Dog Portraits in Pen and Ink – The Beagle and the Rottweiler.

Fridays are still furry beautiful. This week, I am glad to present two portraits – a Beagle and a Rottweiler.

Beagles are scent-hounds. In my opinion, they are the cutest scent-hounds of all. They look like young precocious children – curious, alert and energetic – unlike the avuncular Bloodhound.

Stephanie Lilley, Regency Romance Author, dog-blogger, and mom to several beagles, captures the beagle-experience beautifully.

“So much to sniff, so little time to bay. A pack of beagles sounds like a symphony with individual instruments–a low oboe, a staccato bell, a bicycle horn, a stuttering trumpet, crescendo and decrescendo until there is just the oboe…and then little whoops…then silence when the scent is lost.”

The Portrait of a Beagle

Dog-portraits, portrait of a beagle - scent-hounds - cute dogs, cats, and other pet portraits by shafali

Beagle Portrait, Medium: Pen and Ink, Size: 8 inches by 12 inches.

And the Rottweilers.

The Rottweilers are dogs of a different kind. They were bred to guard and to protect. Humans being humans, first bred them for protection – because they needed their protection; now they brand the Rottweilers as aggressive and dangerous dogs, because in the protected-by-law environment of today, humans don’t see much use of them.

The press too has been unkind to the Rotties – just the way they’ve been unkind to many other dog-breeds, the worst affected are the Pit Bulls, who were bred to entertain a certain section of blood-thirsty humans. When we denigrate dogs on the basis of their breed, we contradict ourselves on our stance of the nature-vs.-nurture debate.

We don’t automatically brand a murderer’s child a murderer, because we expect that even a child with the genes of a killer father, if nurtured right, has the potential of becoming a law-abiding, even productive citizen of the world. However, we don’t think twice before giving sweeping statements that brand specific dog-breeds negatively.

Dogs, you see, are more amenable to be trained into becoming adorable family dogs. Quite like in the case of humans, dogs too respond to their environment and the treatment that their families mete out to them. A boy born of non-criminal parents, if adopted by an uncaring family could grow up to be a criminal. This is also true for dogs.

So if at all you come across a dog that’s ferocious, check out the family. Chances are that the dog is kept on a leash even when inside, that it’s not petted or scratched or hugged ever by the “owner.” Also remember, a dog is supposed to protect his family and his house. As a human you would do it too – won’t you?

Here’s a portrait of one such misunderstood dog – The loving and caring Rottweiler.

The Portrait of a Rottweiler

 Portrait of a Rottweiler dog - Pen and Ink Drawing - Pet and other Animal Portraits by Shafali

Rottweiler Portrait, Medium: Pen and Ink, Size: 8 inches by 12 inches.

If you love dogs, do visit my Pen and Ink Portraits blog 🙂 There are a lot of other dog and cat portraits, that you can view there. Some wildlife art is coming up too 🙂

 

 

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Another Tryst with Color Pencils – A Beautiful Witch with Hypnotic Eyes Emerges.

Those pencils had been languishing in my desk drawers for a whole year. I wouldn’t have bothered with them, had I not gone to the stationery shop to buy pens for my pen & ink drawings. I had ordered some pens, and the shop-owner had called up to tell me that they had arrived. So yesterday, I went to the shop to pick them up.

Every artist knows how addicting these shops can be. Sketchbooks, notebooks, canvas-pads, diaries, drawing-boards, pencils, pens, brushes, colors, paints…I could go on and on…and still not finish the list. The point is that the way the stereotypical woman is addicted to showrooms that are stocked with clothes, shoes, and makeup material; the stereotypical artist is addicted to a stationery shop.

Let me cut a long yarn short and tell you that the pens that I had ordered were ready, and I should have just paid for them, taken them, and left. Instead, I got hooked. I checked out their paper inventory, their notebooks/sketchbooks inventory, and then I came to a stop right in front of the shelves that held the color pencils!

Color Pencils! I had bought a stash last year!

The rest, honestly, is a blur.

All I wanted to do was reach home and get those pencils out and start drawing.

This is what I drew.

The Beautiful Witch - 12" x 16" - Done with Derwent Watercolor pencils (without water)

The Beautiful Witch – 12″ x 16″ Cartridge Sheet – Done with Derwent Watercolor pencils (without water)

 

The head-dress, I admit, is a little odd…a feather, a lace-edged fan sort of thing (a collar from an old ragged dress worn as a head-ornament), a feather, a colorful rag around her head. Why would a beautiful woman choose to wear something as unfashionable as that? Before you admonish me for the strange headdress, allow me to defend myself.

The headdress is odd, because I wasn’t really thinking. I just wanted to try out the pencils and see how I could blend the colors. I learned that the blending was terrible and that I might have to check out the Pastels when I went to the stationery store the next time.

