Artist creates stunning portraits with coloured pencils on second-hand vinyls

Melissa Cotton, from Adelaide, draws portraits from Bowie to Prince on records.

An artist has taken Instagram by storm with her amazing portraits of celebrities drawn on vinyl records.

Melissa Cotton, from Adelaide in Australia, has drawn stars from Prince to Troye Sivan, using coloured pencils and second-hand records to create vibrant and unusual portraits.

She works at a supermarket and dedicates her spare time to drawing the music-inspired artworks, which she has created since 2011.

She said: “I first started drawing on records in 2011, I was trying to find an idea for my printmaking final at uni, back before I dropped out of art school, and was listening to the recently-released Bayside album.

“One of the bonus tracks had a lyric ‘the story of his life is etched into a vinyl and on both sides he hears his famous friends’, and being on the hunt for an etching project and having always had a love of portraiture, it instantly just spawned the idea of trying to etch portraits on to records.

“I grabbed some from the nearby second-hand store and as I tried to outline my design I discovered that I could just work on them with coloured pencils, which has always been my favourite medium, so I just kept going.

“I’d say my main inspiration is music, as it was for this entire concept, but I’ve always just really loved to draw faces.

“Sometimes a person’s look or a specific photo of someone can be enough to make me want to draw them, and sometimes it’s finding something that looks challenging and testing myself to see if I can do it.

“They are proper playable vinyls, mostly sourced from second-hand stores but some are donated by friends. I only use old records that are already scratched up so that I’m not destroying anything.”

The artist said one of her favourite works is of Australian actor Tim Pocock, in which 140 different coloured pencils were used.

She said: “That was incredibly challenging in terms of the colour scheme, I kept track and used about 140 different pencils on it, which was absolutely pushing me out of my comfort zone at the time, but it’s also encouraged me to use more colour in my work now, which I enjoy.”

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and we're done! ☇ pencil on second-hand vinyl (sold!)

A post shared by Melissa (@melissajane) on

Her work has been growing in popularity, with more than 7,000 people following her on Instagram, and David Bowie’s son Duncan Jones retweeting her portrait of the star.

She said: “I’m absolutely honoured and overwhelmed with the positive attention. Like I said, I just work at a supermarket and draw in my free time, so it’s completely surreal to me that my drawings are seen by anyone else at all let alone people from all over the world – and sometimes the actual musicians that I’ve drawn.

“David Bowie’s son was definitely unexpected and a huge compliment. I was so happy with how that one turned out.”

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