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Submitted on
August 14, 2013
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1.6 MB


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Afghan Girl - Ballpoint Pen by VianaArts Afghan Girl - Ballpoint Pen by VianaArts

Afghan Girl - Ballpoint Pen on paper.

I always wanted to draw this ever since I first saw it when I was 8 years old, but kept postponing it because I lacked the skill.

Sharbat Gula (Pashto: شربت ګله‎) (pronounced [ˈʃaɾbat]) (born 1972) is an Afghan woman who was the subject of a famous photograph by journalist Steve McCurry. Gula was living as a refugee in Pakistan during the time of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan when she was photographed. The image brought her recognition when it was featured on the cover of the June 1985 issue of National Geographic Magazine at a time when she was approximately 12 years old. Gula was known throughout the world simply as "the Afghan Girl" until she was formally identified in early 2002.

The photograph has been likened to Leonardo da Vinci's painting of the Mona Lisa and is sometimes popularly referred to as "the Afghan Mona Lisa". Pashtun by ethnicity, Gula was orphaned during the Soviet Union's bombing of Afghanistan and sent to the Nasir Bagh refugee camp in Pakistan in 1984. Her village was attacked by Soviet helicopter gunships sometime in the early 1980s. The Soviet strike killed her parents, forcing her, her siblings and grandmother to hike over the mountains to the Nasir Bagh refugee camp in neighboring Pakistan.

She married in the late 1980s and returned to Afghanistan in 1992. Gula had three daughters: Robina, Zahida, and Alia. A fourth daughter died in infancy. Gula has expressed the hope that her girls will receive the education she was never able to complete.

Took aprox. 120 hours to finish over a period of 40 days. Lost about 30% quality during scanning.

The size is 10" x 8" or 20 cm x 26 cm.
A few wip shots for this drawing:
Other wips:

Thank you for faving and watching.


Due to thousands of questions and my lack of time to answer them all here are the answers for the most frequently asked:

» FAQ « |

More like this from me:

Materials: 8 Bic Cristal Pocket Scents colored ballpoint pens:… also Classic black Bic ballpoint pen and Classic blue Bic ballpoint pen on 300g/m2 A4 smooth paper.

Artwork © Samuel Silva - `VianaArts 2013 All rights reserved.
Reference photo © National Geographic/Steve McCurry All rights reserved. Special written authorization was given to me by Steve McCurry to draw and display this drawing

:icondonotuseplz::iconmyartplz: :iconnot-auth1plz::iconnot-auth2plz::iconnot-auth3plz:
Add a Comment:
MichelleHermes 1 day ago  Student Digital Artist
your technique is amaizing! 
MiyuKinTan 1 day ago  Student General Artist
This is AWESOME.
Final-Boss-Emiko 2 days ago  Student General Artist
These kinds of heavy detailed ball point pen drawings have always fascinated me. xD Mostly because I can't even fathom how tedious it must be. Great work!
MedeaSafir 3 days ago  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
almost scared by her look - very stunning work!!! i like everything abourt it :nod:
stoneddinosaurs 5 days ago  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I can't believe you use pens for this. You're incredible!
KillClooney 6 days ago  New member Hobbyist General Artist
the eyes are intense. very good
XxParanoidAndroidxX 6 days ago  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow those are some intense colors! Amazing work!! 
I concur with everyone's comments, to think it's done with ballpoint pens.
AANNIIMMAAKKSS Apr 16, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
ooh this is the afghan girl from the national geographic magazine cover right? i've watched a documentary about finding her after some years they took the cover for the mag
Trichardsen Apr 15, 2014  Professional Photographer
Just simply amazing, the level of detail in this is incredible. :)
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