Cover Art -The American Spectator Magazine October 2013 Issue.

First…

———— An update ————

(for the regular readers, others please skip.)

For the last two months, I’ve been working on something very different and something really detailed…something that has kept me away from creating caricatures for this blog (ok…I did Merkel’s caricature, but other than hers, all the other caricatures that I’ve been doing are for that other project…and oh, that project really has nothing to do with caricatures.) Confused? You should’ve heeded my warning.

———— Update ends ———–

Now let me tell you about my recent work for The American Spectator magazine. I painted the cover page of the October issue of the magazine, which features three of the most admired Presidents of the United States. The forever young and handsome John F. Kennedy, the White House Cowboy Ronald Reagan, and the silent but strong Calvin Coolidge.

My copies arrived two days ago, and just before I finished work last night, I took this picture of it.

The American Spectator Magazine Issue October 2013 on my Desk.

The American Spectator Magazine Issue October 2013 on my Desk. The Cover Features Three Past US Presidents – John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and Calvin Coolidge. (Click to enlarge.)

The Story of the Cover’s Creation

When I learned that The American Spectator would like to me to paint the three Presidents together, I felt really happy. I love to paint caricatures with stories, and painting three well-known faces in the same picture along with a story that made them look like they were friends-forever, was something that made me want to drop everything else and work on it.

I sent in the sketch. While everything else in the sketch remained the same as what you see here, I had an open window behind President Reagan and you could see the earth through it. My idea was that these guys could get together only in heaven – and this would add to the effect. This of course, didn’t make to the final painting – nor did Reagan’s hat on a peg – because that would have me add a wall behind them, and a wall would make their environment appear claustrophobic. I am sure that even in heaven, the American Presidents would be given beautiful, spacious quarters… so I decided to add those French Windows looking out into a haze of clouds.

Painting the Caricatures of the Three Presidents

Painting John F. Kennedy’s Caricature

I had drawn President Kennedy‘s face before, so I knew his face well. What I didn’t know was the exact color of his hair. I checked out a lot of pictures of his, and his hair looked different in every one of them. It varied from black, to dark brown, to light brown, to reddish-brown, to golden.  I still don’t know. But he looks like himself and that’s good enough for me 🙂

(President Kennedy’s Black and White Caricature done a couple of years ago.)

Painting Ronald Reagan’s Caricature

President Reagan’s face is tough to caricature. If a caricature-artist wants to challenge himself  (or herself – excuse the stereotyping, but truth be told, most of our kind are men,) he should try caricaturing Reagan’s face. I had to do a lot of research to figure out what he liked to wear as casuals. (In fact, I came across a picture in which he was wearing checks in a meeting with Margaret Thatcher.) I realized that he loved horses and I thought that his cowboy getup in denims would be just right for the occasion. He could’ve returned from a pegasus-ride, or could be going for one. (Fellow Artists, note that according to the light outside of the windows, it could be late morning or early afternoon)

Painting Calvin Coolidge’s Caricature

President Calvin Coolidge was a visual enigma. I had sketched him on the right side of the page, which meant that I should show his left profile. After hours of research, I came to the conclusion that because President Coolidge had little hair on the left side of his head, he always got his portraits painted/photographs taken to show the right side of his head.  I had absolutely no idea what his left profile looked like, until I came upon a 1924 video of one of his public addresses (after he had fixed the Great Depression?) and in that video he twice turned to show his left profile to the camera. I know that he must’ve berated himself for it later, but what was done was done – and a happy caricaturist returned to her drawing board – knowing exactly what to paint.

And the Concept…

…that their topic of discussion is this specific article about JFK actually being a conservative (and this is why JFK’s got the magazine in his hand,) was super awesome – it came from the super-creative Managing Editor of the magazine! It just made the picture-puzzle fit. Speaking of picture-puzzles, I am reminded of the project…I need to go back to work.

Meanwhile, here’s the image closer up.

Cover Art for the October 2013 Issue of the American Spectator Magazine Presidents John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and Calvin Coolidge.

Two other Interesting facts:

More later…

And oh,

do you want to know how “really” Newton happened to discover gravity? I have the inside scoop…return if you are interested 🙂

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Angela Merkel wins the 2013 Elections to become Chancellor Once Again!

