Caricature/Cartoon – Melania Trump – USA’s new First Lady.

BREAKING NEWS!

Melania Trump, the new First Lady of the USA, visits the caricaturist’s blog!

Caricature, Cartoon of First Lady Melania Trump on the map of the USA.

Slovenian Beauty Captures the American White House.

The Micro-bio of Melania Trump:

Born Melanija Knavs, the current First Lady of the US received her Green Card in 2001, and became an American Citizen in 2006. Previously, she worked as a model, a profession that she had joined at the age of five. She speaks six languages, loves powder-blue (in the caricaturist’s opinion,) and she applied for a US Green Card as a Model of “Extraordinary Ability.” (Information excavated from Wikipedia and must be consumed by the reader at her own risk.) She got married to Donald Trump in 2005. Soon after their wedding, in 2006, she gave birth to little Barron William Trump – the cute kid who wore a suit and sat through Donald Trump’s oath-taking ceremony with patience and panache.

About this Caricature:

Ah, well. 
Other than the fact that Melania Trump has an extremely caricaturable face, what inspired me to find my way back to my tablet and paint this caricature, was another caricature of the lady.
If you’ve read my book “Evolution of a Caricaturist – How to Draw Caricatures” or you’ve read my past posts, you would know that I am a caricaturist who balances exaggeration with funny/cute. I am also someone who believes that a woman’s vanity must never be attacked, even through a caricature – and so as far as I can, I try to keep a woman’s caricature in the realm of cute. Any exaggeration that yields an ugly picture, isn’t for me – and I follow this philosophy regardless of my personal preferences/prejudices.

It so happened that this fabulous caricaturist painted a rather unflattering caricature of Melania Trump. Note that “unflattering” here, is a euphemism. The caricature made me sad. Features that had no business being exaggerated were pushed and pulled with impunity – it made me think that the caricaturist disliked the subject immensely.

So I thought that I should draw a caricature with an element of funny/cute in it, without, of course, killing the likeness – and so I did this.

About Melania’s Features – Note for the Caricaturists.

If you are a caricaturist, you may be interested in understanding Melania’s face, especially her eyes. Her eyes are different from most other eyes, in that they slant upwards on the outside corners, and they are rather small. In fact, tiny. When she smiles the slant increases. She’s got a sharp nose and a mouth with thin lips. Yes, I mean really thin lips. She uses a lipliner outside her natural lip line and fills up her lips. But the point to note here is that her upper lip is slightly heavier than her lower lip. A characteristic feature of her face is the way her cheeks are structured. Note the two vertical crescents that shine upon her cheeks. Then of course, you have her hair. My exaggeration of her features is slight and I’ve used the relativity of her features to caricature her face. For instance, I pulled her nose some, stretching her cheeks, so that her small eyes, automatically looked smaller. The upper lip became thicker, and the lower, thinner. I exaggerated the strands of her hair – but most of all, I used the big-head small body trick to get the toony look right.

Note the size of the buttons, the hoops of her earrings, and the swirl of her jacket – and of course, the confident stance. Becoming the First Lady of the US is no mean feat. She is winning, and the caricature shows it!

 

 

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

How my Smart Avatar saved its Job.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I looked into the eyes of my avatar.

shafali-avatar-120-sharp

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

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

Caricature, Portrait, Cartoon Avatar - Shafali the Caricaturist.

 

The book “How to Draw Caricatures – Evolution of a Caricaturist”…

This book could be a starting point or a mid-journey reflection point for an artist who is inclined to do caricatures. I am grateful to everyone who left their reviews for the book. As I mentioned in my earlier posts, I completed my work when I finished writing the book and made it available on Amazon. I am first an artist, then a writer, and finally a learning-facilitator; I am not a marketer and I don’t know the first thing about “getting” people to write reviews, so I am really glad that some readers of Evolution posted their thoughts on the book.

The book “How to Draw Caricatures – Evolution of a Caricaturist” is available on Amazon, and regardless of the device you own, you can download the eBook and read it. I hope you find it interesting as well as useful 🙂

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

Click the book icon to reach the Book-details page on Amazon.

 

And here’s your tool-kit to experiment with the art of caricature-creation, without drawing 🙂 Click the icon to download Toonsie Roll – a free photo-to-caricature app on your iPhone or iPad.

