Three Portraits for Cover Art – Clinton, Bumpers, and Pryor

I recently did this artwork for the cover of TBP Magazine’s March-April 2016 issue. While it might look like three regular portraits of three gentlemen standing in suits, sharing a joke; the assignment was a challenging one, and when the client’s approval came in the first shot saying “I like it a lot,” it felt great.

Here’s the artwork:

Portraits of Bill Clinton, Dale Bumpers, and David Pryor for the cover of Talk Business and Politics (TBP)

 

The cover:

Portraits of Clinton, Bumpers, and Pryor for the TBP Magazine
And the story:

Portraits of Dale Bumpers, David Pryor, Bill Clinton - for Talk Business and Politics Magazine.

Photograph Courtesy: Bryan Pistole

 

The Challenge:
This might sound like a problem from the GMAT Question-paper, but it isn’t – it’s real, factual data. Mr. Bumpers (the gentleman at the left) is about 10 years older than Mr. Pryor (the gentleman at the right,) and Mr. Clinton, the rather cute looking gentleman in the middle is about 10 years younger than Mr. Pryor. Mr. Bumpers belonged to the expensive and low-res era of photography and so the web isn’t choke full of his pictures (which obviously means that the references weren’t easy to come by.) Mr. Pryor was close to retirement when the digital era began, so there were some pictures of his older self available but not many of the time when he was politically active. However, there was no dearth of pictures, as far as Mr. Clinton is concerned.

But this is just one part of it.

I needed to paint all the three gentlemen as they looked in the past; as their younger selves. That and the differences in their heights – all that had to factored in while creating this artwork. I enjoyed the challenge and also the fact that I was drawing and painting portraits for a change 🙂

So that’s that. Coming up soon is a post by the writer in me.

 

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Half and Half make one Half Full – Let the Knights Joust.

Half and Half make one Half Full – Let the Knights Joust.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Half and Half.”

Where there’s black, there’s always some white; when there’s dark, there’s a possibility of light;
You may have to look for them, but in a world full of wrong, there are always things that are right.

This world is half-and-half, and until I saw this prompt, I didn’t realize that a lot of my illustrations are half-and-half too. One of these half-and-half illustrations is a two-page spread for the Talk Business and Politics magazine that has Mike Ross and Asa Hutchinson jousting to become the Governor of Arkansas.

Half and Half - Daily Prompt - Mike Ross and Asa Hutchinson Jousting for Arkansas Governor.

Left Half: Mike Ross (Democrat)
Right Half: Asa Hutchinson (Republican)

This image and the prompt together make me wonder:

These two valorous knights galloping towards each other with their lances targeting the other’s chest, hoping to throw the other off his stead, are the reason why this scene exists. The State Capitol building is essential to the scene because forms the quest, but why is the crowd there? The crowd is there because of the two knights. It is there to watch them joust.

And this makes me ask questions, that I admit, are totally unexpected of the happy-go-lucky right-brained arty-kinds.

  1. Why do we like to see fights? Why, we even make animals fight one another, and wager bets? 
  2. Why on one hand we cheer the winners and on the other, root for the underdog?
  3. What kind of thrill we get from seeing people spill blood or even kill one another?
  4. And if we don’t, if we have actually arrived at point in human history where our senses have become more refined and our battles are now fought with arguments, votes, and referendums, why still wars continue to rage through out the world?

I think there aren’t any answers to these questions, but we have opinions – and our opinions matter. They matter with all two warring-halves of the world – from the smallest halves to the biggest halves. Our opinions matter when we can influence the two halves and help them stand on the same side of the picture so we can help them become one. Our opinions also matter in bigger issues too as we can influence the course of history by voting the right decision-makers to the top-office of our country.

Until that happens, let the knights joust and the pugilists box.

 

Caricature Illustration: Hillary Clinton and Mike Huckabee take Uncle Sam for a Boat-Ride.

Here’s my recent illustration for the July-August Issue of Talk Business & Politics. This artwork accompanies the feature, “Hillary Huckabee and those fickle Arkansas Voters” by John Brummett.

Caricature Illustration Mike Huckabee and Hillary Clinton (Presidential Candidates for 2016 Elections) Row a boat and take uncle sam for a boat-ride. Illustration for Talk Business and Politics, Arkansas.

America…hold tight! (Click for larger image.)

While painting this artwork, I found myself wondering what would happen if Mike Huckabee and Hillary Clinton were chosen by their parties for their ultimate face-off?
What would happen if they weren’t facing away from each other, merrily rowing away the boat of the American sentiment in their own directions?
Honestly, I can’t really imagine a civil debate. I think…
  1. They’d leave their lecterns,
  2. They’d roll up their sleeves, bend their knees, and begin circling each other,
  3. They’d put on their boxing gloves and lunge at each other, and
  4. America will be left all the more confused after their high-octane, energy-packed, verbally violent debates!
Huckabee is as conservative as Hillary is liberal – they are opposites that don’t attract…at all. Recently Huckabee said that Hillary’s interview on CNN was too painful to watch, and I think Hillary isn’t smitten by him either.
But my opinion on the duo and all other Presidential candidates is a matter for another blog. Here I must talk only about…

Illustrating the Hillary Clinton & Mike Huckabee Boat-ride Scene:

