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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Tutankhamun Affair resulted in this Caricature!

First, the caricature.

Caricature of a Grumpy Old Man (Inspired from the description of Theodore Davis in The Tutankhamun Affair by Christian Jacques)

My friends know that I love Egypt. Not the bundle of confusion that it is today, but the Egypt that existed in its glorious past – the Ancient Egypt. Blinded by this love, a few years ago, I purchased a book called “The Tutankhamun Affair.” It is written by Christian Jacq, an author noted for the fiction and non-fiction works on Egypt. My friends also know that I have a marked preference for fiction. When I picked up the book around a decade ago, I had no idea that the guy wrote non-fiction too…and that I was buying a somewhat boring biographical account of Howard Carter’s quest for Tutankhamun’s tomb.

I brought the book home and settled down for a thrilling ride that I hoped would take me through both ancient and modern Egypt. As I started turning its pages, I realized that there were easier ways to die than reading The Tutankhamun Affair, and as dying wasn’t on my to-do list, I pushed the book the farthest I could inside my boring-books book-rack.

A month ago, one of my archaeological expeditions yielded The Tutankhamun Affair – a book I hadn’t read. So I gave it another shot.

Oddly, I didn’t find it as boring this time as I did earlier. Either my own boredom-resistance quotient has gone up, or I’ve learned a few things in the last 10 years – things that now enable me to relate to the tribulations of poor Mr. Carter.

I know that the yarn is growing longer – before you get tangled up and are thrown off-balance and off my blog, I’ll let the story of this imaginary caricature of Mr. Theodore Davis out of the bag.

Mr. Davis appears on page 124 of the soft-cover edition.

“Of average height, Theodore Davis gave an impression of weakness.He did not move without a stick, hid his throat with a white scarf and covered his head with a wide-brimmed hat. His Jodhpurs and puttees made him look like a rider without his horse. A thick moustache spread like the wings of a bird covering the lower part of his face. His gaze was aggressive behind the round lenses of his tiny spectacles.” – Chapter 28, The Tutankhamun Affair by Christian Jacq

I removed his Jodhpurs and puttees and gave him a sensible pair of trousers. (Jodhpurs and puttees are both Indian terms – puttees: bandages.)

That description painted a picture for me and I laughed. So I drew that picture for you, hoping that it would make you laugh too 🙂 I hope it does.

Hitler is a lock, an ice-cream, and a packet of cigarettes – so what’s the deal?

Recently someone took a picture of an ice-cream cart selling Hitler ice-cream. The cart also had an image of Hitler on it. While this picture  and the fact that someone was wretched enough to brand their ice-cream Hitler, has made a lot of people squirm in their seats; I don’t understand how Indians can go about raising eyebrows, wondering how someone could do something so (gasp!) “tasteless.”

Adolf Hitler, the Nazi Dictator, the Designer of the Holocaust and the Devil - News from Hell.

The Devil Abdicates…

Here are three reasons that I can think of:

1. Most Indians use the term “Hitler” to refer to an authoritative and disciplinarian figure. So if an aunt stops little kids from going out in the sun and playing, behind her back, she’s branded Hitler Aunty. If dad doesn’t cough up the moolah that sonny boy needs for going on a date, daddy dearest is termed Hitler. When mom asks dad not to drink so much that his friends have to drag his flopping body into the house, the next morning, dad tells the kids that their mom is a Hitler. When a teacher is strict about Homework, she is a Hitler. The boss is always a Hitler. These are just a few examples. Actually, at some point in their lives everyone must’ve been called a Hitler. Why? Even some dogs are names Hitler.

Why?

Don’t ask me. Started happening long before I was born, and will continue to happen – despite the teeny-weeny tweets done by our politicians and paparazzi alike.

2. Tiny villages that don’t care about social media still dot the Indian Landscape. Most of the villagers there won’t even care what the English-spouting, social-media savvy, colonial past-toting jokers like us are saying about Hitler. For them – the ice-cream must be sweet and cold – doesn’t matter whether it goes by the name of Hitler or the Queen of England. What the British were doing to us cannot be termed as cuddling either – so why are we so chummy with them, then? You want to do the explaining? Learn the regional language first…or at least learn Hindi – it is officially the national language of India. Wondering how many of the English-speaking elite can handle that? Trust me, nobody knows what Hitler did and most don’t know anything about Holocaust. They aren’t being evil or heartless – they just don’t know. They just want to sell that damn ice-cream, so that the hawker and the manufacturer can both go home and feed their kids.

3. India isn’t packed full of Jewish people either and that makes it doubly difficult to explain the whole Holocaust tragedy to a lay-Indian. According to this Wikipedia link  India is home to 5000 Jewish people. 5000?!  In a population of 1.252 Billion, it’s actually quite difficult to bump into a Jewish person, let alone know their history. Do you think that because an ice-cream or a lock or a pack of cigarettes, or even a fashion store is called Hitler, Indians become Nazis or anti-semitic? Perhaps you also think that the Hindu Swastika is a symbol of the Nazis? You’ve got it upside down, my friend. Hitler stole the revered and respected symbol of good-luck from India and turned it into the much-hated symbol of the Nazis. That flushes Swastika’s glorious 3500 year old history down the drain. 

I do wonder at times whether our politicians really know the ground realities of India. When Shashi Tharoor says that naming the ice-cream Hitler was the height of tastelessness, he makes people wonder whether he really is an Indian who understands the nuances of Indian day-to-day life. Had he called it the height of ignorance, it would have made at least some sense. And when he doesn’t criticize the Hitler Didi show on the television, and doesn’t try to stop Hitler Hero from screening, one begins to wonder why.

Hitler shouldn’t be glorified – that’s right; but the critics must understand the context and the ignorance that in the first place made Hitler such an everyday word in India – and now that it has happened; don’t vilify those who did it in ignorance or in innocence. By doing this you mimic Hitler who killed the Jewish people because he “felt” they didn’t deserve to live.

If knowledge doesn’t bring along a willingness to understand the reasons and motives of others; if all that reading and learning cannot alleviate us above the need to make a mountain of an insignificant molehill; those who missed out on this education and decided that Hitler can be the name of their ice-cream are better. They do it in ignorance – we do it with full knowledge.

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 of Julius Caesar – A Digital Painting and Thoughts on How to Color your Caricatures.

Here’s a painting that I did from an older black and white caricature of Julius Caesar.

Caricature, Cartoon, Portrait of the Roman General Julius Caesar.

“They use the most tender leaves to make his wreath!” – 12 inches x 12 inches at Print Resolution.

 

Following is the black and white caricature that I painted upon.

Caricature of Julius Caesar the Roman General by Shafali

 

I thought of sharing this image to elucidate how coloring a caricature is different from coloring a portrait. While there’s a lot that I learn with every caricature I paint, there are some caricaturists who have mastered the art of using color in a funny way. There are two caricaturists who I hold in high esteem when it comes to using the power of colors in caricaturing – Vizcarra and Thomas Fluharty. While Vizcarra’s work brandishes color as an almost fatal weapon to gain and fasten your attention to his caricatures, Fluharty’s use of color is subtle – it attracts you in a more sublime manner.

