Turning over a new leaf…Spring brings color to this blog :)

My dear valued visitor,

If you have been here before, you might be wondering whether you’ve arrived at the right address. I assure you that  you have. While I’ve made a few changes to its look, but underneath it’s still the same. Nothing has changed, except that I’ve tried to make it easier for you to find my caricatures (new ones are coming…) and that I’ve taken off a few other pages from the menu.

 

A Snapshot of the Changes…

“Cool Caricaturists” will return on the sidebar, “The Evolution of the Caricaturist” can be accessed from the sidebar even now, and a couple of other pages have been renamed. My eBooks (sadly only two so far) are primarily satire and so they find a place under “Satire“. “The Time Machine” page is no longer there on the top menu but it’s available through the side-bar (yep! the avuncular looking gentleman with those soda-cap glasses.) The Gallery remains open 24×7 – accessible from the top- and the side-bars.

I’ve also updated the “About” page. This page used to be about a paragraph long earlier, and it led some of my visitors to share the observation that I am pretty stingy about sharing who I am. That isn’t true anymore for almost every important bit about this crazy caricaturist can now be found on the page. If your curiosity is piqued enough, check it out !

I’ve made some really cool caricatures (Hey, don’t give me that look. Every artist thinks that every squiggly that he’s ever drawn is cool.) I’ll soon share them here. (Now you know why I’ve renovated the site – it’s to welcome those brand-new caricatures!)

Bye then…I’ll see you again and soon 🙂

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The Time Machine: Exploration Mission 1 :: The History of the Popular Comic Strip – Dennis the Menace.

June 01, 2001, almost 10 years ago, Henry (Hank) Ketcham the creator of Dennis the Menace comic strip, died at the age of 81.

In his memory, here’s the story of Dennis’s birth…as imagined and told by the Caricaturist.

Dennis the Menace – The Beginnings:

Sometime in 1950-51, somewhere in Carmel, California…

Henry sat in his studio with his head in his hands. It was impossible to visualize any damn thing with all those noises that floated in from the attic. He expected Alice to come barging in, shouting how his son was the messiah of destruction, and how he took after his father…He knew the sequence of events by heart. Unfortunately, he didn’t know it when he had decided to work as a freelance cartoonist.

Well. He was right. The thoughts that I described above had barely crossed his mind when the door flew open and Alice came in huffing and panting.

“His room is in a mess again – and I had straightened it out just this morning!”

Henry knew that the safest course would be to stay quiet and nod, so he did just that.

“Don’t sit there and nod. Dennis is your responsibility too.”

He nodded again.

“Hank! You are impossible, and your son is too.”

“No, we are not!”

“Hank…your son is a menace!”

“Dennis? A Menace?”

And that’s how the idea of Dennis the Menace was born. So you see, Ketcham modeled Dennis, Alice, and Henry on the Dennis, Alice, and Henry of his own family! And if you look at Ketcham’s picture from his younger days, you’ll realize that he does look like his cartoon self, Henry.

Life and Times of Dennis the Menace

Ketcham used to work as an illustrator and an animator. (He also worked with Disney for a while.) In 1951, when he first published Dennis the Menace, it was syndicated in 16 newspapers in the US. Within two years about 200 newspapers in the US were carrying the strip.

For the next 32 years, Ketcham drew all those panels himself – but in 1983, he announced that one day he’d like to retire from drawing Dennis. During this time Ketcham got divorced from Alice (Dennis’s mom) and Dennis grew up away from his dad. Ketcham moved from one marriage to another (a total of four, I think) until his death in 2001.

Anyway, in 1993 when Ketcham announced that he’d like to retire, Marcus Hamilton approached him and said that he’d like to draw Dennis. For the last 17 years Hamilton has been drawing the daily panel for Dennis the Menace. Read about Marcus Hamilton and his drawing process.

The Sunday Page Cartoonist Ron Ferdinand was born in the same year as Dennis. He too joined Ketcham in the early 1980s and he’s been drawing Dennis since. Read about Ron Ferdinand and his drawing process.