The brief that I received from the client mentioned Hillary and Huckabee rowing a boat in opposite directions…not flying at each others throats, not debating…just doing their own thing. It was a full-page inner illustration. I read the brief early in the morning…I think it was around 5 AM..right after the morning tea. A picture popped up in my mind and I rushed to my whiteboard and did a two-minute sketch.
After I had sketched the figures for Hillary and Huckabee, I stood back and looked at the sketch. It appeared a little bland. It was a full-page artwork and there wasn’t enough happening. It didn’t have enough in it to make it look funny – so I wondered how I could make it look more colorful and at the same time add more meaning to it. I thought a little more about the boat…and then it clicked. Who was it that these two were trying to ferry across? Of course, the American people. So I added a visibly perturbed (actually, thoroughly disturbed) Uncle Sam with the American Flag to the image, took a photo of it, and emailed it to the Editor. He liked it – and within an hour I had my first approval. I don’t normally send rough sketches (they are neither required nor appreciated – because they don’t really say a lot. Perhaps they work only after you and your client have worked together long enough to see behind your squiggles.)
The next step was of course the sketch, which in my opinion is the most important stage of any illustration. I always put in a lot of effort at this stage – trying to come as close to the picture that I have in my mind. So I sketched the ocean, the pitched ships, the boat, the oars, the flag, the water…everything. I don’t kill myself establishing likeness at this time, but if I have the time, I try to come as close to it as possible.  After I got a thumbs-up, rest was simple. Just filling colors in those lines. I just follow one simple rule while coloring…don’t deviate from the actual too much, but add as much color as possible. So the sea is the stormy frothy green and grey, the faces and the hair are their normal hue, and the political symbology remains correct too. Yet, I went a little “liberal” with the color of Hillary’s dress and gave her some big pearls (expensive ones, I assure you.)
This work took a lot of time and tons of conscious effort in trying to put in details that matter, without making them look like they weren’t part of the scene. Notice the splashing water, for instance. It splashes up, covering the Arkansas State Flag and the clothes of the characters. But then the feeling of overcoming a challenge is a reward in itself.
The painted artwork was approved without any modifications… and I got a pat on the back from the client…something that makes me feel really good and grateful.
Draw to Smile 🙂 I should now return to Blogging101. If you are a WordPress Blogger and you haven’t taken this course, do enroll for the next one. It’s awesome.

Caricature – Bobby Jindal: Beautifully Brown and Seriously Smart – Announces Presidential Run.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announced his candidacy for the US President on June 24th, 2016 and I am glad he did because I got the opportunity to paint an Indian face. It’s funny how skin color actually matters in art. Here’s a portrait of Bobby Jindal that made people wonder if he was actually a white. The artist either wanted to make a point (that the color of our skin doesn’t matter) or he just didn’t want to go out and buy new tubes of burnt sienna and yellow ochre, and so painted with whatever colors he had in his inventory.

Anyway, the great thing about painting portraits and caricatures digitally is that you never run out of colors…and a brown-skinned man remains brown-skinned 🙂

Caricature Cartoon Portrait (not the official one that sparked a controversy) of Bobby Jindal - Two-term Louisiana Governor who is now a Republican candidate for the 2016 Presidential Elections

Wha…? “Am I not white?”

Now a teeny-weeny itsy-bitsy biography of this “Indian-American” who detests this particular hyphenation. But I’ll let the cynics know that it doesn’t matter if he wants to disown his Indian roots, Indians will always know him as his own…as long as he looks Indian and bears an Indian name, he’s an Indian for Indians. Still clucking? Check the Indian Newspapers.)

Piyush Jindal (ok, he likes to be called Bobby) was born to a Punjabi-Indian immigrant couple in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was a very smart kid, who grew up into a very smart young man, and got admission to Harvard Medical School as well as to Yale Law School. He also won the Rhodes scholarship and so pursued his higher education in Oxford.

He got married to Supriya, whose parents too had migrated to the same city around the same time as his parents. The couple happened to go to the same school too. Now they have three children, none of them have Indian names/surnames (smart move, going by the remarks that some Americans (of Indian and other origins) have been making on Twitter,) and Bobby Jindal is onto his second term as the Governor of Louisiana.

And yet,

Should Bobby Jindal have really run for the President at this point in time?

While his first term as the Governor was considered a super-success (he was re-elected by a huge margin) his second term is considered a super-failure. Why? Well….he tinkered with the budget for education…and a few other things too.

He is a conservative (sounds odd that being a child of immigrants he is a conservative, but then so is Marco Rubio) and he leans to the far right. He isn’t keen on being reminded of his Indian heritage because he rightly believes that his parents went to America to be Americans and that if they wanted to remain Indian, they’d have stayed back in India; and he’s not a Hindu (as his name would mislead you into believing,) he converted to Christianity when he was a teenager.

Though this might not be the best time for him to run for the presidential election and though I don’t agree with his views on Abortion and Gay-marriages, I still wish him the best 🙂

International Yoga Day (Caricature Art)

The mood is upbeat. Today is the International Yoga Day. One might think that UN suddenly woke up to the health-concerns of the world and made this announcement. It did wake up, but only after some lobbying by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who himself starts his day with yoga.

(Feel Free to reuse this caricature-artwork graphic, to laud this day and to herald Harmony & Peace. Though welcome, no special credit/link-back is required, but please use the graphic as-is, in its entirety.)

Caricature of Narendra Modi and The International Yoga Day Symbol - June 21

 

May the world become healthier and happier.

Amen!

Malcolm Gladwell vs. John Paulson – Making sense of a $400 Million donation to Harvard.

I am appalled!

A $400 Million donation to a $30 Billion Institution!!

Gasp!!!

It’s crass.
It’s gaudy.
It’s ugly.

