AN OXFORD couple’s bizarre attempts to draw their own World Cup sticker book have become an internet hit.
Alex and Sian Pratchett, of Iffley Road, have had 30,000 hits on their blog, Panini Cheapskates.
Mr Pratchett, 30, started collecting stickers for the 1994 World Cup but never filled his Panini book.
He told wife Sian, 30, he would fill his 2014 book and she came up with a money-saving way to do it.
Mr Pratchett said: “My sensible wife said ‘that’s nice, but perhaps there are better things we could spend our money on?’ “We got the album for free from the Co-op in Iffley Road and we’re making our own stickers.”
They got out the felt tips just as the first match, Brazil v Croatia, kicked off.
The couple started a blog to share their creations with friends, but soon it started growing “beyond their control”, said Mr Pratchett.
Alex with stickers for England's Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard
He added: “I think there has been gentle bemusement. People think it is a strange thing to do if you can’t even draw, but we’re not taking ourselves too seriously.
“Everyone likes stickers.”
Among the superstars they have sketched are Belgium’s Vincent Kompany, England’s Steven Gerrard and Argentina’s Lionel Messi The pair now have 600 followers on Twitter, who are giving mixed reviews of the couple’s artistry.
Mr Pratchett, who manages Scribbler card shop next to Bonn Square, admitted his wife was better than him at drawing.
He said: “I am absolutely hopeless. Sian is a lot more arty than me.”
The couple, originally from South Wales, have been together since they were 17.
Mrs Pratchett came to Oxford Brookes to study occupational therapy, and her husband followed her here.
Mr Pratchett said the comments on one sport website that picked up the stickers story were “a little fruity”, but on Twitter “everyone has been very encouraging”.
Each portrait takes about 20 minutes, and the couple are filling up the book at 20 a day. With 114 stickers drawn so far, the couple are hoping to finish the remaining 525 by the final.
Mr Pratchett said: “It’s taking up so much of our time, while I’m at work I draw pictures on my lunch break. It’s like having a second job.”
With Amazon charging £39.39 for 100 packs of five and £2.99 for a pack of 31, the minimum spend to fill the album would be about £54, if those packs contained all the available stickers between them.
Follow the blog at paninicheapskates.wordpress.com