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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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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
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

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. Done for Stumped!, a collection of 2011 world cup winning Indian team
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
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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