But when Malcolm Gladwell, the author of several non-fiction super-sellers such as The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers, did those smart and sarcastic tweets on John Paulson’s donation to Harvard, some low-thinking individuals tried to bring the house down upon his head. (Read: Malcolm Gladwell just went nuts on a Wall Street billionaire’s $400 million donation to Harvard)

Caricature Portrait of Malcolm Gladwell, the Author of The Tipping Point, Blink, and What the Dog Saw.Here are some of his tweets:

Malcolm Gladwell tweets about John Paulson's $400 Million donation to harvard.

First, I’d like to ask the Malcolm-critics:

What’s wrong with Gladwell criticizing the donation?

He’s got all the right in the world to drag Paulson’s name through the mud. After all, even I deserve that $30 Billion more than Harvard does. Why? Because I don’t have a billion, or even a million. I am so much poorer than Harvard – and that makes me more deserving of Paulson’s 400 Million donation.

Twitter has played cupid and made me fall in love with Gladwell who has said what I’ve been saying all along – albeit a bit differently, and a lot more humorously. People who can buy diamonds, shouldn’t buy them for their loved ones; people who have amassed a fortune, shouldn’t leave it their families – why? Because those loved ones are rich too…and hence they aren’t deserving enough – there are enough who are poorer (poverty being a relative concept,) and they must become the heirs to the rich.

There’s a pitfall in my reasoning though and that becomes my first argument in favor of what Paulson did. (Gasp again – I mean, how could he give it away all to Harvard? but I’ll reserve the whining for later…)

Argument 1: It’s my money – so I decide.

Most people are motivated to earn because they feel they have the right to decide how they must dispose their earnings – and most people prefer to spend their money on those who they love or care about. Recall that self-actualization need comes after family and belongingness needs (Abraham Maslow) – and your alma-mater is…well, your “nourishing mother” and hence family. John Paulson admits that he owes his unprecedented success to Harvard – and so he decides to gift “some of it” to his foster mother, who’s already rich no doubt, but who can still use that money to help her other “children” through life. How in the world does this compare with donating for the cause of poverty?

This of course, is one viewpoint.

Argument 2: I’d rather help those who can help others.

Another viewpoint is that – helping the ones who can help others results in greater benefit to mankind. So if Paulson thinks that his alma mater could find a good use for his money – he is actually investing in the future of mankind – and that in itself is an act of philanthropy. If an institution consistently produces billionaires and multimillionaires and they donate a part of their wealth for the poor of the world – the poor get more.

Argument 3: You invest in today, I invest in tomorrow.

For the third argument in Paulson’s defense, I would like to say that who one must donate to (or whether one must donate at all) is a personal choice – and giving money to an educational institution has a far greater impact on humanity than any other kind of donation. True that the impact may not be as immediate as in the case of donating food and health supplies, yet someone has to do it – or in a few centuries from now, we’d all have reverted to growling and snapping at each-other’s heels…we’d be back to living a life centered around fulfilling our basic needs.That would wipe the artists and the writers out of existence. And neither Mr. Gladwell nor I would like that. (Excuse my quick and distorted but inevitable time warp example. I am a caricaturist and I thrive on exaggeration, which brings the imperfection into sharp focus.)

But all said, I am still in love with Malcolm Gladwell – and I defend his right to tweet his thoughts. They are an exact echo of my thoughts, and I thank him for putting them across – because his words are stronger (and far more retweetable) than mine. I too would’ve preferred that John Paulson had directed at least a quarter percent of his donation towards me – the rest could go to poorer folks, along with the donations made by a zillion other billionaires and organizations.

And to top it all…Harvard just doesn’t need that money. The keyword here is “need,” you see? 

Caricature Illustration: Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson for the TBP Magazine.

Last month I did a full-page inner illustration with a caricature of the Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson for the May/June issue of Talk Business and Politics Magazine. It accompanies the feature article “82 Days At The State Capitol” by Steve Brawner.

Here’s the illustration.

Caricature Portrait of Asa Hutchinson, the Governor of Arkansas, riding an elephant and pulling the state capitol building in a lasso - Inner Illustration for Talk Business and Politics Magazine.

The Drawing/Painting Experience:

Right from the beginning, the concept pulled me in. I like to draw animals and I love to experiment with angles (a three-fourth view of the human face is far more interesting than its side-profile,) and perspectives (the illusion of depth). This artwork promised to enthrall me on all counts. To make matters more interesting, this artwork had to be loaded with tons of information. It was supposed to encapsulate everything that Asa and his team focused upon, since they got down to work some three months ago. My job was to figure everything in, without compromising the integrity and the aesthetics of the artwork.

The objects that are being flung around the state capitol building, present the story: the spying drones, the ten commandments, the urine samples from the homeless (trafficking of clean-urine? What is the world coming to?), gay-marriages, cursive-writing/computer-coding in schools (cursive writing has been made part of the curriculum in Arkansas schools – thank god for small mercies!)…and so on.

All this and the Caduceus, the dollar-plant, the task-force carpet…and of course, the trundling Capitol Hill building…they all add to the dynamics of the scene.

Now I must don my writer-hat and return to my writing desk. The Caricaturist has evolved, the Cartoonist is next in line 🙂

Hillary Clinton runs for President in 2016 – Caricature Art.


Update:April 14, 2015

The cat’s out of the bag! Hillary Clinton announced her bid for President on Sunday. After a video-collage of Americans (of all ethnic  backgrounds and beliefs (couldn’t spot any Indian in the video though) showing them planning their futures, she said, “I am also getting ready for something. I am running for President.”

