The eBook “Evolution of a Caricaturist – How to Draw Caricatures” now on the Kindle Store!

After a long wait and a lot of hard work, I am happy to present “Evolution of a Caricaturist – How to Draw Caricatures.

If you are interested in learning how to draw caricatures in a methodical yet fun way, its waiting for you here. 

Apart from Kindle Readers, Kindle eBooks can be read on the following handheld devices:

  • Android
  • Apple
  • Windows
  • BlackBerry

Download the Free Kindle Reading App for any of the non-Kindle handheld devices (Tablets/Smartphones) from: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?docId=1000493771

Chapter-wise Content Outline

I’ve prepared a short 18-page pdf that contains the chapter-wise details of the book. You can download this Free pdf for the ebook “Evolution of a Caricaturist” here.

A Journey Behind the Scenes and Into the Author’s Heart 🙂

Evolution of a Caricaturist - Cover Image - Kindle Store - A Book to Learn How to Draw Caricatures

2013 was a very busy year for me. In July when I had decided to publish the book, I was relatively unoccupied and I thought that it would be a breeze. Yet as time went on, I was doing more assignments and programs, and I realized that it wasn’t going to be easy.

You see, a book about drawing caricatures isn’t like any other book. It’s a journey into a wonderland of faces where you are your reader’s guide, and you use any and all means necessary to help your reader understand, appreciate, and apply everything that’s in there.

The book needed illustrations (it’s got a little more than 70 of those,) it needed analysis of faces and discussions on caricatures, and above all, it needed to be readable. In a nutshell, it needed commitment and time. I am never short on the first, but almost always on the second.

There were times when I wanted to stop because I was tired, but then someone across the world would sign-up for it, and I’d forget my aching limbs and switch on my computer, and then I’d lose myself into the book. I think I’ve poured everything I knew about drawing caricatures into the book – the thoughts, the techniques, the methods, the concepts, and the real-issues with their possible solutions.

I know that most artists would rather draw than read, I trust that most artists like to know how something’s done and then do it their own way, and I believe that this book is written for the artist in us.

With hope and love, I place this book in your hands.

Thank you.

My New Year Resolutions for 2014 :-)

——–H  A  P  P  Y    N  E  W     Y E  A  R——–

Dear Friends,

I wish you all a Fantastic New Year ahead. May this New Year bring you Health, Happiness, and Joy.

It’s 2014 already 🙂 For me 2013 was a tough year laced with many tough decisions, and I am glad that it’s over.

Here’s a short list of Resolutions that I intend to keep come what may.

1. Publish “Evolution of a Caricaturist – How to Draw Caricatures.” The book is almost final and I am working on its cover. If you’ve got an e-Reader (Kindle, an iOS device, or an Android device,) this book will become available for download from the Kindle eBook Store in about a week’s time.  Yesterday the number of signups touched 100. Thanks so much for your interest in the book, please expect to hear from me in a couple of weeks. If you haven’t signed-up for the announcement yet,  you can signup here.

2. Put all my illustrations for kids together and bring them you through my new blog Illustrations by Shafali I am aiming at making a post a week on each of my blogs. (I can see that smirk on your face. I know that you think I can’t do it – and you want me to look at the past-trends – don’t you? I can and I will. You’ll see :-))

3. Create and publish a Monthly Newsletter called “Draw your Dreams” for the self-taught artists around the world. I’ll announce it before January end. While you don’t know what it is, but if you trust me enough to know that it would be something useful, you may want to  read more about it and Signup for the Newsletter here.

4. Continue work on my next book, Evolution 2 – “Evolution of a Cartoonist – How to Draw Cartoons.” Half of the book is already written and sketched, but it still exists in the form of two notebooks. I need to enrich the chapters, make the drawings, and ensure that it doesn’t stray from its goal of providing real learning to the budding cartoonist. I hope to complete it by the end of July 2014, and I’ll keep you posted on its progress.

5.  Find time to create some caricatures especially for this blog. Recently, most of my time is spent working on art-assignments, which doesn’t leave me with sufficient bandwidth to create drawings especially for this blog, but I intend to correct this trend.

6. Visit other magnificent blogs and make some new cyber-friends.

This long list is a tall order for this short caricaturist, but she hopes to keep her promises.

