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 Personal Post – You’ll know if it is for you :)

Important Note:

This is your Opportunity to Bail Out!

This is a personal post meant for the regular readers of my blog. If you are here the first time, you’d be more interested in exploring the following links.

So…if you aren’t really interested in the monologue of this crazy caricaturist, use any of the above links to bail out. The decision is yours.

What?

You want to read on? So…go ahead, who is stopping you?!

Let us begin by answering the micro-dollar question.

Why the heck don’t I keep my Personal Posts Private?

The bloggers among you might wonder why I need to make an open-for-all personal post. Why don’t I mark my post private (I’ve never done it – so I don’t know how it’s done), and send passwords to everyone who I’d like to invite over to read it? An excellent question that evokes a mundane answer from this jaded caricaturist. I don’t do it because I really don’t know who among you feel close to me. I don’t actively attempt to draw commentators to my blog by commenting on other blogs (I hear that some use commenting as I scratch your whatever and you scratch mine!) When I leave a comment on another blog, it’s usually on an impulse – it’s because you post really touched my heart. (Now you know.)

I don’t believe in measuring cognitive relationships in microns, and so there are those blogs that I visit quite often but don’t leave a comment (bad manners, I know) and I know that there are people who visit my blog regularly but don’t leave a comment. It’s fair…and it’s fun. A relationship (even a dotted line relationship, such as the one that a blogger shares with the visitors) is a happy one only as long as it doesn’t develop expectations and generate a high-pressure situation for the any or both the parties.

Reverting to the original point of this post. I don’t mark any of my posts private, because I really don’t want to exclude anyone who has a relationship with this blog, and who for his or her own reasons, doesn’t want to make that relationship public by commenting/writing to me.

Momentous Changes in the Caricaturist’s Life:

With that little kink worked out, here’s what I wanted to tell you:

I am right in the middle of a sweeping change in my life. If you’ve known artists, you’d know that their sweeping changes seldom have anything to do with kids, sweethearts/spouses, even their stupid day jobs – so you can rule all that out. This change is more about the way I want to live – and in all honesty…I don’t want to live with senseless clutter. I qualify the clutter that I want to get rid of because I want to replace the senseless clutter with sensible clutter.

What Goes Out – The Senseless Clutter!

Here’s Senseless Clutter:

  • Fears that stop me from doing harmless stuff that can actually help me. (Note that I DON’T include “learning to drive” in my list of “harmless stuff that can be helpful” – for a disaster magnet like me, that stuff could be pretty harmful!)
  • emails that offer me work for peanuts – telling me that other Indians are working for peanuts so why can’t I (Quality of work notwithstanding.)
  • Movies that are a drain on my time and money (I am definitely not talking about the newest release in the X-Men series – X Men First Class, which I intend to watch this week.)
  • People who make me miserable instead of making me happy.
  • My blog needs to go through a transformational process too – especially if it is to reflect the changes that I wish to bring in my life.

What Stays Back and Comes In – The Sensible Clutter!

And Here’s the Sensible Clutter that I am keen on adding around me (Note that the right-brained thrive on clutter.)

  • A new set of pencils.
  • A few sketchbooks for rough work.
  • A few new fictional characters to share my mental space with.
  • Some books about places that I haven’t visited and I never will.
  • A degree in art (oh well, I can dream…can’t I?)
  • A new income-generating mechanism (I need to do something to keep my body and soul together – and that, dear readers, cannot be art – because whatever else, I am not prepared to sleep on the pavement. At least not yet.)

These changes will obviously reflect upon the nature and the content of this blog. You must’ve already noticed a few changes. For instance:

  • A new section called the Time-Machine has been added. This section would contain the summary of whatever I learn about the popular comic strips, when I research them for my learning.
  • Another new section called the Interactive Art Tutorials has been added. This section would include tutorials on cartooning. Don’t worry. This still remains primarily a caricature blog, but we’d see more cartoons here, as I suddenly have this wild urge to simplify my lines and create some cartoons.