Icon Toonsie Roll - Caricature App for iPhone and iPad - create funny caricatures of everyone - Toon 'em all!

Click to download Toonsie Roll into your iPad or iPhone.

 

Now off on a short trip to Pluto, the planet of artists.

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 🙂

 

Toonsie Roll – The Intuitive Caricature Maker App for Everyone’s iPhone and iPad…

is now on the App Store. Download it at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/toonsie-roll-make-caricatures/id921958679?ls=1&mt=8

Icon Toonsie Roll - Caricature App for iPhone and iPad - create funny caricatures of everyone - Toon 'em all!

Toonsie Roll – Toon ’em All!

Now you can caricature everyone in a nice, easy, and fun way! All the caricatures that you see in the following image have been created from scratch to finish in Toonsie Roll…just using observation, intuition, and tapping! If you like the app, leave a rating…and tell me if you’d like a FB page for Toonsie Roll to share your creations.

Caricature-making App Toonsie Roll for iPhone, iPad - for everyone.

 

And to discover how easy it is to caricature using Toonsie Roll, check out my previous post “How to Create Cool Caricatures using the Toonsie Roll App.”

Now I should get back to sculpting some caricatures in a mountain…more on Toonsie Roll later.

 

How to Create Cool Caricatures Using the Toonsie Roll Caricature App.

UPDATE:

Toonsie Roll is available on the App Store as a FREE download 

It’s almost here! Toonsie Roll debuts on the App Store this Saturday…on November 22, 2014! So when you wake up this Saturday, checkout the App Store and download the smartest Caricaturing App (I’ve worked really hard to make this app as intuitive as possible, so please forgive the vanity ☺)

Toonsie Roll - Caricature App for iPhone and iPad - create funny caricatures of everyone - Toon 'em all!

Toonsie Roll – Toon ’em All!

 

If you think you might forget, and you’d like to put me to the task of reminding you, please use the contact form on this page, and I’ll send you an email with the App Store download URL.

Without mincing any words, Toonsie Roll is an app that helps you intuitively create cool caricatures from photographs!

For the experimental reader of my blog, here’s the process in a nutshell.

Just get a picture in Toonsie Roll (shoot from your camera or import from your Albums,) crop it to center the face (give the face about 1/3 to 2/3 space in the picture,) and hit “Toonify.” Toonsie Roll Toonifies the picture and presents you with 3 toonified options. You’ll intuitively know which one’s the best. If you like one – tap that toon; if you don’t, then tap the “More” button to get more options. When you tap a toon, Toonsie Roll takes it as the picture that you now want to toonify further, and then presents three more options based on the selected toon. This is how you continue – until of course, you are done with tooning, and you finalize the image to “Artify.”

And now, for my details-oriented audience, here is the process – Step by Step, screen-by-screen!

Download Toonsie Roll to you iPhone or iPad and tap the icon to open it. (Don’t rap me on the knuckles for being cheeky. You wanted it step by step!)

You get the following Opening Screen.

Toonsie Roll - A Free Caricature Maker App for iPhone and iPad that lets you create expressive caricatures by observing and tapping.

 

Just tap anywhere to load the “Get a Picture” screen, shown below.

You can get a picture into Toonsie Roll by either importing from “Photos” or by shooting one then and there, using your device camera. (The second option is pretty useful when someone in your group is being a real nutcase.)

Toonsie Roll - A Free Caricature Maker App for iPhone and iPad that lets you create expressive caricatures by observing and tapping.

Now move and adjust that red-rectangle on the image to select the face. It’s a good idea to keep the face centered (you get interesting results by being off-center, but when you are starting, it’s a good idea to stayed centered.) Also, let the face occupy about one-third to two-third of the final cropped image area.

When you are satisfied, hit the Toonify button to arrive on the “Toonify” screen, which is shown below.

 

Toonsie Roll - A Free Caricature Maker App for iPhone and iPad that lets you create expressive caricatures by observing and tapping.

 

This is the screen where you get to play around with different possibilities. The original image is at the top-left corner (Selected Picture). The other three are the Toons that Toonsie Roll has generated. If you aren’t satisfied with any of them, tap the “More” button. If you like any of the three toons then select the one that’s closest in likeness to the original subject, and one which you’d like to caricature some more by tapping the face in the toon. You’ll see that the tapped toon moves to the top-left and replaces the original and now becomes the Selected Picture. Now this picture becomes the image to be toonified further.