——–H  A  P  P  Y    N  E  W     Y E  A  R——–

Evolution of a Cartoonist – Post 4 – How to Draw Cartoon Eyes.

This post discusses the how and why of cartooning the eye.

While this post presents the essence of Chapter 5, it stands alone and doesn’t directly draw upon your learning from the previous chapters, except in on place, where I’ve added a relevant link.

The four images that I am adding here are almost self-explanatory, so I am going to keep the text to a minimum.

Importance of the Cartoon Eye

Cartoon eyes?

Well, two dots should suffice, shouldn’t they?

Guess they should, if you know what to do with those dots, because if you really want to draw cool cartoons, you need to go beyond the stick-figures and cookie-faced smilies (unless of course your mind-space is dominated by the conceptualizer.)

But I am serious when I ask you to stretch, squeeze, and twist the two dots of the eyes to make your cartoon characters come alive. Eyes are by and far the most important feature on the face of any creature (animals and humans alike.) They express. Period.

Please ref to Chapter 5 – Fig 1 below, where I present my case.

Book - Evolution of a Cartoonist - A book on how to draw cartoons - Importance of the eyes in cartoons.

The Uber-complex Structure of the Human Eye

The human eye is complex, and I am not talking about the internals of the eye. If I were talking about caricaturing the eye, I’d probably tell you stuff like “eye is spherical,” “the eyeball’s curvature is slightly different from that of the iris’…”, etc., but because cartooning requires that we simplify, why not begin by simplifying our learning, and focusing only on stuff that will impact our cartoons.

In the following image (Chapter 5 – fig: 2 for future reference,) you can see the simplistic structure of the human eye. It still is complex…but you don’t have to remember it all – just observe and move on.

Book - Evolution of a Cartoonist - A book on how to draw cartoons - Structure of the human eye - a Cartoonist's Perspective.

Simplifying the Eye

Now let us start simplifying the structure of the eye. Note that the moment we sacrifice any of the 8 basic elements of the human eye, we arrive in the realm of cartooning. Let us see how we can simplify the eye by removing each of the elements, until we are left with just the dot. Also note how life continues to fade out of the eye as we keep reducing the elements.

The decision of simplicity vs. complexity has to be taken in view of our need to capture and transmit the cartoon character’s emotions through its expressions. Practically, concerns such as the actual size of the drawing, the number of characters in it, (perhaps even the effort you can spare for your cartooning assignment,)  will influence your decision-making. The more complex you want your drawings to be, the more space you need to bring them to life.

The following figure (Chapter 5 – fig: 3) shows you a Cartoon look vs. Details graph that will help you understand the above rambles.

Note: The first statement refers to the definition of a Cartoon from Chapter 1 of the book. 

Book - Evolution of a Cartoonist - A book on how to draw cartoons -Simplifying the human eyes to draw the cartoon eyes.

Some Cartoon Eyes

Here are some cartoon eyes. In the second row these eyes are coupled with their respective brows. The brows and the eyes work as a couple and help us accentuate the expressions.

Book - Evolution of a Cartoonist - A book on how to draw cartoons-Some Cartoon eyes - expressions through brows

Chapter 5 has more on the eyes, so I am not concluding it here with a Chapter End-Note. I will soon making a couple of posts on how to cartoon the human face.

How to Stop Dreaming and Start Drawing – 5 Golden Tips!

Some of us would like to draw…others draw.

What is the difference?

I think the main difference lies in our attitude towards drawing. Those who would like to draw can easily swim to the other side and become someone who draws, and trust me, it isn’t all the difficult. Yet there are many who look at the drawings done by others only to sigh wistfully with longing. Who would like to draw, but who think that drawing is some sort of rocket-science (forgive the cliché, but it fits… and to use another cliché, I am not going to reinvent the wheel if I have ready access to a wheel that fits the chariot of my thoughts.) Actually, in the beginning – drawing is quite like driving or cycling…you practice it to perfect it. Once you’ve perfected those lines, then it becomes a vehicle of your innovative ideas; then your work transforms into art.

The first thing to do, as you can see, is to perfect the skill.

