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Today, caricatures are not only synonymous with political and social commentary in newspapers countrywide but also an inseparable part of various digital expressions. Their conscious and sub-conscious existence in our psyche and social interactions cannot be ignored. All thanks to a wide range of talented caricature artists India continues to hone. We highlight 11 of them.

“Caricature – a picture, description or imitation of a person in which certain striking characteristics are exaggerated in order to create a comic or grotesque effect.”

Colloquially also labeled as cartoons, the word “Caricature” comes from the Italian words “Carico” and “Caricare”, translating ‘to load’ or to ‘exaggerate’. Having gained momentum since Italian siblings Annibale and Agostino Carracci applied this semantic to their proportionally blown-up portrait sketches in the 1590s, caricature today as an art form enjoys exclusive social appreciation worldwide.

While India has a vast history in the evolution of its art, transition in the consciousness of modern-day caricature here came to be at different times and places through the course and context of Indian politics, particularly as India’s independence movement gained momentum through print.

The British Punch had begun to print and circulate Indian vernacular editions in colonial India since the 1870s. Soon, an increasing number of Indian artists began to make their presence felt in print and caricatures started to take nationalistic tones as their impact on the movement came to be realised.

Fast forward to contemporary times, illustrators and caricaturists are increasingly flourishing across the landscape of Indian design. Here are 11 of these noteworthy caricature artists:

1. Bharat KV

Bharat KV is the founder of BKV Arts as a caricaturist. His works present a light-hearted, vibrant and easygoing approach to things. He does this using multiple shades of bright colours fused with a particular emphasis on expressions. One can easily grasp the nature of his subjects without having to worry about whether they know the actual personalities in reality or not.


2. Chetan Patil

A BFA from Sir J. J. Institute of Applied Art, freelance Illustrator and Visualiser Chetan Patil from Mumbai has worked with Hindustan Times Newspaper and CreativeLand Asia. His caricatures are deeply graphic with the use of sharp colour tones, shapes, fonts and geometry. Unapologetically un-minimalistic, he mixes a range of complex elements within one frame. Almost a ‘not for the faint hearted’ kind of boldness in depiction.


3. Keya Mahata

Keya Mahata is a caricature and a concept artist presently working in a gaming production company. Her work exclusively features many-an influential fantasy and real-life women representing and exuding inspiration. Colours full of life and vigour, though with subtle lighting, represent the essence of her style. The dominance of the characters against their surroundings is a constant across her range of work, largely influenced by gaming.


4. Manoj Sinha

Manoj Sinha is currently associated with multiple Indian newspapers at the Hindustan Times group. His caricature works include not only portraits but also full-length representations of characters. Unhesitating to draw them as he sees them, he is a keen advocate of pencil-work in his displays. Though seeming to stem from a considerable influence of politics, his work also includes global influencers from various other areas such as sport, film and the likes.


5. Mahboob Raja

A self-taught caricaturist, Mahboob Raja’s nature of work features diverse mediums in the form of watercolour and oil works, both digitally and on canvas. Apart from having being an illustrator art teacher, he has been associated with making some popular Indian animated TV commercials. Raja’s caricatures significantly bear the strong application and impact of watercolour effects in his interpretation of personalities, adding a touch of innocence to his subjects as a whole.


6. Prasad Bhat

Prasad Bhat is the sole proprietor of Graphicurry, an independent artist design studio based in Bengaluru. His caricatures prominently exude a strong presence and application of digital elements, leading to a graphic comic-like presence. Prasad’s work predominantly features characters from a seemingly strong influence of many-an-international TV series, films and celebrities – Pulp Fiction, Friends, Brad Pitt and the likes. The use of deep, high contrasting colours uniformly exists across his depictions.


7. Ramanjit Kaur Gabri

Designers - Ramanjit Kaur Gabri

After long being a visualiser in an advertising agency, Mumbai-based, Ramanjit Kaur Gabri turned into a freelance illustrator and caricature artist. Her choice of subjects prominently features many-a-powerful women in clear reflections of their real-life personas – Saina Nehwal, Sudha Murthy, Mary Kom, Arundhati Roy and Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw to name a few. Equally effective in pencil and colour, Ramanjit’s portraits are dynamic depictions against contrastingly no-nonsense plain backgrounds.


