Caricature/Cartoon – Sherlock Holmes – The Greatest Fictional Detective Ever!

Sherlock Holmes, the character was born in  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle‘s imagination. ACD was a Scottish author and doctor. The world first made acquaintance with Mr. Sherlock Holmes in Doyle’s first story, “A Study in Scarlet.” Sherlock Holmes was actively solving crimes in London, from 1880 to 1914.

Here’s the caricature of Sidney Paget‘s rendition of Arthur Conan Doyle’s hero, Sherlock Holmes.

Caricature, Cartoon, Drawing, Portrait, Sketch of Sherlock Holmes, Greatest detective ever, with a lens and a mouse - based on the drawings of Sidney Paget.

You, Sir, have been scampering through the drains of London. You have arrived at 221B Baker Street by climbing through the window of Watson’s bathroom. You are here to consult me on a matter that concerns you deeply.

Sherlock Holmes – A Biography

He was born on January 06, 1854 (the date and the year of his birth have been distilled from  different stories.) This makes Holmes a Capricorn, and from whatever I’ve gathered of sun-signs, his personality seems to match the stereotypical Capricorn. Thus, it’s rather obvious that Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock’s literal father, was deeply influenced by Linda Goodman who was born in 1925. It’s once again obvious from this, that Doyle knew how to travel through time and this is how he could meet Ms. Goodman…(or is my reasoning fallacious, Mr. ‘Olmes?)

Did Sherlock Holmes have a family?
Well. Mr. Doyle refrained from staining the personality of his objective, no-nonsense hero by talking about his family. Whether or not he had parents can’t be deduced from the stories (so we’ve got to go by our good old common-sense) but that he had a brother is evident. His brother Mycroft Holmes, according to Sherlock, was equally gifted but he didn’t bother honing his skills up. If he had bothered, we would’ve read Mycroft Holmes mysteries instead.

Did Sherlock Holmes ever fall in love?
He probably did, with Irene Adler, “the woman” who managed to outsmart  our detective genius. Otherwise, Sherlock Holmes was interested in women only when they brought him his cases. 100 years on…does it tell us that Holmes was gay?

Sherlock Holmes’ Psychology

Quoting myself…

I’ve begun to believe that if a perfectly normal person visited a psychologist, he’d come off that couch believing he had at least three major and one minor psychological ailment. Look around. Everyone gets depressed once in a while and the durations vary.

One of my aunts would get very-very angry, throw things around, and then shut herself up in her room shunning food for the entire day, until everyone grew concerned and until she had everybody’s attention. Then she would be the happiest person in the whole house. In those days, you’d call such people temperamental and let them be themselves. The lady spent a perfectly normal life, reared a son, became a grand-mother, and she now continues to harass her grand-daughter-in-laws(?) She’s 82 now, quite healthy, and would live for another 10 years! Her cool-headed practical husband, on the other hand, left for his other-worldly abode twenty years ago! Had she been taken to a psychologist, she’d be diagnosed with some or the other disorder, and she’d possibly have preceded her husband to that other world, worrying why the heck wasn’t she born normal!

But I stray from the point.

The psychologists weren’t happy analyzing and branding real people, and so they decided to determine what was wrong with Sherlock Holmes. Something has to be wrong with everyone whose a celebrity…right? I mean what could be a better way to belittle their achievements? Check out the list of celebs with syndromes here.  It makes me wonder whether to become a celebrity you need to buy yourself a syndrome.
So here’s what Holmes was diagnosed with:

Quoting from Wikipedia:
Holmes may have Asperger’s syndrome based on his intense attention to details, lack of interest in friends or a social life and tendency to speak in long monologues.

(I think that I have Asperger’s too… and all this while I thought it was so because I was an introvert! Poor me…never knowing…struggling through my miserable life without knowing what actually is wrong with me!) Also note that “a severe family trauma” could be the reason why he never trusted women. If only Holmes were real…and could defend himself.

Sherlock Holmes – Original Drawings

If I asked you to tell me whether Sherlock Holmes had a nose that was a) spherical b)Hawk-like c)Bulbous d)Snub, then chances are good that you’ll select (b) as the correct option. We have Sidney Paget to thank for visualizing and drawing Sherlock Holmes with such consistency that  even photography may fail to achieve. The image that I always carry in my head is not the one that is seen in the Sherlock Holmes movies or TV Shows, but those that are there on the pages of that hefty volume, which despite many readings, remains one of my favorite books!

My caricature of Mr. Holmes takes after Sidney Paget’s visualization.

View the Original Holmes Drawings here.

Dr. John H. Watson

Dr. Watson was Holmes’ flat-mate and friend, and he was the one who compiled and narrated his adventures. However, Holmes believed that Watson were a romantic and so he embellished the truth thus reducing its objectivity. In the stories that involve young and pretty women, Watson could be seen commiserating with them and speaking to them tenderly, much to the chagrin of Mr. Ever-grumpy Holmes.