Here’s a short To-do list for everyone who wants to acquire the skill of drawing 🙂

1. Always be Prepared to Draw!

What this means is that there should be no place or time when you shouldn’t have the basic drawing material with you. An artist is always ready to draw. While most people prefer to fill their leisure hours with activities such as watching television, chatting up with friends, reading a novel, and so on and so forth; and artist prefers to draw, and to draw he or she must have the drawing material ready.

Here are the possible places where you can put your rough-sketchbook/notebook and a pencil/pen.

1. In the kitchen
2. In your car
3. In your living room (preferably next to the television)
4. In your office-cabinet
5. In your back-pack/brief-case/carry-all women’s handbag
6. Near your bed
7. Perhaps even in your bathroom if you spend a lot of time on that seat (Before you ask, I don’t have one on the magazine rack in my bathroom, but I have a strong intuition that many artists do.)

So, make sure that you are always prepared to draw. No matter where you are.

2. When you draw, just draw, don’t analyze!

You must draw. In the beginning, the lines will form tediously – they’ll squiggle, wriggle, dance, and jump. Don’t worry. It happens to everyone and with practice everyone grows out of it. If we’d still walk the way we did when we were just learning to lift our butts off the floor, we’d move like drunken zombies – but we don’t. Because we learned. And we learned through practice. So, just draw. Let that pencil become your friend.

What if a snooping friend of yours checks out your precious treasure of funny looking drawings?

Challenge them to draw better than you do. If someone is criticizing you for something, he or she should either be better than you are (and then you must take the criticism as directional feedback,) or shut up.

So draw.

Combine 1 and 2 to get, draw anytime, anywhere.

3. Don’t let curious onlookers stop you from drawing.

People are funny. They think that only witches, wizards, and other sorts of magical beings can draw, and so when they see you drawing in a restaurant, or in a train, or in a park, they stop to look. Perhaps they don’t have anything better to do, unlike you who has something…so feel sorry for them, recite a short prayer for the poor misguided, bored-with-their-lives souls,  “they stand here and watch because they can’t draw… Dear God, give them this day, something more useful to do,”) and  continue. In a few months from now, you’ll be accomplished at drawing stuff – and now when they stop to watch you, they’ll gasp at your work and tell you that you are really talented.

4. Remember that Drawing has nothing to do with Art-Supplies!

Don’t worry about the types of pens, pencils, brushes, colors, paints that you should use to draw. Also don’t worry about the types of paper, canvas, other surfaces that must be used to get that oh-so-nice effect. Effects are effects, drawing talent is drawing talent. Once you’ve practiced enough, you’ll be able to work with any material with ease. So, use what’s easiest for you to lay your hands upon.

Some of my best drawings are done on Xerox paper with an HB clutch-pencil, and most of my doodle-cartoons are done using whichever pen I was holding at the time when inspiration struck. Art-supplies and art-material would bother you only when you begin to draw professionally. For about six-months to a year, draw with anything on anything.

5. Tell yourself – Practice Leads to Perfection

You can walk, run, even run up a staircase, with a perfect-10 perfection – and you can do it because you’ve practiced it long enough and consistently enough.Drawing is no different. Practice is your best bet. Don’t begin, then stop, then start again only to stop… Draw everyday…and then one day, you’ll wake up and an inner voice will confirm that you indeed can draw 🙂 When that day arrives, you’ll stop waiting for approval from others – you would have got the most important approval – from the most important source – your inner voice.

So if you are interested, pick up a pencil stub, find a scrap of paper  and start drawing 🙂

Evolution of a Cartoonist – Post 3 – How to Draw Cartoons – Can YOU become a cartoonist?

As this post refers to content that’s covered in the two previous posts of this series, it is recommended that you begin by reading them in sequence:)

Read the two previous posts of Chapter 1:

  1. Evolution of a Cartoonist – Post 1 – How to Draw Cartoons – Introduction, Working Definition, and Three Examples.
  2. Evolution of a Cartoonist – Post 2 – How to Draw Cartoons – The Two Essential Dimensions of a Cartoon.

This post helps you answer the question – Can YOU become a cartoonist?

This question is contextual, and the context is that of your current abilities. Here’s a continuum that you must find your place on.

