The First Presidential Debate – Hillary Clinton – Donald Trump Face-off!

The first Presidential Debate reminded me of this illustration that I did for the Jan-Feb 2016 issue of the Talk Business & Politics magazine.

Republicans and Democrats vs. the Voter - on occasion of the first presidential debate of the 2016 US elections

About the First Presidential Debate: 9-10:30 EDT on September 26, 2016.

While Donald Trump didn’t lose his cool despite Hillary Clinton’s repeated personal pokes, Hillary Clinton didn’t faint nor cough, as many had expected she would. And yet, neither Clinton’s pasted smile, nor her quick puss-in-the-boots acceptance of guilt upon the question of the deleted emails, appeared credible. On the other hand, Trump could’ve possibly been more people-friendly and less prone to explaining the business logic behind his proposals. His one-liners mightn’t go down well with some voters who would find it curious that declaring bankruptcy or using the laws to save taxes (evasion vs. saving – there’s a difference,) could be sound business logic.

It’ll be interesting to watch these elections and see how America decides. I do hope that the next two debates will be more interesting and bring out the honesty and patriotism of both the candidates. I for one, don’t believe that US should select its President on the basis of their race or gender – they should select a President who is truthful, patriotic, and gutsy, and who believes in building a level-playing field not only for all Americans but for everyone in the world.

Pilgrims arrive in Cuba – Illustration: Governor Hutchinson & Castro Brothers

Following is one of my more recent illustrations for the Talk Business and Politics magazine.
Pilgrims on Mayflower - Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson travels to Cuba to meet Castro Brother for trade. Illustration for the magazine Talk Business and Politics

The Artwork:

On the left page, you see Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, Randy Veach, and Lisenne Rockefeller. The right page has the Castro brothers (Fidel Castro and Raul Castro) in a red car. The left page artwork (which also was the cover-art) is conceptualized around the Pilgrims theme.

The Pilgrims:

In 1620, 132 people sailed from England to America (or the New World.) They arrived on the shores of America in an awkward looking ship called the Mayflower. This ship wasn’t built for long voyages on the open seas, and so the journey from England to the East Coast of America lasted two long months. Upon arriving at Cape Cod, they experienced a climate that was colder than they were used to, so they stayed aboard facing an outbreak of a disease that dwindled their number to 53. The passengers then made huts, settled down, and came to be known as the pilgrims.  Land was sighted on November 9, 1620 and it was then that the first prayer of thanksgiving was offered.

The connection:

The brief was that the Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and two other dignitaries who traveled to Cuba with trade-plans must be shown as the pilgrims approaching the Cubans in a ship (Mayflower.)

The Castro Brothers:

Fidel and Raul Castro have ruled Cuba for more than 50 years. The brothers are often seen together in public.

US-Cuba Relations:

More than 50 years ago, Cuba was placed under sanctions by US. The sanctions that were the outcome of a tussle on oil were imposed in the Kennedy era, and are still in existence. A few years ago, relations between the two countries began to thaw, with both President Obama and Raul Castro “apparently” being on the same page of the embargo story.

And yet, Cuba isn’t really opening its heart for trade with the United States, because despite the green-flag that the United States has been waving on the business front, the embargo is still on – and they would remain until Cuba demonstrates democracy. In general human rights in cuba have been a serious concern for the world-community. According to the US Government, between 1959 and 1993, 1.2 Million Cubans left Cuba for the US for reasons ranging from political executions, forced labor camps, and myriad other instruments of oppression have been in use to the lack of decision-making freedom on issues of health, religion etc.

For the embargo to go, Cuba must become more democratic. Changes are underway and the US Government has been taking a note of it. For instance in 2011, it became legal for Cubans to buy and sell homes. In 2013, Cuba abolished travel restrictions, allowing Cubans to travel the world over. If things move in the right direction, Americans might even get an opportunity to own a home in Cuba.

Right now, US and Cuba are approaching each other with caution and hope 🙂

Check out the Cover Art here.

 

Caricature-Cartoon: Carly Fiorina Leads in the First Debate.

Carly Fiorina’s Caricature Finally Leaves the Attic 🙂

Cara Carleton Fiorina or Simply Carly Fiorina has emerged a winner in the first Republican debate of today. Others who shared the stage with her were Bobby Jindal (Yes, the unhyphenated American,) Rick Santorum (with secrets and secret compartments in his closet,) Rick Perry (the bespectacled Bush-istic one,) George Pataki (Gosh! I wish I knew more about him), and Lindsey Graham (the lonely gentleman whose phone number was given out by Donald Trump).

