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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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Caricature design is not always about distorting or making it funny, a little exaggeration with some fresh colours and bright lights can do the magic. In the caricature, without any brief, Mahboob Raja was clear on reflecting innocence and greatness of Gabriel Gracia Marquez ‘Gabo’. Here, he takes us through a behind the scene of this tribute to the legend in the form of a caricature.

Caricature - Gabriel Gracia Marquez ‘Gabo’
Caricature - Gabriel Gracia Marquez ‘Gabo’

Step 01

Started with A4 canvas which can be resized at finishing level. The software comes with some default brushes but you can also make your own set of brushes. Many custom made brushes can be downloaded from the internet. I mostly start my sketch with Pencil B.

Caricature - Gabriel Gracia Marquez ‘Gabo’
Caricature - Gabriel Gracia Marquez ‘Gabo’

Step 02

As per my observations, visualise the structure of the Gabo’s face with basic shapes. After the basic shapes starting with close set eyes loosely drew a wide square face, small mouth close to a narrow, spread out, down-turned nose and big square chin.

Caricature - Gabriel Gracia Marquez ‘Gabo’

Step 03

Drew a large lantern shape jaw and lower shoulder to give the desired weight to his personality. This helped to create a larger than life look to portray Gabo’s greatness. Cleaned up the drawing on a new layer with dark bold lines.

Step 04

On a new layer, started creating some shadows with Marker brush to get the threedimensional feel before going on to the colouring process.

Step 05

For paint effects applied the these brush settings on each layer except the drawing layer and the layers with overlay mode. To paint the base, selected Pen tool with the settings shown in the image. While colouring intentionally left some parts unpainted to get the feel of splashes.

Step 06

Placed different colours together and used blend brush with very little changes in their basic settings to mix and smudge some of the colour edges.

Caricature - Gabriel Gracia Marquez ‘Gabo’

Step 07

Now erased some paints to get the highlights and the feel of white paper. On a new layer, with a customised watercolour brush and same layer settings, started adding more details and finishing it by mixing with blend brush.

Caricature - Gabriel Gracia Marquez ‘Gabo’
Caricature - Gabriel Gracia Marquez ‘Gabo’

Step 08

While adding more details of Gabo’s features, started adding some colours on the new background layer with pen brush. Here too kept the same layer settings. Also erased some lines of initial drawing to blend the feature more smoothly.

Caricature - Gabriel Gracia Marquez ‘Gabo’

Step 09

In this step, on a new layer again with same layer settings, started adding colour splatters on the face. With blend brush mixed the colours of coat and added little details on flowers too.

Step 10

While filling colours on the background also added more details on collars of the shirt, face and the rose. Kept preserve opacity option checked in layer settings and with an air brush painted over the touch-ups to get the more accurate colour of the shadow.

Step 11

Started finishing background with pen, watercolour and blend brushes. Created an illusion of some structure in the background.

Step 12

Put splatter all over and again checked on the box of Preserve opacity on layer settings and with an Airbrush painted over the splatters to get it correct colours.

Caricature - Gabriel Gracia Marquez ‘Gabo’

Step 13

On a new layer with just overlay mode on and no other change i settings, with airbrush painted over some areas to get the depth of colours. Achieved the final artwork (caricature).

Published in Issue 30

Since stone age when individuals were identified with certain marks, branding has always been an integral part of our life. It has evolved so much that now every success can be connected to great branding behind it, but still brand creation has always been a mystery. We interviewed the branding experts, who are behind some of the very successful brands. In brief, this issue is packed with branding and typography design experts who can help you solve the mystery of the brand creation! Order your copy here!

 

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