Congratulations Germany!

Angela Merkel has won her third term as the Chancellor of Germany.

Now this a really something, isn’t it?

Here’s her caricature for the occasion 🙂

Caricature Cartoon of Angela Merkel who won the 2013 German Elections to become Chancellor for the third time in succession.

Angela Merkel as the Chancellor of Germany. Digital Painting – Photoshop CS 6 (Print Size: 12 inches by 14 inches.)

That is all for now…and oh, I should mention that Mutti’s re-election has breathed life into another story-caricature of mine (this one is on Euro zone.)

🙂

Will Angela Merkel Win the 2013 Elections and get re-elected?

Will Angela Merkel win the 2013 elections of Germany?

Today Germany elects its new government. It’s expected that Angela Merkel will win her third tenure as the Chancellor of Germany. With about 80% of the Germans satisfied with Merkel’s performance, she stands a strong chance of returning as the Chancellor for the third time.

This caricaturist admires Merkel as one the very few women politicos who’ve made it on their own. Most of the oriental she-politicians are either born or marry into political families. Merkel was born in the erstwhile East Germany (the poorer of the two Germany’s) and worked her way up.

If she wins the elections, I’ll post her color caricature here. Here’s a cropped-snapshot of the caricature.

Caricature, Cartoon, illustration of Angela Merkel - winning the 2013 Bundestag elections - Germany.

Will she? Won’t she? Will she…?

What’s your opinion? Will Merkel return?

Until the results are out, you can see a black and white caricature of Angela Merkel here.

Evolution of a Cartoonist – Post 4 – How to Draw Cartoon Eyes.

This post discusses the how and why of cartooning the eye.

While this post presents the essence of Chapter 5, it stands alone and doesn’t directly draw upon your learning from the previous chapters, except in on place, where I’ve added a relevant link.

The four images that I am adding here are almost self-explanatory, so I am going to keep the text to a minimum.

Importance of the Cartoon Eye

Cartoon eyes?

Well, two dots should suffice, shouldn’t they?

Guess they should, if you know what to do with those dots, because if you really want to draw cool cartoons, you need to go beyond the stick-figures and cookie-faced smilies (unless of course your mind-space is dominated by the conceptualizer.)

But I am serious when I ask you to stretch, squeeze, and twist the two dots of the eyes to make your cartoon characters come alive. Eyes are by and far the most important feature on the face of any creature (animals and humans alike.) They express. Period.

Please ref to Chapter 5 – Fig 1 below, where I present my case.

Book - Evolution of a Cartoonist - A book on how to draw cartoons - Importance of the eyes in cartoons.

The Uber-complex Structure of the Human Eye

The human eye is complex, and I am not talking about the internals of the eye. If I were talking about caricaturing the eye, I’d probably tell you stuff like “eye is spherical,” “the eyeball’s curvature is slightly different from that of the iris’…”, etc., but because cartooning requires that we simplify, why not begin by simplifying our learning, and focusing only on stuff that will impact our cartoons.

In the following image (Chapter 5 – fig: 2 for future reference,) you can see the simplistic structure of the human eye. It still is complex…but you don’t have to remember it all – just observe and move on.

Book - Evolution of a Cartoonist - A book on how to draw cartoons - Structure of the human eye - a Cartoonist's Perspective.

Simplifying the Eye

Now let us start simplifying the structure of the eye. Note that the moment we sacrifice any of the 8 basic elements of the human eye, we arrive in the realm of cartooning. Let us see how we can simplify the eye by removing each of the elements, until we are left with just the dot. Also note how life continues to fade out of the eye as we keep reducing the elements.

The decision of simplicity vs. complexity has to be taken in view of our need to capture and transmit the cartoon character’s emotions through its expressions. Practically, concerns such as the actual size of the drawing, the number of characters in it, (perhaps even the effort you can spare for your cartooning assignment,)  will influence your decision-making. The more complex you want your drawings to be, the more space you need to bring them to life.

The following figure (Chapter 5 – fig: 3) shows you a Cartoon look vs. Details graph that will help you understand the above rambles.