I gravitate towards the sublime. In art, I am a moderate. In caricatures, I stay away from hyper-exaggeration. I recently got a very nice compliment from a client. He said that my style was fun. “Fun” is what I gun for, especially when I create caricatures. I am not pro-seriousness, nor am I pro-ridicule – this is why I call myself moderate and this is why I am more pro-Fluharty in coloring.

Not using the colors for fun and staying realistically close to the actual coloring isn’t my thing for caricature-painting; nor is exaggerating the color values by pushing them to the periphery of the color-wheel.

Here are a few pointers for those who like to moderately exaggerate the colors in their caricatures.

How to Color your Caricatures?

1. Use colors to add color to your art.

So make the reds a touch redder, the blues bluer, the greens lusher, the browns chocolaty…move towards colors that encourage nicer, more fun-feelings in the viewer. This may not always be required, but when it happens, your caricatures look more lively.

2. Use colors to heighten contrast.

Lips are red, teeth are white? Actually, they aren’t. Lips have a red/magenta tinge and teeth vary from grayish-yellow to creme in color. When two different colors are adjacent to each other, increase their contrast. In the lip and teeth example, this would exaggerate the teeth and add to your caricature.

While painting Caesar’s head, I edged the leaves with gold, heightening their contrast with the shadows on his head; I contrasted his lips with his skin (I am sure that an aging Caesar’s lips won’t be raspberry red and so full as shown in the caricature, but painting them realistically would’ve killed the fun element in the caricature.)

 3. Use Stark Highlights and Shadows:

Don’t go super-realistic on highlights and shadows. A shiny knobby nose looks funnier than a realistically painted one, eye-balls that reflect an unnatural amount of light look more lively in a caricature. So stay with stronger high-lights and shadows.

So bring out one of your sketches and unleash the painter in you 🙂

I’ve also been hoping to tell you that I am rather happy with the performance of “Evolution of a Caricaturist – How to Draw Caricatures” though I often wonder why we artists are so averse to writing. If we weren’t, we’d leave a review or two on the books that we read. And yet, I shall stand my ground and not buy/request reviews by sending the book to professional reviewers who aren’t my real audience.

Very Important: If you’ve stopped here by chance and you love animals, follow this blog, because something awesome is coming up soon (as soon as this Friday.)

Until then… Draw to Smile 🙂

 

 

Caricature/Cartoon – How Newton Discovered Gravity? The Real Story.

How Newton discovered Gravity?

How indeed.

Little was known about it until last night when I returned from a trip that I had made into the past. The real goal of my time-trip was to bring an authentic powdered wig to use as a reference for an illustration, and never in my wildest dream had I imagined that I’d stumble upon something of this magnitude.

I know that the moment I tell the truth of what I had witnessed in Newton’s Apple orchard, the Newtonians would be baying for my blood. They’d call me names and accuse me of telling lies.  Thankfully, I have knowledge of the whereabouts of a mummified apple that bears the marks of Newton’s teeth. I think this half-eaten fruit will establish the veracity of this serendipitous historical discovery of mine.

With all those claims and disclaimers in place, let me tell you what truly transpired in Newton’s orchard that beautiful autumn evening. You know that my time machine isn’t as accurate as it used to be, so I can’t tell you the exact date, but it must have been the year 1667.

My Time Machine had just ground and screeched to a halt. I got out and pulled it behind a dense grove of trees, where I thought it would be safe from prying eyes. After hiding the machine, I looked around to discover that I had landed in an apple orchard. I found it a rather nice place to spend the night. In the morning, I could go to the nearest market and buy a couple of nice powdered wigs and then leave. But before I could get back into my machine and bring out my sleeping bag, I heard the leaves rustle. A snake? With my heartbeats gone berserk, I checked. No snake, No rat, it all looked peaceful and good.

What could it be then? A man perhaps? I realized that the leaves were indeed rustling under the feet of  a man who appeared to be dressed quite properly…perhaps he was the owner of the orchard. The silhouette belonged to a tall thin man. He moved rather slowly, as if he were unhappy or depressed about something. His golden locks shimmered in the dim light of the crescent moon. This obviously meant that he wasn’t wearing a wig. Tough luck. I could’ve just snuck up behind him and stolen it, had he been wearing one. It would’ve saved me the trip to the market. (Oh… about stealing? There aren’t any Across-Time laws against it, are they?)

Any way, he wasn’t wearing a wig, but when he turned  and dropped under one of the Apple trees, I saw his profile. I knew that face so well that I almost shouted his name out. He was Newton! Yes, the guy who discovered gravity and who fought with Leibnitz over the ownership of Calculus ( but he didn’t know about any of this at the time – I had come from the future, so I obviously knew all what he was going to do in the future.) I felt sort of sad for him – I wanted to reveal myself, tell him that he was going to be famous in future and so he didn’t have to look so sad, but I stopped myself. I didn’t really want to mess up my time with any sort of butterfly effect, if you know what I mean.

So I stood in the shadows and watched him. Trust me, I had no idea that I was about to witness the historical fall of a historical apple, so when it happened, I wasn’t ready with my camera. I wish I had real pictures of the event to share with you, Sorry folks.  I’ll just narrate the sequence of events to you, and show you this pen and ink drawing that I made upon my return to our time.

Caricature Cartoon Pen and Ink Illustration - How Newton Discovered Gravity - the Fall of the Apple story

Click or a Larger View and Crisper Image.

 

This story wouldn’t be the story it is, if that apple hadn’t fallen on Newton’s head. But it did fall, right upon the middle of his head, and then bounced off, hit the ground, and rolled off a small distance then stopped. Recall that Newton was in the thralls of depression that evening. So he didn’t exclaim, “Eureka”, or “Gravity,” or even “Laws of Motion!” He merely picked the apple up, wiped it gently with his wing (ok, I am talking Newtonese, so?) and sunk his teeth into it.

This is exactly what happened, and truthfully speaking, it was quite disappointing for me who was sure that this was THE apple. Perhaps not. Perhaps this wasn’t the apple that made him discover gravity. Either I was too early in time, or too late. I experienced a very real sense of loss…I mean, why couldn’t it have been that special apple?

I looked at him again. With that sad, depressed look in his eye, he went for another bite…and then he jumped. The apple still in his hands, his eyes were fastened on to something on or in the apple! I squinted to take a better look, adjusting my eyes to the low-light conditions.

“What…who are you?” said Newton.

“I am the Prince of Worms. Now will you please put the apple down so that I may crawl back to my home. Please,” requested the worm that had pulled itself out of a neatly drilled hole in the apple.  Aside he grumbled, “It’s going to take me the whole night to crawl up now,”

“Why should I let you go?” asked Newton who was happy to have found an interesting pastime. Recall that he couldn’t have watched The Big Bang Theory to kill his ennui, because television wasn’t invented then.

“Oh well. What do you want?” asked the worm.

“I’ve got enough to live by, and I don’t have a wife nor children – so money isn’t something I want.”

“But there must be something that you’d like to have?”

“Fine,” said Newton, “can you make me famous?”

“Wow! Who do you think I am? The djinn?” said the worm, and then as an afterthought he added, “wait a minute. I have something that could make you famous.”