As all of us have been blessed with the intuitive ability to determine likeness (whether the caricature looks like it belongs to the subject) and funniness (whether the caricature/joke/situation looks funny or not,) just by tapping, selecting, and tooning, we can create cool looking caricatures.

When you are satisfied with one of the toons, tap the green tick on that toon to finalize it. When you hit the tick mark, you get the chance to crop the image once again (if you’d like to) and then you arrive at the following “Artify” screen where you can enhance your artwork with 20 artistic effects.

Toonsie Roll - A Free Caricature Maker App for iPhone and iPad that lets you create expressive caricatures by observing and tapping.

I’ll be posting a separate tutorial on how these effects can be used individually or one-after-the-other to create interesting artistic effects. At this point, my recommendation is, “play with the effects.”

When you are done…tap the “Personalize & Share” button at the bottom of the “Artify” screen, to arrive at the following “Personalize & Share” screen.
On this screen you are presented with a photo of your toon.

Toonsie Roll - A Free Caricature Maker App for iPhone and iPad that lets you create expressive caricatures by observing and tapping.

On this screen you see three ways to personalize your creation.
Sign your creation (Actually write/draw your unique signature – all great artists sign their work.)
Add an emoji (from a cool collection of 75 emojis.)
Add a witty caption to your artwork (In the above screen, “You know you are famous when the Internet explodes with your caricatures,” is the caption added by the artist.)

Once you are done with personalizing the artwork, tap the “Share Your Creation,” button and share your artwork on a social network – Facebook/Twitter etc. of your choice, save it to your iPad/iPhone, or email it 🙂

So the countdown has begun…and we are all set to become Toonsie Rollers on November 22 🙂

UPDATE: Toonsie Roll is now available for download on the App Store

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Note for Caricaturists/Illustrators:

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

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

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

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

 

Wedding of an Apple, How to Become a Caricaturist, and a Cute Guy with a Spherical Nose.

The caricaturist was away.

No. I hadn’t been whisked away to Atlantis.

This was different. I was away attending the marriage of an apple. Some of you would know that I shun company. Artists do that. They are a terribly moody lot who oscillate between being gaudily gregarious and deafeningly silent. You can usually find me hanging precariously from the cliff at the right-end of this continuum, and so it knocked the breath out of me when I realized that I was attending a wedding!

Here’s a picture of the bride in her wedding gown.

apple-bride-in-wedding-gown

When I returned from the wedding and checked my blog’s stats, I saw an odd search string (and not “hacked nudes”, which I must mention is still a far milder search string than some of the others that bring visitors to these shores.)

This odd search string read, “how to become a caricaturist.”

The quick and dirty answer to this question is, “learn how to draw caricatures,” but then my work on the apple-bride above cannot really motivate anyone to learn how to draw caricatures, let alone inspire them to become caricaturists.

So for those who are wondering why they must get Evolution of a Caricaturist, I must tell you that I didn’t spend all my away-from-the-blog time attending the apple’s wedding, I spent a substantial part of it working on Bill Clinton’s Caricatures (yep, two of them) for a cool magazine…and speaking of caricatures, I think I simply love these caricatures…and I love them more because of Bill Clinton’s cute spherical nose (any guesses why?)

More later. Meanwhile, leave your good wishes for the apple-bride in the comments below.

Mike Ross and Asa Hutchinson Joust on the Pages of Talk Business & Politics (Arkansas Gubernatorial Elections)

Recently I had the opportunity to illustrate a medieval jousting match between Mike Ross and Asa Hutchinson in Present Day Arkansas. As you can see this is a fairly detailed scene that has three important points of interests. 1. Knight Ross on his horse, 2. Knight Hutchinson on his horse, and 3. The Capitol Hill Building in the background. However, it was the crowd in the background (yep, I know, you never noticed it,) that made me lose my sleep. I had once read Tom Richmond’s article on painting crowds, and I had since been wondering if I too would ever be asked to paint a crowd. Friends, with this artwork, I can now proudly claim to have worked on a crowd scene.

Here’s the artwork that I did for Talk Business & Politics, Arkansas:

Political caricatures cartoons illustrations - Mike Ross and Asa Hutchinson as Jousting knights - Governor's Election Arkansas - Illustrated for Talk Business and Politics Magazine.

Click to view larger image.

