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 😀

Advertisements
Gallery

Some Recent Works – Caricatures and Deviations.

This gallery contains 12 photos.

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.”

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.

Caricature/Cartoon – Hillary Clinton on her way to The White House

Everyone knows that Hillary Clinton will be running for President in the 2016 Elections. Period.

Here’s my take on the story.

Caricature cartoon in color - Hillary clinton - democratic candidate - US Presidential elections - 2016 - with donkey and 3 feathers in her cap.

Will Hillary run for the 2016 Presidential Elections?

Here are my reasons for believing that she will.
  1. In 2006, she was among the Democratic candidate hopefuls and narrowly lost to Barack Obama. This confirms that she is interested in becoming the President of the US.
  2. In 2007, she took up the position of the Secretary of State and happily co-existed and co-managed the international affairs of the US along with President Obama. This kept her in the public eye and made her a much stronger candidate than before.
  3. She took a break from a job which she was performing rather nicely. The only reason that makes sense to me is that she wanted to spend her time preparing herself for the next elections.
If the reasons given by me don’t convince you, read 5 Signs that Hillary will run for President here.

Hillary Clinton’s Dressing sense…

…has often been criticized. I’ll forever continue to wonder why it is so easy for men to get away with the same outfit (note that the only thing that ever changes in President Obama’s clothes is the color) while women fret over what they have to wear. I have nothing against Hillary dressing up in oddly constructed pant-suits and even in the outfit that you see in her caricature. I think that she still dresses up a lot better than Michelle Obama.
This deserves a closeup view of her outfit in this caricature.
Caricature cartoon color drawing painting of Hillary clinton - running for the 2016 US presidential elections - shown here with a donkey.
However, if you like women to look like made-up dolls and have the time and energy to read about Clinton’s fashion faux-pas, click here… or search for “Hillary Clinton’s Fashion Faux Pas”.

About Hillary’s Caricature

(This bit should be of interest to the artists.)

I had been planning on doing Hillary’s caricature for a very long time, but it wasn’t until last week that I really attached myself to my seat and decided to plunge into this caricaturing exercise. This is a digitally painted illustration done for the purpose of print (it measures 12 inches x 12 inches at 300 dpi.) I first did a rough sketch (a sort of doodle), then made a final sketch, scanned it, and then painted it in Photoshop CS6.

I approached this illustration more as an artwork than just a caricature. The somewhat bewildered donkey representing the democrats, at the left; the happy and alert Hillary checking her progress, in the middle; and the wooden signboard at the right – all on top of a hill, with cloudy skies behind – a composition that comes together nicely. The colors balance one another out (check the warmer hues canceling out the cooler ones) except in one place – in Hillary’s outfit, where I used never-wear-together colors, clothes, and accessories. The pearls and the formal jacket (in…GREEN?) create a jarring effect when coupled with her BLUE Jeans and high-ankle leather cowboy boots. It exaggerates her oft-criticized fashion sense, and strengthens the caricature.

Now let us ponder upon a more important question, one that can be answered only by Samantha the Witch.

Will Hillary Clinton become the next President of the United States?

I think the US has tried a “first” by electing a non-white President for the first time in its history and given him two terms to prove that a first works. Whether or not Hillary Clinton will become the first woman President of the US will depend on whether people really gained from their first-first. While I am sure that Hillary has a strong resume, I don’t think people care about resumes. I guess people would want a change – and that could help the Republican candidate (Though I don’t know if there’s any Republican with an image as strong as Hillary’s.)
This is precisely why Hillary is aiming to reach the White House, once again; except that if she succeeds, she’ll not be there as the First Lady (one of the many feathers in her hat,) but as the President of the US. I wonder what Bill Clinton will be called then. The First Gentleman of America? I guess the geniuses of the White House will put their heads together and come up with an answer when such a situation arises.
Wondering…Why Hillary?

A Quick Biographical Sketch of Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton has many feathers in her cap (and you can see three of those in her caricature above.) She’s been the First Lady of the US, a two-term US Senator, and the US Secretary of State; but there’s more. She’s got a Law Degree from Yale Law School where she met her husband Bill Clinton who she married in 1975. She’s held high-paying jobs all her life and there were times when she earned more than Bill Clinton.
  • Interestingly Hillary was born in a family with conservative values and when she was a student she was a Republican.
  •  Hillary’s marriage almost fell apart during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
  •  You can find a detailed biography of Hillary Clinton here.
And finally,