Sherlock Holmes in Popular Culture

Arthur Conan Doyle wrote 4 novels and 56 stories around Sherlock Holmes.
The novels are as follows:
* A Study in Scarlet – the first work in which Holmes appeared – it was published in 1887
* The Sign of the Four – 1890
* The Hound of the Baskervilles – published as a serial in 1901-02
* The Valley of Fear – published as a serial in 1914-15
(Source: Wikipedia)

Professor Moriarty – the Master Villain in the Sherlock Holmes Mysteries

It’s said that Doyle created Professor Moriarty so that he could “kill” Holmes (possibly because he wanted to write something different.) He is considered (by Holmes himself) a man his equal in mind, yet someone who had turned his phenomenal powers towards evil. In the Final Solution, Holmes and Moriarty both die, yet the public forced Doyle to bring him back, which he did through the Hounds of Baskervilles set in an earlier time. The public still wasn’t happy – they wanted Holmes to be alive and well. Finally Doyle gave in and Holmes was resurrected. Moriarity had exceptional mathematical abilities…imagine that!

Other Characters in the Sherlock Holmes Mysteries:

  • Baker Street Irregulars
  • Inspector Lestrade
  • Mrs. Hudson – the Landlady
  • Inspector Stanley Hopkins

Free Downloads – Sherlock Holmes Mysteries

The Books by Arthur Conan Doyle are now in the Public Domain. You can download them from the Project Gutenberg site here.

And…if you are wondering who are the actors who’ve played the part of Sherlock Holmes in TV serials and movies…find your list here.

I write like…

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!


I tried analyzing my writing for the post:

Caricature/Cartoon of Avatar – The Story – A Verbal Caricature

Try http://iwl.me/ to find out who you write like:) It’s fun, and very very motivating!

And now I need to read David Foster Wallace. The bad news is he died young (1962 – 2008.)

My Childhood Love – A Naked Truth – A Caricature of Life!

Important Note:

This isn’t the usual fare that’s served at this blog. If you’ve arrived here through a search and if you are looking for caricatures click the Gallery link and if you are here for the Story-in-the-Caricature Blog Carnival, click here.

However, if you are looking for nothing in particular and if for some unfathomable reason you care about the beautiful unique relationship I share with Pratap Mullick, read on.

There’s a good chance that you know neither about Pratap Mullick nor about me, but if you are an artist who grew up in the far-flung regions of India, where if you wanted to buy a magazine, you’d have to travel about 40 miles – you probably have seen Pratap Mullick’s art.

WARNING:

I am NOT talking about Nagraj Comics. He did illustrate the first 50 of those…but I haven’t seen those illustrations. (Pratap Mullick illustrated for Nagraj Comics before 1995 – and Nagraj comics aren’t really what we’d call the “classics” so I can’t find the old issues anywhere. Honestly I don’t care about what I see of Nagraj Comics now! Searches of “Pratap Mullick” often throw up image results that show the work of other artists – and that work isn’t at the same scale of quality as Pratap Mullick’s…so I take no responsibility for misconceptions born out of indiscriminate searches.)

When I was a child, I was not just a child, I was a girl child; and despite being born in quite an emancipated family, nobody thought to ask me what I’d like to become when I grew up. Until I was ten, school was a mercurial affair – it was there, then it wasn’t, then again…it was there, and then it wasn’t. We often lived in places where ours was the only family for miles around. So I had a lot of time to read what I wanted to instead of reading what I had to.

Once a month, my father would take us to the nearest town, and I’d spend my monthly pocket-money (5 Rupees) on comics. I’d buy some combination of Indrajal comics (1 Rupee) and Amar Chitra Kathas (1.50 Rupees, if I remember right.) Indrajaal comics distributed the Phantom comics and the Mandrake comics in India – they later created their own hero, Bahadur too. In contrast, Amar Chitra Kathas (translates to: Immortal Stories with Pictures,) had stories from Indian Mythology and History. After a few months of buying both, I decided that I preferred Amar Chitra Kathas, so I requested my parents for an increment of one rupee in my pocket-money and began buying four Amar Chitra Kathas instead.

It was then that I realized that some of the Amar Chitra Kathas had drawings that were considerably better than those in others. As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, I was a selectively curious child. For a long time, it didn’t occur to me that real artists made those drawings, and I never thought that I could one day illustrate for books and magazines. I drew because it was nice to draw.

Coming back to the point, I realized that certain drawings looked better – in fact, they looked beautiful. They inspired me to draw better. Without realizing that I was learning from those drawings, I began to learn. I learned about proportions, shades, backgrounds, perspectives…I looked at those drawings and then looked around – and then I’d try to draw what I saw, the way they were drawn in those drawings.

I still didn’t know that there was an artist behind those drawings, so next when I went to the town and shopped for Amar Chitra Kathas, I’d look inside, check out the drawings, and instinctively select the Amar Chitra Kathas with those beautiful drawings. My parents would wonder why I selected some and rejected some – but they never asked and I never told. It was my secret.

When kids grow up, they are often asked what they’d like to be when they grew up – in my time, a girl child was seldom asked this question – and so I never could connect art with illustration. If I were asked the question, I might’ve said something like – I would like to draw…and then one thing could’ve led to another, and I might’ve ended up becoming a “real” artist. But for this reason or some other, there was a mental gap somewhere – some synapses didn’t connect – somehow I never realized that art could be a profession as well.

