown, played by Barry Evans.)

Here’s the stuff that kept me busy the past two weeks:

I created a couple of book-covers or more specifically, novel-covers for a fantastic fantasy writer, B.G. Hope. Next, I worked on a Magazine Illustration, and now I’m neck-deep into a detailed color caricature (name of the subject withheld in the interest of curiosity.)

Of these, I can present only the novel-covers here, because the september issue of the magazine that would carry the illustration has not yet gone to press, let alone hit the stands; and the caricature is not yet done. The novel covers however, now adorn the books of Ms. B. G. Hope, and so I’m ethically free to present them here.

Book Cover: Ciaran & Harith –  A Body-switch Novella by B.G. Hope

Painted in Photoshop CS6. I first made a sketch as per the concept, sent it to the author for her approval, and then painted the cover in Photoshop.

Book cover art for the novel Ciaran and Harith -fantasy book - by BG Hope

The Concept:

Samantha the sweet witch switches the bodies of two unsuspecting men, thoroughly unhappy with their own lives. The men however are as different as apples and oranges or…to beat the cliche’…as a kindle eBooks and traditional paper books! The cover depicts Samantha putting a spell on the protagonists. Wondering what happens after the switch? You get tickled in your stomach at every turn of the page, but don’t take my word for it.
Kindlers – please find the book here.
Apple-munchers – please find it here.
All others, please find it here.

About the book:

Two men who have nothing in common including their sexual orientation, find themselves in each-other’s bodies. Follow them on their quest to get their bodies back, as their new routines lead them into challenging situations with comic outcomes.

And a few words from the caricaturist: 
“The bewitching body-switch saga”– The Caricaturist

Book Cover: Johnny & Marian –  A Body-switch Novella by B.G. Hope

Again, painted in Photoshop. The goal was to make it look different and yet look part of the body-switch series by the author. I changed the color-scheme and instead of showing the face of the witch, brought her eyes into focus.

Illustration for Novel Cover (Cover Art) - for Johnny and Marian by B. G. Hope.

The Concept:

Once again Samantha the witch, switches the bodies of two strangers – a man and a woman, and in this book, their sexual orientation is  similar –  they both like men. The woman (Marian) isn’t the kind of woman that the Johnny ever dreamed of becoming (yes, he’d love to be a woman,) and the Johnny is a lot different from the kind of men Marian has known. Does the switch work? Check out the book at:

Kindlers – please find the book here.
Apple-munchers – please find it here.
All others, please find it here.

About the book:

Two strangers bored with their routines, rediscover themselves when a crafty witch’s spell switches their bodies. Struggling to live each other’s lives, they land themselves in one comic situation after another.

“A fantastical comedy of errors!” – The Caricaturist

B. G. Hope’s Webpage and Blog.

The Caricaturist meets and befriends Anthony Tweiner in Atlantis!

New Visitors, Please excuse this idle prattle of a flu-ridden caricaturist who has temporarily lost her ability to appreciate the difference between reality and fiction. Usually she isn’t like this. When sane, she knows that Atlantis is real, Internet is virtual, and the real world is fictitious. If you are here on a serious errand, please don’t waste another precious moment on this post.

  1. If you are looking for caricatures to ridicule a celebrity of your choice, please click the Gallery Icon in the right sidebar.
  2. If you want to learn how to draw caricatures and/or are specifically looking for my book “The Evolution of the Caricaturist”, again check the sidebar, and add your email id in the tiny form given there, or use this link here. I’ll email you when it comes out on the App Store. It is due to arrive there shortly.
  3. If you are wondering why the Interactive tutorials aren’t up yet, it’s because I lost the free fonts that I had used in those tutorials and now I need to replace the fonts, reformat the tutorials, and re-export them before I serve them from my new site.

None of the above?

Then please read on.

Most of my readers know that Atlantis is my favorite blog-holiday destination. When I disappear from the blogosphere, it’s because I’ve snuck off to Atlantis.  I am still here in Atlantis and I am here of my own volition. You don’t have to remind me that the first time that I visited Atlantis ever, it was not because I wanted to, but because I was abducted. You may call it the Stockholm Syndrome, but I developed a soft-corner for my abductors when I realized that all they wanted from me was to create a caricature illustration of a happy couple, which could be given to them as a wedding gift.

I happily complied with their wishes, completed the caricature, enjoyed the party, and went off to bed in a beautiful room that had a huge glass wall on one side. On the other side of this wall was the ocean, and I could see the corals,  the sea urchins, and also a giant vampire squid that had this really scary unblinking stare.  I admit that the wall was slightly unnerving on my first night there, but I soon got used to it.

In fact, I gave the squid a name – Anthony Tweiner. In my humble opinion, the Atlantasian vampire squids are the Sheldon Coopers of sea.  I say this because on my next visit to Atlantis, I requested for the same room and tapped Anthony Tweiner on the glass wall, and Mr. Tweiner, who was nowhere to be seen until then, appeared suddenly, recognized me and dashed towards the wall. Thankfully all his weiners…oops, tweiners (it appears that I can’t get over my tryst with Mr. Anthony Weiner’s caricature,) were neatly tucked in behind him, or he would’ve broken a couple. He was happy…, rather elated…, umm…, actually rhapsodic, to see me back. I too was happy, but about something else. I celebrated his lack of access to an Internet connection or he would have tweeted the closeups of all his tweiners to me – and the kind of open-minded society that Atlantis is, they would’ve told me that it was Mr. Tweiner’s way of paying me a compliment.

Anyway, I don’t want to split my split-ended hair anymore, nor spin a long yarn longer, so to snip them both short – I’ve been visiting Atlantis quite often. And why not? They pay well and they treat me like a queen, because none of the Atlantasians draw (you won’t either, if you were living in a Utopia that had a per capita annual income of $100K (that’s the exact double of the US), no taxes, no sexism, no racism, no terrorism, none of those other myriad -isms that humanity is plagued with.)  They’ve also set up a small studio and office for me to work from, and anointed me as the National Caricaturist of Atlantis. And I must not forget to mention that I’ve got Anthony Tweiner to keep me entertained.

This is why I sneak off to Atlantis whenever I can, my friends.

… …?

What was that?

Why you?

Speak up please. I can’t hear you.

Why you, why not us?

Oh I get it. You are wondering why I get to become to the National Caricaturist of Atlantis, and why not you.

Yes. Why?

It’s simple my friend. I believe in Atlantis, so I get to go there, I get to meet all those cool Atlantasians, I get to befriend Anthony Tweiner, and of course, become their National Caricaturist…

You see, it’s quite like religion. They say if you believe in heaven, you find it; if you don’t then you don’t. If you believe in Atlantis, you’ll find it; if you don’t, you won’t.

So, will I see you here, sometime soon?