A Special Birthday Gift for Someone Special – Caricatures on Stone.

On his Birthday, I struggled to come up with the idea for a birthday gift. I started by listing the traditional gifting stuff.

  • DeO? Implies that he has BO, which he doesn’t; and he already has some sort of crazy musky spray that makes me wonder why men first bathe then spray themselves with something that makes them smell all sweaty.
  • Wallet? He’s got one already, and accept it or not, an empty gift wallet can stress a guy out, making his think how he can fill it up. As a Birthday gift, it doesn’t click.
  • Belt? So what might I be implying? Cinch it and tuck it in? It could’ve come in handy a couple of a years ago when he had kick-started his midriff expansion project, but he had quickly dropped it, and he is now fit and smart.
    Honestly, I tried coming up with something that would really be useful to him…something that won’t go the way the keyboard and the roller-skates went – but I came up with nothing!

But then, he can read me like I were a first grade English text being read by an English Literature Professor. So, on the morning of his Birthday, he brought this stone pen-stand that he had bought from a fair years ago, and asked me to draw or paint upon it.

And so I did. It took me hours, peering over the 2.5″x 4″ stone-canvas, and painting upon the not-so-smooth surface of the stone, but the results were heartening. Note that these four characters weren’t sketched elsewhere on paper…they were born on this pen stand, for this pen stand 🙂

Caricature, Cartoon of a balding worker in hat and a pretty young girl wearing hat with a kitten on a stone pen stand.

The balding worker with the Smiley Hat and the Pretty Girl with a kitten.

 

Caricature Cartoon of a girl in a hat with kitten and a androgynous man with a cellphone

Young girl in hat with a cat and a blond man with a cellphone

 

Caricatures, cartoons of a blond funny man with a mobile and a dancing Indian girl

Man with the mobile phone and the dancing Indian girl

 

Caricatures, cartoons of dancing Indian Girl and the balding man in the smiley hat.

The Indian dancer and the balding man in the smiley hat

And finally, with the pencils 🙂

Caricatures Pen stand with pens and pencils - the gift.

The Gift 🙂

He loved the gift. And then of course, there was the halwa, his favorite  sweet-dish to sweeten the gift some more 🙂

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Queen Elizabeth II becomes the Longest-reigning British Monarch.

Queen Elizabeth II (British Monarch: 6 February 1952 to Present.)Caricature Portrait Color Painting of Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest reigning monarch of Britain. Overtakes Queen Victoria.

Queen Victoria who reigned as the Queen of United kingdom from 20 June 1837  to 22 January 1901, and who also remote-ruled India from 1 May 1876 to 22 January 1901, has been dethroned as the longest reigning British Monarch by Queen Elizabeth II. Queen Victoria was Queen Elizabeth II’s great-great-grand-mother, so she might’ve been genetically pre-disposed to long reigns.  Queen Elizabeth II never ruled India. (her reign upon the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth Nations began on 6 February 1952, almost 7 years after India gained independence from the British.)

And yet, the fascination of the British with their monarchy never fails to amuse me. Perhaps they love to keep alive their connection with their glorious past, when the British, being the tiny nation they were, had conquered more than half the world. I don’t understand the reason why, and yet and as an artist I can’t marvel at the beauty of her crown, her dress, and her bearing. This is perhaps why I painted her caricature a couple of years ago.

I’ll end with an honest quote from Her Majesty The Queen.

I have to be seen to be believed.
– Queen Elizabeth II

The Cartoon Avatar of the Caricaturist changes into a Caricature Avatar!

How my Smart Avatar saved its Job.

If you’ve been here before, you probably remember the cartoon-sketch that was employed as my online avatar.
Whenever I’d look at it, it looked worse than before. I wondered why. Perhaps after five years of hard work it was beginning to crack under the pressure of its job.  I concluded that a heart-to-heart chat between my avatar and me was in order.

I invited my avatar over for a cup of cardamom-ginger tea and gently broached the topic.

“You’ve worked hard all these years,” I said, pausing a little to watch its reaction. It sat there listening intently, quirking its brow a little when I paused, so I hastily continued.

