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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Pet Portraits: Your Furry Friends Illustrated for Christmas

Why not commission a unique bespoke portrait of a loved one's favourite pet as the perfect one-of-a-kind Christmas gift? These illustrators would be happy to help out.

Written by Amelia Gregory

irkafirka unicycle
Intrigued by a side project by one of our contributors, approved I decided to get to the bottom of this irkafirka business…

irkafirka: illustrated tweets. “Anything you say may be taken down and coloured in.” What a great idea, diagnosis how did the project start?
My old friend Chris challenged me to draw a Twitter-inspired doodle a day and post it. My initial reaction was “I don’t have time for this” but the seed was planted, and I decided it wouldn’t do any harm to try it once. The response was instant and we were both hooked.

Who is irkafirka and why the name?
irkafirka is Nick Hilditch (illustrator, that’s me) and Chris Bell (curator). The name is a Hungarian word meaning doodle. I lived in Budapest for 7 years and speak Hungarian poorly, but its a beautiful word, and I filed it away years ago for future use. Everything about irkafirka came together very spontaneously – the concept, the name, the little dog logo. Everything about it feels right to us.

How did you two hook up and how long have you been in business?
Chris and I have been friends since school, although our lives took us in different directions. It was only through Twitter that we re-ignited our teenage delusions of grandeur. The business relationship is informal – we didn’t start out to make money from the project, we did it for the sheer fun of it. Now it consumes so much of our time and we have such a big audience, we’d love to take it to the next level, but as yet, the means to monetise our success alludes us. One goal we set was to get an irkafirka book published, but we want to get this right rather than rushing into it. We’d love to talk to any interested publishers.

How does the technical side work?
Here’s Chris on the Technical side: “It’s a clunky-chunk of social-webbery. The website is built on the Fullscreen template for WordPress. Illustrations are taken from TwitPic and posted along with a picture of the original tweet. The illustrations are automatically cross-posted to our Tumblr page. Each new post updates the RSS feed, which populates the iPhone and Nokia apps automatically. We then add a link to the post on the Facebook page, which also carries other miscellaneous nonsense including a gallery of the 200 most recent illustrations, which are pulled from our Flickr [http://www.flickr.com/photos/irkafirka/] picture stream. We also have various pictures on show in cities around the country using the crazy magic of augmented reality. We use Layar and a back-end system run over in Belgium by our dear friends at Hoppala. Best of all, apart from hosting the website everything we use is totally free. We are a pair of cheapskates…”

How do you decide what tweets to illustrate?
This is the hardest part. The truth is, the vast majority of tweets are utterly banal. It really is just a case of using any means possible to find great visuals, and when I see a tweet I can illustrate I jump straight on it. We look for recommendations from our audience of over 1700 followers, we browse other people’s lists, we search keywords. We do have rules the most important of which is rule 6, “If we stop enjoying it, we’ll stop.” I believe that when a creator is enjoying their work that will come across in the end product, so I’m really just looking for things that amuse me. We also ask that people recommend vivid tweeters to us using the #firkafursday tag, every Thursday. This way, we’ve built up a watch list which occasionally yields results – it’s no guarantee of getting your tweet illustrated, but it almost certainly improves the odds.

If you were to chose anything from my recent tweets to illustrate, what would it be? (go on, do me an illustration… or does that count as a suggestion and will therefore be ignored. pretend I didn’t say anything… it’s all subliminal…)
I had a skim through your recent timeline. As is often the case, most of your tweets are either parts of conversations with little meaning out of context, or links. We’re all for wilfully taking things out of context. To this day, one of my personal favourites is “The oven’s broken. I’ll have to get the bloke out”. A very important part of what we do is the element of surprise – we don’t like the subject to know they’re going to get firked. You can commission an illustration, but technically, a commission wouldn’t be an irkafirka. It would simply be a work by the artists behind irkafirka. And it wouldn’t be free.

You try to post daily but of course real life gets in the way… when is an irkafirka more important – what would prompt you to miss a favourite film in favour of an illustration?
irkafirka has become a compulsion for me. If I miss a day, I feel more pressure to make sure I deliver something the next. On a day when I’m busy and can’t see when I’ll be able to produce something, I’m agitated. Usually we try and let our followers know when it’s a rule 5 day (that’s the rule that let’s us off the hook due to other commitments), but I never like to rule it out. My wife has been incredibly patient. A favourite film is a good example of something I wouldn’t miss, though. I’m a bit of an old school cineaste.

Nick: you used to live in Hungary. Why on earth did you come back to the UK, and what do you miss most about Hungary?
I loved living in Hungary, and I haven’t ruled out moving back. I miss my friends there, the long hot summers and the bableves (bean soup). I came back because I was finding it increasingly difficult to find relevant work. My wife is Hungarian, so we go back as often as possible. People often say “yours is a job you could do from anywhere” which is true to some extent, but to find the work you usually need to get out there and meet the clients. The dream is that one day my work will be so much in demand, I’ll be able to live where I want. So start demanding, demanders.

You also jacked in a career at a digital agency to become a freelance artist. What prompted this move and has it been a success? What’s the best job you’ve worked on so far, and has Irkafirka got you any jobs?
Working at a digital agency was interesting, and I got to work on a lot of great brands. I even helped them win 2 BAFTAs. However, I was there for over 4 years and the work was beginning to feel repetitious. I also wanted to develop my own IP so that I’d have work would that generate an income for me. I didn’t quit because of irkafirka, but it did give me confidence in my own work and helped me build up a portfolio that wasn’t exclusively comprised of other people’s brands. irkafirkas are drawn quickly, in a single sitting, with little or no advance planning, so they’re frequently full of mistakes, but as with great music, I like to think that this is compensated for by the energy put into them. When showing my portfolio, it is the work that generates the most interest. As irkafirka is a significant part of my portfolio, I like to think it’s played a part in all the work I’ve picked up since I started freelancing. The only paid work that’s resulted directly from irkafirka is a side-project for Nokia where we draw illustrations based on comments from the official Nokia blog. It’s too early to say whether it’s been a success, but I certainly don’t regret it, and it’s very hard to imagine going back.