This obviously was something that interested Newton.

“What it it? Tell me and I’ll let you go.”

So the deal was struck.  The worm sold the secret that had remained safe with his family for millions of generations. The biggest scientific discovery of all times, Gravity, now belonged to Newton. Newton was a man of his word. He let the worm go, then got up, dusted the seat of his tights, and rushed off.

The worm returned to his family, ashamed of the deed and was naturally castigated by his family. “You should’ve become a martyr instead of giving away the family secret,” shouted his grandfather. “You’ve brought the family nothing but shame,” said his father.  All in all, his family gave him a really hard time, and before morning he had taken his own life by jumping into a cup of water.

I was there, I had witnessed it all – so I decided to set the record straight. Under the same apple tree under which Newton sat, I mummified and buried the half-eaten apple that had the wormhole, and the marks of Newton’s teeth on it. I know the exact location – right to the coordinates!

I have the proof, Dear Newtonians!

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.

 

 

Caricature/Cartoon – George Washington voices his opinion on Gun Control – A Painting of the First President of the United States.

I painted this framed caricature-portrait of George Washington yesterday. This morning, I added the small table with the flower vase, and then…I became me and added the cellophane taped paper with his name to the wall. I know that the taped paper is an eye-sore…and this is precisely why I had to add it 🙂

A Caricature Cartoon painting of George Washington, the first President of the US.

About George Washington:

George Washington was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, and he became the first President of America. He was born in a affluent family but he lost his father early in life. He served as the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army and fought the British Forces. When in 1783, the Continental Army won, George Washington resigned because he didn’t want the nation to continue with dictatorship.

Washington also presided over the committee that drafted the US constitution. Later he was elected the President of the US in 1789.

George Washington’s education was interrupted due to his father’s untimely death. In those days, most of the affluent planter families that had arrived in the US from England, would send their sons to England for their education. Washington, however, was home-tutored, and when he was fifteen and he could’ve got an appointment in the Royal Navy, his mom created a ruckus. Through their contacts (perhaps the brazen use of “contacts” is something that Indians picked from the British?) he got the job of a surveyor.

One thing led to another and in 1789 America had its first President.

George Washington’s Death:

In 1797, Washington had retired and gone back to his plantation. Two years later he caught cold while he was out inspecting his plantation. When his condition worsened, he decided to drain some blood out of his body – as he believed that removing some blood could help him fight is illness. Unfortunately it didn’t.

Those days and these days…

I can’t stop myself from making this observation – from the days of Washington, who “couldn’t tell a lie” … to the days of Bill Clinton (200 years later,)  who lied when under oath in reference to Monicagate! America was built by people with strong value systems…those systems are weakening…and the symptoms are everywhere. It’s also important to note that those who built America weren’t the socialists, and this is why the country thrived. I am not a political commentator so I’ll stop now, and let you form your own opinions.

George Washington Quotes:

  • Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are peoples’ liberty’s teeth!
  • The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good.
  • If freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. (Did I get it wrong, or did he have slaves who did all the work on his plantations?)
  • It’s better to be alone than in bad company.
  • The foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and swearing is a vice so mean and low that every person of sense and character detests and despises it. (I totally agree – and this is why I hated The Roast – The Trump Roast is the only one I watched – and it will remain the only one!)

When I read that first quote, I had to create the following picture 🙂 So, if you aren’t in favor of gun-control, you may appreciate it.

George Washington on Gun-Control:

Caricature, Cartoon of George Washington the first president of the US and the architect of the American Constitution voices his opinion on gun control.

Pencil Knight – An Addiction that doesn’t Kill…keeps the Caricaturist away.

The caricaturist was gone again.

She wasn’t thawing in a polar bear’s belly, nor was she whisked off to Atlantis; and no, she wasn’t invited by her double in the parallel dimension either.

She was with Pencil Knight.

I won’t say a lot more for the next 36 hours, but here’s a picture of the gentleman I am talking about.

Pencil Knight - a Tilting Finger Balancing Game for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.

That look in his eyes…oooooh…
That smile on his lips…mmmmm…ah!

Now the question.

In 36 hours you’ll know the right answer. (Hint: All the analytical reader has to do to arrive at the right answer is, find the clues hidden in this post)  In any event, I’ll be posting again…tomorrow 🙂

Freud’s Cartoon Analyzes Sherlock Holmes’ Psychology while Vladimort, Salman Khan, and the Psycho-Lady Rock and Roll in the Antechamber!

Every couple of months, I look at the searches that bring visitors to my blog, and being the unfeeling brute of a caricaturist that I am, I end up ridiculing the ones that I don’t understand. It’s the classic case of the fox that ended up ridiculing the grapes that she couldn’t reach. So, here I go…

vrrrrroooooom….

1. types of artists

I thought there were four-types – Starving, Dying, Dead, and Rich, and so I wrote about them. While some readers thought that my classification was dead-right, a few felt that I was one bitter artist with tons of venom inside me. Now if a caricaturist didn’t ridicule stuff, who would? President Obama or Chancellor Merkel? So if you are looking for The 4-Types of Artists and you have the ability to digest the venom that I’ve spewed in this book, go ahead, download it Free and wonder why you ever decided to play the high-risk game of becoming an artist.

The 4 Types of Artists - A Verbal Caricature eBook by Shafali the Caricaturist

Click to download in a format of your choice.

2. sherlock holmes psychological analysis

I am not sure I know what you are looking for. The psychological Analysis of Mr. Holmes himself, or the methods of psychological analysis employed by Mr. Holmes. I can help you with the first, but not with the second. I think Mr. Holmes was an artist with a scientific mind, quite like his creator. (Dr. Arthur Conan Doyle was a writer who was a doctor.) Perhaps Dr. Doyle created Mr. Holmes with a missing corpus callosum and so his equally powerful brain-halves were always in sync. While his right brain made him intuitive, creative, and musical; his left brain made him logical and analytical. Together, his abilities and his idiosyncrasies transformed him into a social disaster.

But then you could’ve been looking for the psycho-analytical methods that Mr. Holmes used to solve his cases. If so, I’d recommend that you gave up the search. It isn’t easy to decipher crazy geniuses, especially of the fictional kind…and even when you succeed, you’ll not have Dr. Watson building real-life situations around your incredible talent and impeccable methods.

Mr. Holmes….

Detective Sherlock Holmes

3. vladimort cartoon

I think there’s a demand for a cross of Vlad the impaler and Voldemort (Oops! I named him – I named You Know Who! But wait…isn’t he dead already? I think he died in the seventh book of the Harry Potter Series. Oh God! I’ve lived in that world for so many years that I can’t bring myself to believe that Voldemort’s horcruxes were destroyed by forever-wronged yet forever-loved Harry Potter!)

