While I was rummaging through a box of my old work files to research this feature about 10 years of Doctor Who Adventures, I found a mysterious plastic folder that I didn’t recognise. Little did I know that this folder would contain one of the most important artistic discoveries of the 21st century.
Inside was a selection of line drawings, all by different, hitherto-undiscovered artists, in wildly varying styles. What is interesting about these pieces is that the subjects and the artists all had one thing in common – they were all popstars of the early Noughties.
Yes, these masterpieces were all drawn backstage at Top Of The Pops for a feature in the show’s spin-off magazine. I’m not quite sure how they came to be in my possession, as I didn’t work there until a few years later, but I’m very happy to have rescued them for future generations to enjoy.
As drawn by Anika Girl Thing
Unfortunately, this looks less like Lolly and more like a woman called Aurora who runs a chakra crystals shop in Brighton Lanes and always smells a bit of joss sticks. Anika’s work has a certain verve but when it comes to capturing a likeness, she’s pretty hopeless. And WHAT is that in Lolly’s mouth? A lollipop? Or a great big joint? Marks off for not bothering to draw the Lolly Pocket, too.
As drawn by Denice Vengagirl
I’ll be honest with you – I had to Google Denice Vengagirl to check which one she actually was. The first thing that comes up is an old Yahoo Groop called “Sexy Vengagirl Denice” which has the description “For all the people who adore Denice, especially her sexy butt and her legs! Let’s talk about her, trade and enjoy pics!”. We’re not concerned with Denice’s sexy butt, though – it’s… erm… her sexy fingers we’re interested in. She’s put them to good use here to give us a surprisingly cheerful Alanis, whose simple, happy features give a tantalising glimpse at what it might it might have been like had she somehow ended up as a Vengagirl herself. More sinister is the first attempt which is showing through from the other side of the paper, in which Alanis’ terrifying features are seemingly formed from the constituent parts of a full English breakfast.
As drawn by Vanessa Amorosi
Absolutely Everybody “hitmaker” Vanessa’s take on Craig David is strikingly bold and experimental. I’m particularly drawn to the contrast between his giant clown’s feet and sparrow’s legs arms. She also depicts Craig as having a 48 inch waist and a head covered in what appears to be giant, pustulating boils, with massive false eyelashes and a trout pout to boot. Daring, brave, and looks absolutely nothing like him, A triumph!
As drawn by Jo S Club 7
Well it’s clear from this fantastic likeness that Jo really does have the flow – the flow of ink from a cheap felt tip pen, that is! She sees Macy as having an aura of surprise or even shock – perhaps this depicts the moment she heard that Still, the follow-up to her mega-hit I Try, had only reached No.18 in the charts.
As drawn by Sabrina Mis-teeq
Sabrina’s confident take on “Slim” Shady features chunky, broad strokes. This approach works well on the main body, but sadly sees her coming unstuck at the finger stage. I would have been interested to see what Su-Elise would have done if faced with this challenge, but alas there’s no drawing from her.
Daphne and Celeste
As drawn by Samantha Mumba
The multi-talented Mumba has chosen to tackle Daphne and Celeste in Manga style, no doubt in tribute to their mildly racist Japanese-themed slow jam, I Love Your Sushi. I’m particularly impressed by the free and frantic penwork on the Farrah Fawcett-style flicky hairdo that Samantha has given Daphne.
As drawn by Paul A1
When A1 regrouped for The Big Reunion, Paul was nowhere to be seen, and there was much speculation over what might have happened to him. On this evidence, I like to imagine he reinvented himself as a contemporary artist. His edgy, scratchy pen technique is perfect for Liam Gallagher, and showing him as being totally boss-eyed is no doubt a subtle reference to the creative differences that sit at the heart of his relationship with brother Noel – one forever going to the shops for milk, the other always coming back with the change.
As drawn by Paul S Club 7. Or possibly Rachel, we can’t quite make out the signature. Actually, it could say Hannah too. Oh GOD!
Whoever the hell actually drew this one has made quite a good job of it, insofar as it is recognisable as a human being in general, and the human being it’s actually supposed to be as well. The lines may be basic, and there’s been no attempt to add any texture or shading, but the musical notes are a nice touch. Things get a bit weird around the belly button area, and I don’t remember Anastacia having cloven hooves, but overall it’s a decent effort.
As drawn by Nikki Girl Thing
This portrait of the “Stepps” favourite could easily be mistaken for a Picasso sketch. He said that “a head is a matter of eyes, nose, mouth, which can be distributed in any way you like’, and Nikki has clearly taken his words to heart. If Capital Radio ever opened an art gallery, this would definitely be on the B-list.
Sean from Five
As drawn by Christian A1
Christian modestly claims here that he can’t draw, but this actually looks a bit like who it’s supposed to be, if you squint a bit. His hesitant, tentative style is the perfect match for Five’s most reluctant member, who was at one point replaced with a cardboard cutout of himself. As Sean tried to erase himself from the group, so Christian has mirrored this by crudely attempting rub out his subject’s features, perfectly evoking the shame and embarrassment that Sean felt at being a teen heart throb.
Andrez from Damage
As drawn by Bradley S Club 7
Bradley’s confident, graphic approach to Andrez’ hair is the most striking element of this composition. According to literally the first Google result for “What do circles represent?”, circles represent the notions of totality, wholeness, original perfection, the Self, the infinite, eternity, timelessness and all cyclic movement, which is appropriate here because Damage eventually came “full circle” and reformed to appear on The Big Reunion.
As drawn by Ashley AllSTARS*
Ashley from AllSTARS* (better known these days as Darren from Hollyoaks) has also had a crack at Eminem, and uses the opportunity to inject a bit of satire into things with the addition of a subversive speech bubble. I’m particularly drawn to the feet here, which look like two tiger loaves. Also of note is the juxtaposition of Eminem’s hand position and facial expression, which seem to suggest that he might be having a cheeky mid-rap fiddle with himself.
Daphne and Celeste
As drawn by Mark A1
I bet when Mark started work on this, he pretended to be all modest, saying “Oh GUYS, I’m so terrible at drawing, I really am, this is going to be so embarrassing”, before doing the whole thing in one continuous stroke then handing over the sheet of paper with a smug grin less than 30 seconds later.
As drawn by Unknown
We end on a bit of a mystery – this shy artist hasn’t signed their work, and it doesn’t look like anyone I even vaguely recognise from the entire history of pop music. Are those curtains? Could it be Ben from A1, perhaps? We will literally never know. Even CaptionBot doesn’t have a clue!