Watch the video and read some pro-Hillary commentary on the Guardian site, also check out the coverage by Fox News here.


Will she…won’t she?

She did…didn’t she?

While Hillary Clinton’s formal declaration on her candidature will be made tomorrow, almost everyone who knows anything about American politics already knows that she’s running for elections. Most of us have been privy to this open secret for years. Consider this caricature that I did in 2013. I didn’t pay a psychic medium, nor did I get a crystal ball to forecast this – I just knew that Hillary Clinton would run for the President in 2016.

Hillary clinton announces her intention to run for the white house in 2016 elections.

Hillary is ambitious, smart, and has been a politician all her life. Before you spring up one of those zillion emails floating around, and tell me that I am a fool to call her smart – I’d reiterate that she is indeed smart. You can’t survive in politics if you are a fool; and she has not just survived – she has thrived. If she wasn’t smart, she’d not have taken the opportunity to be the Secretary of State during President Obama‘s first term. If she wasn’t smart, she wouldn’t have forgiven President Clinton for his Oval-office misdemeanors. She is smart and she knows it.

You’ll also tell me that she doesn’t have a sense for fashion – I’d like to agree but add that this goes to prove that she’s a lot more sensible than the heel-tapping, fashion-conscious women who spend an hour each day, and so about 4% of their lives trying to please the onlookers. I think it’s idiotic…and I feel that nobody with a modicum of common sense would do it. Fashion doesn’t just make you waste time and money, it also makes you stress over stuff that’s done only to please others. Hillary doesn’t need that sort of approval – she’s a confident woman who knows that she has better things to do with her life.

Here’s a closeup:

Hillary Clinton announces her bid for US presidency - American presidential elections 2016.

Will she indeed be chosen by the Democrats as their candidate for the US Presidency?
It’s impossible to say. In the 2008, she had lost to a newcomer in Politics.  As always, the US Presidential Elections would be interesting to watch.

Other Newsy Stuff:

To sum it up…tomrrow Ms. Clinton will make a formal announcement begin her journey to the White House. Whether or not she will reach there and sleep in the bedroom she used to sleep in 14 years ago, is something that the American voter would decide.

Caricature Sketch of Jesse Jackson Sr. – Civil Rights Activist.

I did this caricature-sketch of Jesse Jackson Sr. last year. This is a quick sketch, done digitally. As you can see, most of the line-work is fairly rough. The idea was to paint it at a later point in time.

caricature, cartoon, digital sketch of jesse jackson senior - PUSH, civil right activist

Jesse Jackson – The Civil Rights Activist:

Jesse Jackson (Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr.) is an American civil rights activist, who was born in North Carolina, studied at the University of Illinois, and then joined Dr. Martin Luther King‘s movement at the age of 25.

King appointed him the Director of Operation Breadbasket of SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference.) However, Jackson was considered a bit of a rebel by others in the organization. Later King too began to feel that Jackson was too assertive. The relationship between the two began to deteriorate, just before King’s death in 1968. This is why when Jackson claimed that King died in his arms, many questioned the plausibility of his assertion. Among those who didn’t appreciate Jackson’s methods, was also Al Sharpton.

In 1971, Jackson formally parted ways with SCLC, and started PUSH (People United to Save (later changed to Serve) Humanity.) This was also the time when he began to explore the political possibilities.

Jesse Jackson – The Controversial Celebrity:

In the next two decades, Jackson rose from being a national figure to an international personality. His rise to fame however was marked with controversies. His anti-jewish remarks drew a lot of flak (he called the Jewish people, “Hymies” – hymie being a disparaging term used for a Jewish person.) He has also been criticized for his anti-Israel sentiments.

On the personal front, just a week ago, Jackson’s handsome son (who’s got dimpled cheeks,) Jesse Jackson Jr., was released from the prison. He had been sentenced to a term of 1.5 years for misusing about $750,000 of the election funds for personal use (and buying stuff such as a $43K Rolex watch, and believe it or not, $7K worth of stuffed elk-heads!) After his release, his wife would serve her sentence of 1 year for the same offense.

Jesse Jackson has also been in news for fathering an illegitimate child who, her mom Karin Stanford calls a “miracle child”. His daughter Ashley, now 15, wants to be a singer. Karin was a worker in Jackson’s organization PUSH. (Such mentor-mentee, boss-subordinate, leader-worker kind of affairs transcend national and religious boundaries and are found almost everywhere – refer to the Kumar Vishwas – AAP party-worker affair, or to Bill Clinton – Monica Lewinsky affair.)

But then…I must be turning into a cynic. Reading Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy does that to you. I am on the 888th page of “Edge of Eternity” and John Kennedy‘s numerous flings with the fair ladies of his staff must be crowding my imagination.

Jesse Jackson – Quotes:

I like the following two:

  • “If my mind can conceive it, my heart can believe it; I know, I can achieve it!”
  • “Never look down on anybody, unless you are helping them up.”

10 Tips for Drawing Crowds in Caricature- and Cartoon-Illustrations.

Sometimes, a search-string catches your eye and brings back memories of an assignment that you did a while ago.

“Drawing Crowd Scenes” is the search-string that led to this post.

O’ dear searcher, I understand your confusion and your anxiety. If you’ve landed an assignment that requires you to draw a crowd and you’ve never done crowds before, your anxiety is natural. It happened to me last year. Most of my work comprises creating portraits and caricatures, and most political and business compositions don’t happen outdoors; so the requirement of drawing a scene with a cheering crowd made me somewhat anxious. I am sure I must’ve searched for drawing crowd scenes then…and most of what I saw in the resulting images was a slurry of heads and shoulders. I am a detail-oriented artist. I like my work to have nuances that make it more interesting with every viewing (or so I hope :)), so I didn’t want a nondescript crowd for the magazine spread I was doing. I wanted my crowd to have character and life.