Note: The first statement refers to the definition of a Cartoon from Chapter 1 of the book. 

Book - Evolution of a Cartoonist - A book on how to draw cartoons -Simplifying the human eyes to draw the cartoon eyes.

Some Cartoon Eyes

Here are some cartoon eyes. In the second row these eyes are coupled with their respective brows. The brows and the eyes work as a couple and help us accentuate the expressions.

Book - Evolution of a Cartoonist - A book on how to draw cartoons-Some Cartoon eyes - expressions through brows

Chapter 5 has more on the eyes, so I am not concluding it here with a Chapter End-Note. I will soon making a couple of posts on how to cartoon the human face.

Black-and-White Caricatures – All dressed up for the pageant.

Folks,

This caricaturist has found a new toy called “Gallery”. Here is a collection of some of my favorite black and white caricatures done over the past few years.

This is all for now 🙂 I hope you like them.

Have a Great Day!

– Shafali

5 Childhood Symptoms of an Artist – for the Parents of an Artist-in-Diapers!

What triggered this post?

If you know me, I try not to tell people how to do something unless it’s about drawing. However, I’ve had about enough of every parent making a future artist out of every little child who may or may not be born to stay creative all his life. (Note that only 2% of the human population retains a highly active right-brain, right into their adulthood.) I’d like all those who love to draw and paint to become artists, and not the vice-versa (either way. Go figure… there’s a 98% chance that you’ve got an active left-brain, so you are the genius,) and this is why I decided to make this post. I expect to be lambasted by some…but I really don’t care – because if you indeed have a little artist in your family, he or she deserves a happier and more productive childhood than your constant meddling would result in.

A quick point to note here is that you’d never hear parents saying that their son or daughter is a born doctor, engineer, lawyer, politician etc. Yet, the moment a child puts the first stroke of color on a piece of paper, they begin seeing a Norman Rockwell, a Salvador Dali, or at least an Andy Warhol in their child. The Indian parents possibly see a Raja Ravi Verma, an Anjoli Ela Menon, or at least an MF Hussein in their baby.

Before I tell you the symptoms and give you the tips, I’d like to make an assertion, “almost all kids draw.”

Almost All Kids Draw.

Given a piece of paper and pencil, every child would draw. My dear parents, a child doesn’t need your constant observation followed by your continual chiding to become an artist. If anything, it’s going to put him or her off art for life. Just because a child draws doesn’t mean there isn’t an Einstein, a Michael Jackson, a Whitney Houston, or even an Abraham Lincoln hidden in him or her. When a child is expected to excel at something that was just a manifestation of curiosity – the expectation and the following demands from the parents could lead to a severe inferiority complex in the child. So,  leave the child alone to discover. Kids want to be something different each year, and they generally haven’t made up their minds until they are in their mid-teens.

Yet a few of the millions of kids growing up at any given time are born to be an artist, a scientist, a singer, an actor…and because their internal need to become what they are meant to be is in their blood (figuratively speaking,) they end up becoming what they were meant to be – with or without any help from their parents. What the parents can do is, not to block the way of their child’s natural mental evolution.

I have an excellent recollection of the things that I hated as a child. These things did make me step away from art many a times. If you are wondering whether I must be pathologically emotional to remember small things such as these, I must make you aware of another fact. If your child is of the artistic-kind, he or she may be over-emotional, over-empathizing, over-sensitive etc. We are all like that. My maternal great-grandfather died when he joined the medical college, because he couldn’t handle the dissection of a corpse that he had to do because his father wanted him to become a doctor and was unable to accept that his son was meant to be a poet.  Remember, that if your child is made for becoming an artist, you’ve got a kid who scores higher on emotions and less on practical decision-making.

However, if you have a child that’s meant to be a normal, productive, practical citizen of the world, and you’ve branded him or her an artist, you are still doing a disservice to your progeny. You’d build expectations around your child that the poor kid won’t be able to fulfill. This will lead to confusion and overall drop in the development of your child’s personality.

While my best tip on this is – let the child discover and choose, don’t brand him or her too early in life,  I know that as a parent, you’ll never be able to do that, so..

In my opinion, these are the 5 Childhood Symptoms that could stamp “Artist” on the forehead of your child.