Arkansas’ Gubernatorial Elections, in which Democrat Mike Ross fights Republican Asa Hutchinson, are scheduled for November 4th, 2014.

The experience of illustrating this scene oscillated between being challenging and entertaining. When the Art Director first explained the idea to me…honestly, it sounded slightly intimidating. The gubernatorial candidates in armor riding their horses, carrying lances, charging at each other, with a crowd watching the joust, and the Capitol Hill Building in the background. Sure! No Problem. Except that there was no reference images of these two guys looking angry/charged up…anywhere on the web. Always with honey on their lips, always with a twinkle in their eyes – they are the sweetest two guys you can find anywhere on the planet! Next, their jousting gear! Guess what – Knights wear helmets that cover their faces. Here the whole idea was to create the caricatures of Ross and Hutchinson – and if I had stayed true to the actual helmets that knights wore, then short of labeling them, I’d have to no way to tell who was who.

But then, I had my own knight in the shining armor, known elsewhere as the Art Director, who did a quick composition of the scene and sent it across. That was super-sweet of him and the composition really charged me up. I am rather good at putting expressions on people’s faces…so I got down to work and sent the facial sketches over to the client…and of course, some little ideas of mine (the helmets, the feathers, the laughing horses, and those banners that are being held up by the crowd.) I also did a full-sketch, which got approved and I was set to go.

When I started painting, considerations of light and the amount of details cropped up. I also had to decide about the right amount of shine on the armor. (If you stood in the crowd, you’d be pulling out your RayBans.) I played around with the idea of giving them an armor that didn’t shine so much (more like the fantasy art thing I used to do many years ago) but then I thought that for this battle, they’d sit up the whole night burnishing it…won’t they?

I also took these passport-sized closeups of the two knights – just in case some of you are interested in a closer view.

Caricature, Cartoon of Democrat Knight Mike Ross for Arkansas Governor Elections November 4 2014,  for Talk Business and Politics Magazine - Illustration of the Jousting match - Details of the face.

Mike Ross (Democrat)

 

Caricature Cartoon of republican knight Asa Hutchinson - Jousting match for Arkansas Governor Elections 2014 - Illustration for Talk Business and Politics Arkansas.

Asa Hutchinson (Republican)

I wish the these two gentlemen the very best for November 4th, 2014.

How to Draw Caricatures?

On a different note, I’ve been receiving queries from artists and art-students on how to draw caricatures. Some of you have inquired if I conduct any online/on-ground classes for caricature art. My answer, while not totally affirmative, could result in a more inexpensive and quite effective learning possibility for you.

In the beginning of this year, I had written a book that could actually help you create excellent caricatures. The book assumes that you like drawing and now want to learn the fine art of caricaturing faces.

Check it out on Amazon.

Evolution of a Caricaturist - How to Draw Caricatures by Shafali Anand.

 

I hope it helps 🙂

Important Note for Hobbyists who wants to create terrific caricatures without drawing:

In a few days, I’ll be announcing an iOS app that I’ve helped develop, and which when used to apply the principles given in the book can help hobbyists create very interesting caricatures.

If you have an iPhone or an iPad and are interested in hearing about it, use the contact form and send me a message with the subject “Tell me about the Caricaturing App,” and I will send you a message when the app goes live for downloading.

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

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

Caricatures in the Offing!

Blogging Plans for the Next Two Months:

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

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

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

 

Caricature/Portrait of Selena Gomez – The Poster: Come and Get it while the Stars Dance.

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

Selena Gomez’s Caricature:

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

Actual Size: 12 inches by 18 inches.

 

5 Steps to Painting Caricatures and Portraits:

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

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

Simply speaking…

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

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

Selena’s Caricature – A Recap of the Process:

Here are three important stages of Selena’s Caricature.

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

The Sketch:

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

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

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

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

The Intermediate:

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

The Final:

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

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

Here’s a closeup of the eyes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Random Bits:

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

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

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

The Making of Serena Williams’ Caricature – A Recap.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Here are the details of her face:

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

Face Details: Caricature – Serena Williams.

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

Serena Williams – A Short and Quick Biographical Sketch:

On the Personal Front:

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

On the Professional Front:

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

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

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

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

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

Click to View the Book on Amazon.

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Why Malcolm Gladwell?

An apt question.