Let me first share what I ended up painting:

How to draw crowds and crowd scenes for cartoon and caricature compositions.

Two-Page Spread painted for Talk Business & Politics Magazine (Issue Sept-Oct 2014.)

 

As you can see, the crowd here is composed of the spectators who have gathered to witness a jousting match between two political rivals. There interest in the match is a clear indication that they support one or the other candidate and this is why some have brought banners along. The excitement levels are fairly high here.  In medieval times jousting events were one of the few forms of entertainment available for families of the bourgeois – so I thought of including families in the event. A closeup will reveal this connection shortly.

Let us first look at the closeup of the bottom-left of the painting.

Closeup of the spectators on the left-side:

How to draw large gatherings, crowds, people, spectators for events.

 

These are Mike Ross’s supporters, so they carry a banner of his name. They are excited about the match and fairly optimistic that their candidate will win. They are here for a picnic-match combo and hence the attire. Nothing much to see here, except the body language, the expression and the attire.

Closeup of the spectators in the middle:

How to draw large gatherings, crowds, cheering crowd, spectators for events.

Here, the spectators present a cross-section of society. Political illustrations must be politically-correct at times, and your publisher would usually draw the line for you. However, as an illustrator, you too must take some decisions. The crowd here cannot be “all men”, “all women”, “all white” and so on. The crowd should be inclusive. So you see different races represented here…The woman at the bottom left corner (in orange) actually has in infant in her arms (that’s why she’s sitting sideways), the man in yellow who is sitting on the grass as brought along his dog. To add some humor for those who revel in detail, a man is trying to climb over the heads of two guys (top-left) and in the process, incurring their wrath. Overall, the crowd is happy and excited, and comprises of individuals who have their own personalities, should someone decide to look.

Note that I could have added nondescript heads in the background, but I thought that it might take the attention away from the main crowd and so I used my artist’s license and did away with them – keeping the focus on the main crowd.

Closeup of the spectators at the right:

How to draw large gatherings, crowds, cheering crowd, spectators for events.

These spectators are quite like the spectators at the left. They round off the picture quite nicely, and also add an illusion of continuity beyond the left and right borders of the image.

Now, after one run, I feel that I can create crowds of all kinds – it’s a mammoth task, I admit, but once you are done with it, you get a strong sense of accomplishment too. But all that cool talk aside, it isn’t easy.

10 Tips for Drawing Crowds:

Here are a few pointers for the first-time crowd painter.

1. Decide upon the importance of the crowd. Is the crowd there to merely represent a locale and is distant from the actual action that you are illustrating? If so, you may have generic heads, hands, and shoulders without closing up enough to show their expressions. If your crowd is there to play a part in the composition, then expressions and faces become important.

2. Don’t make all the faces round/oval. People have different types of faces – long, squarish, pear-shaped, pentagonal…work in different face-shapes.

3. Work with different hair-styles and colors. They make people look different. Have some bald characters too (unless its a crowd of all kids/all women.) Don’t work too much on the details of the hair (you don’t have to capture all the lights falling on everyone’s head) – you can work with the outlines to show curly hair or a bald head.

4. Don’t make everyone look in the same direction. It’s humanly impossible for a hundred people to be looking in the same direction at the same time, even if they are watching an opera. Some look at others, others look at their finger-nails, a few look mesmerized…work with expressions. Remember that they are a crowd, so you don’t have to bring out every feature and paint the whole set of teeth, a couple of upward curves would make a smile, and if you fill the gap between the curves with white, you’ve got a laughing spectator.

5. Bring in different skin-tones – depending upon the region that you are illustrating. It also helps your drawings stay inclusive.

6. If your crowd is shown standing, work with different body-types. Some would be pot-bellied, others reed-thin; some would large, others really small. When you add these little details, your crowd comes to life.

7. For large crowds and gatherings, allow people to spill over the edges. It helps the illusion of continuity, thus making your crowd appear larger than it is.

8. Some artists gray out the crowds so that focus stays on the main artwork (the jousters in this case.) I think that the treatment works better in case of cartoon-illustrations. Caricature-illustrations (my kind) require a more realistic treatment of the crowd too, and graying them out completely doesn’t work. You may want to cool the tones of the crowd a little (if the crowds are in a distance.) I didn’t, because I like working with bright colors and I also thought that the size-difference between jousters and the people in the crowd will automatically result in a sense of distance.

9. If you really want to pack people in, draw more details on those in the front (and nearer to the foreground,) then reduce the details over a few rows (the rows must mix for a standing crowd, but for a crowd that’s watching a stage-show, they’d automatically be clearly defined.) Farther away, circles could replace the heads.

10. In the end, don’t begin drawing your crowds without researching the region for which you must draw the crowd. American crowds look different from Indian crowds, which look a lot different from mid-eastern or Japanese crowds.

 Happy Crowd-drawing 🙂

 

Caricature-Cartoon Jeb Bush: US Presidential Election 2016

While Hillary Clinton has still not confirmed her intention of running for the President in 2016, Jeb Bush has made it amply clear that he would.

Here’s a caricature that I did of Jeb Bush.

Caricature Cartoon in black and white drawing - US Presidential Elections - Jeb Bush - Republican Candidate

President Bush the Third!