8. Shijo Varghese

A Fine Arts graduate from KSS School of Arts, Kottayam, Shijo Varghese started his career as an art teacher in his native village. The illustrator now based in Bengaluru is not shy to take outright liberty with asymmetrical geometric interpretations of his characters. His caricatures unapologetically present personalities beyond their socially perceived aura of “perfection”. Having authored three books, he now heads the design department at Planetsurf Creations.


9. Shesh Kiran

A Bengaluru-based caricature artist and Flash animator, Shesh Kiran, bears a decade of experience working with various multimedia outfits. Fun and quirky with vibrant colours, his characters come alive not just through their wide eyes and keen expressions but also through a keen amplification of their persona by effectively incorporating related accessories and surroundings elements as part of them. Simplicity that would especially appeal to the childlike; the not-so-serious kind.


10. Uday Mohite

Mumbai-based freelance Digital illustrator and caricature artist Uday Mohite’s strong depiction of hyper-realism evokes a mixed feeling of looking at a painting, sketch and photograph at the same time within a single frame. Caricatures of his subjects are not typically limited to the political arena but make for a good mix of characters from all around, especially film, television and social situations. The Sir J. J. Institute of Applied Art grad has also been a part of several leading newspapers like DNA and Mid-Day.


11. Varun Rao

Varun Rao, identifying himself under the title of Vartoons, features portraits of various forms – humans, animals, pop art and so on. Mostly influenced from real life, he exaggerates facial features while attempting to bring the desired effect upon the viewer. With a conscious effort to maintain the primary essence of the character, he highlights significant traits, be it the comical or elegant sides. Acrylic paints, oil paints, colour pencils and digital mediums are his usual ‘weapons’ of choice’.

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When we look at great art we are amazed by its perfection. But what is carefully hidden from us is the toiling and hard work that goes behind the perfect piece of art. Chetan Patil unravels his thought behind the expressive caricature and his art in this insightful piece.

The Perfect Caricature
Hawaldar by Chetan Patil
The Perfect Caricature
HAMAL

Very few find their calling at a young age. The professional illustrator, Chetan Patil, is one such individual. Chetan has been enthusiastic about art since childhood, and a further push by his school teacher, sent him rolling in the direction of the world of art. He went on to take professional training in the commercial field of art, and there was no looking back.

The Perfect Caricature
Kasai
The Perfect Caricature
Kamwali by Chetan Patil
Human Shapes Patterns

Chetan makes great use of expressions in his work. He believes attaching emotions to an idea makes it far more impactful and believable. In most of his illustrations and his caricature art, he tries to create a connection by expressing his own emotions in the idea through appropriate visuals.

Human Shapes Patterns
Monday Love

Expressions, emotions and experiences are aspects that Chetan takes very seriously while creating his art. He pays a lot of attention to detail in his work and tries to make it as expressive as possible. Chetan believes that the quality of art and amount of work put into a project makes it a treat for the viewers.

Human Shapes Patterns
The Perfect Caricature
Chef by Chetan Patil

An underlying element in most of Chetan’s work is the exaggeration. For Chetan exaggeration takes art to the next level and gives it a larger than life feel. It intensifies the expressions of the subject and is great opportunity to demonstrate an entirely different perspective. A great story or a certain character can be represented only through exaggeration, believes Chetan.

The Perfect Caricature
COOLI by Chetan Patil
The Perfect Caricature
Garegewala

The Caricature Illustration Campaign

Chetan has created a spectrum of amazing work, but his caricature illustration campaign project is his favourite, which he did in college. The series illustrated common people from different walks of life, and he completed this series of 17 caricatures within a 10-day deadline. This particular project is special because it involved observations of different people – their daily life, habits, behaviours and professions.

The Perfect Caricature
Camera Boy

Chetan sees art and design emerging in India. Digital art is gaining traction and is rapidly developing. But still there is a long way to go before people truly understand the creative field, feels Chetan. There are plenty of opportunities to explore the creative industry in India, however, the focus should be design education awareness. The design field is constantly changing and evolving. Amazing art collaborations, conferences, creative events and discussions will certainly push the boundaries of the design world.

