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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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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 51