“And you never took a day off…,” I noticed my avatar stiffen. I could also see tiny beads of perspiration on its forehead. It knew what was coming. Shit! I crossed my fingers and prayed that it won’t cry. I couldn’t handle tears!

Then my avatar squared up its shoulders and looked me in the eye. “Are you firing me?”

The question hit me like a missile. That’s what I was doing, wasn’t I? Firing my ambassador, my avatar – someone who had stood by me through the thick and thin of these five years! I was a heartless harridan trying to browbeat my avatar into retiring. 

“What?” my avatar was still looking at me with searching eyes, expecting a…a confirmation of its fears, I suppose.

“Firing you? C’mon, get real! The thought never crossed my mind.” I knew that my voice rang hollow.

My avatar could hear the lack of conviction in my voice. “Is it because I don’t look nice? I am rather plain, am I not?” it asked.

“Umm…you could use a little color, I suppose, but…” I answered. It was a catch-22, I’d get caught, whichever way I went.

“Then don’t fire me – just paint me to look more like you. An implant in the chin, a change of hair-style, and some color – that’s all I need to  look more like you and fit in better with your work.”

I looked into the eyes of my avatar.

shafali-avatar-120-sharp

It was plain indeed. Just a few squiggles here and there – more of a cartoon than a caricature, but it was right. My avatar was smarter than me, and it had a solution – and it could be implemented in a few hours! My avatar had on-the-job experience of 5 years; it was recognized by visitors, readers, clients, and even my Facebook friends; and it was smart too. I would be an idiot to let it go!

And so my friends, here’s my new, improved avatar 🙂 

Caricature, Portrait, Cartoon Avatar - Shafali the Caricaturist.

 

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.

 

Caricatures Gallery Update: Political, Business, Sports, Hollywood, Television, and Fiction.

This Gallery Update was pending for some time, and while I still haven’t been able to put together the icons for my graphite and pen-ink artworks, I got the icons of the painted artworks together to update the gallery.

I am reproducing the updated part of the gallery here – just in case, you are a kindred (read: lazy) soul.

Icon - Magazine - Interior Spread for Talk Business and Politics Magazine - Mike Ross - Asa Hutchinson Joust - Governor Elections 2014 Arkansas Icon - Caricature Cartoon of Jeff Bezos - CEO of Amazon. Icon - Caricature: Jimmy Fallon - Host of The Tonight Show
Mike Ross – Asa Hutchinson
TBP Arkansas
Jeff Bezos
CEO – Amazon
Jimmy Fallon
Host – The Tonight Show
Icon - Selena Gomez Caricature for a Poster Collection. Digitally Painted. Icon of Malcolm Gladwell Author - Caricature. Icon of Tennis Legend Serena Williams' Caricature with a Cup and Racket.
Selena Gomez
Singer/Actor
Malcolm Gladwell
Author: The Tipping Point
Serena Williams
Tennis Star
Icon - Novel Cover Art Work for Pat and Babs - a Body Switch Novella by Author B.G. Hope. Icon - Magazine Cover for Talk Business and Politics - Mark Pryor and Tom Cotton in a Boxing match - Elections 2014. Icon - Caricature of Gandalf the Grey - Painted digitally.
Pat & Babs
Characters in a Novel
Mark Pryor vs. Tom Cotton
TBP – Arkansas
Gandalf the Grey
Lord of the Rings

I’d love to mention how the post that I did on Nude Celebrity Pictures has been getting all the attention. I think a new caricature genre with nudes as its central theme could become quite popular, only if someone had the talent and the will to pursue it. The fact that I am sharing this priceless idea so openly with you, must tell you that I’ve decided that my caricatures stay clothed and dignified.

Before I make this post, I’ve got to ask you something? Do you want to make caricatures? (Note that I am not asking you whether you’d like to draw caricatures.) Click the following sticker to find out more about my caricaturing app “Toonsie Roll”, which is going to be in the App Store soon 🙂

That’s all for now 🙂

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.

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 Selena Gomez – The Poster: Come and Get it while the Stars Dance.

This caricature of Selena Gomez is one of my recent creations. It’s part of a poster collection that I am working on.

Selena Gomez’s Caricature:

Caricature, Portrait, Poster of Selena Gomez - Stars Dance - When you are ready come and get it.