In terms of technique and medium, Chetan loves both the traditional hand-drawn and the digital one to create illustrations. Hand drawn techniques to provide a wide canvas to explore. However, for professional speed and quality, Chetan prefers the digital medium.

Inspiration is the backbone of creative work. Chetan draws his inspiration from nature, people, cultures, and everyday events. He also takes inspirations from all that is related to living and non-living. Some of the master artists that have been an influence on Chetan’s work are Steve Simpsons, Pascal, Jason Sellar and many others.

Malika Sarabhai
Drunk Man

Finally, the advice that Chetan would like to give the budding artists is that art is a never-ending learning process. Whether it is college, a job, a freelance project; at every stage learning occurs. Hard work and being abreast with new techniques and technology is part and parcel of the creative journey. It’s also important to have a social media presence for your work. Looking at the bigger picture, taking risks and embracing setbacks will only build you as a professional.

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Published in Issue 48

A Freelancer’s Life in India! Every day, with a dream of ‘Being Your Boss,’ many creative professionals jump into the pool of freelancing. But many are not well prepared for the life of the freelancer, which brings many challenges along with benefits. So to explore further, we interviewed many freelance illustrators and designers to get answers to the question you should ask before taking the final call of becoming your boss! So, if you are planning to or have already become a freelancer then this issue is a must-read for you.

 

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Painting characters as they are art. Discovering features that define the subject and exaggerating them is communication. Illustrator Uday Mohite explains how manipulating proportions helped him to create a caricature portrait of actor Naseeruddin Shah.

Caricature by Uday Mohite
Caricature by Uday Mohite

Step 1.

Opened a light blue coloured A4 size document in Photoshop. Picked pressure brush size 9 or 13 and painted the canvas light blue to give it a gradient feel. This would help in sketching in the middle.

Caricature by Uday Mohite

Step 2.

Picked light grey on the colour pallet. Created a sketch of Naseeruddin Shah with the same brush. Kept about 30% details on the sketch. This would help in selecting the dark and light parts of the sketch.

Naseeruddin Shah

Step 3.

Gave the skin a basic tone. Mixed orange, yellow, brown and white to render a light tone. Followed by a dark tone by mixing brown and blue.

Naseeruddin Shah

Step 4.

Post the texture, worked on the details of the face.

“Mixed orange, yellow, brown and white to render a light tone. Followed by a dark tone by mixing brown and blue. Post the texture, worked on the details of the face”

Naseeruddin Shah

Step 5.

While detailing further kept a separate colour palette on the side. This would help in matching colours and guiding colour selections.

Naseeruddin Shah

Step 6.

Took note of skin texture and colour tone of hair from a reference image of Naseeruddin Shah, while working on the details. Chose ultramarine blue, greens, oranges, greys and cobalt blue as they would go with the texture on the face.

Caricature by Uday Mohite

Step 7.

Worked more on the details at the final stage. Painted the moustache, beard, skin texture and fold in tee. Picked brush number 31 and lightened the background to highlight the final caricature. The final caricature is done.

Published in Issue 14

We dedicated this issue to Digital Art where we explored the connection between our dreams and imagination and how the flexibility of technology can be used to document that. In his exclusive article, Android Jones explains the broader perspective of digital art. Featuring Ankur Singh Patar, Archan Nair, Harshvardhan Kadam and Aamina Shazi Arora, every article discusses how each of them has an individual way of working and yet they all look at life beyond the obvious to appreciate it’s beauty.

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A visual artist in the form of a cartoonist and animator, Manoj Sinha shares his process and details of one of his digital portrait, one bit at a time, in order to achieve the right balance across aspects such as the tone of colours, the shades of lighting.

Portrait Tutorial Details

Depth in Details.

Manoj Sinha likes to play with simple elements in a rather detailed and no-nonsense way to create a portrait that is very much life-like if not larger than life. He starts out with the basics and rough works, turning basic aspects of the persona more and more real with each step as he progress towards the final outcome. The result is a sharp artwork with lively qualities.