While all these other gentleman have a lot of political experience on their side, Carly Fiorina has overcome substantial odds in the past. I’ll tell you about the insurmountable odds she surmounted, but in a minute.

First I must present the subject of this post:  Carly Fiorina’s Caricature.

Caricature Cartoon Drawing Sketch - Carly Fiorina - Women Republican Candidate for 2016 Presidential Elections.

Carly has been a top-shot in the corporate-pot, but the only other time she tried to get into the political-garb, she failed. It probably didn’t fit.

From what I read and hear, it’s possible that some of the other candidates who participated in the debate, Rick Perry in particular, was charmed by Fiorina’s good manners, her quiver of polished arrows, and her corporate background (which is dotted by at least one stark failure.)

Here’s a quick overview of the corporate journey undertaken by the only Woman Republican Candidate vying to be the President in 2016.

  • Carly started as an executive at AT&T (See? She started just like you and me.)
  • Then she was the CEO of HP from 1999 to 2005. (See? This is where she could do what you and I couldn’t.)
  • Next, she spearheaded the merger between HP and Compaq (and that is the reason I could never get a new battery for my first laptop (a fantastic Compaq machine.) (I think I’ll pin the blame on her.)
  • Then, she laid off 30,000 American workers. (I guess she did, because the HP mini that have is an abomination…and despite the company still being in business, their distribution is atrocious – and getting it a new battery for my mini took me a couple of years.)
  • She was still the head of HP when in 2005, HP’s stock had dwindled to half its value.
  • Finally, HP woke up and filed a mercy-petition with Carly. She obliged and resigned.

What does she do now?
I guess a lot of things – but she mostly involves herself with charity and works for the betterment of women. The caricaturist in me would like to work backwards and say that long ago she knew that she’d one day be running for the President of United States and she was gradually getting her heeled feet accustomed to her new running-shoes.

 

Mount Rushmore Art – Illustrating what the Borglums Sculpted.

Mount Rushmore is an odd looking mountain. It’s got four presidential heads so it reminds me of Lord Brahma; it also makes me wonder why George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln made it there while the other Presidents didn’t.  This isn’t the only question that makes me itch for an answer. I am also curious why people like to see their faces on the mountain.

My research reveals that even Alfredl E. Neuman (the mascot of MAD magazine) has appeared as the fifth face on Mount Rushmore. I expect others to give in to human frailties, but I had always looked up to him – and frankly, never expected this from him. I guess it was the editor of the magazine who decided the cover should show the rocky-face of this funny guy with a missing tooth smiling upon the perfect American family and Alfred had no say in the matter.

As was the case with these four Business-Stars from Arkansas 🙂 I had done this artwork for the Jan-Feb 2015 issue of the TBP magazine.  From left to right they are:

  1. Al Bell
  2. Stephen L. LaFrance Sr.
  3. Donald E. “Buddy” Wray
  4. Millie Ward

 

Mount Rushmore in Popular culture - Arkansas Business Hall of Fame - for TBP Magazine.

Now a little about this grand mountain 🙂

Mount Rushmore – Historical Facts:

  • The commissioning of Mount Rushmore National Memorial was authorized on March 3, 1925.
  • President Coolidge, then President of the United States wanted that two Republicans and one Democrat should accompany George Washington’s face on the mountain.
  • The sculpting began in 1927 and ended in 1941. It was sculpted by Gutzon Borglum and his son Lincoln Borglum. The initial rough sculpting was done using dynamite.
  • At first, they tried sculpting Thomas Jefferson’s face on George Washington’s right, but the stone there wasn’t good, so they moved the face to Washington’s left.

Mount Rushmore Faces:

The four faces are:

  •  George Washington
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Theodore Roosevelt
  • Abraham Lincoln

This caricaturist has caricatured two of the four faces on the monument:

1.  George Washington

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

President George Washington – Actual size: 8 inches by 10 inches.

 

and

2. Abraham Lincoln

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

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

Creating the Mount Rushmore Artwork:

Honestly, it was a challenging assignment. As a portrait/caricature-artist, when you paint faces, you intuitively dip your brush (even your digital brush) into the right colors. The texture you are looking for is skin (for portraits) and skin-nish (for caricatures) and because you’ve painted so many, you know where you are going with it. In this artwork, I had to create the four likenesses in the color and texture of stone. The details had to go, if the Mount Rushmore look were to be maintained. That and everything else, including rest of the stony mountain, the debris left from the dynamiting…was a totally new experience and a challenge that left me with a lot of new learning.