Then during the Nineties there was a time when it was difficult to find Amar Chitra Kathas on the bookstalls, and once in while I’d think about those beautifully illustrated comics, and feel sad. But they probably experienced some sort of revival and I began seeing Amar Chitra Kathas again. One day, when I was in a bookstore, I picked one of them up. I picked it up gingerly – ready to be disappointed – ready to accept that as a child what I found beautiful was indeed crass and mediocre. But the comic that I had instinctively picked up had the same beautiful drawings that I had fallen in love with as a child. I had picked up “Urvashi.

But I was a different Shafali now. I knew that a real artist did those illustrations, and so with my heart beating hard against my ribs, I checked out the cover for the credits – expecting to find none. (Our publishers often fear that they’d lose their illustrators and so they don’t provide credit to the artists.) But there it was. It said: “Illustrated by: Pratap Mullick”! For the first time, I knew the name of the man who had held my hand and steadied it as I learned to draw – for the first time in my life, my thoughts went beyond those drawings and I visualized what his life must’ve been – for now I also know a lot about the struggle that life is for an Indian artist.

It was a moment that was both happy and sad. The fact that Pratap Mullick could survive in this world and that he made drawings that’d survive him – made me happy. The fact that a man of his caliber, wasn’t celebrated – wasn’t known – and wasn’t given the status he deserved, made me sad. I should’ve heard his name as one of the great artists of India – he changed lives, he helped people learn art, and he still remains the best book illustrator that India has ever seen – and believe me when I say that because I spend hours looking at illustrations…and just one illustration is what it takes to tell you what an artist is worth!

As someone who’s keen on art, I wonder why an Amar Chitra Katha that he illustrated should sell at the same price at which all other Amar Chitra Kathas would sell? The comics he illustrated are collectibles – the comics that others did…well they just earned their living! If you don’t know what I am talking about buy “Vasantasena” and “Vasavadatta” – and compare them (Don’t go by the cover illustrations…they are always done well.) ! I just hope that he was at least paid better.

The question is – Why do we normalize? Why do we pull real talent down to the level of mediocrity?

We all know the answer…don’t we? This ability of the human race, is one of the things that define our humanity. We’ve decided to trash the evolutionary theory of “Survival of the Fittest” and that’s precisely why we are headed where we are…

Downhill.

Strangers and Pilgrims – A Book to Mend Broken Hearts – by Vivienne Tuffnell!

I’ve just finished reading Vivienne Tuffnell’s “Strangers & Pilgrims”, a 162 page book completed in five sittings, while I was in the middle of my bread-and-butter variety of work and shifting of the house!

It was sometime during last year that I chanced upon Viv’s blog. I think I must’ve searched for “life” or “philosophy” or some such term, in the wordpress search box, and I reached “Zen and the Art of Tightrope Walking”. If you are wondering why a caricaturist would make such searches – I should tell you that a caricaturist is someone who can see sunlight in the dead of the night! We, the caricaturists, are made of opposing forces – and this leads us into terrible mood-swings! I think that’s enough about me. Let me cut it short and just say that when I reached Viv’s blog, I felt calm. Mostly because I read in her posts, thoughts that were mine too.

So when she published her book, I wanted to read it – and when I read the book, I had to complete it! I’ve completed it:-) and I’ve also written a review. Here it is.

As we journey through life, we collect memories. Some of these memories cling to our thoughts with a ferocious tenacity – never allowing us a moment of clear, untainted happiness; and making us scream, “My heart is broken, and I am dying inside!”

Each of us has such secret heartaches that we can’t bring ourselves to share with anyone, and that stop us from being as happy as we’d want to be. When I read Vivienne Tuffnell’s “Strangers and Pilgrims,” I felt that I too was there – a pilgrim in the House of Wellspring! I read the book in five sittings. While it was difficult to stop reading; the book took it upon itself to make sure that it pulled me back into the story, whenever I had an hour to spare.

If you are trying to get over a pain, small or big, read this book…and even if you have one of the rare, unbreakable hearts, yet you love to read…the moments you spend reading this book will wrap you into a warm and comfortable embrace.

You can find this book at Amazon here and at Lulu.com here🙂 Visit Vivienne Tuffnell’s blog here.

As we journey through life, we collect memories. Some of these memories cling to our thoughts with a ferocious tenacity – never allowing us a moment of clear, untainted happiness; and making us scream, “My heart is broken, and I am dying inside!”

Each of us has such secret heartaches that we can’t bring ourselves to share with anyone, and that stop us from being as happy as we’d want to be. When I read Vivienne Tuffnell’s “Strangers and Pilgrims,” I felt that I too was there – a pilgrim in the House of Wellspring! I read the book in five sittings. While it was difficult to stop reading; the book took it upon itself to make sure that it pulled me back into the story, whenever I had an hour to spare.

If you are trying to get over a pain, small or big, read this book…and even if you have one of the rare, unbreakable hearts, yet you love to read…the moments you spend reading this book will wrap you into a warm and comfortable embrace.