The Evolution of a Cartoonist - A Book on How to Draw Cartoons - Chapter 1, Fig 1 - Conceptualizer vs. Illustrator

If you are like the guy at the right, you are worried about expressing your ideas in a visual form. However, if you can identify with the guy at the left, you can draw and illustrate but you worry about finding the right ideas.

The Stronger-half of a Cartoonist – The Conceptualizer

If you are an idea-generation machine but you feel constrained by you drawing abilities, you need to pick up some basic cartoon-drawing skills that can help you do “a relatively simplistic and sometimes exaggerated visual portrayal” of the many ideas that keep rushing in and out of your minds, so that you may capture them into an awesome cartoon. However, if you feel that you are Mr./Ms. Ideo (represented by the day-dreaming gentleman in figure 2 below) – and that no matter how you wield that pencil, you can do no better than create a squiggly, you may want to team-up with an artist, who can  create a picture that goes with your ideas…or perhaps, you could learn to create ultra-simplistic, Dilbert-Style cartoons that can speak your mind.

Mr./Ms. Ideo (The Conceptualizer in the following figure.) needs a visual medium of expression that can be used to capture those ideas that will grow wings and fly away, if they aren’t caught and trained.

The Evolution of a Cartoonist -A Book on How to Draw Cartoons - Chapter 1, Fig 2 - The Stronger Half of a Cartoonist - The Conceptualizer

The Fairer-half of a Cartoonist – The Illustrator

If you have placed yourself on the right side of this continuum, you must learn not only to generate ideas, but also train yourself on keeping them.  I’ve gone through the learning-to-generate-ideas phases, and I must tell you that it isn’t easy. However, if you are like Mr./Ms. Arto ( represented by the horrendously dressed, lip-smacking (!) gentleman in figure 3 below) you might find that you require considerable practice to ensure that you find your ideas and keep them too. Perhaps a helping hand from a friend who has a fertile mind, could help. Yet if you teamed up right, you could end up creating fantastic cartoons to delight your readers.

Mr./Ms. Arto (The Illustrator in the following figure) can draw, but he faces issues in finding the right ideas and visualizing them in a way that fits them into the cartooning mold.

The Evolution of a Cartoonist -A Book on How to Draw Cartoons - Chapter 1, Fig 2 - The Fairer-Half of a Cartoonist - The Illustrator

End Note for Chapter 1

(This end note is for those bright individuals, who think that they aren’t cartoonists and so they mustn’t create cartoons – and who identify themselves better with Mr./Ms. Ideo, I must mention the Johari window here, which speaks of the “Unknown Room”. Perhaps a comic post on the Johari Window is due on this blog, but for the time-being, it should suffice you to know that the Unknown Quadrant of the Johari Window, now called the Unknown Room, refers to your traits and skills that nobody know anything about, but they exist.

My advice here is that because you nor anyone else knows that they exist, just assume that they do (with due apologies to Mr. Joseph Luft (Jo) and Mr. Harrington Ingham (Hari) this is how the twisty logic of this caricaturist interprets it.) Dear Reader, possibly one of these unknown skills within you is the skill of cartooning…and nobody, not even you is aware of its existence, so dig it out! Surprise yourself, and surprise the world. Oh…and if you want to take the Johari Window Test, click here.)

Cartoons have a mysterious power to reach into the hearts and minds of people, and shake them out of their stupor.  Before we move on to the apparently more practical matter of explaining what a cartoon is, I must mention the fact that sometimes the cartoons that change the face of the world, don’t come from the cartoonists. We’ll discuss the reason behind this anomaly later, but let me share an example to corroborate my viewpoint.

Benjamin Franklin, officially created the first American political cartoon in 1754, which depicted a snake severed into 8 parts with a caption “Join, or Die” to bring together the colonies – thus, sowing the idea of the United State of America, in the minds of the people.

Franklin is considered to be one of the founding father of the United States –  among other things, he was an author, politician, scientist (he invented the bifocals and the Franklin Stove,) and a musician. Did you read the term cartoonist anywhere?

Reflect upon it while I disappear to bring you the second chapter of this book “Evolution of a Cartoonist” or the fourth post in the series. I hope this book will sow the seeds of cartooning into your mind, and motivate you to express your ideas in this delightful visual format.