Let me not meander. If you are a writer hoping to make it big one day, here’s the idea of the decade. There’s this villain who is as evil as they get (Vlad and Voldemort rolled into one) and there’s this sweet young guy or girl carrying the responsibility of ridding this world of evil. Once you are done writing and then done getting it to the agents, and then done getting agents to reading it, and then done with a publisher publishing it, and then done getting it famous – I promise to caricature your villain Vladimort and present him on this blog. In the meantime, I’ll stick with the heroes. Here’s young Mr. Potter for you 🙂

Caricature of the young Harry Potter

4. caricature of salman khan

Thanks for the reminder. I’ve been thinking of drawing Salman Khan’s caricature for the last two years, but I haven’t gotten around to actually making it. In these years, Salman Khan has been doing his best to make me dislike him. He’s called women younger than him “Aunty” (all because they don’t gym-out five-days a week as there lives don’t revolve around biceps, six-packs, and washboard stomachs,) and he has trashed Vivek Oberoi’s career (because his ex-girlfriend Aishwarya used Vivek as a bait)! I can understand “accidents” and “impulse-actions” but I can’t understand studied malice. So, Salman’s Caricature still appears at the bottom of this Caricaturist’s To-Do list.

5. caricature adam et satan

Interesting!
Dear Searcher, do you realize that you are looking for one guy and not two? Adam is Satan…and every once in a while Eve too is. Satan doesn’t live outside of us, nor does God. They live within us. God pulls us towards good and Satan towards evil. When Satan begins to dominate Adam, you get a James Holmes, an Adam Lanza,  a Ted Bundy…and of course, an Adolf Hitler!

Adolf Hitler, Nazi Dictator, German Dicator, Perpetrator of the Holocaust - Satan!

6. sigmund freud cartoon dreams

Sigmund Freud’s Cartoon must definitely dream for if it didn’t, how would Freud go about analyzing those dreams. Freud’s caricature is one of my favorites. Check it out here.

Cartoon, Caricature, Drawing, Portrait, Sketch of Sigmund Freud the man who gave us the Oedipus complex and the freudian slip.

I know what you are thinking.

7. rock and roll cartoons

I love these, and thank you for searching 🙂

Icon Caricature Peter Criss.Icon Caricature Sammy Hagar

Icon Keith Richards caricature

8. viking caricatures

Thanks for the idea. I’ll make one 🙂

9. learn to caricature like Mario Miranda

Don’t. Don’t learn to caricature like anyone. Learn to caricature and develop your own style and methods. Study the methods employed by the Greats, but don’t caricature like they did. Why? Well, for two simple reasons. 1. You’ll deviate from the way you draw and paint – you’ll change your natural style and end up with a contrived style…and be assured – contrived styles look contrived – they never look natural. 2. People will look at your work and see the reflection of Mario Miranda’s work or Ajit Ninan’s or even Uderzo’s!

So, learn to caricature. Period. 🙂

Here are the caricatures of Mario Miranda and Ajit Ninan, caricatured like Shafali 🙂

Mario Miranda (1926 - 2011) with his characters.

Mario Miranda (1926 – 2011) with his characters.

Caricature, Cartoon, Portrait, Sketch, or Drawing of Ajit Ninan, the Great Indian Cartoonist (Times of India.)

10. psycho lady cartoon

Check out my avatar 🙂

11. cute husband with nagging wife

Oh yeah! Cute Husband with Nagging Wife! This search smacks of chauvinism, it reeks of gender-bias, it…it…it makes me gnash my teeth and sharpen my claws; it makes me want to sketch a cute wife and a nagging husband – just to spite every chauvinist out there!

12. titanic merkel

She is indeed the Titanic Merkel, isn’t she?

icon-caricature-cartoon-sketch-drawing-portrait-angela-merkel-german-chancellor-and-the-eurozone-crisis

She’s also Merkel the Dragon-slayer!

icon-caricature-cartoon-humor-euro-zone-crisis-angela-merkel-francois-hollande-merkande-merkelande

13. one direction caricature

???
I am sure this has a deep meaning. I just don’t know what. Let me try.

  • It could a coded love-message sent to me by my long-lost college sweetheart.

No?!

  • It could be a caricature of a person looking for directions.

No?!

It could be…
OK. I give up. I’ll stay with the love-message interpretation, then. Now let me check if I’m Mensa Material.

14. shafali.wordpress.com/shafali’s caricatures/evolution of a caricaturist!

Thanks folks. You were looking for my caricatures and you reached the right place. You’ve been my top-searchers for the last quarter and I really, truly appreciate that my caricatures have been the objects of your attention.

I appreciate your visits. Keep visiting – even though I may pick your search term and caricature it 🙂

Caricature/Cartoon – Mitt Romney – The Republican Presidential Candidate in the 2012 US Elections

The next stopover in Governor Mitt Romney‘s campaign is the blog of this caricaturist. Of course, he doesn’t know about it yet. While you may find this caricature of Romney a tad unflattering and you may also feel like suggesting that this caricature definitely cannot be a campaign poster for Mr. Mitt Romney. Yet, if you’ve been following him, he might just end up doing another political gaffe by actually picking up this caricature for his poster.

Which caricature, you ask?

Well, this one 🙂

Mitt Romney's Gaffes - A Visual Interpretation - A Caricature, Cartoon, and Sketch of Mitt Romney, the Republican Presidential Candidate in the 2012 US Elections.

(It isn’t looking bright and nice because it’s a photograph of the drawing, with enough shadows of the paper’s grain to make it almost un-usable. The drawing is 8 inches by 11 inches, and I will scan it the day I get my scanner repaired, which may take a long time…actually.)

The regular visitors of my blog must’ve slipped into the lazy habit of expecting the shortest possible biography of the person I caricature. To indulge them, here’s a short and crisp bio on this gentleman, who was once on the list of the top 50 most beautiful people in the world, by one of those best-of-the-best kind of magazines – People Magazine.

Mitt Romney – A Short Biography

Mitt Romney was born in 1947. He was born to a rich and influential couple (naturally, his silver spoon-fed childhood has attracted many unsavory comments from his political rivals,) but he wasn’t a spoiled little brat, ever. While he wasn’t Einsteinian bright at school, he did quite well at college, and graduated with a degree in law and management both, from Harvard. He got married in 1969, at a young age of 22.

He started his professional career with BCG (Boston Consultancy Group) and then moved on to Bain Capital, the organization that he helped turn around (and also gave his rivals, tons of ammunition to bore holes through his good will hunting.)

To make a long story short, Romney went from one success to another, and ended up becoming the Governor of Massachusetts, one of the most progressive states in the US.

He is now contesting the US Presidential Elections against US President Barack Obama.

The Subject of this Caricature = Romney – the Gaffe-Vending Machine

Perhaps he has stopped, but I am not sure, because long time habits aren’t very easy to break, and this habit has lasted Romney the entire election season. Romney has damaged his chances of winning the elections by saying stuff that no sane politician ever utters in the public. For instance he made the 47% American Non-Tax-payers remark, which didn’t go down well with many Americans (Obviously, including the 47% that he was talking about.) Romney made another statement about the Middle Class American being defined as someone who earns less than 200,000 USD a year, which obviously implied that he had no idea of what the average American takes home. He also expressed his heart-ache over his dad not being born of Mexican parents (it would’ve given him opportunities that he didn’t get…perhaps.)

I think that if he weren’t so rich, and if he could express himself in a more politically-correct manner, he would win. While he still can win (at the time of making this post, an opinion poll gives Romney a lead of 5 solid points over Obama,) yet there’s now a cloud of doubt that hangs over his victory.