I do like the eyes. They rivet you. I like the underbite too. It makes her look witch-like in a subtle but intelligent way. It amuses me to think how even the slightest of underbite can change the whole expression – how it can turn a smile into a smirk.

I’m not satisfied with the look, the texture, and the brightness of the colors; but I post this to record my experiments with color-pencils. Note that though I used Derwent Watercolor pencils to draw with, I didn’t use water on the image. The application of water could brighten it up by heightening the contrast, but I just wanted the dry pencil look.

More on this later…when I suffer the next bout of color-pencil inspiration.

Meanwhile, if you want to meet someone who simply loves color pencils, meet Creative Barbwire 🙂

Caricature-Cartoon Elizabeth Warren – The American Spectator July/August Issue.

Last month, I had the opportunity to illustrate the cover of two political magazines. I’ll post the other cover after the magazine hits the stands. Here’s the one I did for The American Spectator‘s July August 2014 Issue. If you hold Conservative views, pick a copy from the newsstand or subscribe to the magazine here. 

Elizabeth Warren Caricature on the Cover of The American Spectator Magazine - Cover Illustration Shafali

July August Issue of The American Spectator.

 

I must confess that this was a challenging assignment. On the face of it, it looked easy. A lady with a Red-Indian head-dress standing in front of a Teepee… it couldn’t be simpler, you’d say. Actually, you’d be wrong. Over the years, the lady has sported many different hair-styles, her preferred outfit is a loose jacket and a pair of trousers, and most reference images available on the Internet show her waist-up! Anyway, the point is that at the end of it all she looks rather cute standing akimbo in front of that teepee that she didn’t build. Of course, she didn’t build that teepee in the image. I did.

So…

Who is Elizabeth Warren?

Elizabeth Warren is the US Senator for Massachusetts. She is a Democrat and you can read her blog here. The controversy that the tag-line in the cover points to, is the fact that she had once identified herself as a Native American. It turns out that there isn’t enough documentary proof to support her claim. While most of the voters in her constituency say that this won’t affect their decision to re-elect her, the issue has attracted a lot of criticism.

While Elizabeth Warren has repeatedly denied that she’d be running in the US Presidential race of 2016, there are speculations that she might. She is considered to be a Democratic heavyweight and there’s a possibility that she might be in the race, along with Ms. Hillary Clinton. If you’ve not viewed my Caricature of Hillary Clinton, you can view it here.

I’ve been doing a lot of other stuff lately. This included Pet Portraits, a Couple of Wildlife drawings…and oh, yes. I’ve been experimenting with my color pencils. I had tried them out last year and drawn the Caricature of Samantha the Witch and this captive here – but these were both post-card size drawings. This is bigger.

Let me take a picture and show you what it is – await my next post 🙂

If you are interested in learning how to draw caricatures, check out my book “How to Draw Caricatures? Evolution of a Caricaturist” at Amazon 🙂

Learn How to Draw Caricatures in a Step by Step methodical way - A book by Shafali Anand.

Pen and Ink Pet Portraits – My New Site for Animal-lovers :)

 Fridays Just went Furry!

Pen and Ink Portrait Artist's Desk - Portraits of Dogs, Cats, Horses, Tigers…everything furry - other animals and wildlife.

My dog and I are super-happy to present my Pen and Ink Portraits Gallery and a Furry New Website to our readers.

Dear Friends, I welcome you to the new space 🙂

Pen and Ink portraits of dogs, cats, pups, kittens, and wildlife in pen and ink - created by shafali

Click to View the Pet Portraits Gallery.

Pen and Ink Portraits of Two Handsome Dogs:

Here are a couple of Pen and Ink pet portraits that I did recently. View more at my Pet Portrait Art Gallery.

The English Mastiff (The Gentle Giant)

The English Mastiff is one of the largest dog-breeds in the world. They are tall and big and heavy, but they have the sweetest temperament of all. They were bred to be guard-dogs, but they love to spend time indoors with other family members. I’ve written a detailed post on mastiffs to accompany the portrait. Read the post and see the portrait closer up here.

Portrait of the English Mastiff Dog - Pet and Wildlife Portraits in Pen and Ink by Shafali

 

The Cairn Terrier

The Cairn Terrier is, of course, a terrier; and that makes him an earth-dog – a vermin-hunter par excellence. He like his other terrier cousins, was bred to hunt foxes and other small animals including rats; but the Cairn Terrier of today is a family dog. Read more about him and view his portrait in more detail here.

Portrait of the Cairn Terrier Dog - Pet and Wildlife Portraits in Pen and Ink by Shafali

What made me grow fur?

Actually, I’ve always been furry close…I mean very close to dogs and cats. It is said that people are either cat persons or dog persons, but not both. Well, I am both…and more. I love dogs and cats with equal intensity…and every once in a while I experience a crush on a mouse, a lizard, a chameleon, a squirrel…the list is long. I guess I am an animal lover, because that makes me real cozy furry!