5 Childhood Symptoms of an Artist

Symptom 1. Notebooks are for Drawing. Period. (Age: 5-6)

Your child’s notebooks and books are filled with drawings that surprisingly make sense to even your jaded senses. Even at this tender age, the artist-child’s drawings will demonstrate an innate understanding of proportions. Note that I am not talking about a hut, three triangular hills for the background, and four stick figures in the foreground. That’s regular stuff. You need not worry that your child will go to the dark side (namely art) if this is all he or she draws. I am talking about newer stuff. Attempts to draw a bird, an elephant, not just a flower, but a rose…that kind of thing.

Symptom 2. Comics are for Looking at Pictures – and definitely not for Reading (Age 7-8)

Your child prefers lonely corners to read comics and other illustrated books. Closer observation reveals that the illustrated pages don’t turn for a rather long-long time. The child’s notebooks are now filled with more interesting and more detailed drawings. The proportions in the figures are funnily always right. You begin to fear that your child is beginning to trace pictures and passing them off as his or her own. If you get that feeling, don’t share it with your child. You’ll break a tiny trusting heart. Others (in your family and your friend circle) begin to notice that there’s something special about your child…and they begin to make unflattering remarks such as, “isn’t your child a bit shy?”, “why doesn’t she go out and play?”, “don’t you think you must meet a counsellor?” – Ignore, if your child is really producing eye-catching drawings during this time. Artists aren’t very outgoing people. Even grown artists prefer the solitude of their studios. Talking to people, laughing inanely at stuff because it’s socially appropriate to do so, is an anathema to most artists.

 

Symptom 3. First Experiments on Creating Likeness Begin (Age 9-10)

Your child tries to impress you by creating a drawing with an unfailing likeness of you, your spouse, or your dog…of the family. While you shouldn’t be the one telling the child that he or she is an artist, when the child looks for approval, you should be the first one to give it. Yes, you need to provide the child with approval not with a set of dos and don’ts.

Remember that even when you force a child to use a medium of “your” choice to draw, you are forcing the child. Let the kid choose. (For your benefit, if you can draw/color with one medium, you can do it with any other medium. It’s the expression of the picture that forms in the mind that makes an artist, not the medium of expression.)

A Piece of Advice for the well-meaning parents:
Don’t Prattle. This is also the time when the child will experience negativity and jealousy in the environment. Other parents will begin to question the authenticity of your child’s work, because you as a proud parent will be brandishing the artwork done by your child under everyone else’s noses – and while they’ll go “wow”, “fantastic”, and “prodigy” in front of you, they’ll call your child aside and ask where he traced it all from or whether you were the one who drew it instead. This will imprint on to the child’s mind and will remain there forever. Trust me on this.

Symptom 4. Don’t Show me Off! I am not a Performer! (Age 10-12)

Around this age, your child’s progress as an artist will accelerate. Recall that mediums don’t ever matter to an artist – nor will they to your little budding artist. Let the child be, and unless the child wants to show you stuff, don’t meddle. Also don’t go around telling everyone in the family how good an artist your child is. It may help the budding singer, the budding dancer…or any other budding performance artist; it doesn’t help the budding artist. The output of the artistic process requires many iterations before it becomes perfect, and believe me, it’s a time-consuming process.

Asking a child to draw something from scratch in front of a group of uncles, aunts, cousins, is like setting up a time-bomb in the child’s heart. The kid wants to please you, and so tries to draw under pressure, and fails to create something that is really pleasing. This remains in the child’s mind forever. In future, your child will either hide the drawings from you, or draw less. If your child is an artist and you know it, let it be a secret between both of you. Remember that a painter is not a performing artist – a painter is an introvert by nature, a performing artist an extrovert. A painter lives in a world of imagination, a performing artist thrives on interactions. Also remember that the right brain is not just associated with creativity, it’s also associated with feelings, imagination, intuition, and mental imagery. So this child will be a lot more sensitive to everything – to the good and to the bad.

Symptom 5. Almost there. Freebies and Desperation! (Age 12-15)

This is the time when you reap the fruits of your labor, either way.