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

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

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

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

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

Malcolm Gladwell’s Shortest Biography on the Web:

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

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

Malcolm Gladwell’s Books:

Gladwell’s written 5 books. They are:

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

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

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

 

The Feature Frame Method of Drawing Caricatures – and the Evolution of a Caricaturist.

How to Draw Caricatures

(An Artist’s Eternal Quest for a Technique that always works!)

 

Or “almost” always works…
Because the experimental landscape of an artist’s curious mind forces an artist to change and evolve, defying the use of scientific methods and reducing the chances of a boolean result.

The Feature Frame Method © that you learn in Evolution of a Caricaturist – How to Draw Caricatures is a scientific method that provides a framework that a caricaturist can use to create caricatures that exhibit relevant-exaggeration and likeness.

Usually I don’t talk about the book. This is mainly because I think that a book should do well or not do well on its own merit. I had been thinking of making a post about how cool the book is – it appears that everyone who writes a book does – but somehow I couldn’t. I’ve always thought of Learning and Medicine as two professions that should rise on their own merit. This is precisely why I didn’t buy my book and send (“gift”) it to sundry reviewers who have no love for caricature-drawing.

Oddly, despite my own non-promotional, finicky attitude, the book’s sales have been picking up steadily. The only reason that I can attribute to it is a kind word-of-mouth.

Oddly again, the stereotypical artist’s aversion to writing has ensured that there aren’t any reviews. It’s fine. I know what being an artist feels like and I know that if reviews were pictures, I’d probably have one from every artist whose device has my book. I am not sure if it would be a cool review, but I am an incorrigible optimist, so I always think that it would be 🙂

Here’s a small effort to enhance the visibility of this book further. If you’ve read my book and found it useful, or if you’d like to help this book reach more artists/hobbyists who would like to learn how to draw caricatures, do share it.

Book to learn how to draw Caricatures - Evolution of a Caricaturist by Shafali - available on Amazon.

“Evolution of a Caricaturist” – A book for artists and hobbyists for learning how to draw caricatures.

As an artist and as the author of this book, I think that if you are an artist/hobbyist who wants to learn how caricatures can be drawn with confidence, this book is for you. “Evolution of a Caricaturist” is not about painting, nor about sketching. It’s about how you can look at a face and create a caricature of it – using any medium that you prefer. So if people tell you that you draw beautifully, but they aren’t able to recognize the person in your caricature (who they know through real/reel life, of course,) then I’d recommend that you click the following link/image and check out “Evolution of a Caricaturist – How to Draw Caricaturist.”

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

Available as an eBook for your hand-helds and desktops. Click the above image to View on Amazon.

If you don’t want to head for Amazon straightaway, first download the preview of “Evolution of a Caricaturist” at ISSUU and then decide. And if you like it – with permission of the artist who dwells within you, please leave a review too 🙂

Coming up soon is a post with my newest Magazine Cover. It’s already on my Facebook page, do check out if you are interested.

Soon, then.

 

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

Folks,

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

Let me start by presenting the artwork.

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

Cover Art – The American Spectator – April 2014 Issue

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

Now the story behind the creation 🙂

Drawing and Painting President Obama’s Caricature

The Assignment Brief

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

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

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

Balancing the Colors

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

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

The Head/Body Ratio

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

Face-Details/Closeup

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

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

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

A Few things to note:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Caricature/Cartoon – Jay Leno of The Tonight Show on NBC Retires.

Believe it or not, until the time of creating this caricature, I was completely oblivious of the fact that much before Jay Leno‘s magnificent chin was seen and admired on The Tonight Show, it was seen in Hollywood movies. Recently, a friend spoke about his impending retirement and I thought that I must caricature him, chin and all, to bid him farewell. It was then that in order to present you with his power-packed nano-biography that I went web-scavenging for information and came back leno-wiser.

Here’s Jay Leno, as seen by this caricaturist.

Caricature, Cartoon of Jay Leno - The Tonight Show Host (Portrait, Sketch, Drawing - event: Retirement.)

Handing over…reluctantly?

Jay Leno’s Nano Biography

Here’s his anti-leno-chin biography for my esteemed reader.

He was born in 1950 (April 28, if you want to send him a Birthday card,) in New York. His parents’ parents had immigrated to the US from Scotland (his mom) and Italy (his dad.) His first brush with the stage happened in 1973, when he started a comedy club in his college. However, Leno’s big break came with his appearance on The Tonight Show that at the time was hosted by Johnny Carson (started 1962 – ended 1992). What I didn’t know and many non-American readers may not know, is that Jay Leno worked in some movies too. However, most of Leno’s earnings come from his Standup comedy shows, especially in Vegas.