 

About Jeb Bush:

Jeb Bush or “John Ellis Bush” Bush is George W. Bush‘s younger brother who has been Florida’s Governor for two-terms could be running for the 2016 Presidential elections. He was born in 1953, he grew up in Texas, then attended the University of Texas. Professionally, he was first a banker, then a real-estate marketer, then an entrepreneur. In 1983, he moved to Miami because he was made 40% partner in a firm – in his own words, “”I want to be very wealthy, and I’ll be glad to tell you when I’ve accomplished that goal.”

Bush was Governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007. He brought about educational reforms, implemented certain fiscal policy changes (bringing down the governmental spending along with the taxes,) and signed into Florida law, the Stand-your-Ground law.

Read more about him at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeb_Bush (source.)

Jeb Bush and 2016 US Presidential Elections:

(The Caricaturist’s View)

With Mitt Romney having stepped away from the race, his chances of his being chosen the Republican candidate may appear to have brightened and yet, there are a couple of reasons why it may not be really be a cakewalk for him.

The first reason could be his family. His surname is perceived to be more of a burden than a boon. I read the remarks left on his Facebook page, and I was mildly surprised to note that there were many who said they wouldn’t  vote for another Bush in the White House. He will have to differentiate (and perhaps distance) himself from the personality and philosophy of his brother George W. Bush. 

Another reason that could undermine the possibility of his becoming the republican presidential candidate could be his image of a moderate republican,  resulting mainly from  his soft stance on illegal immigrants. He might be correcting course on this issue, but it may not be enough.

Illegal immigration is a burning issue in the US and with the Obama administration’s continual attempts at appeasing them and converting them into a democratic vote bank, the republican camp may not want to field a candidate who has moderate, even democratic views on the issue.

President Bill Clinton Presented with the Signed Print of his Caricatures done by this Caricaturist :)

Folks, I am feeling happy and honored that President Clinton loved my caricatures of him, and that a framed signed-print of his caricatures (that I created for the TBP Magazine‘s Nov-Dec 2014 Issue) was presented to him by the Clinton Foundation staff for Christmas.

President Clinton's Caricatures by Shafali - Signed Print Presented to him by Clinton Foundation.

President Clinton loved his caricatures and Clinton Foundation presented signed print of his caricature to him 🙂 This caricaturist is honored. (Print size: 12″x 18″ Landscape.)

In November end, I received an email from the Clinton Presidential Center that President Bill Clinton loved the caricatures that I did for the TBP magazine cover and inner-spread, and that they’d like to present a signed print of the artwork to him. Finally, three signed prints were ordered – one for President Clinton, another for the Executive Director of the Foundation, and a third for the Chairman of the Board. They too loved the artwork.

I shipped the prints on December 10th and President Clinton was presented his copy on December 14th. I am so glad that I got the opportunity to create those caricatures, and while I don’t think that the subject of my caricatures has time to browse the blog of a caricaturist, I still want to use this space to thank him for liking my work. It isn’t easy to appreciate caricature-art, especially if you are the subject 🙂

You can read about how these caricatures were created, in my post “Caricature Art – Bill Clinton’s Charming Smile envelops Little Rock, Arkansas :)”

Caricature Art – Bill Clinton’s Charming Smile envelops Little Rock, Arkansas :)

Everyone knows Bill Clinton. We know him for a multitude of reasons. Here are those engraved upon the tip of the iceberg.

  • Being the President of The United States
  • Having a super-cute smile and his boyish charm
  • Being involved in an oval-office misadventure with a certain Monica Lewinsky
  • Being the husband of  Ms. Hillary Clinton

I think he is one of the most recognized American Presidents, with possibly just one exception (who else but  President Barack Obama,) and trust me when I tell you that until a month ago, I had never caricatured him! Not even a sketch. I did paint his wife Ms. Hillary Clinton as someone who’d be contending the presidential elections of 2016 (yes, in a lucid moment of epiphany, I saw her in the race to the White House.)

Let me come to the point – and tell it to you straight. When I came to know that the Nov/Dec issue‘s cover and inner-spread would require Bill Clinton’s Caricatures, I was shocked to realize that this would be the first time I’d be caricaturing Mr. Clinton.

Bill Clinton Cover Art for Talk Business and Politics Arkansas - Clinton Presidential center, River Market, Heifer International, Pedestrian Bridge Illustration.

We discussed the idea and came up with a gardening metaphor that would capture how the Clinton Memorial Library has led to a lot of development in the surrounding area. You can see that in the spread, the left page shows Clinton planting the library in 2004, and then you see Clinton again, 10 years later feeling happy and proud as he surveys the development. Read the article here.

A Note for Caricaturists/Illustrators:

In 10 years, a person ages. Clinton had also faced certain health issues (in 2004/2005 he underwent surgeries,) which had made him lose a lot of his facial-fat. This is why the pre-2004 Clinton had to look clearly younger than the 2014 Clinton.

But even before I began ironing out the details, I hit a road-block. I like my caricatures to look cute and nice, and despite Clinton’s half-smile, he’s a not an easy guy to caricature. I actually felt glad that I wasn’t caricaturing when he was the President and I honestly don’t envy the caricaturists who were.

Caricaturing Bill Clinton’s face is a challenge, and in this case, ensuring that the age-difference is visible between the two, was an even more difficult task. I worked with the skin-tone, wrinkles (especially those around the eyes), chubbiness, and hair-volume to get the desired effect. 

I’ve also been working on a few other projects (paintings as well as pen and ink drawings) and I’ll post about them soon 🙂 Meanwhile, if you are interesting in learning how to create caricatures, check out “Evolution of a Caricaturist” on Amazon.

