Summoned by the Chancellor of the Klingon High Council…

… the Caricaturist travels to  Qo’noS, 2375!

Last evening I received a missive bearing the insignia of the Klingon High Council. I was directed to appear before Martok the Chancellor. Armed with this little piece of information, I foraged the Internet and discovered that accepting this invitation would mean traveling forward in time and arriving in the year 2375. I also checked out Chancellor Martok’s picture on Wikipedia. I am used to meeting pseudo-humans of both the earth-dwelling and the alien variety, still his bizarre physiognomy with his ridged forehead left me a little dazed. I wanted to decline the invitation, but my curiosity pushed me to throw a couple of sketch-pads, two overalls, my box of Derwent color pencils, my Intuos tablet, my laptop, and a few other electronic knickknacks into a backpack, and climb into the pod they had so kindly sent to pick me up.

This particular time-pod was nothing like the clunker that I bought in a garage sale, years ago. This was a state-of-art machine with gleaming edges, softer than the softest cushions, organic air-conditioning, hidden pantries that automatically assessed your hunger-quotient, combined it with your other biometrics, and served you the right food that looked and tasted exactly like your favorite dish. All in all, the interiors were super-impressive!  The ETA was 9:00 PM, which meant that I had about half an hour to relax.

I wondered if time-travel in this pod, allowed for Internet access. The moment the thought popped up in my head, I heard the Donkey-voice of Mike Myers tell me that I could access Internet during my journey through the wormhole, but the access won’t be available on the other side, so I’d better hurry.

I thanked him, and was about to pull out my iPad from the backpack when the donkey suddenly materialized in front of me. He looked as real as he does in Shrek. I shrieked and almost fainted as he brought his face close to mine, and with that hurt look in his eyes, he said to me, “Please! I don’t wanna go back there, you don’t know what it’s like to be treated as a freak!… Well, maybe you do… but that’s why we gotta stick together! You gotta let me stay!”

I sort of agreed with his assessment of my freakiness, but I recalled him saying something similar to Shrek, so a small voice told me that the donkey wasn’t real, and it was a futuristic computer program playing 3D tricks on my mind. That calmed me down. I looked straight into his eyes and said, “No you can’t, because you are a computer program, and you’ll automatically be left behind, when I leave this pod.”

The donkey’s routine was obviously written by a programmer who suffered from the frog-in-the-well syndrome and didn’t expect regular time-travelers to be smart, so the moment the donkey heard me, he flickered and then disappeared.

I took a deep breath, gathered my thoughts, pulled out my iPad, typed “Martok” in the Google search box of Safari.

It was all there…everything about him. About his humble beginnings, about his abduction in 2371, just four years ago in the future when I was supposed to meet him. About his becoming the chancellor, and about his family. I committed their names to memory. Lady Sirella and Drex.

I didn’t realize how much time had passed, until the door of the pod slid open. I hadn’t felt it decelerate so the opening of the pod door and the realization that the pod was now standing still on the ground, surprised me a little. The Clunker that I have at home…oh, never mind!

I hauled the bag up on my shoulders and stepped out in a large dome-shaped room where the floor gradually sloped up into the walls that converged to form the roof. As my eyes adjusted to the light conditions, I realized I was inside a sparkling white hemisphere, with no door or window, or anything else in sight – it was an endless, unbroken, and closed expanse of white in all three dimensions. I panicked and turned, thinking that I’d rather wait inside the pod, but…the pod had vanished. I was left standing there in the middle of white nothingness. A wave of nausea hit me and my knees gave way. Why in the name of caricatures, did I accept this idiotic invitation?

I knew the answer. Martok’s message had made me gloat. It told me that my fame had grown beyond the earth, beyond Atlantis, beyond the constraints of time, into the future…and let us be serious, who in his right mind would refuse an invitation by the Chancellor of Klingon High Council?

I heard the footsteps but I tried to ignore them because at this point, I didn’t want to be disappointed again. Artists hallucinate all the time – this could be another hallucination. The footsteps came closer. I still didn’t open my eyes, I wanted to be sure that there indeed was someone or something – I really didn’t care if it was Jabba the hutt…or actually I did, but then Jabba existed in a different paradigm…of Star Wars and not Star Trek, and so he couldn’t be there any way. My mind was mixing stuff up and feeding my anxiety and my fear!