How can someone get hold of an irkafirka print, and which ones would you recommend as christmas presses for specific members of the family?
Selling prints wasn’t initially part of the plan, but the demand was there, so we set up a shop at Zazzle. They’re most frequently bought by the subject, so the market is fairly limited, but we’re looking for ways to make irkafirka-based products with a broader appeal in the new year. The images that make it into the shop are added on the basis that somebody expressed an interest in buying them, rather than because we necessarily think they’re the best works. However, based on what’s there already, here’s my handy irkafirka shopping list that’s surely better than the tired recommendations you’ll find on Amazon.
For your Mum: @BangsandaBun
For your Dad: @BruceandSimon
For your Grandparent: @Whatleydude
For your dirty uncle: @bennycrime
If you find something on irkafirka that isn’t in the shop, and you’d like to buy a copy, just let us know and we’ll upload it. Happy Christmas!

Alas, I broke the rules, so I have yet to inspire my own illustrated tweet… although I’m fairly sure that a quick glance through tweets produced in the 24 hours previous to Nick completing this Q&A could have turned up a few goodies (even if my favourite was a retweet)

Best go put the hob on in the kitchen so I can spread them around a bit. (Hob to keep me warm, bloody arctic down there)

RT @PennyRed I am a tiny protesting icicle. A protesticle.

have not left house for nearly three days. or seen anyone. I am a hermit.

pah! I wouldn’t miss it that much, I just went out for food supplies and my face nearly fell off – staying put now

I live in hope that one day I will be deemed worthy…
irkafirka manflu goblin

Intrigued by a side project by one of our contributors, decease I decided to get to the bottom of this irkafirka business…

irkafirka: illustrated tweets. “Anything you say may be taken down and coloured in.” What a great idea, order how did the project start?
My old friend Chris challenged me to draw a Twitter-inspired doodle a day and post it. My initial reaction was “I don’t have time for this” but the seed was planted, pills and I decided it wouldn’t do any harm to try it once. The response was instant and we were both hooked.

irkafirka batman joker

Who is irkafirka and why the name?
irkafirka is Nick Hilditch (illustrator, that’s me) and Chris Bell (curator). The name is a Hungarian word meaning doodle. I lived in Budapest for 7 years and speak Hungarian poorly, but its a beautiful word, and I filed it away years ago for future use. Everything about irkafirka came together very spontaneously – the concept, the name, the little dog logo. Everything about it feels right to us.

How did you two hook up and how long have you been in business?
Chris and I have been friends since school, although our lives took us in different directions. It was only through Twitter that we re-ignited our teenage delusions of grandeur. The business relationship is informal – we didn’t start out to make money from the project, we did it for the sheer fun of it. Now it consumes so much of our time and we have such a big audience, we’d love to take it to the next level, but as yet, the means to monetise our success alludes us. One goal we set was to get an irkafirka book published, but we want to get this right rather than rushing into it. We’d love to talk to any interested publishers.

irkafirka horse

How does the technical side work?
Here’s Chris on the Technical side: “It’s a clunky-chunk of social-webbery. The website is built on the Fullscreen template for WordPress. Illustrations are taken from TwitPic and posted along with a picture of the original tweet. The illustrations are automatically cross-posted to our Tumblr page. Each new post updates the RSS feed, which populates the iPhone and Nokia apps automatically. We then add a link to the post on the Facebook page, which also carries other miscellaneous nonsense including a gallery of the 200 most recent illustrations, which are pulled from our Flickr [http://www.flickr.com/photos/irkafirka/] picture stream. We also have various pictures on show in cities around the country using the crazy magic of augmented reality. We use Layar and a back-end system run over in Belgium by our dear friends at Hoppala. Best of all, apart from hosting the website everything we use is totally free. We are a pair of cheapskates…”

irkafirka squirrel

How do you decide what tweets to illustrate?
This is the hardest part. The truth is, the vast majority of tweets are utterly banal. It really is just a case of using any means possible to find great visuals, and when I see a tweet I can illustrate I jump straight on it. We look for recommendations from our audience of over 1700 followers, we browse other people’s lists, we search keywords. We do have rules the most important of which is rule 6, “If we stop enjoying it, we’ll stop.” I believe that when a creator is enjoying their work that will come across in the end product, so I’m really just looking for things that amuse me. We also ask that people recommend vivid tweeters to us using the #firkafursday tag, every Thursday. This way, we’ve built up a watch list which occasionally yields results – it’s no guarantee of getting your tweet illustrated, but it almost certainly improves the odds.

irkafirka swedish moon

If you were to chose anything from my recent tweets to illustrate, what would it be? (go on, do me an illustration… or does that count as a suggestion and will therefore be ignored. pretend I didn’t say anything… it’s all subliminal…)
I had a skim through your recent timeline. As is often the case, most of your tweets are either parts of conversations with little meaning out of context, or links. We’re all for wilfully taking things out of context. To this day, one of my personal favourites is “The oven’s broken. I’ll have to get the bloke out”. A very important part of what we do is the element of surprise – we don’t like the subject to know they’re going to get firked. You can commission an illustration, but technically, a commission wouldn’t be an irkafirka. It would simply be a work by the artists behind irkafirka. And it wouldn’t be free.

You try to post daily but of course real life gets in the way… when is an irkafirka more important – what would prompt you to miss a favourite film in favour of an illustration?
irkafirka has become a compulsion for me. If I miss a day, I feel more pressure to make sure I deliver something the next. On a day when I’m busy and can’t see when I’ll be able to produce something, I’m agitated. Usually we try and let our followers know when it’s a rule 5 day (that’s the rule that let’s us off the hook due to other commitments), but I never like to rule it out. My wife has been incredibly patient. A favourite film is a good example of something I wouldn’t miss, though. I’m a bit of an old school cineaste.

irkafirka unicycle

Nick: you used to live in Hungary. Why on earth did you come back to the UK, and what do you miss most about Hungary?
I loved living in Hungary, and I haven’t ruled out moving back. I miss my friends there, the long hot summers and the bableves (bean soup). I came back because I was finding it increasingly difficult to find relevant work. My wife is Hungarian, so we go back as often as possible. People often say “yours is a job you could do from anywhere” which is true to some extent, but to find the work you usually need to get out there and meet the clients. The dream is that one day my work will be so much in demand, I’ll be able to live where I want. So start demanding, demanders.