This Furry Artist is Open to Pet Portrait Commissions now 🙂

Now that I’ve gone furry, I am taking Pet Portrait Commissions. If you are interested in hiring me to draw the portrait of your furry son or daughter, and you don’t mind my falling in love with him or her, contact me here 🙂

 

 

Caricature of Julius Caesar – A Digital Painting and Thoughts on How to Color your Caricatures.

Here’s a painting that I did from an older black and white caricature of Julius Caesar.

Caricature, Cartoon, Portrait of the Roman General Julius Caesar.

“They use the most tender leaves to make his wreath!” – 12 inches x 12 inches at Print Resolution.

 

Following is the black and white caricature that I painted upon.

Caricature of Julius Caesar the Roman General by Shafali

 

I thought of sharing this image to elucidate how coloring a caricature is different from coloring a portrait. While there’s a lot that I learn with every caricature I paint, there are some caricaturists who have mastered the art of using color in a funny way. There are two caricaturists who I hold in high esteem when it comes to using the power of colors in caricaturing – Vizcarra and Thomas Fluharty. While Vizcarra’s work brandishes color as an almost fatal weapon to gain and fasten your attention to his caricatures, Fluharty’s use of color is subtle – it attracts you in a more sublime manner.

I gravitate towards the sublime. In art, I am a moderate. In caricatures, I stay away from hyper-exaggeration. I recently got a very nice compliment from a client. He said that my style was fun. “Fun” is what I gun for, especially when I create caricatures. I am not pro-seriousness, nor am I pro-ridicule – this is why I call myself moderate and this is why I am more pro-Fluharty in coloring.

Not using the colors for fun and staying realistically close to the actual coloring isn’t my thing for caricature-painting; nor is exaggerating the color values by pushing them to the periphery of the color-wheel.

Here are a few pointers for those who like to moderately exaggerate the colors in their caricatures.

How to Color your Caricatures?

1. Use colors to add color to your art.

So make the reds a touch redder, the blues bluer, the greens lusher, the browns chocolaty…move towards colors that encourage nicer, more fun-feelings in the viewer. This may not always be required, but when it happens, your caricatures look more lively.

2. Use colors to heighten contrast.

Lips are red, teeth are white? Actually, they aren’t. Lips have a red/magenta tinge and teeth vary from grayish-yellow to creme in color. When two different colors are adjacent to each other, increase their contrast. In the lip and teeth example, this would exaggerate the teeth and add to your caricature.

While painting Caesar’s head, I edged the leaves with gold, heightening their contrast with the shadows on his head; I contrasted his lips with his skin (I am sure that an aging Caesar’s lips won’t be raspberry red and so full as shown in the caricature, but painting them realistically would’ve killed the fun element in the caricature.)

 3. Use Stark Highlights and Shadows:

Don’t go super-realistic on highlights and shadows. A shiny knobby nose looks funnier than a realistically painted one, eye-balls that reflect an unnatural amount of light look more lively in a caricature. So stay with stronger high-lights and shadows.

So bring out one of your sketches and unleash the painter in you 🙂

I’ve also been hoping to tell you that I am rather happy with the performance of “Evolution of a Caricaturist – How to Draw Caricatures” though I often wonder why we artists are so averse to writing. If we weren’t, we’d leave a review or two on the books that we read. And yet, I shall stand my ground and not buy/request reviews by sending the book to professional reviewers who aren’t my real audience.

Very Important: If you’ve stopped here by chance and you love animals, follow this blog, because something awesome is coming up soon (as soon as this Friday.)

Until then… Draw to Smile 🙂

 

 

Stealing is stealing! Period. Don’t disguise Plagiarism as Appreciation.

This post is about creative effort. It’s about the ownership of content. It’s about calling a spade a spade and a thief a thief.

This post has been triggered by my friend Barb’s post here.

Artists, writers, music-composers – all those who earn their living through creative effort have felt the pain of their work being stolen. There was a time when I used to wonder why otherwise “honest” people are quick to steal the creative work of their fellow-beings; why people who’d never, not even in their dreams, steal a watch, a cellphone, a diamond ring, or money – would quite readily pounce upon creative content and present it as their own. But that was another time, another era. Since then, through many such misfortunes of my own, I’ve discovered why.

 

Why People Steal Creative Work?

I’ve realized that there are three main reasons why people steal creative work (an act that’s euphemistically called Plagiarism.)

1. The Quality of Creative Work is Subjective.

 I may say that James Bama or James Christensen are better artists than M.F. Hussein or Andy Warhol, but there are hundreds of thousands out there who’d verbally slash me into ribbons for saying so – and they’d have a more objective reason to counter me – the quantum of commercial success.