A soft, soothing voice in my head found way through the confusion that raged in my mind. The voice told me to open my eyes and stand up. The charisma of the voice washed over me leaving me clean – devoid of negativity and fear.

I opened my eyes and saw them. They were smiling. All three of them were smiling, and Martok looked a lot less intimidating when he smiled. Lady Sirella raised her hand and the white around us cleared. Now we were standing in their cosy living room that had a rich oriental look. She motioned me to sit, and then she poured me a steaming hot cup of tea. Just what was needed to soothe my nerves. Chancellor Martok, in the meantime, got up and went to one of the cupboards that lined the walls. He came back with an arm-load of albums.

“Lady Sirella and I wanted to commission you for a few caricatures,” he said.

So…ladies and gentlemen of this blog’s viewership,
I am in Qo’noS the home planet of Martok. I’ve been given a comfortable to place to work, and my job is to create caricatures and portraits of Martok and all his near and far relatives. I try to make them look as nice as possible, but very often it’s impossible. The good news however is that they consider me downright ugly and they deem themselves to be the most beautiful people in the entire universe. I hope they never learn what I think. If you’ve not seen my perspective on perspectives, go here.

I’ll return soon, I promise…only about a dozen more to go.

“The Evolution of a Caricaturist – How to Draw Caricatures?” is being republished.

Folks,

I know that everyday some of you arrive here looking for “The Evolution of a Caricaturist,” my book on how to draw caricatures. I know this because WordPress catches the search-phrases used by the visitors to this blog, and prints them out in my dashboard. The searches for the book always top the list for me, and this has been happening for about an year-and-a-half, ever since Google pulled the plug on Knol, where I had first published this book.

I should tell you that when I first put the book on Knol, I had never expected such a heart-warming response. I had written and drawn it because I just wanted to share my experiences in an organized manner – so that if one went through the book and learned how to caricature each feature using my easy-to-use anchor-point technique, they would be able to create caricatures that exaggerate the right features without losing the likeness in a face. However, the book was received extremely well – the comments that the readers left, the questions that they asked, all told me that the book was useful.  Unfortunately, I had to take it down when the Knol platform died.

I then began thinking about how I could bring it out again but in an even more useful and interesting avatar. I confess that I love interactivity, and more so, I love designing interactive experiences. I think that a live book that allows you to read, see, tap, zoom, pan, link, and sometimes do; is worth a lot more in learning than the traditional book where you just read and see. So I’ve been rewriting and redrawing “The Evolution of a Caricaturist,” – the spine of the content has remain untouched, however, the scope, the examples, the chapters, and the experience – all have expanded.

The book shall soon become available on the App Store and will be priced competitively. If you own an iPad/iPhone/iPod or a Mac, you may be interested in looking for it on the App Store in 4-6 weeks from now, or if you’d like me to remind you of it, you can use the following form to signup for an announcement email.

Signup to receive the Announcement:

Thanks once again for inspiring me to republish it.

Coming up…Caricatures of – SJP of SATC and ARR!

I’d like to begin by thanking Ian for splashing his creativity on my blog and calling Leonardo Da Vinci, Leony Darling!

Thanks Ian. I am sure that if Da Vinci were born in our times, his mother and his numerous girlfriends and boyfriends would queue up behind me  to thank you:)

So…

I dreamed of Leony Darling (looking young and dapper.) He was standing in Verrocchio’s workshop correcting the nose of the young angel in the painting that will later be called “Baptism of Christ.” When he heard me come in, he looked up and asked me to mix some paint for him, which I did only because I knew that he was going to be one of the Greats in future. He took the paint that I had mixed on a wooden palette, our fingers touched, and he froze; a glazed look came into his eyes and his voice changed. I understood that he was struck with a vision of the future. He said something to me in a rather quaint version of Italian, which Barb of Creative Barbwire translated for me.

He said, “I see you drawing the caricatures of this woman called Sarah Jessica Parker, who has a thin, emaciated, and elongated face and a man called A.R. Rahman, who is a short, rotund, and funny looking man. You would be publishing at least one of the two caricatures on your blog in the last week of January 2011!”

Believe it or not – half of the prophecy that Leony Darling made has already come true…and I am afraid that the other half shall come true too. I wish he had said something about whose caricature would be published first, but he didn’t. So it’s now up to you and me to decide. Who’d you like to see first?