Hats Women Wear: Portraits my Heart Painted.

I am painting the fourth portrait now. I started at 2 in the morning.

I love these hats because I paint them for the creator who lives inside me. Each of these hats is special because they lack design. I haven’t attempted to channel or even hide the chaos. Each of these has evolved organically. Usually I start an artwork with a sketch  then paint over it. I do this more out of need, I’d say; when you illustrate for a publication, there’s a review process that entails an approval on the sketch. The hat-paintings are all done without a supporting sketch. I would start painting a face, expressions would emerge; I’d then read those expressions and paint a hat that told the story of the expression on the face.

Artists speak of inspiration, of a portrait that painted itself; illustrators don’t. But within every illustrator lives is an artist. I don’t meet mine very often, but when I do – I paint stuff that’s oddly out-of-place on this blog.

For those who haven’t seen the hats yet.

Hats women wear - hat number 3 - portrait art - shafali - emotional and physical abuse

 

Women Girl Portraits - Face and Hat - Depression - Digital Painting by Shafali

 

Portraits of Women - Face, profile, side face, hats that women wear - this is hat 2, the hat of ambition.

 

The hats happened quite suddenly. Then they stopped. For about three months, I didn’t paint any. Now, I’m painting them again.

I can’t explain my behavior. Perhaps you can. I just know when I must paint them – the why of the hats as well as the inspiration, evades me.

 

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The Caricaturist found her inspiration again…

brace yourselves – caricatures are about to invade your world!

I could list them out – all 10 of them, but then I’d kill the suspense – so I won’t.

I’ll just tell you this that last week I received a package that gave me a shot in the arm. What was there in the package?! Well, it had some drawings that I am going to cherish forever. But why did they inspire me? Ah, that’s a trick question – isn’t it? Okay. Here’s why. Because I looked at those drawings and thought that one day…perhaps in not very distant future, I’ll wake up into a day filled with the possibility of doing nothing but drawing. Those drawings made me want to draw. So, that’s exactly what I did. I woke up the next day, and I saw nothing but the possibility of drawing. I drew and drew and drew…until I had drawn everyone whose photographs I found in my reference folder.

Weird?

…Unbelievable?

…But true! Your caricaturist is back…figuring out ways to get herself killed!

And the end-note…to my idol in the world of cartooning. Thank you for inspiring me.

 

 

A Blog Carnival for Bloggers – Tell the Story-in-the-Caricature – April 2011 – Edition 8!

Header for Story in the Caricature Blog Carnival Contest for fiction writers

Dear Bloggers,

Welcome to the new edition of the Story-in-the-Caricature blog carnival. Call it a storytelling festival or a spark of inspiration for the writer within you – but write a story that wows your readers!

Here’s the caricature to inspire you 🙂

Cartoon caricature of three people in discussion for the story in the caricature blog carnival for fiction or story writers

The rules haven’t changed – but I should repeat them for the new storytellers.

Here are the Rules for the Participating in the Storytelling Carnival

1. Write a story, small or big, about this caricature.

2. Publish the story on your blog, along with this caricature.

3. Leave the link to your post, as a comment to this post here.

4. The festival ends on April 30, 2011.

The Four Rewards for this Story Carnival

1. All the story links added for stories published along with the above caricature, until the last date, will be published on this blog in May 2011, along with your blog-address, and a link to the About Page of your blog.

2. The blog addresses of the participating bloggers will find way into my “The Storytellers” blog-roll.

3. We will also request all the story-writers to publish the links of other story-writers in a blog-post on their respective blogs. This will help the story writers find more readers – but of course, this would be voluntary.

4. The first blogger to do everything right (publish the story on his/her blog with the caricature, and then leave the link of the story against this post) will get the opportunity to name one international celeb that he or she would like to see caricatured.

Important Note:

Pornographic/Obscene Language won’t work:) so keep it clean.

Happy Writing:) I’ll wait…as I always do:)

Thank You Nancy! Coming up soon…the Polymer Clay Caricature of the Horned Devil:-)

This week I received a fabulous surprise, which swept me off my feet. From a land far far away came a box….and in that box were two Clay Sculpting Tool-sets  and many other beautiful inspirations in the form of clay dogs.  I’d like to thank Nancy Johanson (Dewey‘s Gram) for everything that I’ve ever done with clay (which isn’t really much so far – about 2.5 clay caricatures) and everything that I’ll ever do. I would never have discovered this beautiful medium – I’d never have thought that the little clay packets that they sold in those stationery stores with those not-so-inspirational clay model pictures on their boxes held such potential.

Nancy, whatever I do with clay – ever in my life, would be because of you. You are my inspiration…and I hope that one day I’ll make you proud. Thank you for the tools. I am so happy to have a tool for sculpting every little idea that pops into my head.

zwani.com myspace graphic comments
THANK YOU NANCY 🙂

The eyebrow tweezers and the screwdrivers are no match to even a single tool in this fabulous collection. I hope that you’ll all see a marked improvement in the level of detail and the overall quality of my clay caricatures.

The sculpture of the Horned Devil, my first attempt to create a Polymer Clay Sculpture with the tools, is done – but it has to be painted before it can debut on the blog:)  I shall complete it soon and post it for your viewing pleasure.

– Shafali

My Childhood Love – A Naked Truth – A Caricature of Life!

Important Note:

This isn’t the usual fare that’s served at this blog. If you’ve arrived here through a search and if you are looking for caricatures click the Gallery link and if you are here for the Story-in-the-Caricature Blog Carnival, click here.