Hillary in Recent News

  • Hillary’s handling of the Benghazi incident led to some criticism, and even though the 2016 elections appear to be far away, some Republicans are already raking up the issue. It appears that everyone including the Republicans believe that she’ll run.
  • Recently Obama and Hillary Clinton met for lunch. This meeting is being seen as a sign of Obama supporting Hillary in the 2016 race.
  • She said that Huma Abedin, the wife of NYC Mayoral Hopeful Anthony Weiner, is like a daughter to her. While this may not be an important piece of news for you, but I mention it here so that you check out Anthony Weiner’s pole-dance caricature here and leave my blog laughing 🙂

Cool Caricaturist – Roman Genn

Caricaturist and Political Cartoonist Roman Genn was born in Moscow, in 1972. Moscow wasn’t sympathetic to his anti-government caricatures, and so he was repeatedly arrested while there. This was probably one of the main reasons behind his move to the US, where his work has appeared in  Wall Street JournalWashington Post, Newsweek, and many other publications of note.

Roman Genn’s sense of humor is something to emulate.  Read Roman Genn’s biography to sample his sense of humor.

Visit his website:

And view some of his fascinating caricatures:

He raised quite a storm when he depicted Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and Al gore in a Caricature titled “The Manchurian Candidates,” which appeared on the cover of National Review.

Click here to view Roman Genn’s “The Manchurian Candidates“.

To appreciate why this caricature kicked up a storm, you need to watch the Denzel Washington Starrer 2004 Film  “The Manchurian Candidate” and understand “what” Raymond Shaw is! There was an earlier 1962 film by the same name and with the same storyline – based on the novel “The Manchurian Candidate” that Richard Condon wrote in 1959!

Lines of Attack: Conflicts in Caricature, Exhibition at Nasher Museum, Durham, NC – We want More Caricatures in our Newspapers!

Caricatures show us what isn’t obvious, by using visual and/or verbal exaggeration. Thus, they wake us up from our peaceful slumber by poking us with a funny wand.

Check out Edward Sorel’s caricature of the “Clods.”

Nasher Museum Caricaturist: Edward Sorel Caricature: Clods Bush US politicians

Edward Sorel, "In Clods We Trust," 2007. Pen, ink and watercolor, 20 x 16 inches. Appeared in Rolling Stone, June 29, 2006.

Did you read the Newspaper this morning? If you didn’t, I recommend that you find it now, and go through it page by page. Don’t read anything. Just look. Do you see those pictures? Now classify them as photographs and illustrations. What’s the ratio of the two in your newspaper? I did the same exercise and discovered that the ratio was 42 to 3 or 14 to 1! Among the three illustrations, there was one “tree”, one “cartoon”, and only one “caricature.”

Now time-track back about a century and a half! Close your eyes and try to see the newspaper? What do you see? You see a lot of illustrations, cartoons, and caricatures. You see meanings being loaded into the faces and the bodies of the politicians – suddenly, you find yourself viewing an interpretation of an event – and not its snapshot! A caricature is not just the picture formed on your retina, it is the picture understood by the mind – and the newspapers in those days were full of caricatures and cartoons…hilarious, sarcastic, witty, biting, caustic, romantic…the newspapers then were more alive!

So meet President Bush and President Clinton in this caricature by Gary Varvel, and wonder how a photograph could’ve caught this caustic humor.

Nasher Museum Caricaturist: Gary Varvel Caricature: The Suits of George Bush and Bill Clinton

Gary Varvel, "Which Suit Most Offends Democrats?" 2003. India ink on drawing bristol, 11 by 7.5 inches. Appeared in The Indianapolis Star.

But this is my opinion…and I am a caricaturist! You form yours. If you are in or around Durham, NC, and you are inclined towards the visual arts, you’d be interested in the exhibition “Lines of Attack: Conflicts in Caricature”, which is currently on at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. It began on February 04, and will continue to May 16, 2010.

Even if you aren’t in the vicinity, do visit: http://www.nasher.duke.edu/exhibitions_caricature.php to initiate a new line of thought, and wonder whether we need to review the function of caricatures in the newspapers of today.

After all, all of us have our own reasons for everything, as this caricature of President Bush and an Iraq War Veteran by Rob Rogers, illustrates.

Nasher Museum Caricaturist: Rob Rogers Caricature: Bush and Iraq War Vetran

Rob Rogers, "Iraq Forced Me to Give Up Golf, Too," 2008. Ink on Grafix 32-L Unishade Board, 12 3/4 x 9 inches. Courtesy of Rob Rogers and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

With this I rest my case for MORE CARICATURES in the newspapers!

Important Note: The three images used in this post have been used with explicit permission from the Nasher Museum. If you’d like to use them, please contact the Nasher Museum for permissions. Thanks.

(PS: To Tweet this post, you may want to use the short url: http://wp.me/pJgyP-5t)