Actual Size: 12 inches by 18 inches.

 

5 Steps to Painting Caricatures and Portraits:

Digital painting is quite like oil-painting or color-pencil painting (an odd term to use but when you look at the stuff artists create with color-pencils, painting is the only term that really does justice to the magnificent works they produce.)

So what do I mean when I say Digital Painting is like any other painting?

Simply speaking…

  1. Begin with a rough sketch that gives you the outlines.
  2. Block in the basic colors-shades – the darks and the lights, paint in the background to get your edges clean and sharp.
  3. Mix the colors so that you don’t see them as patches.
  4. Detail the features (in the case of portrait/caricature painting.)
  5. Finish by adding the highlights.

There was a time when I fretted about brushes – which to use for which purpose; but then decided that it was too confusing and so I now paint the whole image with one brush – it’s a natural brush that ships with Photoshop – and I just change the brush-sizes, which is pretty easy to do if you paint in Photoshop. If you use a tablet, program your strip to “[” for reducing the size and “]” for increasing it; or just push the corresponding keys on the keyboard.

Selena’s Caricature – A Recap of the Process:

Here are three important stages of Selena’s Caricature.

Drawing and Painting Caricatures - Three Stages in painting the caricature portrait of Selena Gomez - When you are ready come and get it.

The Sketch:

I begin with a sketch. I always do; and that’s how I think it should be done – mainly because a sketch allows you to fix the important mistakes before you carry them over in the final work. It’s about risking 15 minutes of work vis-a-vis risking a couple of days worth of effort, so the decision is actually a no-brainer.

The sketch stage is where I stretch and squeeze her features to make her face look funny. I am not a distortionist, which means I exaggerate only to increase the funniness quotient of the image. In my opinion, a caricaturist must not just exaggerate certain features of a face, but to also exaggerate the main element of the subject’s personality. A strong man should look stronger, a haughty person, haughtier; a shabby person should look shabbier, and a cute woman, cuter. The last bit applies to Selena’s caricature. (“Evolution of a Caricaturist – How to Draw Caricaturesexplains how a person’s features impact the overall impression cast by the person. The book also discusses Neoteny (that specific quality of the facial features that helps them make a face look child-like,) and describes how a feature must be exaggerated to enhance/reduce neoteny.)

Her hair, especially her ponytail in this image, makes her look cuter…or in other words, younger and childlike. Caricaturing her ponytail made sense to me, as she’s an icon for kids. Her eyes are rather small. Small eyes aren’t considered beautiful on a grownup woman’s face, but they do their part in making her look younger. When I did this caricature-portrait, I was asked why I didn’t caricature her frontal assets more. It’s almost a habit among caricaturists to make their women subjects look exceptionally well-endowed – frontally as well as dorsally. (I plead guilty of doing it once – but the subject was Pamela Anderson, whose silicon-enhanced, almost spherical assets have been the subject of much speculation and mirth. I only did it because it was Ms. Pamela Anderson, and her Pancho and Lefty really deserved to be noted.) In the case of Selena, such exaggeration would destroy the young and innocent look that I was trying to achieve.

As you can see, the sketch is fairly basic. In fact, it was done right there in Photoshop…and it didn’t take a lot of time. Until a couple of years ago, I used to sketch on paper, then scan the sketch and import it into Photoshop. I did this for years…but in the recent years, I’ve found myself doing a lot of my base-sketches (that I use as a base for painting) in Photoshop. It’s cleaner and quicker (changes can be made easily and you don’t need to waste your time scanning the sketches in)…so while I still draw a lot on paper, especially when the final artwork has to be done by hand; for my digital paintings, I now prefer a digital sketch.

The Intermediate:

The intermediate image that you see here, presents the color-coding. I’ve added the colors to the image and have tried to ensure that the light and dark colors are put where they belong. At this point, I am still focused on the face (neck-below it’s still an almost solid expanse.) The brush size is rather large and you can see the paint-strokes clearly. The eyes are almost done (I always sketch and paint the eyes first.) I chose a light background (specifically the sky/emerald blue combination) because it further reinforces the child/girl factor in the artwork. The sequined dress that she would wear in the final image, can merely be seen as a shadow in this image. At this point, I was struggling with the idea of leaving the dress out – too much of work, I thought. But then I caved in to the desire of making her look like a princess.

