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Faces are an interesting subject, and often we come across one that has an expression telling a story. Vivek Arvind Mandrekar saw one such story in facial expression of Amitabh Bachchan and captured it by means of a digital painting. Below, he takes us through the various steps in order to tell and capture such tales.

Vivek_Feature - Amitabh Bachchan


It is an important step to follow before starting any painting as the image size will be little heavy to change anything later. So firstly, a basic raw sketch is drawn on a colour background which is further blocked through flat colours for defining shadows and highlights in different layers while keeping sketch as a guideline. The required areas are then dabbed for a smooth blending.

Vivek_Feature - Amitabh Bachchan
Vivek_Feature - Amitabh Bachchan


Step 01: This part is pretty straightforward, where blocked shadows and highlights are employed using basic selective skin tones.


Step 02: Further, various layers are painted using the customised textured brush to obtain the final skin texture.


Step 03: The last thing missing from the skin is the realistic texture of pores and wrinkles. This is established using a scattered brush spread. Here, one must zoom in and out beyond actual pixels by studying the tiniest of areas to observe minute details with paint stroke of a customised textured brush. This is also one of the most time-consuming steps but makes all the difference.

Vivek_Feature - Amitabh Bachchan
Vivek_Feature - Amitabh Bachchan
Vivek_Feature - Amitabh Bachchan


Step 01: The beard area is under painted by blocking the base with a hard brush. Each strand is then painted by changing the size, angle, roundness and hardness of the brush with each stroke.


Step 02: The same is continued by altering the opacity and dynamics of the brush and by zooming in further to work on individual hair strands. This is one of the toughest parts to execute.

Vivek_Feature - Amitabh Bachchan
Vivek_Feature - Amitabh Bachchan


Step 01: For this part of the painting, both dark and light base is used as the base of the hair colour. Like the beard, here too each strand is stroked by changing opacity, angle and roundness of the brush.


Step 02: The base of each hair strand is then further built by applying a customised textured brush and painting each strand with a small hard brush to obtain the desired details.

Vivek_Feature - Amitabh Bachchan
Vivek_Feature - Amitabh Bachchan


Here, basic blocking with shadows and highlights is used followed by rendering to create soft focus effect with the help of a soft brush.

Vivek_Feature - Amitabh Bachchan
Vivek_Feature - Amitabh Bachchan


Once the beard and hands start taking shape, continue painting the shirt by filling in the creases with shadows and tones to achieve a proper compilation. Use light and dark tones to render the folds and blend with a soft brush. And finally, for thread stitch finish, use a medium hard sized brush.

Vivek_Feature - Amitabh Bachchan
Vivek_Feature - Amitabh Bachchan


Step 01: The eyebrows, eyelids, iris and pupils are painted using a basic brush by adding textures and colours. This is then blended with different layers and softhard brushes by masking the glass. The glasses are not painted in this instance. Instead, a pen tool is used to draw and clip mask, after which the edges of the glasses are painted.


Step 02: Once the eye basics are ready, the veins are painted and a sense of depth is added using a technique of zooming into each detail. Following this, the edges of the glasses are painted in. A great person to get inspired for spectacle painting techniques can be obtained by following the work of SheridanJ on her Deviantart page.

Vivek_Feature - Amitabh Bachchan
Vivek_Feature - Amitabh Bachchan


Once the painting of Amitabh Bachchan is ready, it is flattened and various dodge-burn tools have experimented for highlights and shadows. Furthermore, colour temperatures, balance and curves are also adjusted. Lastly, the background is worked upon through customised textured brushes and grading colours to a depth of field.

Vivek_Feature - Amitabh Bachchan

Published in Issue 28

This Illustration Special is best to know why and how illustration as a popular medium is taking the design world by storm! From evolution of illustrations to its place in the world today, renowned designers and illustrators like Abhishek Singh, Mukesh Singh, Archan Nair, Alicia Souza, Raj Khatri with some international talent such as Fil Dunsky from Russia, Iain Macarthur and Richard Field from UK, who live and breathe illustration, would be the right people to gain some insight from. With many more talents to explore with great insights and excellent techniques, again a fully packed issue is waiting to amaze you!


