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Submitted on
August 14, 2013
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1.6 MB


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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.
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:
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AANNIIMMAAKKSS 3 hours ago  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 13 hours ago  Professional Photographer
Just simply amazing, the level of detail in this is incredible. :)
AshaAnne 1 day ago  New member Student Traditional Artist
beautiful work as always
CantiRockits 1 day ago  Student Traditional Artist
very vivid colors.  it amazes me what you can do with ballpoint pen :O
NatashaDSaville 1 day ago  Professional Digital Artist
I love the original photo, your render is simply perfect :) amazing work!
WillWorks 2 days ago   General Artist
Looks very detailed.  It is amazing that you got this drawing looking like a photograph with only a ballpoint pen.  :)
CaraLeighArt 2 days ago  New member Hobbyist Artist
So striking. You must be proud of what you can do :-)
DavidLuna 5 days ago  Hobbyist General Artist
you are just an artist from other world. Your perfection cant be human. Congrats on this, but also on all you other works. Theyre perfects
daniel-watson 6 days ago  New member
stunning piece of work ;-)
CatCouch Apr 5, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Great job capturing the essence of such an iconic picture! Those eyes are unbelievably vibrant.

Love seeing the WIP shots too, it's as inspiring and as impressive as art can get in my opinion!
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