Rock, paper, crayons: famous musicians' drawings – in pictures

When asked for a doodle, famous musicians – from Leonard Cohen to Meat Loaf, and Randy Newman to Bryan Ferry – produced some surprisingly revealing artwork
Rockstar doodles : Rockstar Doodles
Duck by Anni-Frid Lyngstad from Abba
Joni Mitchell, Ronnie Wood and Bob Dylan are enjoying second careers as painters, while Miles Davis had a habit of doodling with felt-tip pens on a sketchpad during interviews. An entire generation of British rock musicians, including John Lennon and Ian Dury, emerged from the art schools of the 1960s. So when Michael Henkels, a freelance journalist in Germany, decided to ask each musician he interviewed to draw something for him at the end of their encounters, in many cases he was inviting them to scratch a familiar itch.→
Photograph: Focus / eyevine.
Rockstar doodles : Rockstar Doodles
Pete Townshend gives a hint of his studies at Ealing art college (1961-63) by setting his elaborate caricature of a bemused dog named Towser against a minimalist rendering of David Hockney’s A Bigger Splash. → Photograph: Focus / eyevine.
Rockstar doodles : Rockstar Doodles
Ray Davies (Hornsey College of Art, 1962-63) produces a sketch of a fiendish quadruped. → Photograph: Focus / eyevine.
Rockstar doodles : Rockstar Doodles
Bryan Ferry (fine art at Newcastle University, 1964-67) clearly takes some trouble over a tropical palm tree reminiscent of the one adorning the labels of Roxy Music’s early Island 45s.→ Photograph: Focus / eyevine.
Rockstar doodles : Rockstar Doodles
Although art schools played nothing like as pivotal a role in the evolution of rock in the US, the effect of Art Garfunkel’s art history studies at New York’s Columbia University in the early 1960s can be seen in the effortless grace of his Picasso-esque bird sketch, achieved in a dozen deft strokes.→ Photograph: Focus / eyevine.
Rockstar doodles : Rockstar Doodles
Leonard Cohen’s post-grad year at Columbia was mostly taken up with poetry and music, but his coiled snake, positively pleading for Freudian interpretation, is executed with a deft touch.→ Photograph: Focus / eyevine.
Rockstar doodles : Rockstar Doodles
Others go for cartoon characters: a disturbingly alien Mickey Mouse from the pen of Meat Loaf, who studied theatre at North Texas State University, and a colourful duck from Abba’s Anni-Frid Lyngstad, a performer from the age of 13.→ Photograph: Focus / eyevine.
Rockstar doodles : Rockstar Doodles
There is a sense of wistful yearning about the flowing mane of the pony so carefully sketched by Gloria Gaynor, who grew up in a housing project in Newark, New Jersey. → Photograph: Focus / eyevine.
Rockstar doodles : Rockstar Doodles
Randy Newman, who dropped out of his music studies at UCLA on signing his first recording contract, produces a stunted, puzzled-looking creature – weirdly captioned “Chopin” – straight out of one of the late Mel Calman’s pocket cartoons.→ Photograph: Focus / eyevine.
Rockstar doodles : Rockstar Doodles
Robert Plant abandoned his accountancy training to lay tarmac and work behind a shop counter while serving his apprenticeship as a teenage blues singer. His startled elephant, one foot raised and eyes ablaze, has an assurance that might have been perfected in a thousand hotel-notepad doodles during Led Zeppelin’s triumphal world tours in the 1970s.→ Photograph: Focus / eyevine.
Rockstar doodles : Rockstar Doodles
Like Plant, Mike Oldfield and Paul Weller went on the road as teenagers. The creator of Tubular Bells sketches a strange vision of a baleful seabird soaring above the Twin Towers.→ Photograph: Focus / eyevine.
Rockstar doodles : Rockstar Doodles
As for Weller, had he been born a dozen years earlier, he might well have joined Townshend, his hero, at art college. His doodle is a “hybrid lamb and HMV dog” – an unusual incarnation of Nipper, the faithful terrier whose image, painted by Francis Barraud in 1898, became a symbol of the industry whose glory years these artists manqués shared • Photograph: Focus / eyevine.

Contributor

Richard Williams

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