Portrait Tutorial Details

Step 1

Started with a simple, rough sketch. Since this involved a pretty basic shading-like technique in order to give the portrait an outline and overall context. This is good enough to start with and build upon.

Portrait Tutorial Details

Step 2

This step involved applying the base colours on the face alongside some light shading. The rest of the elements i.e. the hair, the dress and the earrings were kept the same as in the rough sketch that was the starting point.

Portrait Tutorial Details

Step 3

Further details were added to the lips and teeth. The smile brings out the core of the personality’s expression and so it was highlighted.

Portrait Tutorial Details

Step 4

Just one ear of the subject has been made visible in the portrait and so it was important to provide it the right amount of attention. So, more detailing was done on the ear.

Portrait Tutorial Details

Step 5

Dark textures and sharp lines were added around the eyes to give the persona a practical look. Similarly, the eyeballs were also given details highlighting the reflection of light in the eyes.

Step 6

Shadow of the hair falling over the right eye was done. Which enhanced the lighting effect that was given to the image in the previous steps, thus bringing about an actual feel of the subject by making the portrait more realistic.

Step 7

Details were added to the earrings, hair and face in the form of greater definition, colour and texturing.

Portrait Tutorial Details

Step 8

The final details to hair and skin colour were then added with fine lines and rough stroke smoothing. Reached the final desired result, bringing out the real personality of the subject.

Published in Issue 41

Every year brings many opportunities and hopes along with celebrations. For this issue, we reached many visual artists and designers to know their expectations from the year 2018. This issue’s cover designer, Shreya Gulati is exceptionally impressed by the advancement of technology in design, especially how VR & AR has impacted new ways of creating. Whereas Seerow Unni, a digital artist sees the simple and minimal design is here to stay for long. So, whether you have many or none expectations for the year, this issue is a must-read. Go ahead and order your copy here or subscribe to not miss any future issues!

 

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They easily make us laugh, but caricature design is a tough form to master. Here, one has to feel the expression and manifest it through the use of colours and exaggerations. Keya Mahata dwells on these to bring characters to life. Below, she takes us through a demonstration for caricature design of Steven Tyler.

Caricature

Step 1

At first, various high resolution reference images of the subject are selected which are then arranged on a layer in Photoshop. A jpeg file of the reference is created as well.

Caricature

Step 2

This is followed by using a white page Photoshop as a canvas. Then, using a 19 pt brush, started drawing. While drawing a caricature, it’s important to retain the basic form and character of the Steven Tyler and simultaneously exaggerating what is necessary.

Caricature

Step 3

This way, full drawing of the subject is completed. While doing so, focus on the expression and never deviate from it.

Caricature

Step 4

The layer is then copied and coloured in. A de-saturated colour is used to make it soft.

Caricature

Step 5

Once coloured in, the opacity of the brush is reduced and the colours are merged. The teeth are made yellow with some bits of grayish colour to resemble the real person.

Caricature

Step 6

Once the facial colours are set, detailing of the face is carried out. This includes wrinkles of the eye to making his singing posture. One thing to take note of is the filling in of a darker shade in one side of the character’s face in order to give it 3D feel.

Caricature

Step 7

In this step, some off white colour on nose, tongue and check is also used to give a highlight.

Caricature

Step 8

Once, the colouring in of the face is completed, the body is started off with.

Caricature

Step 9

For the body, once again a desaturated colour tone is used. It’s important to maintain wrinkles to maintain his aged body.

Caricature

Step 10

Once the body is finished, the focus is on the hair. Gentle brushes are used to soften this area. Various shades of browns and blondes are used to define volume and depth.

Step 11

Dark brown and shade of gray is used for the dark part of the hair.

Step 12

This particular shade makes the hair appear soft and effortless.

Step 13

After careful finish of the hair, additional detailing is carried out using a brush on shape dynamic mode. A brush on colour dodge mode is also used to add highlight.

Step 14

Once hair is completed, a little bit of highlight is added on the whole figure.

Step 15

After fully finishing hair and body, the background is coloured in with semi-violet. Some yellow is also added to establish lighting, giving the overall design a bright look. A large brush is used for this step.