If you kid was meant to be an artist, either your constant ministrations, your attempts to show-off, and your unrealistic expectations have already veered the child completely off art; or if your kid was meant to be next Einstein, you’ve woven a complex web of confusion around the child. This is also the time, when in 9 out of 10 cases, you wake up to realize that your kid drew only because all kids draw, and that now he or she must become an engineer, doctor, lawyer, or if nothing else, at least a politician.

However, if your son or daughter indeed were to become an artist, you’ll see symptoms such as an increased propensity towards loneliness, increased consumption of art material, increased disregard for neatness…and so on and so forth. If you see this – talk to your child, send him or her to an art-school instead of forcing the kid to find an alternative to Napier’s Constant or dissect a poor squirrel. Most painters are drunk on their imagination – so if you begin to see that dreamy look in your teenager’s eyes, don’t assume the worst. Now you know that a dozen years or so ago, you really had given birth to an art-prodigy.

I’d still recommend that you let the artist child be and not indulge your natural desire to bask in the glory of your child’s abilities. It is going to increase the work-load on your child. Didn’t get it, did you? Let me illustrate. I can’t even recall the exact number of free drawings I’ve made in my life – until one day I was so broken that I decided to decline every damn request of free drawing that came my way. I presume I hurt people on my way – if hurting freeloaders counts, but I just couldn’t bring myself to draw for nothing again. The thought had begun to repel me. Twenty years of drawing for nothing is something, isn’t it? Remember that art too takes time, energy, and it often leaves you with lower and upper back problems. The more you tell your relatives, friends and associates about your child’s artistic abilities, chances are that she will be spending all her waking moments, making free stuff that will hang in someone’s bathroom – all because you didn’t want your child to say no to Mrs. X or Mr. Y.

A Final Note:
In my opinion, a real artist is someone whose work is appreciated by the common man on the street – he or she is the one who was born to be an artist, because this person doesn’t need someone with a studied, conscious, acquired appreciation of art, to appreciate or criticize his or her artwork. We all are born with the innate visual sensibility that helps us differentiate between the artistic wheat and the feigned chaff. This is why, a real artist is appreciated by everyone (exceptions being those who have a personal axe to grind with the artist,) and such artists can exist as nothing but artists. Dear Moms and Dads, remember that facilitation is different from force-feeding. Making an 8-year old child take a course in art, just because you think she or he is good at it – is forcing them to change a happy vocation into a duty.

The best help that you can possibly offer is to be there for them when they need you. These kids are different – they are both a little better and a little worse than their peers.

A Parting Note:
Artist-kids (for want of a better term,) have visual memories. They’ll always remember everything visually…and some of them will possibly remember visuals from the time when they were two or three years old. Those visuals won’t make sense to them until much later, but as they mature, they’ll begin to give meanings to each of those visuals. I don’t know how you’d like to use this information, but I hope it helps.

And the Inevitable Disclaimer (with gratitude to the genius who first thought of disclaimers.)
This post is based on an artist’s experiences and recollections. It’s not based on any sort of controlled research done on child-artist guinea-pigs. Use the tips given with caution. Apply your parental instincts to decide what’s right for you and your family.

And yes,
if you know any young parents, share this post, as a toast to all those artists who are still in their diapers 🙂

Oh…before I leave…
I am not sure if it isn’t a good idea to eliminate the possibility of your child falling into the clutches of the Art-demon. Here’s my take on it…of course, satirically 🙂 Download the free eBook at:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/89321

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

Click to download in a format of your choice.

Abraham Lincoln’s Color Caricature – This should brighten everyone’s day!

I’ve returned from Qo’noS, 2375. I believe the members of Martok’s family were reasonably satisfied with my work, which is usually more than what a caricaturist can expect.

It must’ve been late at night when my pod entered the iOS7-iPhone 5C-charged atmosphere of earth. If you know me, you know that I hate the new buttons and I hate the fact that Steve Jobs told Tim Cook that he should run Apple the way Tim wanted to run it and not the way Steve would’ve run it. I think that made Tim Cook guilt-free. I mean who puts a hardware designer on UI design?!!! Only Tim Cook.