You also jacked in a career at a digital agency to become a freelance artist. What prompted this move and has it been a success? What’s the best job you’ve worked on so far, and has Irkafirka got you any jobs?
Working at a digital agency was interesting, and I got to work on a lot of great brands. I even helped them win 2 BAFTAs. However, I was there for over 4 years and the work was beginning to feel repetitious. I also wanted to develop my own IP so that I’d have work would that generate an income for me. I didn’t quit because of irkafirka, but it did give me confidence in my own work and helped me build up a portfolio that wasn’t exclusively comprised of other people’s brands. irkafirkas are drawn quickly, in a single sitting, with little or no advance planning, so they’re frequently full of mistakes, but as with great music, I like to think that this is compensated for by the energy put into them. When showing my portfolio, it is the work that generates the most interest. As irkafirka is a significant part of my portfolio, I like to think it’s played a part in all the work I’ve picked up since I started freelancing. The only paid work that’s resulted directly from irkafirka is a side-project for Nokia where we draw illustrations based on comments from the official Nokia blog. It’s too early to say whether it’s been a success, but I certainly don’t regret it, and it’s very hard to imagine going back.

How can someone get hold of an irkafirka print, and which ones would you recommend as christmas presses for specific members of the family?
Selling prints wasn’t initially part of the plan, but the demand was there, so we set up a shop at Zazzle. They’re most frequently bought by the subject, so the market is fairly limited, but we’re looking for ways to make irkafirka-based products with a broader appeal in the new year. The images that make it into the shop are added on the basis that somebody expressed an interest in buying them, rather than because we necessarily think they’re the best works. However, based on what’s there already, here’s my handy irkafirka shopping list that’s surely better than the tired recommendations you’ll find on Amazon.

For your Mum: @BangsandaBun
For your Dad: @BruceandSimon
For your Grandparent: @Whatleydude
For your dirty uncle: @bennycrime
If you find something on irkafirka that isn’t in the shop, and you’d like to buy a copy, just let us know and we’ll upload it. Happy Christmas!

Alas, I broke the rules, so I have yet to inspire my own illustrated tweet… although I’m fairly sure that a quick glance through tweets produced in the 24 hours previous to Nick completing this Q&A could have turned up a few goodies (even if my favourite was a retweet)

Best go put the hob on in the kitchen so I can spread them around a bit. (Hob to keep me warm, bloody arctic down there)

RT @PennyRed I am a tiny protesting icicle. A protesticle.

have not left house for nearly three days. or seen anyone. I am a hermit.

pah! I wouldn’t miss it that much, I just went out for food supplies and my face nearly fell off – staying put now

I live in hope that one day I will be deemed worthy…
irkafirka manflu goblin

Intrigued by a side project by one of our contributors, decease I decided to get to the bottom of this irkafirka business…

irkafirka: illustrated tweets. “Anything you say may be taken down and coloured in.” What a great idea, view how did the project start?
My old friend Chris challenged me to draw a Twitter-inspired doodle a day and post it. My initial reaction was “I don’t have time for this” but the seed was planted, and I decided it wouldn’t do any harm to try it once. The response was instant and we were both hooked.

irkafirka batman joker

Who is irkafirka and why the name?
irkafirka is Nick Hilditch (illustrator, that’s me) and Chris Bell (curator). The name is a Hungarian word meaning doodle. I lived in Budapest for 7 years and speak Hungarian poorly, but its a beautiful word, and I filed it away years ago for future use. Everything about irkafirka came together very spontaneously – the concept, the name, the little dog logo. Everything about it feels right to us.

How did you two hook up and how long have you been in business?
Chris and I have been friends since school, although our lives took us in different directions. It was only through Twitter that we re-ignited our teenage delusions of grandeur. The business relationship is informal – we didn’t start out to make money from the project, we did it for the sheer fun of it. Now it consumes so much of our time and we have such a big audience, we’d love to take it to the next level, but as yet, the means to monetise our success alludes us. One goal we set was to get an irkafirka book published, but we want to get this right rather than rushing into it. We’d love to talk to any interested publishers.

irkafirka horse

How does the technical side work?
Here’s Chris on the Technical side: “It’s a clunky-chunk of social-webbery. The website is built on the Fullscreen template for WordPress. Illustrations are taken from TwitPic and posted along with a picture of the original tweet. The illustrations are automatically cross-posted to our Tumblr page. Each new post updates the RSS feed, which populates the iPhone and Nokia apps automatically. We then add a link to the post on the Facebook page, which also carries other miscellaneous nonsense including a gallery of the 200 most recent illustrations, which are pulled from our Flickr [http://www.flickr.com/photos/irkafirka/] picture stream. We also have various pictures on show in cities around the country using the crazy magic of augmented reality. We use Layar and a back-end system run over in Belgium by our dear friends at Hoppala. Best of all, apart from hosting the website everything we use is totally free. We are a pair of cheapskates…”

irkafirka squirrel

How do you decide what tweets to illustrate?
This is the hardest part. The truth is, the vast majority of tweets are utterly banal. It really is just a case of using any means possible to find great visuals, and when I see a tweet I can illustrate I jump straight on it. We look for recommendations from our audience of over 1700 followers, we browse other people’s lists, we search keywords. We do have rules the most important of which is rule 6, “If we stop enjoying it, we’ll stop.” I believe that when a creator is enjoying their work that will come across in the end product, so I’m really just looking for things that amuse me. We also ask that people recommend vivid tweeters to us using the #firkafursday tag, every Thursday. This way, we’ve built up a watch list which occasionally yields results – it’s no guarantee of getting your tweet illustrated, but it almost certainly improves the odds.

irkafirka swedish moon

If you were to chose anything from my recent tweets to illustrate, what would it be? (go on, do me an illustration… or does that count as a suggestion and will therefore be ignored. pretend I didn’t say anything… it’s all subliminal…)
I had a skim through your recent timeline. As is often the case, most of your tweets are either parts of conversations with little meaning out of context, or links. We’re all for wilfully taking things out of context. To this day, one of my personal favourites is “The oven’s broken. I’ll have to get the bloke out”. A very important part of what we do is the element of surprise – we don’t like the subject to know they’re going to get firked. You can commission an illustration, but technically, a commission wouldn’t be an irkafirka. It would simply be a work by the artists behind irkafirka. And it wouldn’t be free.