The Final:

The final image was the result of a lot of work and ended with my right wrist refusing to bend – it had been in the same position for almost the entire duration of the painting process – poised on the keyboard, helping me use the shortcuts. I am sure that art-schools have a special class on how to avoid the carpal tunnel syndrome.

I really don’t have a lot to say for the final look – except that the hair took a lot of time, so did the dress (on a different note – why women wear terrible dresses with bells and shells sewn on them?) I added finishing touches to the eyes, the nose, the teeth, the neck too…but that was the easier part. As you can see…the sketch makes her look a lot younger, but after I watched her recent video, I thought that it would be a good idea to introduce a little maturity to the face (slight squaring of the jaw-line and the slightly naughty look in her eyes.) Finally, my reviewer OKed it and signed the proverbial release form.

Here’s a closeup of the eyes:

Eyes - details - Selena Gomez Portrait Caricature by Shafali - Closeup for details.

About Selena Gomez – The Actor/Singer who’s won the hearts of millions:

Here’s a shorter version of an already short biography of a very young Selena Gomez.

The actor-singer was born in 1992 in Texas, and she did her first role in Barney and Friends, a television serial, when she was just ten. Her first film was Spy Kids 3D: Gameover in which she did a cameo. She also appeared as Mikayla in three episodes of Disney’s serial Hannah Montana, but her real success came from her role in Wizards of Waverly Place, after which she was also compared with the now incomparable Miley Cyrus.

Somewhere around 2009, Gomez began focusing on music in which she got her first major success in 2010 with the song “Tell me Something I don’t know.” The last four years have been a very busy time for Selena.

On the Personal Front:
Selena Gomez’s dad was a Mexican. While the details of her arrival in the US evade me, she has herself confessed of her fears and wondered what would’ve become of her, if she had remained in Mexico. (It made me wonder too…) Her dad had left her mom and her mom struggled to meet the expenses of the household. (I’ve repeated this story so often that I now wonder if there are many in Hollywood who come from a two-parent family.)

Random Bits:

Currently…
Her Solo Debut Album “Stars Dance” has been doing well. Her single “Come and Get it,” became a top 10 hit and this is why I thought that the poster must mention it.

Caricature-Portrait of Serena Williams as her Serene-self.

This Caricaturist’s blog is proud to host the Caricature of Serena Williams 🙂

The Making of Serena Williams’ Caricature – A Recap.

Ms. Williams has done it again. She’s got another artist to create a caricature portrait of her magnificent self. As some of her awesomeness spills over the edges of the tennis court and floods this blog, I am so very glad to host her caricature here.

After Malcolm Gladwell’s caricature-portrait, I wanted to do something different. Gladwell’s portrait has cooler colors and has no additional objects. I thought of painting a portrait of a musician or a sports-person, because I thought that a musical instrument or the sports paraphernalia would give me an opportunity to work on something different. In one such random yet guided search, Serena Williams came up. In the picture, she was holding the Trophy after winning the French Open World Cup  of…I think…2012. I though that she looked cute and happy and with that sweet smile on her lips, she looked quite innocent too; she also held that sparkling cup in her hands, which was, in my un-sportist opinion, a far better object to paint than a tennis racket.

I was so taken in by the overall image that I decided to paint it – but I wanted the racket too. The racket was the means to the cup – and though the players often toss away their racket after they win…I feel that for a tennis player, the tennis racket is more like an extension of their hand. I just felt that the picture would be incomplete without a racket. So I added one.

While I don’t post my roughs (something that I learned from my fictional hero, Howard Roark of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead,  my mistakes should end in my dustbin,) I must tell you that I made a few changes in my first sketches. They pertained to the angle of the racket, the caricaturing of the trophy, and Serena’s hair. The changes were minor – but they made a difference.

To cut a long yarn short, here’s Serena Williams’ Caricature.

 

Caricature portrait of Serena Williams holding the French Open cup - Caricatures Sports - Tennis Stars

Caricature: Serena Williams Actual Dimensions: 12 inches by 12 inches.