In the next few days, I expect people to start hating the new buttons more vociferously on the social media, and then Jobs will appear in Cook’s dream telling him to get the glossies back.

When I got out of the pod, I stepped on a piece of virtual paper that had colored circles on it. Curiosity made me pick it up (yeah, don’t start thinking that I go around picking stuff up from the ground.) It was Apple’s invitation. Drat. I had missed it, and the pod had disappeared – so I could only time-travel to the conference if I cranked up my clunky tin-box, which works on the invalid principle of going faster than light; and I wasn’t going to do that. The prospects of traveling in it repelled me, especially after having experienced the awesome Klingon time-pod!

Cutting a long story short, I must tell you that the launch of iPhone 5C in those drool-worthy candy-colors reminded me of my color caricatures that I had painted before time-and-space-hopping to Klingon.

Here’s Abraham Lincoln’s Caricature for you. This is based on the black-and-white illustration of Lincoln that I did a few years ago.

Color Caricature - American President Abraham Lincoln - Digital Painting - Shafali

Actual Size at 300 dpi: 12 inches by 12 inches (the above image is cropped on the sides.)

 

Here’s the black and white illustration once again 🙂

Caricature/Sketch of Abraham Lincoln the 16th President of the US who led America through the Civil War of 1861-65, and ended Slavery.

What is he thinking?

 

I’ll return with an important post for Moms and Dads, so if you’ve a young child at home and you are wondering whether he or she’s possessed by the gremlins of art, I’ll give you some pointers to help you in your quest.

 

 

Summoned by the Chancellor of the Klingon High Council…

… the Caricaturist travels to  Qo’noS, 2375!

Last evening I received a missive bearing the insignia of the Klingon High Council. I was directed to appear before Martok the Chancellor. Armed with this little piece of information, I foraged the Internet and discovered that accepting this invitation would mean traveling forward in time and arriving in the year 2375. I also checked out Chancellor Martok’s picture on Wikipedia. I am used to meeting pseudo-humans of both the earth-dwelling and the alien variety, still his bizarre physiognomy with his ridged forehead left me a little dazed. I wanted to decline the invitation, but my curiosity pushed me to throw a couple of sketch-pads, two overalls, my box of Derwent color pencils, my Intuos tablet, my laptop, and a few other electronic knickknacks into a backpack, and climb into the pod they had so kindly sent to pick me up.

This particular time-pod was nothing like the clunker that I bought in a garage sale, years ago. This was a state-of-art machine with gleaming edges, softer than the softest cushions, organic air-conditioning, hidden pantries that automatically assessed your hunger-quotient, combined it with your other biometrics, and served you the right food that looked and tasted exactly like your favorite dish. All in all, the interiors were super-impressive!  The ETA was 9:00 PM, which meant that I had about half an hour to relax.

I wondered if time-travel in this pod, allowed for Internet access. The moment the thought popped up in my head, I heard the Donkey-voice of Mike Myers tell me that I could access Internet during my journey through the wormhole, but the access won’t be available on the other side, so I’d better hurry.

I thanked him, and was about to pull out my iPad from the backpack when the donkey suddenly materialized in front of me. He looked as real as he does in Shrek. I shrieked and almost fainted as he brought his face close to mine, and with that hurt look in his eyes, he said to me, “Please! I don’t wanna go back there, you don’t know what it’s like to be treated as a freak!… Well, maybe you do… but that’s why we gotta stick together! You gotta let me stay!”

I sort of agreed with his assessment of my freakiness, but I recalled him saying something similar to Shrek, so a small voice told me that the donkey wasn’t real, and it was a futuristic computer program playing 3D tricks on my mind. That calmed me down. I looked straight into his eyes and said, “No you can’t, because you are a computer program, and you’ll automatically be left behind, when I leave this pod.”

The donkey’s routine was obviously written by a programmer who suffered from the frog-in-the-well syndrome and didn’t expect regular time-travelers to be smart, so the moment the donkey heard me, he flickered and then disappeared.

I took a deep breath, gathered my thoughts, pulled out my iPad, typed “Martok” in the Google search box of Safari.

It was all there…everything about him. About his humble beginnings, about his abduction in 2371, just four years ago in the future when I was supposed to meet him. About his becoming the chancellor, and about his family. I committed their names to memory. Lady Sirella and Drex.