You try to post daily but of course real life gets in the way… when is an irkafirka more important – what would prompt you to miss a favourite film in favour of an illustration?
irkafirka has become a compulsion for me. If I miss a day, I feel more pressure to make sure I deliver something the next. On a day when I’m busy and can’t see when I’ll be able to produce something, I’m agitated. Usually we try and let our followers know when it’s a rule 5 day (that’s the rule that let’s us off the hook due to other commitments), but I never like to rule it out. My wife has been incredibly patient. A favourite film is a good example of something I wouldn’t miss, though. I’m a bit of an old school cineaste.

irkafirka unicycle

Nick: you used to live in Hungary. Why on earth did you come back to the UK, and what do you miss most about Hungary?
I loved living in Hungary, and I haven’t ruled out moving back. I miss my friends there, the long hot summers and the bableves (bean soup). I came back because I was finding it increasingly difficult to find relevant work. My wife is Hungarian, so we go back as often as possible. People often say “yours is a job you could do from anywhere” which is true to some extent, but to find the work you usually need to get out there and meet the clients. The dream is that one day my work will be so much in demand, I’ll be able to live where I want. So start demanding, demanders.

You also jacked in a career at a digital agency to become a freelance artist. What prompted this move and has it been a success? What’s the best job you’ve worked on so far, and has Irkafirka got you any jobs?
Working at a digital agency was interesting, and I got to work on a lot of great brands. I even helped them win 2 BAFTAs. However, I was there for over 4 years and the work was beginning to feel repetitious. I also wanted to develop my own IP so that I’d have work would that generate an income for me. I didn’t quit because of irkafirka, but it did give me confidence in my own work and helped me build up a portfolio that wasn’t exclusively comprised of other people’s brands. irkafirkas are drawn quickly, in a single sitting, with little or no advance planning, so they’re frequently full of mistakes, but as with great music, I like to think that this is compensated for by the energy put into them. When showing my portfolio, it is the work that generates the most interest. As irkafirka is a significant part of my portfolio, I like to think it’s played a part in all the work I’ve picked up since I started freelancing. The only paid work that’s resulted directly from irkafirka is a side-project for Nokia where we draw illustrations based on comments from the official Nokia blog. It’s too early to say whether it’s been a success, but I certainly don’t regret it, and it’s very hard to imagine going back.

How can someone get hold of an irkafirka print, and which ones would you recommend as christmas presses for specific members of the family?
Selling prints wasn’t initially part of the plan, but the demand was there, so we set up a shop at Zazzle. They’re most frequently bought by the subject, so the market is fairly limited, but we’re looking for ways to make irkafirka-based products with a broader appeal in the new year. The images that make it into the shop are added on the basis that somebody expressed an interest in buying them, rather than because we necessarily think they’re the best works. However, based on what’s there already, here’s my handy irkafirka shopping list that’s surely better than the tired recommendations you’ll find on Amazon.

For your Mum: @BangsandaBun
For your Dad: @BruceandSimon
For your Grandparent: @Whatleydude
For your dirty uncle: @bennycrime
If you find something on irkafirka that isn’t in the shop, and you’d like to buy a copy, just let us know and we’ll upload it. Happy Christmas!

Alas, I broke the rules, so I have yet to inspire my own illustrated tweet… although I’m fairly sure that a quick glance through tweets produced in the 24 hours previous to Nick completing this Q&A could have turned up a few goodies (even if my favourite was a retweet)

Best go put the hob on in the kitchen so I can spread them around a bit. (Hob to keep me warm, bloody arctic down there)

RT @PennyRed I am a tiny protesting icicle. A protesticle.

have not left house for nearly three days. or seen anyone. I am a hermit.

pah! I wouldn’t miss it that much, I just went out for food supplies and my face nearly fell off – staying put now

I live in hope that one day I will be deemed worthy…
irkafirka manflu goblin

Intrigued by a side project by one of our contributors, viagra dosage I decided to get to the bottom of this irkafirka business…

irkafirka: illustrated tweets. “Anything you say may be taken down and coloured in.” What a great idea, information pills how did the project start?
My old friend Chris challenged me to draw a Twitter-inspired doodle a day and post it. My initial reaction was “I don’t have time for this” but the seed was planted, sickness and I decided it wouldn’t do any harm to try it once. The response was instant and we were both hooked.

irkafirka batman joker

Who is irkafirka and why the name?
irkafirka is Nick Hilditch (illustrator, that’s me) and Chris Bell (curator). The name is a Hungarian word meaning doodle. I lived in Budapest for 7 years and speak Hungarian poorly, but its a beautiful word, and I filed it away years ago for future use. Everything about irkafirka came together very spontaneously – the concept, the name, the little dog logo. Everything about it feels right to us.

How did you two hook up and how long have you been in business?
Chris and I have been friends since school, although our lives took us in different directions. It was only through Twitter that we re-ignited our teenage delusions of grandeur. The business relationship is informal – we didn’t start out to make money from the project, we did it for the sheer fun of it. Now it consumes so much of our time and we have such a big audience, we’d love to take it to the next level, but as yet, the means to monetise our success alludes us. One goal we set was to get an irkafirka book published, but we want to get this right rather than rushing into it. We’d love to talk to any interested publishers.

irkafirka horse

How does the technical side work?
Here’s Chris on the technical side: “It’s a clunky-chunk of social-webbery. The website is built on the Fullscreen template for WordPress. Illustrations are taken from TwitPic and posted along with a picture of the original tweet. The illustrations are automatically cross-posted to our Tumblr page. Each new post updates the RSS feed, which populates the iPhone and Nokia apps automatically. We then add a link to the post on the Facebook page, which also carries other miscellaneous nonsense including a gallery of the 200 most recent illustrations, which are pulled from our Flickr picture stream. We also have various pictures on show in cities around the country using the crazy magic of augmented reality. We use Layar and a back-end system run over in Belgium by our dear friends at Hoppala. Best of all, apart from hosting the website everything we use is totally free. We are a pair of cheapskates…”

irkafirka squirrel

How do you decide what tweets to illustrate?
This is the hardest part. The truth is, the vast majority of tweets are utterly banal. It really is just a case of using any means possible to find great visuals, and when I see a tweet I can illustrate I jump straight on it. We look for recommendations from our audience of over 1700 followers, we browse other people’s lists, we search keywords. We do have rules the most important of which is rule 6, “If we stop enjoying it, we’ll stop.” I believe that when a creator is enjoying their work that will come across in the end product, so I’m really just looking for things that amuse me. We also ask that people recommend vivid tweeters to us using the #firkafursday tag, every Thursday. This way, we’ve built up a watch list which occasionally yields results – it’s no guarantee of getting your tweet illustrated, but it almost certainly improves the odds.

