Some Brain-on-Vacation Doodling…

As a rule, I don’t publish my doodles. They should be found no place other than my to-be-shredded-in-the-future tray, and all the new ones should follow their brethren to the gallows. They aren’t pretty and they aren’t happy – and when has the world been kind to the ugly and the unhappy?

And yet, I couldn’t bring myself to throw this one away, because it tells a story in which I once played a part.

I’ll let you read the story in these overlapping, untidy lines.

Happy Unhappy Sad Curious Anxious Expressions Doodle - A Pen and Ink Drawing by Shafali

Cartoons vs. Caricatures – What is the difference?

In this short post, I would like to differentiate between cartoons and caricatures, and then discuss the gray area that lies between the two.

I’ll begin by reaching out for my Merriam Webster Collegiate dictionary – Tenth Edition. Yes, I do it the old way…lug that bulky tome to my table and then patiently flip the pages until I find the word that I am looking for!  I find the word “caricature” – in the first column of page 173. Let me pick the definition for you.

“A caricature implies a ludicrous exaggeration of the characteristic features of a subject.”

And now I flip a couple more pages to find the term cartoon.

“A ludicrously simplistic, unrealistic, one-dimensional portrayal/a preparatory drawing.”

As you can see, a caricature exaggerates the characteristic features of a subject (person, place, or thing,) whereas a cartoon is a simplistic, unrealistic, one-dimensional(?) portrayal (of what? – anything, even that of an abstract concept.) Notice the elements missing from a cartoon – a “real” subject, whose features are being exaggerated, also notice the additional element of simplistic rendering.

So exaggeration of the defining features would lead to a caricature – ex: caricature of Bill Clinton, with his nose, his jaw, his florid complexion – all exaggerated, leading to his picture becoming a funnier version of the subject’s likeness.

Icon President Bill Clinton - Cover Art and Two Page Spread done for Talk Business and Politics Magazine.

And a simplistic rendering of anything (including a subject: person, place, thing, concept) would be a cartoon – ex: the following cartoon drawing includes cartoons of three persons, a few objects, and presents a concept.

Toony Pretzels Cartoon of a doctor operating upon a patient while a nurse looks on - Theory vs. Practice

 

But then a caricature of a person may be rendered simplistically enough to be called a cartoon too, and hence the confusion. For example, the cartoons of Ajit Ninan published in The Times of India are not just simplistic renderings, but they also exaggerate the characteristic features of the politicians to poke fun on them. While they are still cartoons (simplistic rendering,) they are also caricatures of specific subjects.

Hope this boring post has managed to clarify matters 🙂

Now hop to my art gallery here to enjoy some colorful caricatures.

Cover Art for Fantasy Novel “Kaylyn – The Sister in Darkness” by Barbara G. Tarn.

Ten years after the return of the crusader, his people know he’s evil and try to get rid of him and his wife. Kaylyn escapes the fire of Baldwin’s manor with Bran’s help and leaves Lincolnshire for good. A long journey through 12th century Europe allows her to meet other fledglings of her mysterious maker, Bran the Raven. Then it’s Muslim Spain and up to Damascus, where everything started for Baldwin.

A travel journal through the centuries across Europe, North Africa, Asia on the Silk Road, to the court of Kublai Khan and then India for the making of her brother-in-darkness, Rajveer…

… And it’s only half of Kaylyn’s story!

Last month, Barbara G. Tarn commissioned me for her second book in the Vampire Through Centuries series. Here’s the cover of the book, which is now available for pre-order.

Cover Art for Novel - Kaylyn the Sister in Darkness by Barbara G Tarn - Medieval Vampires
My process of working on Ms. Tarn’s books begins by my reading her stories (yes, you got it. First, I get to savor the worlds she builds, enjoy the company of the characters she creates, and visit the places they go – in this case, medieval Europe and India.) She’s an awesome client, who sends me a folder of references along when she books me for a commission. In this particular case, those references helped me visualize Kaylyn’s dress correctly (12th century Europe.) The mansion behind too required help – a building from the same time, it had to be mansion (not a palace, nor a church.)

I’d like to thank Barbara G. Tarn for the opportunity.

Do visit Unicorn’s Productions website to check out the other books by this fantastic Fantasy Author and visit her personal blog here.