Step 16

The lemon yellow colour is softened and then blended with the violet background.

Step 17

A spotlight is then created using off white colour and a round brush.

Caricature

Step 18

Once the whole body, hair and background is finished, selected areas are infused with shadows using brushes on multiply mode.

Caricature

Step 19

Finally, the caricature design is finished with the addition of slight brushing and leveling.

Product and Automobile Design

Published in Issue 27

This issue explores one of the widely discussed product design and automobile #design which is very close to our heart. We spoke to few leading names to find out the future of product design and understand the Indian designer sensibilities and practices. Everyone believe that it’s not just functionality but also the visual appeal of the product which plays a crucial in the success of a product. This issue is a bundle of inspirations and insights from the well know product and automobile designers. A must read which you will enjoy for sure.

 

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Creative Gaga - Issue 52

 

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Creating Illustrations on a real-life situation with a personal point of view can turn out as the most difficult learning for an artist. But illustrationist Uday Mohite has mastered this art over the years and now is on his finger-tips.

Illustrations
Ramdev baba proposing to legalise weed as it is natural healer by Uday Mohite.
Illustrations
A portrait dedicated to his Uday's favourite actress, Deepika Padukone, on Women’s Day.
Illustrations
Ranveer Singh

As a kid, Uday was fascinated by the cartoons and caricatures published in books, newspapers and journals accompanying a story but was never really interested in reading the story. This worked as a motivation factor for him to work in a field where it was possible to develop and explain a story just through drawings and cartoons, without the use of any words and so he chose to specialize in the line of illustration.

Illustrations
Proposing the laddus of achhe din will help them secure votes to win the 2019 elections
Illustrations
Irfan khan. A water colour portrait dedicated to Irfan Khan on his birthday.
Illustrations
Gungi Gudiya to Goddess Durga. Indira Gandhi was a shy kid not wanting to talk, but when elected as Prime Minister, a huge crowd gathered to hear her.

As much as the cartoons and journals inspired him to become an illustrator in his childhood days, some world famous illustrationists and cartoonists have worked out as his motivational sources and have had an equal amount of influence on him while Uday still is developing and becoming better and better in his field.

Illustrations
A portrait dedicated to Nawazuddin Siddiqui on his birthday.
Illustrations
Rashtrapti is busy. One of Rahul Dacuna’s story is about how the president is busy, having the only work of inaugurating different functions by Uday Mohite.
Illustrations
Writer Rahul Dacuna’s story expressing the fact that he wasn’t invited to Virat and Anushka’s wedding inspite of him having a passport!

Self-Learning, a Trick!

Somethings aren’t taught in school but are self-learnt by following other peoples’ work. Following this methodology got him calls from various newspapers at an early stage in his career and also motivated him to start freelancing alongside.

Illustrations
Bahubali-2
Illustrations
This piece of art was in awe of the work of Anushka Shetty after seeing the trailer of Bahubali 2: The Conclusion.
Illustrations
Alauddin Khilji A portrait of Ranveer Singh in the character of Alauddin Khilji from Padmaavat.

Trying to understand how humor is defined in illustrations and how it can be developed to get it across to people in simple ways, Uday has always held his seniors from the field in high regard. Some of his inspirationists include Jack Davis, Pascal Campion, Mario de Miranda, Tom Richmond, Wally Wood and Paul Coker, who are all international fame illustrations. Also, cartoonists like David Low, Bal Thackeray and R.K Laxman, just to name a few, have really helped him learn the tricks of the art and master it.

Illustrations
Lobo lobo in the city. A character from writer Rahul Dacuna’s story who is always angry, doesn't like anything bad that happens and is against the system.
Illustrations
Arun Jaitley preparing for the 2019 elections and proposing that Union Budget 2018 will have achhe din
Illustrations
Bromance. While on his world tour, Prime minister Narendra Modi would greet the dignitaries with a hug by Uday Mohite.

The Twist!

When it comes to deciding upon the content of the illustration, Uday prefers to choose subjects based on real life. If his subject is an individual person or an actual situation that needs to be portrayed, he talks to the subject himself in order to understand the situation in depth. He gathers all the information including small details which he thinks is necessary to illustrate the subject close to perfection.