Obama vs. Romney

I rooted for Obama in the last elections. Quite like the Americans who voted him in, I expected him to change things. Perhaps he did change something, but I am yet to understand it. Osama bin Laden was caught and killed. Fine. The auto-industry was saved – much appreciated. The unemployment numbers began to drop, but only very recently. Will they continue to climb, after Obama is re-elected? What I wonder is – whether all this would’ve not happened, had someone else been at the helm of affairs. Oh…another reason, for my rooting for Obama was John McCain – I just could imagine him as the President of the US. He didn’t look presidential enough to this caricaturist.

These elections, I am not sure. If only Romney conducts himself better, if only he doesn’t let religious biases affect political decisions, if only…

I guess I am not sure.

I am just happy that I made at least one caricature of Romney, to tell you that I am not biased 🙂

Caricature/Cartoon Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande – Euro-zone Crisis Agreement – Will it douse the fire?

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the sparkling new French President Francois Hollande recently made big news by reaching an agreement that is expected to rejuvenate the economies of the region, especially those of Italy and Spain. Yet, whether the €120 billion growth pact will indeed bring about the momentum needed to pull the Euro-zone out of crisis, is a moot point. In fact, not many are willing to believe that this would work.

Here’s my take on the “monstrous” Euro-zone Crisis and the two leaders on whose shoulders rests the responsibility of reviving the Euro-zone’s finances.

Caricature, Cartoon, Illustration of Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande trying to contain the Euro-zone Crisis.

When Francois Hollande flew to Berlin, to meet Angela Merkel, the world watched it with a lot of interest. The reason was simple. The chemistry between Angela Merkel and Hollande’s predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy was fantastic. Perhaps it was because Sarkozy’s personality is Merkel’s opposite. Sarkozy’s quick wit and humor would make Merkel smile, and they appeared to enjoy each other’s company. However, when Sarkozy lost the Presidential crown to Mr. Hollande earlier this year, this happy political relationship came to an abrupt end.

Merkel’s first meeting with Hollande was dubbed drab by the media. Hollande and Merkel didn’t warm up to each other, the way people had hoped they would. So, when the time came for Merkel to visit Hollande in Paris, everyone was even more worried than before. When they met, however, they shared their thoughts and talked about Growth vs. Austerity.

The recently concluded Brussels Summit apparently brought some good news for the Euro-zone but after the initial euphoria has died down, we can now hear the experts say that the package is good, but not good enough.  What may be good enough for rest of the Europe, however, isn’t good enough for Merkel as Germans won’t be happy footing a bill that’s not theirs, and the unhappiness of Germans can jettison Merkel out of the Chancellor’s chair in the 2013 Bundestag elections.

If you are interested in a metaphorical story that explains the genesis of the Euro zone crisis, read “The Euro-Zone Crisis.

Caricature/Cartoon – Alexander the Great, the Birds, and the Golden Feather of India.

Can you hear the battle cry?

Try harder and you should be able to hear the battle cry of Alexander’s troops as they ready themselves to attack India’s North-western frontier – Gandhar, or the present day Afghanistan (capital: Kandahar); if you press your ear to the ground, you might even hear the clappity-clap of the horse-hooves; and if you have a discerning ear, you should also be able to hear the snores of his tired soldiers, randomly punctuated by mysterious thuds. These thuds, in fact, were caused by the sleepy soldiers who fell off their horses, every once in a while.

No?
You couldn’t hear a thing?

Tchah!

Let me tell you what happened. Though Alexander’s tired and sleepy troops could defeat King Porus yet the battle cost them their energy and their enthusiasm and they couldn’t reach the richer kingdoms of India. This is precisely why Alexander’s headgear didn’t have a golden plume in it. But the birds didn’t know that – do they?

Here’s Alexander the Great on his return journey WITHOUT the Golden Feather from the Golden Bird called India.(Sorry about the color of the web-page – I’d have preferred Golden, but who listens to me…sniff!)

The caricature, cartoon, sketch, portrait, drawing of Alexander the Great - with his conquests as feathers in his head-gear.

Alexander on his way back - wondering what happened in India. A scratchy sketch by the otherwise immaculate caricaturist.

Tradition Dictates that I provide a crisp summary of Alexander’s life, and who am I to question traditions – so, here’s it.

Alexander’s Least Dependable Biography on the Web

Alexander was born the son of Olympias and Philip, in the Summer of 356 BC. By virtue of being born the son of the previous king, he became the king of Macedon when he turned 20. However, Alexander wanted more. This could partially be attributed to his genetic makeup as his mom Olympias was an extremely ambitious lady, and also partially to his tutor Aristotle (wonder why I feel the need to bring Aristotle in? Perhaps because had he not taught Geography to Alexander, he wouldn’t have been able to plan right.)

Let me not dawdle and come straight to the point. Alexander didn’t sit still after he became the king of Macedon. Without further ado, he got his army together, and marched eastwards. He attacked country after country after country, and after annexing many such countries he established an empire that stretched all the way from Macedon and Egypt in the west to the north-western frontier of India (Gandhara) in the east. The fact that the empire didn’t last long after his death, is often not talked about much – so I won’t talk about it either.

Alexander’s Conquests

If you want a list of his conquests, please visit the following links.

Interesting Stuff about Alexander the Great

According to legend, Alexander was a gift from God (to the Macedonian royal family, of course – not to those countless families whose sons died in the wars he waged for 12 long years. Ever wonder why God always appears to favor royalty?)

Oh, I strayed. So why was Alexander considered to be gift from God? Well, mainly because his mom (the cunning Olympias who slept with snakes – Nancy, I hope you read this,) and his dad (who loved to get drunk and was an octa-wiferian) both had funny dreams when he was in his mom’s womb. In a manner of speaking, the rumor-mill of those days spewed rumors that Alexander was conceived through divine intervention. Poor Philip. He did all the hard-work, didn’t he?

Alexander’s mom was a busy lady (she had to bathe and feed the snakes, I presume) and so dear darling baby Alexander was raised by a nurse. As I’ve written in my previous post, when Alex was 10, his dad made a thoughtless remark to his son – and that remark changed the destinies of thousands.

The Most Important Question – Was Alexander the Great gay?

I think we should consider it Alexander’s personal matter and drop it. I mean what difference does it make to us? And do you know why we ask this question? Because poor Alexander had a severe Oedipal complex and he wasn’t all that interested in women. Big deal! I refuse to talk more on this topic, but if you are so keen on finding out whether Alexander was gay or not, please click here.

Another Important Question – Did Alexander ever fall in love?

Perhaps so. With a pretty princess called Roxanne and he also married her. Alexander married only twice. Once for love and then for political reasons.

Alexander and Porus (perhaps Paurush – anglicized to Porus)

Porus is the guy who was instrumental in making Alexander and his troops turn back. According to historical texts, Alexander’s troops were suffering from a loss of morale and they were tired of the apparently endless stream of battles that they had to fight. Yet,  I believe otherwise. I think that Alexander had to turn back because he came up against the fiercest warriors of India – people from the region of Punjab. Porus or Paurush, as I’d like to call him, was the king of Purus, who were the Punjabis of the year 326 BC. This Wikipedia entry (I know that you know better, but I couldn’t find a link to your article on this subject) tells us that the lineage of Purus could have survived as the Puris of today. So if you are a Puri, you can be proud of stopping Alexander’s invasion of India.