I am working on another challenge right now – and will tell you about it when I can! Until then, explore my thoughts on the Creativity Carnival and if you think you’d like to participate in it at some point in time, leave your footprints behind and follow this blog, so that the first event pops up into your Reader this Friday 🙂

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This image and the prompt together make me wonder:

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

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

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

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

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

 

Heads Roll as the Header gets a Makeover!

When your header is full of heads, and you update it, heads are bound to roll.

While I’m going to miss some of the faces that I’ve been seeing on my blog everyday for the last one year, I want to tell them that they’ll never be far gone from my heart, and that there’s always a possibility that they return to the header as wild-card entry.

If you visit here regularly, you’ll miss the caricatures of Malcolm GladwellThe Three Presidents (Kennedy, Reagan, and Coolidge,) Liam Neeson, and Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister. Their places have now been taken by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, Mike Huckabee, Hillary Clinton, President Bill Clinton, Jeb Bush, and Jimmy Fallon.

Here’s the header that has now retired with benefits.
shafalis-caricatures-blog-header-jul-2014.jpg

The Rationale behind the update was as follows:

  1. A blog is a window through which I interact with the world. It allows people to peep into my world – and my world is made of pictures. The header of my blog lets my visitors get a glimpse of those pictures.
  2. As time passes, an artist’s work matures, changes, or sometimes, even transforms. My previous header was updated an year ago. Some of my new works were hankering for attention – and so, a change was due.
  3. My blog has some regular visitors. The header-image (I think,) also works as an anchor. When they visit my blog, they get a sense of familiarity, and I didn’t to destroy that. This is why retained some features of the old header. (The sign on the black background, the images at the edges, etc.)

This update has been due for a long time and today’s Blogging101 assignment couldn’t have happened at a better time. I’m also working on a new sidebar widget – one that I hope, will make you go ROFL 😀

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wha…? “Am I not white?”

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

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

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

And yet,

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

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

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

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

Jeb Bush: Will the eagle soar despite his name? (Cartoon)

On June 15th, Jeb Bush or “John Ellis Bush” Bush announced that he is a candidate for the President of United States. As a candidate, the biggest problem that Jeb faces is that of his surname. Before him, two Bushes (George Bush Sr. and George W. Bush) have been Presidents, and there are enough Americans who aren’t keen on seeing another Bush in the White House. The comments that I see on Jeb Bush’s Facebook page, his announcement to run, and his recent interview with Sean Hannity, inspired this cartoon.

Cartoon Caricature go Jeb Bush as an eagle trying to fly despite the legacy of his name.

Will he break free?

I’ve just finished watching Jeb Bush’s Interview with Sean Hannity (Fox News.) I enjoyed the interview – and though it wasn’t as entertaining nor as un-diplomatic as Donald Trump’s announcement, it left me wondering whether his name could be the only thing that might stop him from becoming the Republican nominee.

As a two-term Florida Governor he has credentials to show. His political outlook is moderate conservative and he might have a certain appeal for the hispanic and the Asian voter. in fact, his viewpoint on certain topics (for instance, gay-marriages) has been moving toward moderate in the recent past.

And yet, there are voters on both sides of the fence, who don’t want to send another Bush to the White House. Jeb is perpetually on the receiving end of pokes and barbs about his name. In all probability he understands the liability of his name better than anyone else – he stood in front of a red on white board with “Jeb!” printed in red. No Bush, only Jeb. 

 

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

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

Here’s the illustration.

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

The Drawing/Painting Experience:

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

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

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

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

Hillary Clinton runs for President in 2016 – Caricature Art.


Update:April 14, 2015

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

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


Will she…won’t she?

She did…didn’t she?

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

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

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

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

Here’s a closeup:

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

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

Other Newsy Stuff:

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

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

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

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

Jesse Jackson – The Civil Rights Activist:

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

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

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

Jesse Jackson – The Controversial Celebrity:

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

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

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

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

Jesse Jackson – Quotes:

I like the following two:

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

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

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

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

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

Let me first share what I ended up painting:

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

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

 

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

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

Closeup of the spectators on the left-side:

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

 

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

Closeup of the spectators in the middle:

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

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

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

Closeup of the spectators at the right:

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

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

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

10 Tips for Drawing Crowds:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Happy Crowd-drawing 🙂

 

Caricature-Cartoon Jeb Bush: US Presidential Election 2016

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

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

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

President Bush the Third!

 

About Jeb Bush:

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

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

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

Jeb Bush and 2016 US Presidential Elections:

(The Caricaturist’s View)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

 

Blast from the Past: The Caricaturist Travels through Time and returns with the Funny Man!

