Monday, September 20, 2010

Quilled Fail Whale

If you happen to be on Twitter, you're probably familiar with the fail whale. It's a friendly graphic that pops up from to time when the site is over-capacity. Your heart melts, frustration eases... ah yes, that's the whole point.

Here's the real deal as created by Yiying Lu, a multi-talented artist and designer in Sydney. Cute, right?!


One day when the whale was appearing on my screen more often than not, I finally managed to tap out a tweet, "Thinking of quilling the fail whale." This was met with raucous laughter and cheers from my followers... well not really, but several did egg me on.

Quilled Fail Whale

So after a couple of false starts and a good amount of angst over the crazy number of on-edge netting bits, my bad boy took shape.

The true fail whale has endeared himself to many and consequently shows up fairly often around the internet as a sand sculpture, cake, tattoo, carved pumpkin, you name it. But until today, no quilled version that I can find.

Quilled fail whale card

As so often is the case with this sort of thing, there's an interesting backstory. While still a student, Yiying created the design as an ecard for a friend. Later, Twitter's co-founder, Biz Stone, bought the image from iStockphoto for a few dollars, and it quickly caught on as the site's mascot.


Fans promoted it heartily, bringing well-deserved attention to Yiying - consequently she's been able to market fail whale merchandise. Coffee mug, anyone?!

22 comments:

  1. I haven't visited my twitter account in ages so I'm not familiar with the fail whale but your quilled version is perfect. Love it.

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  2. LOL! i really love the fail whale and also thinking about to make it in quill version once ago. your whale expression is much more emotionally expressed hence making it more amused that the original one. love it! :D

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  3. hahahah it's SO CUTE! i love your quilled version, it's adorable! my favorite parts are the tiny birds.
    and i had no idea the fail whale had such a backstory. very cool.

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  4. I'm so glad you did it! It looks great :)

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  5. Never seen the fail whale - I obviously don't use twitter very often! (I don't!)
    I love the idea though! and the back story, and the quilled version is awesome! Cool merchandise too..

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  6. I LOVE your fail whale! Glad it inspired you rather than caused frustration at twitter. So, so beautiful.

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  7. Totally awesome. Wonder what other popular social media things can be quilled?...hmmmm

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  8. yay! well done, ann! it's adorable, you definitely captured its "cute factor" :)

    thanks for the story behind the image, too!

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  9. So cute, Your fail whale as well as all the tweety birds.

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  10. Hi. Ann. I received my prize issue of Cardmaker magazine that I won in a giveaway, just yesterday. Thank you very much fo that . I have already scanned it from back to front and back again. I really enjoy working with paper, and will put a lot of these directions into practice soon. Thanks once more. Regards from sunny South Africa.

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  11. Ann, I love your quilled 'fail whale'...it's good that someone is there to represent the quilling world!
    Licia

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  12. I love your whale! I have a question that I hope you can answer...what kind of paper do you use to quil with? Do you cut your own? I'm having a hard time finding just the right weight of paper to quill with.

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  13. Thanks for the great comments, everyone!

    Eunice, I'm glad you received the magazine - in record time too.

    Kim, I usually buy pre-cut strips online - there are quite a few good suppliers here in the U.S. who sell quality American and English papers. Pre-cut strips take away that extra step, although cutting your own from computer text weight paper works in a pinch. It's fine for practice. For the on-edge strips in this project, I glued two back-to-back for extra stability.

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  14. BRILLIANT! I love him! What a clever girl you are. This is the kind of iconic image that will define this era. Great way to capture it!

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  15. This is too cute especillay the little fishes, I just love it. I have to try to quill a whale soon. Thanks for sharing this Ann, I wouldn't have known otherwise.xx

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  16. I just have to say the whale is spectacular!

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  17. Well, Ann, someone has to say it: Isn't he tweet? Great job!!

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  18. Aww thanks everyone, so glad you liked it.

    Allycat, they're birds actually, but I agree with you - they look a heck of a lot like little flying fish!

    Philippa, you are clever - no one else has said that! :-)

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  19. Great card.. love this whale.. have never been on Twitter but he is adorable.. you did a great job on him... love the story too..

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  20. You're too much, Ann - love your fail whale! Great job.

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