Read the two previous posts of Chapter 1:

  1. Evolution of a Cartoonist – Post 1 – How to Draw Cartoons – Introduction, Working Definition, and Three Examples.
  2. Evolution of a Cartoonist – Post 2 – How to Draw Cartoons – The Two Essential Dimensions of a Cartoon.

Evolution of a Cartoonist – Post 2 – How to Draw Cartoons – The Two Essential Dimensions of a Cartoon.


If you are a serious reader who wants to follow this book through all the posts, I recommend that you start with the first post:

  1. Evolution of a Cartoonist – Post 1 – How to Draw Cartoons – Introduction, Working Definition, and Three Examples.

Continuing…
A cartoon has two important dimensions:

  • The Visual Dimension
  • The Conceptual Dimension

The Visual Dimension

This dimension is fairly easy to understand. It’s right there for the reader to see and comment upon. It is what first catches the attention of the reader. It sends out a subtle message to you that this won’t take a lot of your time, it’s something that’ll give you a quick shot in the arm – and either make you think or laugh. When you look at the works of some of the best cartoonists in the world, you realize that the visual dimension plays not one but three important roles.

  1. It attracts the reader’s attention.
  2. It simplifies the story being told by removing all the extraneous visual details and focusing only on the relevant objectives.
  3. It uses the characters and their expressions to sharpen the teeth of the idea it conveys.

The Conceptual Dimension

The conceptual dimension or simply the “idea,” is the soul of a cartoon. There cannot be a cartoon without an idea that has one of the three characteristics mentioned in the definition. It has to be CRITICAL of something, or it should be SATIRICAL, or it must be HUMOROUS. If the idea is weak, you could kill yourself working on the visual dimension, but you’ll have a weak excuse of a cartoon. Perhaps a beautiful illustration, but not a cartoon. Remember that illustrations don’t evoke feelings in the reader, cartoons do.

Cartoonists are people who have some degree of control on both these dimensions. They can draw reasonably well and they can come up with critical, satirical, or humorous ideas. If they can draw, but not come up with such ideas, they are illustrators; on the other hand, if they can come up with ideas that make people sit up and think, they are conceptualizers who could work wonders even with the most basic drawings.

Reflect upon the two dimensions and review your skills, until I return with “Can you Become a Cartoonist?”

PS:

Advance Disclaimer: You will have to excuse the sketches that will accompany the posts, as they’d be scribbles from my notebooks, photographed by a non-photographer (that’s yours truly) and added here in a hurry. My scanner’s still not on, and I am not fretting over it because most of the work that I am doing these days is digital 🙂 

The next post in this series can be read here:

Evolution of a Cartoonist – Post 1 – How to Draw Cartoons – Introduction, Working Definition, and Three Examples.

This is the abridged first chapter of the of the book, “The Evolution of a Cartoonist,” which will be substantially richer in content (theories and methods,) graphics, and examples is expected to be published by June 2013. The book will also include cartooning problems and assignments for practice. During this time, as and when I find the time to scan/photograph my sketchbooks and put together a cohesive summary of the chapter, I will publish it on my blog here. 

I believe that everyone who can think and write, can make cartoons. Everyone gets ideas. Everyone would love to see their idea form into a cartoon. More often than not, the constraining factor is – the drawing skill. While almost everyone has got some experience with drawing, practical concerns made them forfeit their drawing skills. If you are such an individual, this book could help you rediscover and hone your ability to draw and motivate you to create cartoons that speak your mind.

About this Chapter:

This Chapter introduces you to cartoons, builds and explains a working definition of the term “cartoon,” and helps you establish the two essential dimensions of a cartoon. This Chapter is divided into the following topics:

  1. Introduction
  2. Cartoons – Definition and Illustrations
  3. The Two Essential Dimensions of a Cartoon
    1. The Visual Dimension
    2. The Conceptual Dimension
  4. Can YOU become a cartoonist?
  5.  End Note

1. Introduction

Let me begin in the usual lack-luster manner in which text-books usually begin, so that I may impress upon that this indeed is the first chapter of the book, “The Evolution of a Cartoonist.”

Here I go 🙂

Cartoons have always enthralled mankind, but with the advent of printing, their impact increased tremendously. Since the last century, cartoons have become a potent tool for bringing about social and political change. They’ve been the voice of the common man on street, and they’ve made many politicians shiver in their knickers.