Amunet – The Harlot of my Dreams – Caricature/Cartoon – A Polymer Clay Sculpture and a Short Story.

Amunet – The Harlot of my Dreams

(A Short Story and a Verbal Caricature – by Shafali The Caricaturist)

The Year: 2020 A. D.

Brice checked the machine once again. Everything appeared to be in order – but Brice wanted to be sure. On his last trip into the past, his time machine had developed some sort of engine trouble, and it had delayed his arrival back. Technically you could never be late in arriving back into your time as you could program the machine to bring you back as soon as you had departed – but when you spend 2 years of your time in the World War II Europe, trying to fix your machine, you age. Those worry-lines on Brice’s forehead weren’t there when he had walked into the time travel machine for that last trip!

So after Brice had ensured that the machine was in good shape, he stepped into it, set the time dial to 5:30 PM, July 1725 BC, and typed in the longitude and latitude of the place of his dreams. It was time of inundation; it was the time when the androgynous goddess of fertility Hapi rode the Nile and made the land fertile; it was also the time that he had been dreaming of, every night of the last three months – it was the time of Amunet!

—ooo—

The door closed behind Brice. It would take the machine about 3 minutes to reach its destination. Brice closed his eyes and memories from his dreams rushed to fill his mind. The beautiful almond eyes outlined with kohl, the full red lips, and the dewy freshness of her skin – the way he had been seeing Amunet all these months. He also saw the banks of the swollen Nile; and he almost felt the happiness that came with the flooding of the Nile. Brice was a time travel scientist, he wasn’t a historian; but that girl in his dreams made him spend hours of his time researching not time-travel, but the history Ancient Egypt. She had become his obsession, and he had to find her – and if he really did, he might even stay back in time…Love makes you do strange things.

A sharp beep told him that the time machine had arrived into the past, at his destination – the City of Thebes on the eastern bank of the river Nile. Everything was as he had visualized…except the landscape. What were they? Broken Chariot wheels?! The Hyksos had brought the chariots to Egypt, and they hadn’t arrived until 1700 BC! Something wasn’t right – but then everything else wasn’t a lot different from what he had seen in his dreams! He hid his time machine, and looked around…if Amunet were there he’d see her because nobody else could be as beautiful!

And then he saw her…on the steps of the ruins. The steps, on which she sat, looked like they belonged to the beautiful fountain that he saw in his dreams. It was the same place – and there she was – the same almond-shaped eyes, the same sideways glance…but she looked different with all that makeup! And her jewelry was mostly blue…Lapis Lazuli. He looked again. She sat there laughing, talking to drunken men, who’d pay her and then stagger over to one of the younger girls and…Brice could watch no more. He turned and ran, trying not to vomit – the girl who he had seen in his dreams was now the much older harlot who sat on those steps – she and all the other girls, wore the blue Lapis Lazuli stone on their foreheads or in their hair – he had read in the history text s that the law in Ancient Egypt required that the harlots announced their calling to everyone by wearing the blue stone on their foreheads.

The caricature, cartoon, sculpture, 3D image of an egyptian harlot.

Amunet, the Egyptian Harlot. A Polymer Clay Model – 3″ tall, 1.75″ wide, 1.5″ deep.

Brice ran across the fields towards his time machine. He couldn’t understand it at all. What went wrong? And then it occurred to him…the history books that he had read during his research and based his calculations on – were wrong! They were at least 25 years off the mark!

The time machine was still there. Brice thanked his stars, climbed into it, and reset the dials! He was going back to his home in the time-space – never to return!

—ooo—

The Year: 2025 A. D.

After his Egyptian fiasco five years ago, Brice decided to junk his job as a time-travel scientist and decided to become a computer programmer instead. Now he programs computer applications that drive people nuts by asking them for updates twice a day!

 

Special Thanks to:

  • Nancy Johanson, Dewey’s Gram who inspired me to dabble with clay.
  • Wilbur Smith my favorite author, who helped me time travel to Ancient Egypt through his Egyptian series.
  • Oorvi’s Cameo who photographed the Harlot 🙂