115 F, a blistered finger, and feeling blessed.

The middle of an Indian summer isn’t exactly paradise. During the two months of May and June, the fire of hell escapes from the belly of earth and smothers us with a blanket of hot air that scalds the lungs and burns the skin. The afternoon temperature hovers between 110 and 120 F – the computers heat up, and so does my direct-to-screen drawing tablet.

In the middle of all this, I find myself working on an urgent assignment that, as I will later discover, to work from 6 in the morning to 7 in the evening. I wake up, ready to go to work, hoping that I’ll be able to use the air-conditioning for those few hellish hours of the day; and then the unthinkable happens. Right at 5 AM, the power goes off! while the heat hasn’t begun to show its true colors yet, I am devastated!

As I try to introspect and reschedule my work to afternoon, wondering if sending the files to the client in the middle of the night would make any sense; I see a tiny speck of hope. “It’s a planned power-cut of 6 hours,” said the official newspaper reader of the house who is also my organized-to-a-fault much better half.

So I decide to work until the power-backup exhausted itself. No Air-conditioning – aircons are power-hogs and they aren’t plugged-in to the backup. Without the air-conditioning, my Cintiq heats up and starts scorching my fingers. A small selfish part of me keeps praying for the backup to die. It would cut this torture short and give me a temporary respite. It doesn’t happen. The tablet continues to heat up…the air around keeps pace.

The power comes back on 30 minutes earlier than expected. Awesome! A quick breakfast and I am back to work. And then it hits me. The artwork that I was working on was complex and it would take me a very long time to finish it. Especially if I took all those breaks that the Doctor advised. So I do the unthinkable – with my fingers crossed, I take my chances. I decide to work non-stop (except for the loo-breaks) until I am done with my work. I am hopeful that I’d be done by 4 PM. I strike gold – finish the sketch on time – but with an angry red boil on the side of my little finger.

I should’ve been happy that it was done – I should’ve given my tired me a break from work, but I couldn’t. All through the day, I was nagged by the thought that a part of the concept didn’t appear convincing…and I had to handle it somehow. What the client wants is something that you must create, but what your conscience suggests is something that you mustn’t ignore. So I return to my art-mate, sketching furiously – creating an option that would take out the thorn from me side. Providing a possible alternate to something that I feel may potentially harm the client, is my job – or so I think. All that extra work – Not pragmatic? Perhaps…but it leaves me more at peace with myself.

So I work three extra hours and upload the sketches by 7 PM.

Delivered as promised; delivered as it should’ve been 🙂

It made me feel good…but what made me feel blessed was the fact that this morning, I woke up feeling OK, except of course the blistered finger, which reminds me that if these tiny things are beginning to register again, I must be feeling better. I know I haven’t yet healed completely, and by working 13 hours at a stretch, I had taken a chance that I shouldn’t have. And yet…

Right now, I am feeling blessed. Frazzled but blessed.

Feeling blessed - a pen and ink drawing - shafali's art. Artists and Commissions.

Feeling frazzled but blessed!

PS: Need those gloves…pronto – and yet, a delivery deadline met so… despite a blistered finger, feeling blessed 🙂 After all Happiness is…

 

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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.

 

Caricature-Cartoon Elizabeth Warren – The American Spectator July/August Issue.

Last month, I had the opportunity to illustrate the cover of two political magazines. I’ll post the other cover after the magazine hits the stands. Here’s the one I did for The American Spectator‘s July August 2014 Issue. If you hold Conservative views, pick a copy from the newsstand or subscribe to the magazine here. 

Elizabeth Warren Caricature on the Cover of The American Spectator Magazine - Cover Illustration Shafali

July August Issue of The American Spectator.

 

I must confess that this was a challenging assignment. On the face of it, it looked easy. A lady with a Red-Indian head-dress standing in front of a Teepee… it couldn’t be simpler, you’d say. Actually, you’d be wrong. Over the years, the lady has sported many different hair-styles, her preferred outfit is a loose jacket and a pair of trousers, and most reference images available on the Internet show her waist-up! Anyway, the point is that at the end of it all she looks rather cute standing akimbo in front of that teepee that she didn’t build. Of course, she didn’t build that teepee in the image. I did.

So…

Who is Elizabeth Warren?

Elizabeth Warren is the US Senator for Massachusetts. She is a Democrat and you can read her blog here. The controversy that the tag-line in the cover points to, is the fact that she had once identified herself as a Native American. It turns out that there isn’t enough documentary proof to support her claim. While most of the voters in her constituency say that this won’t affect their decision to re-elect her, the issue has attracted a lot of criticism.

While Elizabeth Warren has repeatedly denied that she’d be running in the US Presidential race of 2016, there are speculations that she might. She is considered to be a Democratic heavyweight and there’s a possibility that she might be in the race, along with Ms. Hillary Clinton. If you’ve not viewed my Caricature of Hillary Clinton, you can view it here.

I’ve been doing a lot of other stuff lately. This included Pet Portraits, a Couple of Wildlife drawings…and oh, yes. I’ve been experimenting with my color pencils. I had tried them out last year and drawn the Caricature of Samantha the Witch and this captive here – but these were both post-card size drawings. This is bigger.

Let me take a picture and show you what it is – await my next post 🙂

If you are interested in learning how to draw caricatures, check out my book “How to Draw Caricatures? Evolution of a Caricaturist” at Amazon 🙂

Learn How to Draw Caricatures in a Step by Step methodical way - A book by Shafali Anand.