In midst of all this, I forgot to tell you that Porus was able to thwart Alexander’s plans just by being himself. He had lost the battle but when Alexander asked him how he’d like to be treated, Porus said, “treat me the way one king treats another.” Now, if nothing else proves that Porus was a Punjabi, that does – doesn’t it? (Ask a Punjabi to find out.)

I must stop now…really – or I’d end up writing a long nonsensical story, which’d be typical of me – your very own crazy caricaturist 🙂

Coming up shortly…Why Alexander couldn’t get that last feather in his cap?

You know this guy – don’t you? No, I am not talking about Alexander Hamilton (His cap didn’t have feathers in it, did it?)

Yes, I AM talking about Alexander the Great!

The man who for some unknown reason decided to go east on an annexing spree until he hit the northern frontier of India. Then he rebounded. I understand others, even the completely loony chaps like Hitler – at least they had motives, but the only motive that I can ascribe to this young man’s battle-lust is what his dad told him. When Alexander was ten, his father Philip said to him, ” “My boy, you must find a kingdom big enough for your ambitions. Macedon is too small for you.” Now if only all the kids in this world listened to their parents, they’d all be Alexanders – won’t they?

The good news that I wanted to share with you is that Alexander is soon coming to your favorite caricaturist’s blog.

If you are wondering whether I am going to take another long trip into the past, please don’t worry. I am not. Unlike those other caricatures that I drew by actually traveling into the past and meeting those great/not-so-great’uns, I based Alexander’s caricature on my memories of  previous life, which I lived in 324 BC, in Babylon – but that’s another story and I’ll tell it some other time 🙂

Until then, let us prepare for Alexander’s invasion…

My blog’s been invaded by Alexander the Great! View Alexander’s caricature (Poor guy!) here.

Caricature/Cartoon – President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan – Give us Less but Write it Down!

Presenting the caricature of President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan.

The caricature, cartoon, sketch, portrait of President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan - the US-Afghan Agreement Draft - Give us less but Write it down.

Copyrighted Image. Don’t use without permission. For licensing the caricature, you are welcome to send me an email.

Here’s his biography – short and concise 🙂

Karzai’s Biography – Childhood and Youth

Hamid Karzai who is the current President of Afghanistan, was born on December 24, 1957. Recently, his unwillingness to let the NATO forces leave (despite their having trained the Afghani security forces well,) has been making news. Why, you might ask. Well, perhaps the answer lies in the fact that the Taliban worry him no end. But let us first talk about Karzai’s childhood and youth. He was born in Kandahar (yes, the Gandhara of the past, but the capital of Afghanistan today.) He comes from an influential political family (as I interpret from his father’s profession, who was the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament when Karzai was a toddler.)

Young Hamid completed his graduation in Kandahar, but believe it or not, he completed his post-graduation from India. However, before you misguide yourself into believing that he found his sweetheart in India, I should tell you that he must’ve been a studious sort of guy. He met Zeenat who he later married, in Pakistan, not in India.

Karzai’s Rise to Power

When US backed the Mujaheddin during the soviet war in Afghanistan, Karzai worked as a contact for CIA. Presumably this was how his political journey began – with the mujaheddin who took power after Najibullah (who was publicly hanged by the Taliban).

Initially, Karzai felt good about the Taliban and thought of them as the saviors of the nation, but he refused to represent them. This possibly angered the Taliban, who killed Karzai’s father. This changed Karzai’s view of the Taliban. He began an anti-Taliban movement and joined the Northern front. The Northern Front along with US Special forces overthrew the Taliban. It was in 2002 that for the first time Karzai came into power. Unfortunately, his sphere of power was limited to Kabul (the media promptly dubbed him the “Mayor of Kabul”).

Ever since Karzai came into power he’s been trying to hold talks with the Taliban (the same Taliban who killed his father and angered him, earlier in the story.)

Controversies that surround Hamid Karzai

Karzai was first elected the President in 2004. Next, when elections were held in 2009, they were mired in controversies and it was insinuated that his opponent’s withdrawal from the election may not have been entirely voluntary.

While Karzai has been trying for a cordial relationship with countries such as Iran, Pakistan, India, and Japan; he’s also been criticized for being too soft on the Taliban.

Karzai’s been into the poppy production controversy (he refused to kill the poppy in the fields.) He’s also been accused of shielding his brother who was “allegedly” involved in drug trade.

Karzai’s Family

His brothers and sisters are settled in the land of opportunity (read: The US.) They are all into the hospitality business. Karzai has only one son (and one wife, who is a Doctor.) He’s got no property to call his own and his bank-balance is really abysmally low. But that’s one of the things that makes him a darling of the masses – because despite all allegations of electoral fraud, he won them fair and square.

The Story behind the Caricature

In 2014, the NATO forces will have completely pulled out of Afghanistan (US being the last to leave). Afghanistan and US are currently in the process of drafting an agreement, which will ensure that in some ways US will continue to help Afghanistan tide over the issues that it would face after the withdrawal of the troops. However, Karzai is perhaps not comfortable with mere promises. He has recently said,

“They are providing us with money, there is no doubt about that. But they say they will not mention the amount in the agreement. We say: give us less, but mention it in the agreement. Give us less, but write it down.”

Dear readers, what’s your opinion?

  1. After having spent 12 years of fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, should the NATO forces leave when the Afghan security forces don’t appear to be in control? (Read about one of the security breaches here.)
  2. Also, is Karzai being a tad over-optimistic when he says that he needs a promise of a couple of Billion Dollars a year, and he’d be able to control the situation?

Caricature/Cartoon – Nelson Mandela – The Phoenix who rose from the ashes and became the President of South Africa!

Here’s the man who despite all odds, remained the Master of his fate and the Captain of his soul, and who rose to become the first African President of a nation plagued with Apartheid. With respect and awe, I present this caricature of Nelson Mandela.

The caricature, cartoon, sketch, portrait of Nelson Mandela, the first African President of South Africa who fought a long battle against Apartheid.

I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.

Nelson Mandela’s Biography by the Quirky Caricaturist

Nelson Mandela was born Rolihlahla Mandela the son of the Tembu Tribe’s Chief, on July 18, 1918. He completed his B.A. and then joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1944.He completed his study of Law, but that was later, perhaps while he was in prison. At ANC, he worked towards the Apartheid policies of the ruling party. He was tried for treason in the latter half of the 1950’s but was acquitted in 1961. However, this didn’t dissuade Nelson Mandela from following his ideals, and he was once again charged with the attempt to overthrow the Government. Following his trial, he was sentenced to life-imprisonment, and he was jailed for 27 years, from 1964 to 1990. In 1990, he was released. It was in 1994 that South Africa held its first multi-racial elections, in which ANC (Mandela’s Party) won and came into power.

Nelson Mandela and Non-violence

Initially Mandela favored the non-violent protests against apartheid, but then he felt that there was a need for an armed rebellion. To this effect, he established and led the armed wing of the ANC, but all their plans were designed to ensure that there was no loss of life (only of property.)