However, the mighty cartoon has often been misunderstood. While cartoonists have struggled to find the middle ground between illustration and ideation, others have often wondered why they couldn’t be cartoonists themselves. After all, most cartoons look simple enough to draw!

2. Cartoons – Definition and Illustrations:

According to the two dictionaries that grace my cluttered and otherwise non-intellectual looking desk, a cartoon can be defined as:

A drawing intended as satire, caricature or humor…a ludicrously simplistic, unrealistic, or one-dimensional portrayal or version. – Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary

Or

A ludicrously critical or satirical drawing or caricature, as in a periodical. – Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary of the English Language.

I think that none of the two definitions do justice to the raw yet mysterious power of a cartoon. Let me use these two definitions as a base, add to them my own observations and experiences, and structure this simple yet more complete definition of a cartoon.

“A cartoon is a relatively simplistic and/or sometimes exaggerated visual portrayal of a critical, satirical, or humorous idea.” – Shafali the Caricaturist.

Let me illustrate this definition through some examples.

Example 1: Peanuts

Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz is a cartoon (more specifically, a comic strip, which is a string of cartoons with a common idea holding them together,) because: It is a relatively simplistic and exaggerated visual portrayal (compare to realistic visual portrayal) of a (subtly) critical,  (sometimes) satirical, and/or (definitely) humorous  idea.

Example 2: Dennis the Menace

Dennis the Menace by Henry Ketcham is a cartoon, because: It is a relatively simplistic and exaggerated visual portrayal (less simplistic than Peanuts, yet a lot simplistic when compared to the realistic portrayal) of a critical (no,) satirical (no,) or humorous idea (yes, always.)

Example 3: Loneliness

While the other two examples were from popular comic strips, here’s a stand-alone cartoon. Let us see how this fares on the definition.

Loneliness” is a cartoon because it is a relatively simplistic and sometimes exaggerated visual portrayal (a simplified sad woman with an exaggerated expression of sadness, sitting in front of a simplified computer at a simplified desk, in a simplified chair,) of a critical (yes,) satirical (yes,) or humorous (not very) idea.

The three examples given above are enough to tell us how widely cartoons differ from one another. A cartoon could be made using a few lines (Dilbert) and it can be made by using millions (Kal’s toons in The Economist); it could be used to present criticism, satire, or humor; it could be done in black-and-white (Dilbert again) or in hundreds of colors (Asterix); it could be political, social, organizational, historical, or even educational. This is also why most of us have the potential to be good cartoonists in our own areas of expertise. It’s important to remember that to be a good cartoonist, you need not be a great illustrator. 

We’ll talk more about it in my next post, which will present the second part of this chapter, to discuss the two essential dimensions of a cartoon.

More Posts in this series:

 

 

 

How to Draw Cartoons? A New Series of Posts is starting this Week!

Last night, I was carried out of my computer (if you don’t know what this is about, click here to read about my incredibly journey). I was exhausted but happy. Spending time with Adobe Photoshop, Flash, and Illustrator, was a cathartic experience. While I was in there, I also had some time to reflect upon what I wanted to do for the young, probing, crazy minds who come to my blog looking for awesome learning material. It’s a fact that “The Evolution of a Caricaturist” isn’t available online any longer. Google Knol ditched me at the last moment, and like any other artist, I don’t have the energy to re-do the book for the blog etc. So unless some publisher offers to take it off my hands and publish it without making me rehash it…

What is it that I can give the thirsty-for-more, ever-inquisitive art-learner then?

The answer is – a Brand New Series on How to Draw Cartoons – The Evolution of a Cartoonist!

Whether it evolves into a book, whether it follows the example set by its elder sibling “The Evolution of a Caricaturist” and wows you, will be seen. Instead of using another platform that may disappear any time, leaving me in a lurch; I’ll publish this work as a collection of posts here at “Shafali’s Caricatures & Cartoons“.

So, if you want to explore the fascinating world of cartoon-drawing, click “Follow,” or “I Do” button in the “Stay in Touch” section on the right side bar, to subscribe to this blog!

Hoping for bigger and better things for everyone in the blogoverse…

– The Caricaturist who implores you to Draw to Smile!