I didn’t realize how much time had passed, until the door of the pod slid open. I hadn’t felt it decelerate so the opening of the pod door and the realization that the pod was now standing still on the ground, surprised me a little. The Clunker that I have at home…oh, never mind!

I hauled the bag up on my shoulders and stepped out in a large dome-shaped room where the floor gradually sloped up into the walls that converged to form the roof. As my eyes adjusted to the light conditions, I realized I was inside a sparkling white hemisphere, with no door or window, or anything else in sight – it was an endless, unbroken, and closed expanse of white in all three dimensions. I panicked and turned, thinking that I’d rather wait inside the pod, but…the pod had vanished. I was left standing there in the middle of white nothingness. A wave of nausea hit me and my knees gave way. Why in the name of caricatures, did I accept this idiotic invitation?

I knew the answer. Martok’s message had made me gloat. It told me that my fame had grown beyond the earth, beyond Atlantis, beyond the constraints of time, into the future…and let us be serious, who in his right mind would refuse an invitation by the Chancellor of Klingon High Council?

I heard the footsteps but I tried to ignore them because at this point, I didn’t want to be disappointed again. Artists hallucinate all the time – this could be another hallucination. The footsteps came closer. I still didn’t open my eyes, I wanted to be sure that there indeed was someone or something – I really didn’t care if it was Jabba the hutt…or actually I did, but then Jabba existed in a different paradigm…of Star Wars and not Star Trek, and so he couldn’t be there any way. My mind was mixing stuff up and feeding my anxiety and my fear!

A soft, soothing voice in my head found way through the confusion that raged in my mind. The voice told me to open my eyes and stand up. The charisma of the voice washed over me leaving me clean – devoid of negativity and fear.

I opened my eyes and saw them. They were smiling. All three of them were smiling, and Martok looked a lot less intimidating when he smiled. Lady Sirella raised her hand and the white around us cleared. Now we were standing in their cosy living room that had a rich oriental look. She motioned me to sit, and then she poured me a steaming hot cup of tea. Just what was needed to soothe my nerves. Chancellor Martok, in the meantime, got up and went to one of the cupboards that lined the walls. He came back with an arm-load of albums.

“Lady Sirella and I wanted to commission you for a few caricatures,” he said.

So…ladies and gentlemen of this blog’s viewership,
I am in Qo’noS the home planet of Martok. I’ve been given a comfortable to place to work, and my job is to create caricatures and portraits of Martok and all his near and far relatives. I try to make them look as nice as possible, but very often it’s impossible. The good news however is that they consider me downright ugly and they deem themselves to be the most beautiful people in the entire universe. I hope they never learn what I think. If you’ve not seen my perspective on perspectives, go here.

I’ll return soon, I promise…only about a dozen more to go.

Half Million Views bring a Color Caricature of Captain Sparrow a.k.a Johnny Depp to this blog!

Sometime today, my blog shall cross the 500,000 views mark. I don’t think it has changed anything for me. I still got up the same side of bed, did the usual chores, had my usual breakfast…nothing really changed. Yet, in the cyber world it’s customary to celebrate such milestones. While I’m not a traditional person (if I were, I won’t be an artist, would I?) I don’t mind celebrating this specific event, especially because I have just the right caricature to celebrate it.

My first caricature on this blog was of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean. It was a Black-and-White caricature (as most of my caricatures were in those days,) and I think that it got its share of attention. Fortunately for me, it was one of the caricatures that I painted for my recent assignment.

So here he is – Captain Sparrow and his two little mice – they look rather fetching in color, don’t they?

Caricature, Cartoon, Color-portrait  of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow (with his two mice) in Pirates of the Caribbean.

Actual Print Size of the Image: 12 inches x 12 inches at 300 dpi.

If you want to check out the black-and-white version, here it is:

Caricature of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow.

Where is the cheese…Captain Sparrow?

Painting Johnny Depp’s Caricature – Deviations from the Earlier Drawing:

You go first 🙂 What are the differences?

Ok. I am naive. I don’t know how to create those polls. But the point is: I changed a lot of things as I painted Captain Sparrow’s Caricature.