However, if you are looking for nothing in particular and if for some unfathomable reason you care about the beautiful unique relationship I share with Pratap Mullick, read on.

There’s a good chance that you know neither about Pratap Mullick nor about me, but if you are an artist who grew up in the far-flung regions of India, where if you wanted to buy a magazine, you’d have to travel about 40 miles – you probably have seen Pratap Mullick’s art.

WARNING:

I am NOT talking about Nagraj Comics. He did illustrate the first 50 of those…but I haven’t seen those illustrations. (Pratap Mullick illustrated for Nagraj Comics before 1995 – and Nagraj comics aren’t really what we’d call the “classics” so I can’t find the old issues anywhere. Honestly I don’t care about what I see of Nagraj Comics now! Searches of “Pratap Mullick” often throw up image results that show the work of other artists – and that work isn’t at the same scale of quality as Pratap Mullick’s…so I take no responsibility for misconceptions born out of indiscriminate searches.)

When I was a child, I was not just a child, I was a girl child; and despite being born in quite an emancipated family, nobody thought to ask me what I’d like to become when I grew up. Until I was ten, school was a mercurial affair – it was there, then it wasn’t, then again…it was there, and then it wasn’t. We often lived in places where ours was the only family for miles around. So I had a lot of time to read what I wanted to instead of reading what I had to.

Once a month, my father would take us to the nearest town, and I’d spend my monthly pocket-money (5 Rupees) on comics. I’d buy some combination of Indrajal comics (1 Rupee) and Amar Chitra Kathas (1.50 Rupees, if I remember right.) Indrajaal comics distributed the Phantom comics and the Mandrake comics in India – they later created their own hero, Bahadur too. In contrast, Amar Chitra Kathas (translates to: Immortal Stories with Pictures,) had stories from Indian Mythology and History. After a few months of buying both, I decided that I preferred Amar Chitra Kathas, so I requested my parents for an increment of one rupee in my pocket-money and began buying four Amar Chitra Kathas instead.

It was then that I realized that some of the Amar Chitra Kathas had drawings that were considerably better than those in others. As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, I was a selectively curious child. For a long time, it didn’t occur to me that real artists made those drawings, and I never thought that I could one day illustrate for books and magazines. I drew because it was nice to draw.

Coming back to the point, I realized that certain drawings looked better – in fact, they looked beautiful. They inspired me to draw better. Without realizing that I was learning from those drawings, I began to learn. I learned about proportions, shades, backgrounds, perspectives…I looked at those drawings and then looked around – and then I’d try to draw what I saw, the way they were drawn in those drawings.

I still didn’t know that there was an artist behind those drawings, so next when I went to the town and shopped for Amar Chitra Kathas, I’d look inside, check out the drawings, and instinctively select the Amar Chitra Kathas with those beautiful drawings. My parents would wonder why I selected some and rejected some – but they never asked and I never told. It was my secret.

When kids grow up, they are often asked what they’d like to be when they grew up – in my time, a girl child was seldom asked this question – and so I never could connect art with illustration. If I were asked the question, I might’ve said something like – I would like to draw…and then one thing could’ve led to another, and I might’ve ended up becoming a “real” artist. But for this reason or some other, there was a mental gap somewhere – some synapses didn’t connect – somehow I never realized that art could be a profession as well.

Then during the Nineties there was a time when it was difficult to find Amar Chitra Kathas on the bookstalls, and once in while I’d think about those beautifully illustrated comics, and feel sad. But they probably experienced some sort of revival and I began seeing Amar Chitra Kathas again. One day, when I was in a bookstore, I picked one of them up. I picked it up gingerly – ready to be disappointed – ready to accept that as a child what I found beautiful was indeed crass and mediocre. But the comic that I had instinctively picked up had the same beautiful drawings that I had fallen in love with as a child. I had picked up “Urvashi.

But I was a different Shafali now. I knew that a real artist did those illustrations, and so with my heart beating hard against my ribs, I checked out the cover for the credits – expecting to find none. (Our publishers often fear that they’d lose their illustrators and so they don’t provide credit to the artists.) But there it was. It said: “Illustrated by: Pratap Mullick”! For the first time, I knew the name of the man who had held my hand and steadied it as I learned to draw – for the first time in my life, my thoughts went beyond those drawings and I visualized what his life must’ve been – for now I also know a lot about the struggle that life is for an Indian artist.

It was a moment that was both happy and sad. The fact that Pratap Mullick could survive in this world and that he made drawings that’d survive him – made me happy. The fact that a man of his caliber, wasn’t celebrated – wasn’t known – and wasn’t given the status he deserved, made me sad. I should’ve heard his name as one of the great artists of India – he changed lives, he helped people learn art, and he still remains the best book illustrator that India has ever seen – and believe me when I say that because I spend hours looking at illustrations…and just one illustration is what it takes to tell you what an artist is worth!

As someone who’s keen on art, I wonder why an Amar Chitra Katha that he illustrated should sell at the same price at which all other Amar Chitra Kathas would sell? The comics he illustrated are collectibles – the comics that others did…well they just earned their living! If you don’t know what I am talking about buy “Vasantasena” and “Vasavadatta” – and compare them (Don’t go by the cover illustrations…they are always done well.) ! I just hope that he was at least paid better.

The question is – Why do we normalize? Why do we pull real talent down to the level of mediocrity?

We all know the answer…don’t we? This ability of the human race, is one of the things that define our humanity. We’ve decided to trash the evolutionary theory of “Survival of the Fittest” and that’s precisely why we are headed where we are…

Downhill.