In fact, the US wouldn’t allow Mandela and ANC party members to enter the US as they were designated terrorists in their earlier days.

Mandela’s Role in the Lockerbie Trial

In 1991, Two Libyans were accused of sabotaging a PanAm flight leading to the death of 270 people. US and Britain were facing problems in reaching an agreement with Muammar Gaddafi as to how the trial should be done. Mandela offered that the trial be held in South Africa, and it eventually did.

Mandela’s Marriages

Though Mandela married thrice, his most famous wife is Winnie Mandela, who was a social worker and became his second wife. At the age of 80, he married for the third time. While he has six children from his first two marriages, there are none from the third. (Okay…I understand.)

Awards/Honors

Perhaps the Nobel Peace Prize that Mandela won in 1993 tops his long list of honors, but among other awards, he’s also received the Bharat Ratna award from Government of India. Bharat Ratna translates to “The Gem of India” and it makes me wonder – but then he also received Nishan-e-Pakistan “Symbol of Pakistan?” award! See, there are things on which India and Pakistan agree:)

Invictus – The Movie

I have to tell you about the movie Invictus in which Morgan Freeman has played the part of Nelson Mandela. It’s a beautiful movie that focuses on the South African Rugby team and Mandela’s inspirational politics. The movie draws its name from a poem by William Ernest Henley, which has the same title. The word “Invictus” means “someone who cannot be defeated.”

According to Mandela, this is the poem that helped him stay strong those 27 years when he was in jail.

Invictus – The Poem

Here’s the poem that inspired Mandela during his incarceration:

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

– William Ernest Henley

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This post has ended. Stop Reading Now!
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The Caricaturist turns Philosophical – Ouch!

Though the caricaturist seldom turns philosophical on this blog, she has to say this.

We live in a world of thoughts that we build in our mind. When we look around us, we look through windows of the mind, and the panes of these windows reflect our thoughts. If we fill our mind with positive thoughts, the troubles of the real world become simpler to manage; but if we do the opposite and allow negativity to darken our thoughts, no matter how beautiful and easy things might be, we’d end up making a mess of not only our lives but also the lives of those who love us and care for us.

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If you’ve read it…don’t mull over it…if you mull over it…don’t blame me because I had warned you.
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Caricature/Cartoon of Galileo Galilei – The Scientist who was Persecuted for Speaking the Truth.

Does the earth go around the sun or does the sun go around the earth?

You know the answer and I know it – but 500 years ago, neither of us would’ve known it, and even if we did, we wouldn’t have the nerve to say it; and if at all we had the conviction and the nerve, we would be Galileo Galilei!

The caricaturist humbly presents the caricature of one of the most important men in astronomy and science.

The Caricture, Sketch, or Portrait of Galileo Galilie, the Genius who invented the telescope, discovered the moons of Jupiter and other planets, got on the wrong side of the Church for speaking the truth about the Earth revolving around the Sun...and so on.

Galileo in Heaven: So, where are those who had imprisoned me? Never mind - I'm just glad they aren't here!

So who was this man? And what did he do to go down in history as the man who defied the authority of the Roman Catholic Church?

Here’s Galileo’s tiniest biography on the web.

Biography of Galileo Galilei

Galileo was born in Pisa on February 15, 1564. His dad was a musician who decided that his son Galileo must become a Doctor (possibly as Doctors are never out of work, the way musicians are – and because even then they earned rather well.) As it happens with most sons, Galileo didn’t want to a Doctor, so despite his dad sending him to the University of Pisa to study medicine, he became a Professor of Mathematics.

Galileo’s first important invention was the telescope, which made faraway objects appear closer…and Galileo got hooked into using it to spy on the moon. To the chagrin of lovers world-wide, Galileo discovered and made it known that the surface of the moon was pimply, wrinkly, and not at all smooth and beautiful – thus, he robbed many romantic relationships of their lunar poetry.

He also discovered a myriad other things, but what literally made his world go round n round, was the discovery that Earth indeed revolved around the Sun. This obviously didn’t go down well with the church who’d been preaching otherwise for hundreds of years. So Galileo was accused of being a heretic (a non-believer in the teachings of the Church,) but Galileo managed to get himself cleared of the charges. Yet, he was barred from stating the truth, because the Church didn’t want to be proved wrong in front of the whole world!

Galileo however became more and more convinced of the fact, and then he published a book “Dialogues concerning the Two Great World Systems” that re-affirmed the Copernican Heliocentric Theory. The Church could take his blatant disregard for their authority anymore and they incarcerated him in his own house. He stayed imprisoned for 9 years, until he died in 1642, at the age of 88.

Galileo’s “Pardon”

In 1992, Galileo was finally “pardoned” by the Roman Catholic Church. Unbelievable but true. After taking away 9 years of a man’s life for their own error, they “pardon” him! I would think that an organization that committed such a mistake should seek a pardon instead. (I really can’t comprehend it – but then I am not the smartest person in this world – there must be some reason why the entire world accepts this…and I bow to the opinion of the majority.)

What else did Galileo do?

Among other things, he discovered that there are other planets that have their personal moons, and that gravity isn’t partial to heavier objects.

I know that this is merely tip of the iceberg of Galileo’s accomplishments, so click here to read more.

Eurozone Debt Crisis – Part 3 of 3 – Caricature/Cartoon of Angela Merkel the Chancellor of Germany.

Updated: September 22, 2013 – Angela Merkel becomes the Chancellor of Germany for her third term.

View Merkel’s color caricature painted for this occasion.

Caricature, Cartoon, illustration of Angela Merkel - winning the 2013 Bundestag elections - Germany.

Click to view Angela Merkel’s Color Caricature

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Read the other two parts of this story at the following links:

Now presenting the fourth most powerful person in the world today – Ms. Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germanywith the ropes that bind her.

Caricature and Cartoon of Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor restrained from acting in the Eurozone crisis - A portrait and a sketch.

Angela Merkel and the Eurozone Crisis

Angela Merkel has been criticized for dragging her feet on the Eurozone Debt Crisis Issue. She’s been asking for the PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain) to curtail their expenditure and take other fiscal measures (that were criticized as draconian by many – as they’d put more pressure on the economies of these already weak economies.) She was also against the issue of the Common Bonds by ECB, perhaps because Germany being the strongest economy in the Eurozone would suffer the most by supporting the ECBs.

Recently, the French President Nicolas Sarkozy managed to convince her (and as Sarkozy and Merkel have been working closely on this issue, the paparazzi is affectionately calling the pair, Merkozy,) that the two have to lead the Euro and the Eurozone out of this crisis.

Angela Merkel’s Shortest Bio on the Web

Angela was born in a pastor’s family in Hamburg, on July 17, 1954. She studied Physics, earned a Ph.D. in Quantum Chemistry, and then worked as a Chemist (wow! And I thought that politics and scientific aptitude could never coexist. I mean how could you be diplomatic yet objective. Imagine a scientist saying “We are deliberating over the boiling point of water and if more than half the parliamentarian say that it’s 50 degrees centigrade, it shall be “constitutional-ized” as 50 degrees.)