The call-outs were thrown out because they would take the viewer’s attention away from his face, which I obviously wouldn’t like. I added some details to his lone earring, because it looked too plain, and I added that scar on his cheekbone because I had missed it earlier. I added those locks of hair on the left because I thought that the earlier caricature looked too symmetrical. Caricatures look funnier when they aren’t symmetrical. (Do you know that facial symmetry is one of the most important parameters of beauty in humans. According to Reader’s Digest, Denzel Washington is supposed to have the most symmetrical face among men, and he indeed is (was?) handsome.) Johnny Depp is another actor who whose face is considered to be extremely symmetrical.

Note the lock of the hair on the left balances his earring on the right, and yet, both help introduce funniness into the caricature. I kept the mice because they just blend into the character of Captain Sparrow. The butterfly ornament now has colored gemstones (they remind us of his gait and his feminine mannerisms.)

More in my next post 🙂

Caricature – Charlie Chaplin as the Tramp…in Color!

Friends,

I’ve been a busy bee this whole month. Other than working on certain graphic design assignments I was coloring seven of my black and white caricatures. One of these was a caricature of Charlie Chaplin as the tramp, which I did two years ago. Here is the color painting that I did recently.

 

Color Painting/Caricature of Charlie Chaplin as the Tramp, with a rose-stem as a stick and a mouse sitting on his shoe, playing the flute.

Charlie Chaplin as the Tramp – Color Caricature – Digital Painting in Photoshop CS6. Print Size of the image: 12 inches x 12 inches at 300 dpi.

I know that you don’t remember the original black and white caricature…so I’m reproducing it here.

Caricature Cartoon Sketch Drawing Portrait of Charlie Chaplin as his most famous Silent Film Character, The Tramp.

Charlie Chaplin as The Tramp.

The Process of Painting Charlie Chaplin:

While there isn’t a long how-to for this, I can quickly summarize the painting process for those interested.

I worked with a scan of the drawing in the background, because I didn’t want to lose the story nor work on the overall proportions once again. There was a time when I used to paint the character first and then move on to painting the background. I don’t know when and how I moved to working on the basic hues of the background first, but I did and it really made the process faster and the artworks more interesting. When I paint the backgrounds, I try to bring different and often unexpected colors together and then blend them in to represent something that connects with the subject of the caricature.  In my opinion, a caricature shouldn’t replicate anything exactly… it should always attempt to exaggerate and surprise – and you can surprise by any departure from the expected – including the colors that you use in your caricatures.

I must confess that I was running against a deadline and I was hit by this evil idea of removing the flute-playing mouse and the rose from the caricature to save time, but I just couldn’t bring myself to destroy the spirit of the artwork, so I went ahead and painted them in 🙂

Painting the Expression of Charlie Chaplin’s Face:

You must’ve noted the slight change in the expression. I first went with the earlier expression of hopelessness and acceptance, but I then had this urge to change it into an expression that shows him dazed and slightly disgusted with what he was…a tramp! To achieve this, I pushed the brows higher and painted his lips in way that they appeared pursed.  In the color image given above, I’ve cut out some of the background details from the actual picture (see the picture below for details.)

About the cracks in the wall, the bricks, and the graffiti:

Most of it is self-explanatory. Where do you find a tramp? On a pavement, against a wall that’s peeling off. The oranges and the reds symbolize the rage within. The rage of being trapped into the persona of a tramp. If I were Charlie Chaplin, I’d not want to be remembered not only as the character I played, but also as the person I was. In his case, the success of his character “the tramp” overshadowed everything else for him.

Charlie Chaplin as the tramp - with the mouse playing the flute and a rose stem as a stick.

details of 12″x12″ square.

I guess that’s all I have on Charlie Chaplin.

Now, it’s time for a break so…

If you own an iPad, check out Triangle Tap on the App Store. Triangle Tap is a Shape building Puzzle game in which you use triangles to build the shapes in the puzzles.  If you like Tangram puzzles but are looking for something new, here’s the icon to help you recognize the game on the App Store.

Click to Download Triangle Tap on your iPad.

Click to Download Triangle Tap on your iPad.