While we are talking about the Interactive Art Tutorials, I would like to clarify that these tutorials are in Flash, they are interactive, can be downloaded to your computer, and they won’t put you to sleep. I’ve started by presenting two simple Owl-Drawing tutorials but you can expect a lot of other interesting stuff to appear in that section. If you’d want me to create a tutorial on something specific in cartooning, leave a comment here.

Be Warned. More new stuff is expected in the days to come. So if you stay away you miss out on the fun!

See you soon with a crisp commentary on the Comic Strip that once gave jitters to the US Army.  Which Comic Strip am I talking about? Any guesses?

A Personal Post – More Caricatures and Some Plans.

Very Important Note!

This post will not interest the occasional visitor who is here looking for “Sachin with Ball(?) like the World Cup“, “Lady Gaga’s implants“, “Oozzie“, “hitler was a paid hollywood actor in real life“, “the divinci guy“, or
mafia cartoon mouse“! If you are looking for something specific, use the search button on the right sidebar, or visit the gallery.

This post will also not interest the visitors, who are here looking for “funny sex caricatures” or who wish to figure out “how to draw a wine glass“. In fact, there’s nothing on this blog that’ll help you with what you need. The closest that I’ve ever got to drawing a funny caricature of the kind you’d like, is Pamela Anderson’s caricature here.

And finally, if you are here looking for “posthumously famous artists“, visit in another three-decades 🙂 By that time I should most definitely be dead and thus, famous!

Now, having put you all on the right track, I return to my post.

The Upcoming Caricatures

The upcoming caricatures are:

The New Caricature Hitlist

I am also in the process of preparing my new hi5 hitlist. All spaces are currently vacant! I am looking for suitable candidates to fill the positions and your recommendations are welcome.

The Story-in-the-Caricature Blog Carnival

I have plans of bringing the Story in the Caricature Blog Carnival back. The caricature for the April Carnival is almost ready – and it will be up soon:)

Another Book?!!

I am thinking of writing another book…a smaller one, perhaps, which addresses the problem areas in drawing portraits, caricatures, and cartoons. If you are an artist – write to me about what you’d see included in it:)
(Read “Evolution of a Caricaturist – A book on How to Draw Caricatures” here.)

Guess that’s all. Soon I shall return with a brand-new caricature!

A Personal Post – for Friends.

Hello Friends,

I am off to watch Avatar in 3D. Though I did this caricature of the Avatar many months ago – I did it from the perspective of a person who hadn’t watched the movie…I intend to another, maybe Neytiri‘s, after I’ve watched the movie:) Let’s see what comes out of it.

I am going to be busy for a few days, but I have Edward Norton‘s caricature stashed away and I think it’s one of my better ones – but I’ll let you be the judge.

I also want to write a Thank You Note to all the visitors to this blog, and all the readers of my book, “The Evolution of a Caricaturist“. As I had said in one of my ancient personal posts, I started this blog because it had been a while that I had smiled. This blog gave me an opportunity to do something that I love doing without being under any sort of pressure – and it was fun.

The book helped me demystify caricature-drawing by breaking it down into a process. I believe that if you can draw, you can draw anything. I didn’t do caricatures until last year – I used to do portraits – but then one day I decided to do one – I could do it. So I began to analyze my process as I drew caricatures, and it resulted in this book.

The book has had more than 16000 views, which is an excellent number, especially for a book for something as niche as caricatures! I am happy that people are reading it and suggesting it to their friends:) Keep doing it…the book is free. It’ll be published as a hardcopy with a lot of interesting additions, but this basic version will always remain free:)

——Avatar Movie Interruption ——

Well, I saved the draft of this post, and I am completing it now, after having watched the movie.  I will write about my movie experience when I post Neytiri’s caricature. You might want to checkout my Avatar Caricature here, but I assure you that it isn’t Neytiri’s!

Meanwhile, enjoy Ajay’s story for the Story-in-the-Caricature Blog Carnival, and wonder how a small, apparently insignificant event can change the course of one’s life!

If you haven’t read the other Carnival stories, here they are:

The formal Announcement Post for the August Carnival Participation shall go up on September 1, 2010! So, if there’s a story brewing up there…you’ve still got another day:)

Smile…

Better still…

DRAW to SMILE!

Regards,

Shafali the Caricaturist.

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.