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Afghan Girl - Ballpoint Pen


Afghan Girl - Ballpoint Pen on paper.

16-10-2014 Update: I am re-releasing this drawing in a much higher resolution, so people can see its true detail. Enjoy!

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:
Tiger - Bic Ballpoint Pen by VianaArts Ocelot - Bic Ballpoint Pen by VianaArts Angry Tiger - Ballpoint Pen by VianaArts Redhead Girl - Ballpoint Pen by VianaArts Palace garden in Kyoto, Japan, Bic Ballpoint Pen by VianaArts

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:
Image details
Image size
2500x3232px 1.58 MB
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Tigerchu's avatar

You got her dazzling eyes pretty good...I remember her...

Beautiful 😍

Pretty please, if you ever feel inspired to do so, also draw the photograph of this woman decades later in life when they found her again and took her photo for the magazine a second time.

Pluma1980's avatar

I really would like to know how you get the detail of the skin. It´s pretty amazing. I want to practice with my draws in that aspect, trying to achieve more clean textures and shadings than the ones I am getting now. Any advice will be appreciated. Thanks.

Pluma1980's avatar
Incredible... The colors are amazing.. great work capturing the escence of the image.
Drgnslr441's avatar
I fell in love with the original photo that inspired this piece, and your work here is truly AWE inspiring!
This is the most faithful reproduction of McCurry's photo I have ever seen. Excellent work, I am envious of your talent.
FalconerB's avatar
Brilliant! It is almost identical.
swissnaturelover's avatar
The eyes of Sharbat Gula.... :hug:
spacewolflord's avatar
I have to admit that I have seen this before but never noticed her eyes.  Those are amazingly well done and makes one think about how you think of how 'should' be.
Thank you for sharing this and all your work.
Pyragus's avatar
This is all in ball point pen? where do you get such colors in Ball point? I would love to get some. This is marvelous I love your red headed girl as well! 
VianaArts's avatar
Hi. I have 8 colors and black. I get them from amazon. Just type 'color ballpoint pens'.
Pyragus's avatar
Thanks so much for the info! I will have to get me some... I have pigment liners but haven't ever mastered anything so amazing! 
Ana-MV's avatar
I've got no words for this one. Simply spectacular!!
leafman22's avatar
this is the so-called "Fata Afgana" (in romanian), that also rhymes with fata morgana (if you know the expression)
anyways, amazing job ! keep up the good work
Amii1512's avatar
She is shooked
jesus H christ.  amazing.  good job.  Seek mental help ;)
Big-Creper2134's avatar
That isn't even a drawing, found the EXACT same thing on the internet. Wow, so rude to now even give credit?
VianaArts's avatar
This is a drawing made from scratch of the original picture. I was given personal authorisation from the photographer. Read the description, credit is there.
uderzoin's avatar
Simply unbelievable.
MadDadII's avatar

I am absolutely blown away by the quality, the depth, the colour, technique ... I could go on and on!

My friend, you are so incredibly talented! So many folk, including myself, would be immensely proud to have the ability and talent that you have.

My heartiest congratulations on this and all your other achievements ... Whatever you do, please don't ever stop with your art ... it's an incredible inspiration to me, and, I'm certain, millions of others all around the globe!

I am assuming your first name is Samuel ... the signature on the artwork ... I hope I'm correct ... So please keep it going, brother!

God bless, Samuel!
VianaArts's avatar
Hi, thank you very kindly for all the support and lovely comment. If at least one person feels inspired, then that makes me happy and it means a lot to me.
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