Illustrations
Balasaheb Thackeray’s Birthday. A hand done illustration dedicated to Balasaheb Thackeray.
Illustrations
Jassus Jagga and us. A scene from writer Rahul Dacuna’s story including Virat Kohli, Jassus jagaa, Ravi Shastri and Pahlaj Nihalani.
Illustrations
Lobo Lobo appeared at my doorstep this morning carrying eggs in a brown paper bag. "Thanks Thelonious, for this lovely gift of eggs on Easter."

Illustrations are something where the reader understands the situation from the viewpoint of the artist. And so it is important to aptly choose the theme and style for the illustration.

Illustrations
Today’s generation. Today girls take selfies in innumerable different and weird ways.
Illustrations
Alauddin Khilji
Gangubai Kathiawadi

The theme and style for the illustration are developed based on the kind of message that is to be conveyed. With a special liking for caricaturing, Uday creates caricatures for a funny situation as caricatures have a tint of humor in them. He prefers to make funny situations stylish and colorful compared to giving a rough, black and white look to a criminal story.

Illustrations
No words. There are a lot of words in India which aren’t available in a dictionary!
Illustrations
Writer Rahul Dacuna received a call from Tipu Sultan, Gabbar Singh and Akbar asking him for an answer who are the people staying illegally on the land.
Uddhav Thackeray & Aditya Thackeray

The Top Of The World!

For Uday, in order to remain in the market, he feels that knowing the works of people from the field is important. Not only knowing their work but also understanding their style of doing it helps an artist to learn. It is also necessary to know what is that the customers are looking for. Merging the market demands and the artists’ personal style together can help the artist remain afloat.

Illustrations
Dedicated to Mr. Atal Vajpayee on his birthday, an attempt to capture his andaaz of reading out poems.
Illustrations
Laali
Uddhav Thackeray
CURRENT ISSUE
Creative Gaga - Issue 52

 

Whether real life or reel life, we are surrounded by interesting characters. Some pass us by, but some get stuck in the mind and hearts. It’s no different for caricature expert Shijo Varghese, who wanted to draw Captain Jack Sparrow’s illustration for his eye-catchy attitude and appearance. Here he takes us on a step by step guide on how he achieved to create a beautiful illustration.

Illustration

Step 01

Drawing Detailing.

After finalising the subject, a bunch of pictures were collected to study elements like facial features, expressions, actions etc. After a reference picture was selected, an outline sketch is drawn using a Faber Castell mechanical pencil 0.5 on an 85 GSM paper. It’s better to start with the nose, the central element in any face, and then draw everything else around it. After the outlines are finalised, it’s time for detailing. Detailing always starts from the eyes. The hatching technique is used according to the shape, which are generally a group of straight lines. Once that’s achieved, it’s break time. That means, leaving the artwork alone for a few hours and returning to it. If all looks fine, it is then scanned as a 300 dpi JPEG.

Illustration

Step 02

Colouring.

Once the image is scanned, it is then opened in Photoshop CS5 for colouring. Keep in mind that the drawing (illustration) is placed on top of the layer as multiply and lock and a neutral tone is filled below the drawing layer, which serves as a foundation.

Illustration

Step 03

This is followed by creating another layer above the neutral colour layer. This layer is used for detailed colouring along with soft and hard round brushes.

Illustration

Step 04

Colouring is the critical part that is used to bring the character to life. A vast majority of time is then spent on fine-tuning the depth of colour using neutral tones because that’s what the subject demands.

Illustration

Step 05

More character and drama is created using a hard rounded brush in 30-50% opacity.

Illustration
Illustration

Step 06

The last step involves the addition of highlights to finalise the image.

Published in Issue 24

Gone are the days when Illustrations would take a back seat. Now, they are becoming more proactive and are evolving the way we communicate. This time, Creative Gaga focuses on how the advertising world is opening its doors to this exciting form of design. Featuring renowned Illustrators like Chris Beatrice, Nasheet Shadani, Vijay Kumar, Gabriel Mareno and much more, this issue promises to leave no page unturned!

 

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Creative Gaga - Issue 52