About The Tonight Show

1987 onwards, Jay Leno started stepping into the shoes of Carson and then five long years later, he replaced him. Many expected the honor to go to David Letterman. It’s widely speculated that this didn’t happen by chance, and a journalist Mr. Carter wrote a book “The Late Shift” (which eventually became a movie,) on this specific incident. If you go by the plot of the novel/movie, Leno’s success should be attributed to her manager Helen Kushnick.

About The Jay Leno Show

For a very long time, things were hunky-dory but then about four years ago Leno’s contract with NBC ended  and another gentleman Conan O’Brien took over The Tonight Show show from him. Leno remained with NBC and started a new show called The Jay Leno show. However, unlike what happened with Two-and-a-Half Men, where Charlie Sheen’s departure and Ashton Kutcher’s arrival worked well for the show, both The Tonight Show and The Jay Leno Show didn’t do well. In a year, Leno was back on the show and O’Brien was given a huge payout ($33 Million, which some say is Leno’s yearly package) to leave the Tonight Show. This however, didn’t help The Tonight Show re-attain its previous glory.

About Jay Leno’s Retirement

Leno’s retirement is imminent and he will be replaced by Jimmy Fallon, yet everyone doesn’t believe that the transition would be smooth.

Read more about Jay Leno’s retirement here.

Interesting Facts about Jay Leno

  • Jay Leno’s got a massive chin, which is known as the Habsburg Jaw as it was first seen as a recurring theme in the portraits of the Habsburg royal family. The Habsburg jaw was considered common in the European royal families. You can read more about it here.
  • Leno was never a good student. His best grades were a “C”.
  • Leno does 1 standup comedy act every two days (in addition to The Tonight Show.)
  • Leno’s pictures suggest that he is left-handed. He doesn’t drink or smoke.
  • He has 190 (!) vehicles!
  • Leno is married and the couple has decided not to have children. (Other notable celebrities who’ve decided not to have kids are: George Clooney, Cameron Diaz, and others. Check out this link.

Art Note for Artists/Readers of Evolution of a Caricaturist:

Notice the following in Jay Leno’s caricature above.

Jay Leno’s chin juts out and drops down. It isn’t just a long and heavy chin that dips down vertically, it’s a chin that projects out (quite like the slide on which children play,) and unlike most other long chins, the elongation starts at his lower lip. He has a good head of hair and his hair falls over his forehead. I was looking for a shape in his face, and the shape that I found did justice to his profile, was of a crescent moon. Note that I have exaggerated nothing else. If you refer to the book, you’ll see that I’ve applied the rule of exaggerating only those features that are characteristic (the hair and the chin) and that deviate from the standard. Here’s a FREE pdf outlining what “Evolution of a Caricaturist – How to Draw Caricatures” contains.

Caricature/Cartoon – Liam Neeson – The Profile of a Superb Actor.

Liam Neeson has a striking face with the most hypnotic deep-set eyes I’ve ever seen. I think his eyes must have hypnotized me into drawing this caricature.

Caricature, Cartoon, Portrait, Profile of Liam Neeson of Schindler's List, The Grey, The Unknown, and Taken.

For the very few who do not recognize this fabulous actor, here’s a quick biographical sketch.

About Liam Neeson:

Neeson is an Irish actor who was born in Ireland (in 1952) and who finally made his way across the Atlantic and the vast expanse of the North American continent to arrive in Hollywood 35 years later. He almost won the Best Actor Oscar for his role of Oskar Schindler in Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List (Tom Hanks wrested it from him for his role in Philadelphia…another awesome movie with an absolutely riveting performance by Hanks.)

Known for his gripping performances in movies such as Schindler’s List, Kinsey, and Taken, Neeson caught this caricaturist’s eye in his role of John Ottway in The Grey, and then more recently in Kingdom of Heaven (he isn’t the main protagonist in this movie – Orlando Bloom is; yet he plays an important role.)

Learning from this Caricature…

Why the Profile?