Meet the Funny Man. I did this caricature last year, and if the date on the page of my 2013 diary can be relied on – it was done on April 15th – more than a year ago.

This drawing was done with Staedler’s Luna Pencils – the only color pencils that I had until I discovered Derwent. I had bought that set of pencils way back in 2001 or 2002, when a dear friend of mine and an exceptionally good artist told me that even grownups use color pencils. He had accompanied me to an art-supplies store (there weren’t many good ones in the city back then) and we had a bought a set for me, which unlike his set, didn’t come in a tin box (I still remember the slight twinge of disappointment that I had experienced then – so it must’ve been important for me back then. Today it won’t matter.)

Anyway, the point is, I drew this Funny Man with those pencils.

Caricature cartoon color pencil drawing sketch of a happy funny man with a big nose.

An Awesome nose on an awesome face…la…la…la

Then we started working on Toonsie Roll – a Caricature maker App that harnesses your intuition and your power of observation to help you tap out cute and cool-looking caricatures. Now everyone who’s got a smartphone knows that apps have icons…and I really wanted this app icon to cute, funny, and cool…and if possible, I wanted it to be intuitive too. So I sketched stuff out and we evaluated the sketches. We did everything that all the great artists do. We squinted, we walked backward to stand at a distance and look at the sketches, then we scanned them and zoomed them out to see if they were too cluttered. They passed the tests but they could make our hearts beat faster, because they all lacked the spontaneity that we were looking for.

Then we heard from some people who wanted me to create a few drawings for them…in the funny man style. So I went back to the post and checked it out – and when I looked at it, I knew that this guy could represent the spirit of Toonsie Roll. If it was a drawing app, we’d probably have gone ahead with the color-pencil drawing, but Toonsie Roll stays with the realistic photo-feel, so I painted the guy. Now he appears on the icon and also on the Splash Screen (I’ll share it with you soon.)

So this is how the Funny Guy got selected, got painted, and got framed! Toonsie Roll will soon be on the App Store for everyone who wants to create cute and funny caricatures (of friends, foes, or yourself – for a caricature avatar perhaps,) using a stylish app on their iPhones or iPads 🙂 I’ll keep you posted on this – so if you want to know when you can grab a copy of the app, just leave me a note using this contact form here.

Toonsie Roll Caricature maker app on App Store for iOS (iPhone/ipad - universal) for creating cute and funny caricatures.

Click to Read about Toonsie Roll.

This week I need to sketch a cute ex-President of the United States. I am looking forward to it…but today I was totally booked for Toonsie Roll!

You keep smiling while I rock and roll with Toonsie Roll 🙂

Caricature: David Cameron upon hearing that Scotland said No to Divorce!

Did you know that David Cameron had worried himself sick (got ulcers) on the issue of the Scottish Referendum. When he heard the result and realized (realised) that Scotland had voted for “no divorce” for a moment he couldn’t believe his ears. In fact, the Queen was so happy that she purred (as told to the media by David Cameron.)

Caricature Cartoon of British PM David Cameron upon hearing the result of the Scottish Referendum (Caricature created using Toonsie Roll - an iOS App for iPhone and iPad.)

If you want me to email you when Toonsie Roll goes live on the App Store, please visit the Toonsie Roll page by clicking the button in the menu above, or the link below.

The Toonsie Roll App

The look of slight confusion (the eyebrows raised in the middle, the partially open mouth) and yet relief creeping up at the corners of his lips – it actually fits the situation perfectly. As an artist, I’d have spent hours trying to get that look right – but I used Toonsie Roll and got the whole caricature along with the emoji, the text, the signature, and of course, the caricature – in four minutes flat. Isn’t that cool? All on the basis of intuition. The point is – it’s tons of fun to caricature people you know – for instance, your boy/girl-friend, your boss (oh yes,) or even your friends – and all you need to create a caricature master-piece is this app in your device 🙂 Send me a message through the contact form, and I’ll let you know when it hits the App Store!

Anyway, coming back to Cameron’s delight upon the positive (er..negative) vote – the percentage that voted for divorce (45%) and that voted for staying married (55%) doesn’t show a very wide gap, which means there still is a sizable population that wants to separate – so his worries might not be over yet. Amidst allegations of vote-rigging, the Scottish referendum of 2014 is already stirring up emotions instead of settling them down.

If you want to skip reading about my connection with this app…please use the contact form below and I’ll ping you when the App goes live 🙂