When quality of the output is subjective, everyone wants to be there and do that. And people who steal aren’t really the connoisseurs – they are those who just assume that all art is equal and available in abundance, and that if they steal an artwork, they are in fact, putting their stamp of approval on the artist. In fact, they presume that artists must be grateful for the attention.

2. Artists don’t/can’t fight back.

They don’t because the environment has trained them to be at the receiving end, just the way others are trained to think of artists as good-for-nothing bums who are just waiting for someone to notice their work and drop a penny in their bowl. They can’t because most artists whose work gets stolen are not famous and rich yet – and so they don’t have the means to drag the thieves to the court and make them pay. Have you ever heard a famous singer’s work being plagiarized in his or her own country? It doesn’t happen. But across borders, the thieves find their nerve, because law is often biased to favor the citizens of that country. And so the cross-border art-thieves are safe.

3. Copying isn’t Stealing!

In some cultures, copying isn’t stealing. Parents help the children trace, they help the children by drawing/writing for them, they even help the children change a few lines here and there so that the artwork appears to have been drawn by the child. The child grows up with the belief that copying isn’t stealing. Unfortunately, in art, in music, and in literature; IT IS! Rote learning is, in a way, learning to copy and learning to accept that copying is moral and legal. When a fourteen-year old learns an explanation of a passage by rote and regurgitates it on his examination answer sheet, only to get a perfect score, he also learns that creativity is crap.

Three Examples of Creative Work being Stolen

Stuff has been stolen from me all my life. Some of the things were material and I don’t recall most of them, but some were created with my sweat and pain, and I remember all those quite well.

Among many  such robberies that shredded my faith in the integrity of my fellow human-beings, here are three such incidents – going backwards in time.

1. Cross-border Stealing

Some months ago, I got an email from a German gentleman who preferred to stay anonymous. He told me that a studio in Germany was stripping my credentials from my caricatures and presenting them as their samples to generate business. They even had a Facebook Page for it. I tried to harness the power of social media to stop the studio from doing so. Of my 50 or so Artist friends, none responded. They didn’t want to fight back. (Point 2 in the first list.)

One of my artist friends once remarked that we shouldn’t waste our energy on trying to stop the scum from stealing, instead, we should focus on creating. I’d like to ask the artists who believe that there’s no need to fight back – if someone stole their car, would they be as willing to step back and let the thief have it, as they would if someone stole their art?

Stripping a creative work of the credit and using it – is stealing. Period.

2. Within-borders Stealing

A little more than a year ago, one of the most prominent newspapers here (this publication also happens to be one of the largest circulated English daily newspapers of the world) , carried a caricature that I had done three years ago. My credit, my signature, all neatly cropped off. It was presented in a manner that it cast the impression of having been created by one of the caricaturists that caricatured the guests at a restaurant featured in the newspaper. It didn’t just hurt me, it also hurt all those who went to the restaurant hoping to get a caricature in the style and quality that was mine. But that shouldn’t hurt me, right? After all, who am I to say that the caricaturists hired by the restaurant at possibly a measly $10 an hour weren’t better than me? Remember point 1 in the first list? The quality of creative work is subjective.

I wrote to the editor…she sweet-talked, then she tried to pin the responsibility on a junior editor, next on an external party – never once apologizing. I was willing to let the matter go, she only had to accept and apologize. So I gave up and wrote to the Managing Director of the Publishing House. I never got an apology, but those I know in there, told me that she did get pulled up for it.

Not apologizing doesn’t mean that it wasn’t stealing. It was, and it will remain. Period.

3. Stealing from a Child

When I was in eight-grade, I used to draw pictures (generally, figures with decorative borders) and sometimes leave them between the pages of my books. A teacher, let’s call her SB (those are her actual initials,) borrowed my book so that she could ask us to read the passages from the book. From my place on the first bench, I saw her open the book and surreptitiously drop that sketch in her desk drawer; my friend saw it too. I felt sad, because it was a rather nice sketch and I wanted to go home and show it to my father. Nobody said anything, but the whole class knew that our teacher was a thief and she stole from the kids.

People who tried rationalizing this for me, told me that she did this because she liked my work, and that I should take it as a compliment.

So, if you like someone’s wife, steal her, because you are just paying a compliment to the man.
If you like someone’s pen, pilfer it, because you are merely expressing your appreciation for the pen.

You won’t.
Because your morality tells you that it’s not right. Because you know, that you cannot clad the act in the cloak of appreciation.

In truth, when my teacher took my drawing without asking me, she stole. Period.
In truth, when you take a creative work and make it look like you did it, you steal. Period.

I know you won’t.
Because you know that it’s immoral. It’s like saying that you fathered another man’s child. You wouldn’t do it. Would you?

So my dear otherwise honest friends, if you want an image for a non-commercial purpose, request permission from the artist. If you want to use it commercially, pay for it. It’s that simple, really 🙂