 

Caricature – Cartoon Jimmy Fallon: Host of the Tonight Show on NBC

Today Jimmy Fallon is one of the most recognized faces in America. He’s the guy who slipped into the flip-flops that Jay Leno left behind and captained the ship of the Tonight Show with equal ease and finesse.

Here’s the Jimmy Fallon caricature that I painted.


caricature-jimmy-fallon-tonight-show-cartoon-painting-drawing-american-television-NBC

Fallon debuted as the Tonight Show host in February 2014. Before  The Tonight Show, he had been hosting Late Night with Jimmy Fallon for almost six years. The good news is that The Tonight Show is doing better with Fallon than it was doing with Leno. The ratings of The Tonight Show among adults are up by 34%. 

Jimmy Kimmel‘s show Jimmy Kimmel Live (telecast by ABC) is Fallon’s closest competitor. As the number enthusiasts closely watch the Jimmy vs. Jimmy ratings match, the gentleman on my blog appears to be the winner 🙂

A Few interesting facts about Jimmy Fallon:

  • Jimmy won an Emmy in 2010 for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media for “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.”
  • When he was growing up, he was voted “Most Likely to Replace David Letterman.”
  • In 2002, Jimmy was named one of People magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People.
  • One of his first inspirations came from a troll-doll he was gifted with (a 2016 DreamWorks movie is expected about troll-dolls.)
  • He’s got a golden retriever called Gary Frick who is one of his two kids. The other is a human daughter.
  • Jimmy Fallon takes home about 12 Million Dollars for the Tonight show.

Ladies and Gentlemen, that would all for now.

Stay tuned for more caricatures – and Draw to Smile and Beat the Blues.

Caricature-Cartoon Jeff Bezos: Amazon’s Brilliant CEO who now owns The Washington Post.

Now that I think of it, I don’t really caricature business-people for fun. I did a couple of Mark Zuckerberg‘s, one of the Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg‘s, and that is about it. Oh, I also did a commemorative caricature of Steve Jobs for a business magazine long ago, but I didn’t post it here. I did Zuckerberg’s and Steve Jobs‘ as commissions, and Matt Mullenweg’s as a Thank You Note for building WordPress. Today, I drew/painted (it’s a partly painted sketch) Bezos, because I received David Farland’s Daily Kick in my mailbox and it mentioned the Hachette/Amazon battle. I saw Bezos’ name in the email and was suddenly reminded of his face, which is actually quite funny. He doesn’t look like a businessman at all.

So, what do businessmen look like?
Typically, they looked like the furniture they own. They look like the stuffed but polished leather chair they sit upon, they look like the rich and lustrous tables that they sit behind, they look like the steel skyscrapers that they have their offices in; in short, they look stuffy, rich, and absolutely unreachable. Bezos looks like none of these. He looks like he’s bubbly bottle of soda, a cotton-candy, a merry-go-round; in short, he looks like he’s tons of fun.

Here’s what I painted.

Caricature, Cartoon, Sketch of Jeff Bezos - The Founder and CEO of Amazon, and now owner of The Washington Post.

The Next Big Idea?

A Little about Jeff Bezos:

Bezos was born in 1964, which makes him about half-a-century old. He was a smart kid who liked to dissemble and assemble stuff. Bezos comes from a Richie-rich background. His maternal grandfather owned about 10,000 square km of land, but in my opinion Grand-dad was somewhat stingy, because despite having such huge tracks of land, he started Amazon.com from his “garage.”

But the lack of space didn’t deter Jeff and he ended up making Amazon.com what it is today – you know what it is. It’s the online paradise of shoppers, it’s the answer to the prayers of self-published authors, it’s a company with a market capitalization of 146.37B!

According to Forbes (http://www.forbes.com/profile/jeff-bezos/) in 2013 alone Jeff Bezos became richer by $13 Billion! In November 2013, he sold just 1% of Amazon’s stock and got 260 Million for it. So, this cute, deliberately bald, funny looking gentleman is one of the richest men on the planet (#12 on Forbes 400 list.)

Bezos is a libertarian (please do not confuse the term with libertine…though some who search for “Jeff Bezos Creepy” would only be too happy to accept the latter meaning.) His personality leaks from the first name he thought up for Amazon (relentless.com.) His biological dad John Jorgensen discovered that he fathered a billionaire quite late in life. Bezos is considered to be a micro-manager…oh, and his awesome laughter? He inherited it from his biological dad. (source: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/10-things-you-didnt-know-649386)

Bezos is here because…well, I guess I love oddballs; and also because without Amazon, I wouldn’t have published “Evolution of a Caricaturist“.

How to Draw Caricatures - Evolution of a Caricaturist - by Shafali Anand - Click to Download from Kindle.

Click to View the Book on Amazon.

 

Coming up soon: Caricatures of Gandalf the Grey, Taylor Swift, and Jesse Jackson.

Have you ever seen them together? In the same place? This has never happened before! But now it will. Now you will see them together here – at this caricaturist’s blog!

Caricatures in the Offing!

Blogging Plans for the Next Two Months:

  • Tutorials – Cartooning and Caricature-Drawing
  • Tutorials – Pen & Ink Drawing
  • A couple of Short Satires (I may not publish them on SmashWords like the earlier ones – just here.)
  • Snapshots/Final Artworks/Caricatures that I do during this time.