irkafirka swedish moon

If you were to chose anything from my recent tweets to illustrate, what would it be? (go on, do me an illustration… or does that count as a suggestion and will therefore be ignored. pretend I didn’t say anything… it’s all subliminal…)
I had a skim through your recent timeline. As is often the case, most of your tweets are either parts of conversations with little meaning out of context, or links. We’re all for wilfully taking things out of context. To this day, one of my personal favourites is “The oven’s broken. I’ll have to get the bloke out”. A very important part of what we do is the element of surprise – we don’t like the subject to know they’re going to get firked. You can commission an illustration, but technically, a commission wouldn’t be an irkafirka. It would simply be a work by the artists behind irkafirka. And it wouldn’t be free.

You try to post daily but of course real life gets in the way… when is an irkafirka more important – what would prompt you to miss a favourite film in favour of an illustration?
irkafirka has become a compulsion for me. If I miss a day, I feel more pressure to make sure I deliver something the next. On a day when I’m busy and can’t see when I’ll be able to produce something, I’m agitated. Usually we try and let our followers know when it’s a rule 5 day (that’s the rule that let’s us off the hook due to other commitments), but I never like to rule it out. My wife has been incredibly patient. A favourite film is a good example of something I wouldn’t miss, though. I’m a bit of an old school cineaste.

irkafirka unicycle

Nick: you used to live in Hungary. Why on earth did you come back to the UK, and what do you miss most about Hungary?
I loved living in Hungary, and I haven’t ruled out moving back. I miss my friends there, the long hot summers and the bableves (bean soup). I came back because I was finding it increasingly difficult to find relevant work. My wife is Hungarian, so we go back as often as possible. People often say “yours is a job you could do from anywhere” which is true to some extent, but to find the work you usually need to get out there and meet the clients. The dream is that one day my work will be so much in demand, I’ll be able to live where I want. So start demanding, demanders.

You also jacked in a career at a digital agency to become a freelance artist. What prompted this move and has it been a success? What’s the best job you’ve worked on so far, and has Irkafirka got you any jobs?
Working at a digital agency was interesting, and I got to work on a lot of great brands. I even helped them win 2 BAFTAs. However, I was there for over 4 years and the work was beginning to feel repetitious. I also wanted to develop my own IP so that I’d have work would that generate an income for me. I didn’t quit because of irkafirka, but it did give me confidence in my own work and helped me build up a portfolio that wasn’t exclusively comprised of other people’s brands. irkafirkas are drawn quickly, in a single sitting, with little or no advance planning, so they’re frequently full of mistakes, but as with great music, I like to think that this is compensated for by the energy put into them. When showing my portfolio, it is the work that generates the most interest. As irkafirka is a significant part of my portfolio, I like to think it’s played a part in all the work I’ve picked up since I started freelancing. The only paid work that’s resulted directly from irkafirka is a side-project for Nokia where we draw illustrations based on comments from the official Nokia blog. It’s too early to say whether it’s been a success, but I certainly don’t regret it, and it’s very hard to imagine going back.

How can someone get hold of an irkafirka print, and which ones would you recommend as christmas presses for specific members of the family?
Selling prints wasn’t initially part of the plan, but the demand was there, so we set up a shop at Zazzle. They’re most frequently bought by the subject, so the market is fairly limited, but we’re looking for ways to make irkafirka-based products with a broader appeal in the new year. The images that make it into the shop are added on the basis that somebody expressed an interest in buying them, rather than because we necessarily think they’re the best works. However, based on what’s there already, here’s my handy irkafirka shopping list that’s surely better than the tired recommendations you’ll find on Amazon.

For your Mum: @BangsandaBun
For your Dad: @BruceandSimon
For your Grandparent: @Whatleydude
For your dirty uncle: @bennycrime
If you find something on irkafirka that isn’t in the shop, and you’d like to buy a copy, just let us know and we’ll upload it. Happy Christmas!

Alas, I broke the rules, so I have yet to inspire my own illustrated tweet… although I’m fairly sure that a quick glance through tweets produced in the 24 hours previous to Nick completing this Q&A could have turned up a few goodies (even if my favourite was a retweet)

Best go put the hob on in the kitchen so I can spread them around a bit. (Hob to keep me warm, bloody arctic down there)

RT @PennyRed I am a tiny protesting icicle. A protesticle.

have not left house for nearly three days. or seen anyone. I am a hermit.

pah! I wouldn’t miss it that much, I just went out for food supplies and my face nearly fell off – staying put now

I live in hope that one day I will be deemed worthy…
irkafirka manflu goblin

Intrigued by a side project by one of our contributors, viagra I decided to get to the bottom of this irkafirka business…

irkafirka: illustrated tweets. “Anything you say may be taken down and coloured in.” What a great idea, how did the project start?
My old friend Chris challenged me to draw a Twitter-inspired doodle a day and post it. My initial reaction was “I don’t have time for this” but the seed was planted, and I decided it wouldn’t do any harm to try it once. The response was instant and we were both hooked.

irkafirka batman joker

Who is irkafirka and why the name?
irkafirka is Nick Hilditch (illustrator, that’s me) and Chris Bell (curator). The name is a Hungarian word meaning doodle. I lived in Budapest for 7 years and speak Hungarian poorly, but its a beautiful word, and I filed it away years ago for future use. Everything about irkafirka came together very spontaneously – the concept, the name, the little dog logo. Everything about it feels right to us.

