Cheap Panini stickers - these guys are drawing their own

Fill your Panini album for free

Words: JJ Dunning

A couple from Oxford will spend the whole of Euro 2016 hand-drawing Panini stickers. Find out why…

Panini World Cup stickers first appeared in the UK in 1970. Since that year’s event in Mexico, they’ve become part of the excitement of any major football tournament. Sometimes - we’re looking at you, South Africa 2010 - collecting them can be more exciting than the tournament itself. Especially if you get a shiny in your pack.

But when Oxford couple Sian Williams and Alex Pratchett bought a Panini album ahead of the 2014 Brazil World Cup, they quickly realised that completing it would be an expensive task. In order to save money, they came up with an ingenious plan…

Below you can…

  • Watch a short film about their heroic crusade to draw all 639 World Cup 2014 stickers in 32 days
  • Find out why they’re going to do it all again for Euro 2016 (this time doing 800 stickers in 30 days) 
  • Take our quiz - can you identify 10 players from Sian and Alex’s drawings?
Panini stickers of Willian and Robin Van Persie from the 2014 World Cup

Brazil’s Willian and Holland’s Robin Van Persie, as drawn from the World Cup 2014 album.

© Paninicheapskates

THE RED BULLETIN: What inspired you to draw Panini stickers in the first place? 

ALEX PRATCHETT: Well… going into the 2014 World Cup, I mooted the idea of collecting the stickers to my other half Sian, who quite rightly pointed out the insane likely cost of doing so. It’s somewhere around £400-500, depending on who you ask.

On the eve of the tournament we decided to try and complete the album - which was available for free - for zero pounds and zero pence. The most logical way was by drawing the stickers ourselves, regardless of our total lack of artistic talent.

Filmmaker Sam King made this short about Sian and Alex’s attempt to draw every World Cup 2014 Panini sticker.

© Sam King Film

“It is a lot of work, pretty much like having a second full-time job.”
Panini Cheapskate Alex Pratchett

We’ve watched the video and it sounds like it was hard work last time – what’s made you want do it all again?!

We’re raising money for charity this time, which gave us a reason and some motivation to commit to it all over again.

It is a lot of work, pretty much like having a second full-time job. We’ve calculated that 800 individual drawings spread over 30 days, at about 15-20 minutes each, comes to 200-250-ish hours of drawing between the two of us. That’s four hours of drawing each, per day. 

Which era/tournament is your favourite kind of Panini sticker?

The 80s and 90s seem to have been something of a golden age. There’s just something about that little Italia ‘90 football-headed Italian-flag-limbed mascot (named ‘Ciao’, I believe) nestling in the top-right of the sticker. I can’t see them being bettered.

Panini cheapskates Salomon Kalou and Roger Espinoza

Alex reckons Honduras’ Roger Espinoza looks like he’s holding his breath, while Ivory Coast’s Salomon Kalou is another favourite.

© Paninicheapskates

Which sticker is your favourite?

There are a few we’re particularly fond of from 2014. There’s one of Salomon Kalou which still makes me smile even though I’ve seen it a thousand times. Sian did a cracking Danny Welbeck. She’s also quite proud of her tin-foil shinies. There’s also a half-decent Luis Suarez, a hollow-cheeked Marouane Fellaini, a slightly chubby Frank LampardPepe as Thriller-era Michael JacksonJames Rodriguez looking profoundly depressed, a Honduran named Roger Espinoza looking like he’s been holding his breath for two minutes… they all stick in the memory.

Who are you looking forward to drawing during Euro 2016?

Panini cheapskates Sian and Alex will draw 800 stickers in 29 days

Sian and Alex plan to draw all 800 Euro 2016 stickers in just 29 days.

© Paninicheapskates

Though we live in Oxford, we both hail from Wales. Gareth Bale’s samurai top-knot and Joe Ledley’s full, luscious beard are both top of the list. We’d also like another crack at Cristiano Ronaldo… he was one of the very, very first ones we did in 2014. We were even worse at drawing then than we are now - he just looked like a big yellow thumb. 

Has anyone from Panini been in touch and what do they think of your drawing?

They’ve been following us on Twitter since 2014, but I think they’re just keeping an eye on us… We’ve never tried to make a penny for ourselves from all this foolishness, so here’s hoping Panini don’t mind us taking their name in vain to raise a tidy sum for charity.

Quiz - can you identify the players from the drawings?

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06/2016 Red Bulletin

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