One of the reasons, of course, is that he is most recognizable in his profile. His eyes are deep-set but to realize how much, you need to look at his profile. The root of his nose doesn’t connect with the forehead in the usual depression seen in most other faces, and this deviation is a lot more pronounced in his face because he has a very strong brow ridge. All in all, he has a very unique face and its important deviations are more pronounced in the profile. (I’ve discussed the selection of the important deviations in “Evolution of a Caricaturist.” If you have the book, check out the chapters “Caricaturing the Brow and the Brow-ridge” and “Caricaturing the Nose.”)

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Caricature/Cartoon – Arvind Kejriwal as Saaf Aadmi

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Please join me in welcoming Arvind Kejriwal’s caricature to this blog. Most of you aren’t Indians, so you may not recognize this gentleman. However, I’ll try my best to introduce him to you, so read on 🙂

However, if you are an Indian or an Indo-phile, you will instantaneously recognize this broom-bearing simpleton as the recently Shot-into-Fame Wizard of Delhi’s politics.

Here’s my visualization of Arvind Kejriwal, the new Chief Minister of Delhi.

Caricature, Cartoon, Drawing, Sketch of Arvind Kejriwal of Aam Aadmi Party - AAP as Saaf Aadmi

Will he? Won’t he?

Note for the International/Devnagri-challenged Audience: His cap states “Main Hoon Saaf Aadmi” or “I am a clean man.”

Arvind Kejriwal’s Shortest Bio on the Web…is here.

Arvind was born in 1968 (and so he’s fairly young to have become a Chief Minister, especially as his dad isn’t a politician,) studied Engineering at IIT-KGP (he was a smart kid – I couldn’t crack the IIT-JEE…so definitely smarter than me,) and then funnily, instead of taking the most common IITian-shortcut to success namely MS in the US, he stayed back and worked for TISCO. Later he joined the IT department and worked there for a while. But then he decided to call it quits and became an RTI (Right to Information) activist.

As this blog’s tradition dictates… I must cut to the chase and talk about stuff that matters. So…

One thing led to another, and Kejriwal found himself working closely with Anna Hazare for the Jan Lokpal Bill. This brought him into limelight (more than the Magsaysay award that he had won in 2006 – because then I hadn’t heard of him…so much for awards.)

He and his team fell out with Anna Hazare when he decided that in order to fight  corruption they will have to enter the political arena. Kejriwal thought that to weed out the corruption in the governmental machinery, they would themselves have to enter the system. Anna Hazare’s opinion was that if they entered politics they too would become dirty.  This resulted in a rift between Hazare and Kejriwal, and they decided to part ways.  Kejriwal and his team formed the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) with the agenda to clean up the System, and weed out corruption.  

The Delhi Elections resulted in Kejriwal becoming the Chief Minister of Delhi.  Now Kejriwal and his rickety team put together with a band-aid supplied by the Congress Party, is trying to fulfill their 17 promises to the people of Delhi, and his infant party is also preparing to fight the Parliamentary elections this year.

About this Caricature of Arvind Kejriwal

Kejriwal and his team have a Herculean task ahead because what is corruption to one man is a perfectly honest way of living for another. He has fought white vs. black election for the gray common man. Some among these are closer to white, most are medium gray, and other are closer to black.

The corruption that Kejri cleans up reappears in the system…somewhere else, in some other form – as another “dharna”, as another defection, or as another compromise by the party. Intentions can take you only so far, then you need strength and the ability to make strong decisions…and beyond all this, you need to be there, consistently, for a long time. Systemic changes don’t happen overnight.

This is why the dustbin has a hole and this is why the mice make merry.

The common man still remain where he is – trying to make ends meet through means that he’s learned to use. Some stay corrupt, others made corrupt, and a few honest men and women continue their struggle, working hard hoping that the dustbin will be plugged in their lifetime.

Note for Artists and Readers of “Evolution of a Caricaturist

In the caricature, I wanted to capture Kejriwal’s smile (he’s got a cute smile) and make him appear hopeful and full of trust. This is why I made his features somewhat neotenous (please refer to our discussion on neoteny in the book.) I chose a triangular shape for his face and head (a larger head is a neotenous feature) and focused on his nose, ear, and mouth as the three most important characteristic features. If you relate the exaggeration of the nose and ear to the Feature Frame Method and the corresponding Anchor Points, you’ll be able to follow the entire exaggeration of his face.

If you are interested in exploring the content of the book, you can download this Free pdf here.

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.