 

Here are the details of her face:

Caricature portrait - Face details - Tennis Star and Sports Celebrity - Serena Williams holding the French Open cup - Caricatures Sports.

Face Details: Caricature – Serena Williams.

I doubt there are any in the blogosphere who don’t know who Serena Williams is, but for my clients from Atlantis and Krypton, I must provide a short biographical sketch.

Serena Williams – A Short and Quick Biographical Sketch:

On the Personal Front:

Serena was born in Michigan, in 1981. When they were just four-and-a-half, Serena’s dad Richard Williams started giving them tennis lessons because he wanted his daughters Serena and Venus to become tennis players. For a very long time Richard Williams continued to be Serena’s and Venus’s coach. It’s only recently that he married a much younger lady (in 2010.) He divorced the Williams sisters’ mother Oracene Price in 2002. Oracene Price, who did coach the girls technically as well, focused more on building a system of strong values and beliefs in the Williams sisters. Price taught them the virtue of staying pressure-free.

On the Professional Front:

She’s ranked world #1 in women’s singles. She’s got a zillion other things to her credit, but all that is overly complex for this simple-minded caricaturist so she’ll leave you with this awesome wikipedia link of Serena Williams’ page here.

This year hasn’t been good for her so far. Her coach said that she’s going through a difficult period.

————————-This marks the end of Serena Saga in this post—————————-

If you are interested in learning how to draw caricatures…check out “Evolution of a Caricaturist – How to Draw Caricatures” on Amazon. It simplifies and distills caricature-making to a science. Remember that to draw caricatures you needn’t be a super-painter or a super-sketch-artist: what you need an eye to see the funny angle and a way to exaggerate features in a fun way, WITHOUT destroying the likeness. How can you achieve this? Click the following icon to find out 🙂

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

Click to View the Book on Amazon.

Sorry for a rather longish post…but at times, even we, the visualiti, slip into the quagmire of verbosity.  “Tchah!”

 

About the Crazy Stuff that’s been happening all over this place – A Personal Post.

The more observant readers of this blog must be seeing some changes here – and I hope that the changes meet the approval of my visitors and readers.

Let me sum up all these changes 🙂

1. The Color Artwork section of the Art Gallery has gone through a complete overhaul. I am no techno-geek but the gallery looks cool in my browser (Safari.) I’ve been told that Firefox plays its own dirty tricks on the presentation of this page – so be it. If I’ve to choose between spending my time figuring out html style sheets and drawing, I’ll choose the latter.

Click the following image to view my Art Gallery comprising my magazine/book cover illustrations, inner illustrations, and other color and black and white caricatures.

Click to view my color and black & white illustrations.

Click to view my color and black & white illustrations and other caricatures.

2. The top-bar has been cleansed of the sections that I was no longer doing justice to (I know how unfair it is – the pages pay for my disinterest) and it now has a new super cute section – a gallery of my Pen and Ink Portraits. I have another blog dedicated totally to Pen and Ink art, but as this blog is a holistic representation of me and my work, I thought it must be added here too.

Click the following image to arrive at the page.

Click to View my Pen and Ink Portraits of Pets and Wildlife.

Click to View my Pen and Ink Portraits of Pets and Wildlife.

3. The sidebar has been shuffled to present the recent changes.

4. The header image has been changed to reflect some works from this year. Hopefully it looks nicer.

The next post will present Serena Williams’ caricature, complete with a trophy and a tennis racket 🙂 (You can steal a glance at her caricature on the header image, but I’ll post a bigger one, with a closeup of the face….and yes, the post would be about my painting experience.) So if you are a sports enthusiast and would like me to notify you about it, click the Follow button 🙂

 

 

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?

 

A Pen and Ink Pet Portrait from a Photograph – Guess who got framed?

Fridays are Furry Furry Furry! (translating for the un-dogly, “Fridays are very very furry.”)

How so?

Through a Pet Portrait Commission of Ms. Oorvi. (Yep! A proper commission, I got a check for it – and I’m going to buy another box of color pencils with it.) I thought it’s a good idea to show you the photograph and also the Pen-and-Ink portrait, so here it is:

Portrait of A beautiful Dog in Black and White - Medium: Pen and Ink, Done from a Photograph.

