Quilled Twitter 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?!
Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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