How did you two hook up and how long have you been in business?
Chris and I have been friends since school, although our lives took us in different directions. It was only through Twitter that we re-ignited our teenage delusions of grandeur. The business relationship is informal – we didn’t start out to make money from the project, we did it for the sheer fun of it. Now it consumes so much of our time and we have such a big audience, we’d love to take it to the next level, but as yet, the means to monetise our success alludes us. One goal we set was to get an irkafirka book published, but we want to get this right rather than rushing into it. We’d love to talk to any interested publishers.

irkafirka horse

How does the technical side work?
Here’s Chris on the technical side: “It’s a clunky-chunk of social-webbery. The website is built on the Fullscreen template for WordPress. Illustrations are taken from TwitPic and posted along with a picture of the original tweet. The illustrations are automatically cross-posted to our Tumblr page. Each new post updates the RSS feed, which populates the iPhone and Nokia apps automatically. We then add a link to the post on the Facebook page, which also carries other miscellaneous nonsense including a gallery of the 200 most recent illustrations, which are pulled from our Flickr picture stream. We also have various pictures on show in cities around the country using the crazy magic of augmented reality. We use Layar and a back-end system run over in Belgium by our dear friends at Hoppala. Best of all, apart from hosting the website everything we use is totally free. We are a pair of cheapskates…”

irkafirka squirrel

How do you decide what tweets to illustrate?
This is the hardest part. The truth is, the vast majority of tweets are utterly banal. It really is just a case of using any means possible to find great visuals, and when I see a tweet I can illustrate I jump straight on it. We look for recommendations from our audience of over 1700 followers, we browse other people’s lists, we search keywords. We do have rules the most important of which is rule 6, “If we stop enjoying it, we’ll stop.” I believe that when a creator is enjoying their work that will come across in the end product, so I’m really just looking for things that amuse me. We also ask that people recommend vivid tweeters to us using the #firkafursday tag, every Thursday. This way, we’ve built up a watch list which occasionally yields results – it’s no guarantee of getting your tweet illustrated, but it almost certainly improves the odds.

irkafirka swedish moon

If you were to chose anything from my recent tweets to illustrate, what would it be? (go on, do me an illustration… or does that count as a suggestion and will therefore be ignored. pretend I didn’t say anything… it’s all subliminal…)
I had a skim through your recent timeline. As is often the case, most of your tweets are either parts of conversations with little meaning out of context, or links. We’re all for wilfully taking things out of context. To this day, one of my personal favourites is “The oven’s broken. I’ll have to get the bloke out”. A very important part of what we do is the element of surprise – we don’t like the subject to know they’re going to get firked. You can commission an illustration, but technically, a commission wouldn’t be an irkafirka. It would simply be a work by the artists behind irkafirka. And it wouldn’t be free.

You try to post daily but of course real life gets in the way… when is an irkafirka more important – what would prompt you to miss a favourite film in favour of an illustration?
irkafirka has become a compulsion for me. If I miss a day, I feel more pressure to make sure I deliver something the next. On a day when I’m busy and can’t see when I’ll be able to produce something, I’m agitated. Usually we try and let our followers know when it’s a rule 5 day (that’s the rule that let’s us off the hook due to other commitments), but I never like to rule it out. My wife has been incredibly patient. A favourite film is a good example of something I wouldn’t miss, though. I’m a bit of an old school cineaste.

irkafirka unicycle

Nick: you used to live in Hungary. Why on earth did you come back to the UK, and what do you miss most about Hungary?
I loved living in Hungary, and I haven’t ruled out moving back. I miss my friends there, the long hot summers and the bableves (bean soup). I came back because I was finding it increasingly difficult to find relevant work. My wife is Hungarian, so we go back as often as possible. People often say “yours is a job you could do from anywhere” which is true to some extent, but to find the work you usually need to get out there and meet the clients. The dream is that one day my work will be so much in demand, I’ll be able to live where I want. So start demanding, demanders.

You also jacked in a career at a digital agency to become a freelance artist. What prompted this move and has it been a success? What’s the best job you’ve worked on so far, and has Irkafirka got you any jobs?
Working at a digital agency was interesting, and I got to work on a lot of great brands. I even helped them win 2 BAFTAs. However, I was there for over 4 years and the work was beginning to feel repetitious. I also wanted to develop my own IP so that I’d have work would that generate an income for me. I didn’t quit because of irkafirka, but it did give me confidence in my own work and helped me build up a portfolio that wasn’t exclusively comprised of other people’s brands. irkafirkas are drawn quickly, in a single sitting, with little or no advance planning, so they’re frequently full of mistakes, but as with great music, I like to think that this is compensated for by the energy put into them. When showing my portfolio, it is the work that generates the most interest. As irkafirka is a significant part of my portfolio, I like to think it’s played a part in all the work I’ve picked up since I started freelancing. The only paid work that’s resulted directly from irkafirka is a side-project for Nokia where we draw illustrations based on comments from the official Nokia blog. It’s too early to say whether it’s been a success, but I certainly don’t regret it, and it’s very hard to imagine going back.

How can someone get hold of an irkafirka print, and which ones would you recommend as christmas presses for specific members of the family?
Selling prints wasn’t initially part of the plan, but the demand was there, so we set up a shop at Zazzle. They’re most frequently bought by the subject, so the market is fairly limited, but we’re looking for ways to make irkafirka-based products with a broader appeal in the new year. The images that make it into the shop are added on the basis that somebody expressed an interest in buying them, rather than because we necessarily think they’re the best works. However, based on what’s there already, here’s my handy irkafirka shopping list that’s surely better than the tired recommendations you’ll find on Amazon.

For your Mum: @BangsandaBun
For your Dad: @BruceandSimon
For your Grandparent: @Whatleydude
For your dirty uncle: @bennycrime
If you find something on irkafirka that isn’t in the shop, and you’d like to buy a copy, just let us know and we’ll upload it. Happy Christmas!

Alas, I broke the rules, so I have yet to inspire my own illustrated tweet… although I’m fairly sure that a quick glance through tweets produced in the 24 hours previous to Nick completing this Q&A could have turned up a few goodies (and let’s just gloss over the fact that the best was a retweet, okay?)

