‘Panini Cheapskates’: Drawing the World Cup stickers at home

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“Got, got, got, need!”

This is the language of football sticker collectors, huddled together and trying to make the required swaps that will help them finish their album.

But if there’s nobody to swap stickers with, it can be a costly hobby. Especially during a World Cup.

It would cost more than $1,000 to fill the Russia 2018 album, according to a British mathematician Paul Harper.

But that’s not a problem for Alex and Sian Pratchett of Oxford in the UK.

They will be drawing their own stickers during the tournament – all 682 of them.

They call themselves Panini Cheapskates and they are starting to get global recognition for their leftfield approach … and likeable drawings.

“The idea came for the last World Cup when some of our mates, who still collect stickers, were making us jealous in the pub. I had collected them for the 1994 tournament so now we thought how we could do this without spending money,” Alex told Al Jazeera.

The couple had no art experience but ended up drawing the entire Brazil 2014. Two years later, they did the same for the Euros.

By then, Panini Cheapskates were getting a lot of positive vibes on social media while building up a following.

Alex and Sian, both charity workers, were able to raise thousands of dollars for a range of charities.

What started as a bit of fun was taking over the Pratchett household.


But come Russia 2018, it has become a family of three and baby Nye has become the priority. That meant somehow squeezing in the drawing of 682 stickers during the tournament.

“Every spare minute that we were not eating, sleeping or keeping our baby in one piece, we’ll be drawing. Presumably, the World Cup games will be on in [the] background but it takes around 15 minutes per sticker so that’s four and a half hours of drawing per day.”

And as a rule, no picture is ever scrapped meaning no matter how badly it is going, they get only one shot at it.

Despite the pressure, the drawings have a lot of charm, considering they are amateurs who are constantly poking fun at their limitations as artists.

But what does Panini, the company making the football stickers, make of all this?

“When we started, it was meant to be a thing that would amuse a few mates,” said Alex.

“If we do it all over again, we won’t call it Panini but the company seems to have taken it in good humour.”

The Italian company, that has been making football stickers for decades, recently handed them an endorsement of sorts.

Their ‘sticker roadshow’ came to Oxford and was spotted by Sian.

“Come and say hello” was their message to Panini Cheapskates on Twitter.

The Pratchetts joked that “it was a trap” and “a team of lawyers was probably waiting for them on the bus”.

But wherever this unique form of art ends up, Alex and Sian know exactly what they’ll be doing for the 32 days of the World Cup.

Those 682 stickers aren’t going to draw themselves.

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