In 1990 (after the Berlin Wall fell), she discovered her true calling and she joined the Christian Democratic Union (which is a political party and not a religious one,) and was elected to the Bundestag, thus she became the Minister for Women and Youth (what’s the difference – I mean, between women and youth…oh…oh. I get it. All women are young, but not all youth are women!) Then Helmut Kohl the then Chancellor of Germany lost (Merkel may have had some hand in his defeat, as she criticized Kohl and said that she favored a party sans Kohl,) in the 1998 elections and she became the Sec-Gen of CDU. Though she was made the party leader in 2000, but in the 2002 elections she couldn’t become the chancellor. Eventually, in 2005 she achieved her dream and became the first female chancellor of Germany. However, her popularity grew in the coming years, and in 2009 she was re-elected with an overwhelming majority.

Merkel’s Standpoint on Multiculturalism

In October 2010, Merkel said that the Germans are attached to the Christian concept of mankind and that it defines the Germans. She also said that the immigrants should either integrate with Germany’s culture and values or leave.

Angela Merkel’s Love-Life

(You know that your favorite caricaturist is ridiculously romantic!)

It’s clear to me (it could well be make-believe too – because I can hardly see anything that’s more than a few feet away from me,) that Angela Merkel’s first love is Germany. Next in line, asking for her love and finding it perhaps is the crystal clear logic of science. It’s only after having talked about these two loves that one must speak of her first husband Ulrich Merkel or her second husband Professor Joachim Sauer, who is a quantum chemist and if we are to believe the web-rumor-mill, who may get a Nobel prize for his work. Merkel’s got no children.

(I see about 90% of the women of this world screeching, “whaaat? no kids? what’s wrong with her? That poor mite. She’s not experienced the greatest of all joys that a woman can ever experience…” And I also see Merkel shaking her head in disbelief and saying – “Hey, I’ve known a few other joys – for instance, the joy of success, the joy of knowledge, the joy of power…” but then, even she’d lose her chancellor-ship in the next elections, if she dared to voice such an opinion – but then this entire thing that I’ve written here is fiction – isn’t it?)

Some Special Merkel-Bytes:

  • She was in “The World’s 100 Most Powerful women” in 2006, 7, 8, 9, and 11!
  • Believe it or not, she was even given the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for the year by the Indian Government.
  • She’s been called the Iron Lady, Iron Girl, Iron Frau…and has been compared to Margaret Thatcher.
  • She was personally present at the M100 Media Award handover to Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, the cartoonist who was criticized for making a cartoon that inflamed the Islamist sensibilities. She’s been praised for this brave move to support freedom of speech.
  • However, Merkel has also supported the introduction of islamic education in classroom.

Read the other two parts of this story at the following links:

Eurozone Debt Crisis – Part 2 of 3 – Caricature/Cartoon of Nicolas Sarkozy as Caesar

If you are an artist who is not a political cartoonist, chances are that you’d welcome a primer on the Eurozone Crisis. Your loving, caring, and ever-so-considerate caricaturist has cobbled up a story to help you understand the essence of this euro-excitement that refuses to settle down.

Read the other two parts of this story at the following links:

And now…

Presenting Nicolas Sarkozy as the temporary Caesar of Europe (or more accurately of the European Union). It was a dream of many great leaders including Charles de Gaulle, Napoleon Bonaparte – and most of all Caesar. They all wanted to unite the entire Europe. Almost all his life Caesar waged war against other countries and once, even against Rome, to achieve his purpose.

For President Sarkozy, this honor came almost automatically, when the German Chancellor Angela Merkel refused to budge from her stance of not making any concessions for those Euro zone countries who had allowed themselves to sink. Unfortunately everything including the fate of the Euro still remains shaky, and the Union still has huge cracks in it, which may allow any of every deal to fall through it. Alas!

A Cartoon on the Eurozone Crisis - The Caricature, or Portrait of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who managed to charm Angela Merkel into making a decision that could help sustain Euro.

Well…that’s that.

What are you looking for?

Oh. You are looking for the Shortest Bio of Nicolas Sarkozy and Caesar on the Web – right?
(Don’t read this – here I berate myself for becoming so predictable…you are still reading…I can see you reading. Okay, as you aren’t stopping, I’ll have to take my fight with myself elsewhere.)

But here are their biographies and also their caricatures…before I decided to roll them into one.

Read the other two parts of this story at the following links:

Caricature/Cartoon of a Musician – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart!

Mozart, they say, was a musical prodigy. Even before he was five, he could play the keyboard and the violin, and he performed in front of the Royalty. Obviously such performances today will lead to protests by various organizations that safeguard the interest of children…so it was good that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in 1756 and not in 2006. With that little detail out of my way…
I present the caricature of the wigged musical genius, Mozart.

A Caricatured Portrait or a Cartoon sketch of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - The 18th Century Musician and Composer who was a child prodigy.

Mozart’s Biographical Sketch by the Caricaturist (Obviously exaggerated):

Mozart was born on a cold wintry morning in the January of 1756, in a place called Salzburg. Mozart was born with the musical gene riding his y chromosome, which he got from his dad. Incidentally his dad also had the right connections (he himself was in the court orchestra,) and a teacher of music. With the right genes, the right guidance, and the right push, it wasn’t long before Mozart and his sister made their first court appearance as child-prodigies.

It wasn’t that Mozart’s childhood was a bed of roses. I can imagine a three-year old being tutored by his dad, and a six-year-old being made to perform in front of the royalty – it sends a shiver down my spine! I am glad I wasn’t his sister, who went through a similar ordeal.

In 1773, when Mozart was 17, he got the job of the court musician at Salzburg. Unfortunately, job-satisfaction evaded him. He also thought that he wasn’t paid well. Obviously then, he did what anyone would do in his position, he floated his resume in the market. In 1777, Mozart had enough of Salzburg. He resigned and moved to Paris. Unfortunately, nothing worked out for him and he fell into debt. His dad however was one of the sweetest dads ever (quite like the Bollywood Star Amitabh Bachhan, who did everything to establish his son in Bollywood,) and he found a job for his son,…once again in Salzburg – the place Mozart didn’t want to come back to. But he did – and then gradually the wheel of fortune began to turn for him.

Mozart’s Love Life:

  1. Mozart’s first love was a singer called Aloysia, who lost interest in him while he was struggling all over Europe. (Women – bah!)
  2. After Mozart had established himself in Vienna (1781), he took up accommodation with a certain Weber family. One thing led to another and it wasn’t long before Mozart and Constanze (one of the daughters of the Weber family) became an item.

As it happens with most artists, Mozart too suffered a lot many ups and downs in his career.

Other Stuff about Mozart:

  • There’ve been rumors that Mozart suffered from Tourette Syndrome.
  • Mozart loved to play practical jokes on people. As Mozart preferred off-color humor (called scatological humor – be careful while clicking the link…it’s got some off-color stuff), people who were the butt of his jokes weren’t too pleased with him.
  • He also played Billiards and kept pets.
  • Mozart did become a Freemason sometime in the 1780s.
  • Mozart loved to dress-up (check out the frill in front of his coat, and that neat little bow on his wig.)

If you are the musical kind, you may want to check out Mozart’s Music here 🙂