Best go put the hob on in the kitchen so I can spread them around a bit. (Hob to keep me warm, bloody arctic down there)

RT @PennyRed I am a tiny protesting icicle. A protesticle.

have not left house for nearly three days. or seen anyone. I am a hermit.

pah! I wouldn’t miss it that much, I just went out for food supplies and my face nearly fell off – staying put now

I live in hope that one day I will be deemed worthy…
irkafirka manflu goblin

Intrigued by a side project by one of our contributors, information pills I decided to get to the bottom of this irkafirka business…

irkafirka: illustrated tweets. “Anything you say may be taken down and coloured in.” What a great idea, how did the project start?
My old friend Chris challenged me to draw a Twitter-inspired doodle a day and post it. My initial reaction was “I don’t have time for this” but the seed was planted, and I decided it wouldn’t do any harm to try it once. The response was instant and we were both hooked.

irkafirka batman joker

Who is irkafirka and why the name?
irkafirka is Nick Hilditch (illustrator, that’s me) and Chris Bell (curator). The name is a Hungarian word meaning doodle. I lived in Budapest for 7 years and speak Hungarian poorly, but its a beautiful word, and I filed it away years ago for future use. Everything about irkafirka came together very spontaneously – the concept, the name, the little dog logo. Everything about it feels right to us.

How did you two hook up and how long have you been in business?
Chris and I have been friends since school, although our lives took us in different directions. It was only through Twitter that we re-ignited our teenage delusions of grandeur. The business relationship is informal – we didn’t start out to make money from the project, we did it for the sheer fun of it. Now it consumes so much of our time and we have such a big audience, we’d love to take it to the next level, but as yet, the means to monetise our success alludes us. One goal we set was to get an irkafirka book published, but we want to get this right rather than rushing into it. We’d love to talk to any interested publishers.

irkafirka horse

How does the technical side work?
Here’s Chris on the technical side: “It’s a clunky-chunk of social-webbery. The website is built on the Fullscreen template for WordPress. Illustrations are taken from TwitPic and posted along with a picture of the original tweet. The illustrations are automatically cross-posted to our Tumblr page. Each new post updates the RSS feed, which populates the iPhone and Nokia apps automatically. We then add a link to the post on the Facebook page, which also carries other miscellaneous nonsense including a gallery of the 200 most recent illustrations, which are pulled from our Flickr picture stream. We also have various pictures on show in cities around the country using the crazy magic of augmented reality. We use Layar and a back-end system run over in Belgium by our dear friends at Hoppala. Best of all, apart from hosting the website everything we use is totally free. We are a pair of cheapskates…”

irkafirka squirrel

How do you decide what tweets to illustrate?
This is the hardest part. The truth is, the vast majority of tweets are utterly banal. It really is just a case of using any means possible to find great visuals, and when I see a tweet I can illustrate I jump straight on it. We look for recommendations from our audience of over 1700 followers, we browse other people’s lists, we search keywords. We do have rules the most important of which is rule 6, “If we stop enjoying it, we’ll stop.” I believe that when a creator is enjoying their work that will come across in the end product, so I’m really just looking for things that amuse me. We also ask that people recommend vivid tweeters to us using the #firkafursday tag, every Thursday. This way, we’ve built up a watch list which occasionally yields results – it’s no guarantee of getting your tweet illustrated, but it almost certainly improves the odds.

irkafirka swedish moon

If you were to chose anything from my recent tweets to illustrate, what would it be? (go on, do me an illustration… or does that count as a suggestion and will therefore be ignored. pretend I didn’t say anything… it’s all subliminal…)
I had a skim through your recent timeline. As is often the case, most of your tweets are either parts of conversations with little meaning out of context, or links. We’re all for wilfully taking things out of context. To this day, one of my personal favourites is “The oven’s broken. I’ll have to get the bloke out”. A very important part of what we do is the element of surprise – we don’t like the subject to know they’re going to get firked. You can commission an illustration, but technically, a commission wouldn’t be an irkafirka. It would simply be a work by the artists behind irkafirka. And it wouldn’t be free.

You try to post daily but of course real life gets in the way… when is an irkafirka more important – what would prompt you to miss a favourite film in favour of an illustration?
irkafirka has become a compulsion for me. If I miss a day, I feel more pressure to make sure I deliver something the next. On a day when I’m busy and can’t see when I’ll be able to produce something, I’m agitated. Usually we try and let our followers know when it’s a rule 5 day (that’s the rule that let’s us off the hook due to other commitments), but I never like to rule it out. My wife has been incredibly patient. A favourite film is a good example of something I wouldn’t miss, though. I’m a bit of an old school cineaste.

irkafirka unicycle

Nick: you used to live in Hungary. Why on earth did you come back to the UK, and what do you miss most about Hungary?
I loved living in Hungary, and I haven’t ruled out moving back. I miss my friends there, the long hot summers and the bableves (bean soup). I came back because I was finding it increasingly difficult to find relevant work. My wife is Hungarian, so we go back as often as possible. People often say “yours is a job you could do from anywhere” which is true to some extent, but to find the work you usually need to get out there and meet the clients. The dream is that one day my work will be so much in demand, I’ll be able to live where I want. So start demanding, demanders.

You also jacked in a career at a digital agency to become a freelance artist. What prompted this move and has it been a success? What’s the best job you’ve worked on so far, and has Irkafirka got you any jobs?
Working at a digital agency was interesting, and I got to work on a lot of great brands. I even helped them win 2 BAFTAs. However, I was there for over 4 years and the work was beginning to feel repetitious. I also wanted to develop my own IP so that I’d have work would that generate an income for me. I didn’t quit because of irkafirka, but it did give me confidence in my own work and helped me build up a portfolio that wasn’t exclusively comprised of other people’s brands. irkafirkas are drawn quickly, in a single sitting, with little or no advance planning, so they’re frequently full of mistakes, but as with great music, I like to think that this is compensated for by the energy put into them. When showing my portfolio, it is the work that generates the most interest. As irkafirka is a significant part of my portfolio, I like to think it’s played a part in all the work I’ve picked up since I started freelancing. The only paid work that’s resulted directly from irkafirka is a side-project for Nokia where we draw illustrations based on comments from the official Nokia blog. It’s too early to say whether it’s been a success, but I certainly don’t regret it, and it’s very hard to imagine going back.

How can someone get hold of an irkafirka print, and which ones would you recommend as christmas presses for specific members of the family?
Selling prints wasn’t initially part of the plan, but the demand was there, so we set up a shop at Zazzle. They’re most frequently bought by the subject, so the market is fairly limited, but we’re looking for ways to make irkafirka-based products with a broader appeal in the new year. The images that make it into the shop are added on the basis that somebody expressed an interest in buying them, rather than because we necessarily think they’re the best works. However, based on what’s there already, here’s my handy irkafirka shopping list that’s surely better than the tired recommendations you’ll find on Amazon.

