1

ad here

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’.

LATEST RELEASE
CURRENT ISSUE
Creative Gaga - Issue 51

 

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!

 

Order Your Copy!
LATEST RELEASE
CURRENT ISSUE
Creative Gaga - Issue 51

 

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.

 

Order Your Copy!
LATEST RELEASE
CURRENT ISSUE
Creative Gaga - Issue 51