Size: 8 inches x 10 inches

 

One of these days, I am going to write a tutorial on making pen and ink portraits. This year I’ve done a bunch of them and I’ve been falling in love with the crisp beauty of the medium all over again. If you are interested in reading how this portrait happened, read about it at my Pen and Ink Portraits blog here.

Caricatures of Malcolm Gladwell & Serena Williams Coming up.

Now to the regular matters of Caricatures etc. I’ve been working on some cool caricatures (the left-brained would recognize the name of Malcolm Gladwell, and the non-studious population of the sport-loving kind would appreciate one of Serena Williams…perhaps.) I’ll be posting them soon. These portraits are special for me, because they are painted upon the sketches that I did directly in Photoshop – something that I never did before. Until about a week ago, I’d always sketch in my sketchbook, scan the sketch in, then send the sketch to the client for approval. I knew that people sketched in Photoshop, but I expected a steep learning curve, and so I stayed away…until last Saturday.

Guess what? If you are doing detailed pencil drawings (for example, the black and white caricatures that I do) where your want a finished look for your artwork; I’d recommend you stick to your art-paper and pencils. However, if you are doing sketches that you want to ultimately paint – Photoshop is cool. Just fetch a really small (say 4 or 5 point) round hard brush from Photoshop’s basic brush library, set pressure-sensitivity on, and start sketching. I found cross-hatching to result in a ball-point sketch kind of look…and I think it works. One of these days, I’ll share a few sketches that I did this way.

But enough of this…you are a busy person and you need to get back to your easel – digital or otherwise.

However, if you aren’t all that busy, do visit my Gallery. It has been refurbished and updated, and I think it looks better than before 🙂

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.

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 of Narendra Modi as BJP Wins Indian Elections 2014.

India witnessed something totally unprecedented today. For the first time in the history of India, BJP is slated to win the Indian General Elections of 2014, and come into power with complete majority. What Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP started but couldn’t finish, BJP finished with aplomb. Narendra Modi, the three-time Chief Minister of Gujarat, is being credited as the man who created this wave of positivity for his party. He is going to be India’s next Prime Minister.

The Indian National Congress Party headed by Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi, which has been in power for the last ten years, suffered the worst defeat ever.

I did Narendra Modi’s caricature to commemorate BJP’s victory in these elections.

Caricature of Narendra Modi as BJP wins the 2014 Indian elections.

If you want to use the artwork on your blog/website/Facebook page etc. (but not print media) – you are welcome to use it as-is (without modifying it in any way.)

And for those who want it without the sepia tint, here it is – on pristine white background.

Caricature, Cartoon, Portrait of Namo, Narendra Modi, the Gujarat CM who became India's prime minister!

In these elections, India has voted for Change. Here’s to Change!

Caricature – President Obama Crowns himself King on Cover of The American Spectator.

Folks,

This month, I had the opportunity to work on a very interesting assignment – President Obama Crowning himself King 🙂  My regular visitors know that I’ve done at least three Obama Caricatures in black and white (you can find them in the Gallery here,) but honestly, none drip humor the way this does.

Let me start by presenting the artwork.

Caricature, Digital Painting - The American Spectator Cover - The good king Barack - Cover Art for the April 2014 issue.

Cover Art – The American Spectator – April 2014 Issue

If you are a conservative and you don’t subscribe to The American Spectator, you can explore it here.

Now the story behind the creation 🙂

Drawing and Painting President Obama’s Caricature

The Assignment Brief

The Assignment Brief was very clear – Barack Obama crowning himself King, wearing a robe, and could be shown admiring himself in mirror – perhaps a half-figure drawing, and on a solid color background.

When you illustrate for magazines, you walk the tight-rope between design and art. The constraints are important because they set the boundaries for your artwork. So you always begin with the constraints – unlike in Fine Art, where you begin with a concept and allow your artwork to evolve and define its own boundaries.

So the first thing to do was, visualize Obama on the cover – with a solid color background. The solid background made it essential that I visualized the entire color palette within the main figure.