Possible To-do’s for First-time Visitors:

Keeping this post short 🙂 Got to get back to sketching a very interesting scene for a magazine-spread. I need a cup of tea before I start…

 

Caricature/Portrait of Malcolm Gladwell – The Caricaturist’s blog reaches the Tipping Point.

In my previous post, I had promised a caricature of Malcolm Gladwell. Here it is 🙂

Caricature Portrait of Malcolm Gladwell, the Author of The Tipping Point, Blink, and What the Dog Saw.

Caricature Portrait of Malcolm Gladwell – Digital Painting – Actual Size: 10 inches by 12 inches at 300 dpi.

 

Why Malcolm Gladwell?

An apt question.

Here’s how it happened. I was talking to a friend in Pittsburgh, and she happened to mention Malcolm Gladwell. She had seen him on a TV show and she appeared impressed by him. I had heard of the guy’s name and somewhere in the far recesses of my mind and in my faded and almost invisible schema of the management world that I once belonged to, a forgotten node began pulsating. A decade ago, he had written something that had catapulted him into fame…this was all I remembered of him.

So I did a web-search and there he was. Looking dapper in that glorious cynosure of a hairdo. On his twitter account, he calls himself “The Skinny Canadian,” which of course is a euphemism for his vertically linear framework. He has a rather striking personality, and quite obviously, it immediately struck me that I must caricature him.

The first rough sketch was done right then and there – the two-minute sketch as the art-gurus would call it. I had Mr. Gladwell’s profile beaming at me from the monitor, and I made a rough. It was close but not what I really truly desired. This prompted me to make another sketch – this was done in Photoshop, and this was something that I could paint.

Rest was all painting. As you can see, I was focused on the face and skin… and I wanted to capture that look in his eyes. Unlike my full-length caricatures where fun is the primary goal I strive for; in this particular artwork, I wanted to take it nearer to a portrait in treatment and yet keep it a caricature that adds to the personality of Mr. Gladwell.

As this blog’s tradition dictates, I must now talk about Mr. Gladwell and his life thus far.

Malcolm Gladwell’s Shortest Biography on the Web:

I know I can’t beat the short and succinct autobiographical statement on Mr. Gladwell’s Twitter Account, which just reads “The Skinny Canadian.” I won’t even try to, because I think that there’s actually a lot more to him than the fact that he’s skinny and Canadian.

He was born in England, in 1963. In 1984, he graduated with a degree in History from the University of Toronto. His first job as a journalist was with The American Spectator (now that info byte is extra-special because as some of you know, I’ve been illustrating for The American Spectator for almost a-year-and-half now.) Then he wrote for another magazine before moving on to writing for The Washington Post. It was in 1996 that he began his career at The New Yorker.

Malcolm Gladwell’s Books:

Gladwell’s written 5 books. They are:

  1. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (2000),
  2. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (2005),
  3. Outliers: The Story of Success (2008),
  4. What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures (2009),and
  5. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants (2013).

(Source for all the above information is dear old Wikipedia here.)

Gladwell isn’t married, he writes about everyday stuff that happens in malls, in streets, in homes, and in corporate boardrooms – and I think he and his hair are super. BTW, when he was younger, his hair wasn’t that wild. In fact he used to look quite normal 🙂 But then, I wouldn’t care to caricature him then, would I?

 

Caricatures: Mark Pryor and Tom Cotton – Cover Art for Talk Business & Politics Magazine.

This is one of the recent magazine-covers that I worked on. It was for the July/August Issue of Talk Business & Politics Magazine of Arkansas.

Caricatures of Mark Pryor and Tom Cotton - 2014 Senator Elections in Arkansas - Cover illustration for Talk Business & Politics.

Senator Mark Pryor and Congressman Tom Cotton fight it out in the 2014 Senator Elections of Arkansas. – Cover Illustration for the Talk Business & Politics Magazine.

 

US Senate Elections in Arkansas – 2014: Mark Pryor vs. Tom Cotton

The US Senate Elections in Arkansas for 2014 will see Senator Mark Pryor being challenged by Congressman Tom Cotton.

Here’s a quick biographical snapshot of the two politicians that you see in the boxing ring. Senator Mark Pryor is seeking a third term as senator. He is a Democrat, he’s recently been through a divorce, and has a background in finance. Republican Congressman Tom Cotton, on the other hand, is an army veteran, a lawyer; and of course, a lot younger than his opponent. Arkansas is considered to be Republican territory; and while in 2008 Mark Pryor had won without facing any Republican challenger, the story appears to be different this time. According to this article on Huffington post, it’s going to be a closely contested election.

About this Cover Illustration:

A few points that I’d like to draw your attention to – 1. The client required that I make their bodies almost equal in volume and that their faces came up to the same level. However, there’s a lot of difference between the body volumes and heights of the two gentlemen (Pryor is short and stout; Cotton is tall and wiry.) When I read the brief, I wondered, but I trusted the client’s viewpoint (he’s the one who knows the other side; we were too early in the process for me to see the article.) So I researched and realized that the elections are going to closely contested and that both the contestants are being considered equally powerful (here’s the link again.) So, showing them as “visual” equals in the boxing ring, made a lot of sense.

Notice their complexions too. Pryor’s has a ruddy hue while Cotton’s is pale – almost oriental. I thought that I’d color-code their boxing gear to show their political affiliations – and to add more color to the cover. I love color and while I love play with semi-realistic/realistic treatments in skin, hair, and clothes; I like to push the colors…just a little.

So, that ends the story of this cover.

Do visit the website and if you are interested in this very interesting fight that comes to a conclusion on November 4, 2014; find the magazine here.