When something funny and something undeniable come together, they inspire smiles that last for a long, long time… almost like the title of this post that is inspired by a Joseph Conrad quote.
I am the body of a truth.
I am also the face of hilarity.
The two come together in a caricature.
Ah! A caricature is such a wonderfully innovative idea. I remember we got one hand-drawn by a local artist in the mid-nineties sitting in Shambles, the famed cobbled street of York. We fell in love with that caricature and got another made when we went visiting London. Then we got another made a few years later in Paris… and then yet again in a Mall in Delhi. We fondly called our obsession a ‘caricature itch’ and loved it to the core. We found some sort of a light-hearted truth communicating through a face that was deliberately distorted… something that wasn’t obvious in the reflection that we saw of ourselves in the mirror. Yes, caricatures speak a strange language that hits the bulls-eye laughing. It is like discovering the sedate Buddha intercepting the truth of life as a stand-up comedian. We all want such caricatures of ours with us… on our social media profiles, if possible.
Well, there is a difficult way and then there is an easy way. The difficult way is to sit in front of the mirror and be the caricaturist… or do some digital caricaturing. You very well know that we have entered the age of the computers and hand-held devices and apps and software that do the unthinkable. I have discovered a few years back that I can actually draw caricatures on my iPad without fearing smudges and errors that show. The facility of layers in these apps helped me walk the right path because a simple switch made the wrong things recede into the background. Well, for the uninitiated, let me reveal that I use apps like Tayasui Sketches, Paper 53, Auryn Ink, Procreate, and ArtRage. Some of these apps are paid and all of them have a technological as well as an artistic learning curve that can be steep for most.
I can hear most of the readers say, ‘Tell us about the easier way!’
Well, the easier way is to just go online and visit ‘The Caricature Artists’. They do digital caricaturing and aren’t slow in sending the final output to you. The site has a simple navigation and a simpler operation. All one needs to do is to share your photograph (either a head-and-shoulder or a full body) and other instructions for artists like caricature type (fun, avatar, cartoon, pencil, free style, big head, etc.). The artists then finalize the caricature and deliver by mail. If you need further modifications, the site claims to give 1 free revision option. The delivery of the caricature is in 2-5 business days. My visit to their site revealed that they have all the information in place including the FAQs. There is clarity and transparency in their online communication, and the caricature options given are all wildly exciting. However, there are a few disconcerting observations as well… I couldn’t understand why they need to price the caricatures in USD because they are a company operating from Delhi. The address given is: C1, South West Extension, New Delhi, India and there is an India mobile number mentioned: +91-1128061724. Now because the price was in dollars, I simply had to go and explore the options that Americans have if they wish to have their caricatures done. What surprised me was that there are a lot of sites in this line of business and a lot of them quote around 18 USD as compared to the 25 USD that the caricature artists have mentioned. Listen, my friends at Caricature Artists, the average earning of an average American is at least five times as compared to Indians… so you really need to rethink your pricing policy. Your current pricing of the products on your site do not seem to be ‘committed to always working within (the average Indian’s) budget’ for sure. I need to also mention that the testimonials are all of foreigners… and I wasn’t able to decipher the connection. I mean, I’m unaware if the site is the Indian arm of a US caricature portal… and if it indeed is, they need to have a India-specific price for each product.
One final observation… I do not know how good their digital artists are. Do they just send you reproductions through apps or do they really sit and do some digital artwork – I have no idea as I haven’t got any caricature done from them yet. Frankly, this is an easier option though I’d personally feel far better to go and do a sitting for an artist in real life and get that heady feeling of what used to be a rich man’s passion. These might turn out to be more expensive though.
Caricatures, however, please the mind… and give us all a reason to step out of the seriousness of living and open our hearts to a new joy. Even a digital caricature will do this…
11 May 2016