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Creative Gaga - Issue 55


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Digital and Ball-point artist, Shital Verma, tells us about his process and idea behind creating portraits of renowned individuals from various fields and what exactly it takes to bring out what they symbolise or stand for as personalities. In other words, highlighting their unique stories which make them a recognizable face.

John Hurt
Amitabh Bachchan

CG. How do you conceptualise the use of lines and textures in your works and how do you execute them?

Shital. To begin with any drawing or artwork, I look at the character first and what kind of lines or textures justify the artwork; whether it’s a ballpoint pen drawing or digital drawing, and such other aspects. Lines and strokes, in particular, are my priority. All this helps me gain a clear picture of how I want to further proceed with the conceptualisation and execution.

Capturing the Stories Behind Every Face!
Clint Eastwood
Bob Marley
Shahrukh Khan

CG. What fascinates you most about the stories behind every face while creating portraits?

Shital. I choose some distinguished characters for portrait paintings, such as Salvador DALI, Zohra Sehgal, John Hurt, Ranbeer and many more. Their expressions with which they get naturally or symbolically associated with over a period of time are what tell their on-screen and real-life stories to the audience. I mostly try to represent and portray their charisma in my works, in the best possible way. In Virat Kohli’s portrait (on page 38), for example, I tried to bring out his toughness and determination through lines.

Haruki Murakami
Tiger Shroff
Lata Mangeshkar

CG. Which software and tools do you mainly use and how do you apply them to achieve the desired effects?

Shital. I mostly use a digital pen tablet (Wacom Cintiq), as well as pencil and ballpoint pen, as my favourite tools. For digital artworks, in particular, I use Photoshop and Painter. Today, there are a great number and variety of tools with diverse functions that are easily accessible and available, so it all depends on what needs to be executed and in which manner.

Virat Kohli
Zohra Sehgal
Joaquin Phonix
Old Lady

CG. What is the main intention you wish to achieve through your work?

Shital. Being an artist, I mostly do it for my own satisfaction, while sometimes I get the opportunity to create something for the newspaper or for a friend request. Subjectivity is what essentially lies at the crux of any form of art, which is why there is no ‘right’ or standard answer to why we do it. The process itself is as gratifying as the result, if not more. So, in my case, the idea is to attain fulfilment within myself through my work.

Portrait of Ranveer Singh
Portrait for Rajnikanth
For Geet Chaturvedi's book

CG. What according to you are the most essential elements of creating portraits and how can one master them?

Shital. In my opinion, the eyes are the most essential part of the portrait and 70% to 80% of a portrait’s character comes out right when the eyes are drawn accurately. Yet, it does not mean that mastering the skill of drawing the eyes allows one to compromise on the other aspects as they too are equally important to add to and complete the character.

Deepika Padukone
Tom Alter

CG. What would you advice others young designers who practice a similar line of work?

Shital. My advice to young artists is to do more and more sketching and life study, structures, Stories, nature study apart from your digital work. Sketching is like ‘Riyaaz’ – the more you sketch, the finer the artist you become. The scope to create is wide open, much like the horizon; all one needs to do is stretch and deepen their vision, for the sky is the limit.

Birthday Gift
Jeff Bridges

Published in Issue 43

With the changing weather comes the season of Interns, with fresh new energy everywhere. With this comes dilemmas like where to intern and how to get selected in your favourite studio. So to bring little more clarity on current market trends of selecting the right interns, we interview some of the well-known studios to find their ‘Secret Process’ of selection.


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Creative Gaga - Issue 55


He observes, delves and emerges with his own version of reality. Caricaturist Shijo Varghese remains true to his subject while reflecting his observations. Concentrating on parts, he lets them come together to narrate the true character and spirit portrayed by unreal proportions. He explains how.

the Subject with Soulful Distortion
Messi. Personal work. About the football superstar by Shijo Varghese
Danny-DeVito. Personal work. About the comedian-actor

A Caricature should Appeal to the Soul

When a caricature is taken up with a conscious mind, the result is impressive. However, when it is taken up with a desiring heart, the result is appealing. A true caricature charms not just the eye, but the soul.