Balancing the Colors

Check out the play of primary colors. The wine-red velvet of the robe and the crown; the golden-yellow of the mirror, the crown, and the tooth – were two warm colors (Red/Magenta, and Yellow)- To neutralize the heat of these two colors, I needed the third primary (Cyan/blue,) and so I decided on a blue tie and offered to paint the Eagle rug from the oval office, under his feet.

That’s how the colors played out, the black/gray/white – the neutrals notwithstanding 🙂

The Head/Body Ratio

Also note the head/body ratio. In this particular caricature, the expression of glee on the president’s face was the most important element of humor. The body was unimportant – purely a hygiene factor, necessary to define the composition. This is why I went  for a very high head/body ratio – but I kept the hands big – they had to be, to hold such a huge crown.

Face-Details/Closeup

Here’s a close-up of the Caricature of President Obama.

President Obama crowns himself King - Closeup - The American Spectator Magazine - April 2014.

President Obama crowns himself King – Closeup – The American Spectator Magazine – April 2014.

A Few things to note:

As you can see, I added a few ideas to the original brief. It helps to discuss your ideas with the client. Sometimes, your ideas may be tossed out of the window, because they were too “morbid,” or they needed to be “watered down.” Here are a few things that I added – the diamond stud, the gold tooth, the eagle rug, the flag, and if you can find him – a tiny but smooth operator.

The diamond stud in Obama’s ear and the gold-tooth, both are affectations of the rich and they help strengthen the “King” in him. I worked with Obama’s younger and more enthusiastic look – not the older, grayer one…reverse aging is impossible, but in its impossibility it exaggerates the impact of the caricature. I had to do some research on his hands. The color, the veins, and also his wedding band (couldn’t have missed that.) I thought that a crown with a flag would look good too.

If you’d like to learn how to draw caricatures in a methodical way – check out “Evolution of a Caricaturist – How to Draw Caricatures” on Amazon.  

"Evolution of a Caricaturist - How to Draw Caricatures" available as a Kindle eBook on Amazon.

Among all kinds of illustrations, caricatures evoke the highest response from the audience. A caricature achieves this by weaving the spell of humorous likeness around its subject.

This book establishes a logical method to harness the creative madness that results in caricatures. The author calls it the “Feature Frame Method” and illustrates how this method can be used to selectively exaggerate every facial feature.

Evolution of a Caricaturist helps you master the art of caricature drawing by presenting around 75 artworks and technical drawings, and then analyzing the features of more than 30 celebrity faces.

Color Caricature of Tom Hanks – as Captain Phillips becomes a box-office hero!

Tom Hanks is one of the finest actors of Hollywood and when the caricaturist heard about his fabulous performance in the movie Captain Phillips, she just had to paint him.

It’s true that I didn’t like him as Robert Langdon in Angels and Demons, and it’s also true that he looks a lot older than the actual Captain Phillips; but we can’t fault him with that, can we? He doesn’t get his wrinkles pulled and pushed, and he looks his age, which is just fine. He isn’t a woman who is compelled to look ten years younger all her life. He is a man, and men have the right to look their age.

With that, I put a lid on this discussion that reeks of gender-bias; and btw, gender-bias has nothing to do with Captain Phillips, Alabama (the Maersk ship – the location where the hijacking drama played out,) or the Pirates of Somalia. (Come to think of it – neither the crew nor the pirates had women among them!)

Here’s a slightly younger Tom Hanks looking somewhat professorial and Langdonish.

Color Caricature, digital painting of Tom Hanks - Captain Phillips of Alabama (who was kidnapped by the Somalian Pirates.)

Tom Hanks, Robert Langdon, Captain Phillips…all in one!

I’ll keep this post short and not burden you with the details of how I painted this caricature. I’m going to be slightly busy the coming week (Yes, I’ve been invited to Atlantis once again! Don’t let jealousy tear you apart, my friend. I AM the chosen one.)

If you want to see how Tom Hanks looks in black and white, check out this link.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Here’s the black and white illustration once again 🙂

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

What is he thinking?

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Caricature of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow.

Where is the cheese…Captain Sparrow?

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

You go first 🙂 What are the differences?

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

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

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

More in my next post 🙂