A caricaturist must take to his drawing board as meditation, losing himself to the organic growth of the thought and lines. That’s when the subjects rise to become what he wants them to be while staying as close to the true character as possible.

the Subject with Soulful Distortion
Sreesanth. For Stumped!, a collection of 2011 world cup winning Indian team
Harbhajan Singh. Done for Stumped! a collection of 2011 world cup winning Indian team

Humans are a Sum Total of Parts

A caricaturist not just observes, but dissects. He studies not just the character of every person, but the characteristic features as well. The eyes, nose, lips or hair complements the happy, sad, positive or negative vibe that the subject exudes.


Generally, subjects have distinctive features that instantly catch the eye of an artist. In such cases, it becomes easy to exaggerate them and create the caricature. In other cases, the artist needs to dig deep into the subject and find out which feature or aspect to playing with. Distortion can go to any extent but the fact remains that it should not take away the person’s soul.

Shijo and Tintu. Personal work. Caricature of self and wife
Vrooom!. A collection of Formula One drivers’ caricatures by Shijo Varghese

Style Grows Forever

A style that blossoms with time is an accomplishment. There is no greater joy than creating a new phenomenon every time the pencil gets to work. Creations that evolve naturally, liberally and timelessly are the ones that bridge the real world with the virtual.


However, the focus should be on getting the subject’s essence, whichever style you may choose. Strokes, textures, patterns and everything else follows. Spontaneity is a big tool that every caricaturist must employ. Ideas come in when you are not looking for it. Making that the trigger point often results in uninhibited, impartial creations.

Bernie Ecclestone. Personal work about personalities of F1 2011 in India
Yuvraj Singh. Done for Stumped!, a collection of 2011 world cup winning Indian team

Know it before Distorting it

For every caricaturist, it is very important to have a very good understanding of anatomy and proportions to do good work. We should know the basics before distorting or exaggerating. It is alright to look at subjects with an eye of humour. But ultimately, the job of a caricaturist is to express the characteristic essence of the subject.

Sachin Tendulkar by Shijo Varghese
Amitabh Bachchan. Personal work. A take on the icon

Humour with Care

There is a thin line that separates humour from sarcasm. Therefore it is important to honour the former while communicating the core message. Employing free-spirited strokes, ever new shading techniques and an understanding of the subject results in insightful humour and most importantly, being true to the character. Who said caricatures can only tickle the rib? It has all the power to take care of the mind too!

Roger Federer. Personal work. Interpretation of the tennis superstar
Steve Jobs. Personal work. Recreating the charm of the genius

There is a Ctrl Z for Everything

That’s one benefit of the digital technology. One doesn’t need to worry much about the final product. The ‘ctrl z’ solves everything for everyone. At the same time, it takes away the raw charm of working with pencils. The basic process of putting pencil to paper brings with it lots of ad venture, experiment and learning.


Pencils can be used in various ways as per the need. Strokes and shading style moulds itself as per y our thought. And there is a virtue in it. You’ll love every moment of creating, distorting and destructing. And this can never be delivered by any software.

Dwayne Bravo. Done for Howzaat, a collection of caricatures of members of the Chennai Super Kings team
Dhoni. Personal work. A take on the skipper

Never Give Up

Being able to draw is a gift from god. One should keep practising to improve one’s talent. Whatever time it takes, never stop or compromise with the quality. Make observation a habit and then a process. Most importantly, be your own critic. Remember, you loved it that’s why you are at it. And you can’t give up anything you love so easily!

Priyanka Chopra. Indian Actress by Shijo Varghese
Sergio Pérez. Formula One Driver

Published in Issue 10

With this issue, we are exploring yet another discipline of design – Web and UI. With the changing times, Indian designers are increasingly opting for this new medium. But are we really prepared to take the global challenge? What’s missing and what do we strive on? We invited few leading practitioners of the industry to deliberate on this issue.


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Creative Gaga - Issue 55