For your Mum: @BangsandaBun
For your Dad: @BruceandSimon
For your Grandparent: @Whatleydude
For your dirty uncle: @bennycrime
If you find something on irkafirka that isn’t in the shop, and you’d like to buy a copy, just let us know and we’ll upload it. Happy Christmas!

**************************************************************************
Alas, I broke the rules, so I have yet to inspire my own illustrated tweet… although I’m fairly sure that a quick glance through tweets produced in the 24 hours previous to Nick completing this Q&A could have turned up a few goodies (and let’s just gloss over the fact that the best was a retweet, okay?)

Best go put the hob on in the kitchen so I can spread them around a bit. (Hob to keep me warm, bloody arctic down there)

RT @PennyRed I am a tiny protesting icicle. A protesticle.

have not left house for nearly three days. or seen anyone. I am a hermit.

pah! I wouldn’t miss it that much, I just went out for food supplies and my face nearly fell off – staying put now

I live in hope that one day I will be deemed worthy…
irkafirka manflu goblin

Intrigued by a side project by one of our contributors, ambulance I decided to get to the bottom of this irkafirka business…

irkafirka: illustrated tweets. “Anything you say may be taken down and coloured in.” What a great idea, how did the project start?
My old friend Chris challenged me to draw a Twitter-inspired doodle a day and post it. My initial reaction was “I don’t have time for this” but the seed was planted, and I decided it wouldn’t do any harm to try it once. The response was instant and we were both hooked.

irkafirka batman joker

Who is irkafirka and why the name?
irkafirka is Nick Hilditch (illustrator, that’s me) and Chris Bell (curator). The name is a Hungarian word meaning doodle. I lived in Budapest for 7 years and speak Hungarian poorly, but its a beautiful word, and I filed it away years ago for future use. Everything about irkafirka came together very spontaneously – the concept, the name, the little dog logo. Everything about it feels right to us.

How did you two hook up and how long have you been in business?
Chris and I have been friends since school, although our lives took us in different directions. It was only through Twitter that we re-ignited our teenage delusions of grandeur. The business relationship is informal – we didn’t start out to make money from the project, we did it for the sheer fun of it. Now it consumes so much of our time and we have such a big audience, we’d love to take it to the next level, but as yet, the means to monetise our success alludes us. One goal we set was to get an irkafirka book published, but we want to get this right rather than rushing into it. We’d love to talk to any interested publishers.

irkafirka horse

How does the technical side work?
Here’s Chris on the technical side: “It’s a clunky-chunk of social-webbery. The website is built on the Fullscreen template for WordPress. Illustrations are taken from TwitPic and posted along with a picture of the original tweet. The illustrations are automatically cross-posted to our Tumblr page. Each new post updates the RSS feed, which populates the iPhone and Nokia apps automatically. We then add a link to the post on the Facebook page, which also carries other miscellaneous nonsense including a gallery of the 200 most recent illustrations, which are pulled from our Flickr picture stream. We also have various pictures on show in cities around the country using the crazy magic of augmented reality. We use Layar and a back-end system run over in Belgium by our dear friends at Hoppala. Best of all, apart from hosting the website everything we use is totally free. We are a pair of cheapskates…”

irkafirka squirrel

How do you decide what tweets to illustrate?
This is the hardest part. The truth is, the vast majority of tweets are utterly banal. It really is just a case of using any means possible to find great visuals, and when I see a tweet I can illustrate I jump straight on it. We look for recommendations from our audience of over 1700 followers, we browse other people’s lists, we search keywords. We do have rules the most important of which is rule 6, “If we stop enjoying it, we’ll stop.” I believe that when a creator is enjoying their work that will come across in the end product, so I’m really just looking for things that amuse me. We also ask that people recommend vivid tweeters to us using the #firkafursday tag, every Thursday. This way, we’ve built up a watch list which occasionally yields results – it’s no guarantee of getting your tweet illustrated, but it almost certainly improves the odds.

irkafirka swedish moon

If you were to chose anything from my recent tweets to illustrate, what would it be? (go on, do me an illustration… or does that count as a suggestion and will therefore be ignored. pretend I didn’t say anything… it’s all subliminal…)
I had a skim through your recent timeline. As is often the case, most of your tweets are either parts of conversations with little meaning out of context, or links. We’re all for wilfully taking things out of context. To this day, one of my personal favourites is “The oven’s broken. I’ll have to get the bloke out”. A very important part of what we do is the element of surprise – we don’t like the subject to know they’re going to get firked. You can commission an illustration, but technically, a commission wouldn’t be an irkafirka. It would simply be a work by the artists behind irkafirka. And it wouldn’t be free.

You try to post daily but of course real life gets in the way… when is an irkafirka more important – what would prompt you to miss a favourite film in favour of an illustration?
irkafirka has become a compulsion for me. If I miss a day, I feel more pressure to make sure I deliver something the next. On a day when I’m busy and can’t see when I’ll be able to produce something, I’m agitated. Usually we try and let our followers know when it’s a rule 5 day (that’s the rule that let’s us off the hook due to other commitments), but I never like to rule it out. My wife has been incredibly patient. A favourite film is a good example of something I wouldn’t miss, though. I’m a bit of an old school cineaste.

irkafirka unicycle

Nick: you used to live in Hungary. Why on earth did you come back to the UK, and what do you miss most about Hungary?
I loved living in Hungary, and I haven’t ruled out moving back. I miss my friends there, the long hot summers and the bableves (bean soup). I came back because I was finding it increasingly difficult to find relevant work. My wife is Hungarian, so we go back as often as possible. People often say “yours is a job you could do from anywhere” which is true to some extent, but to find the work you usually need to get out there and meet the clients. The dream is that one day my work will be so much in demand, I’ll be able to live where I want. So start demanding, demanders.

You also jacked in a career at a digital agency to become a freelance artist. What prompted this move and has it been a success? What’s the best job you’ve worked on so far, and has Irkafirka got you any jobs?
Working at a digital agency was interesting, and I got to work on a lot of great brands. I even helped them win 2 BAFTAs. However, I was there for over 4 years and the work was beginning to feel repetitious. I also wanted to develop my own IP so that I’d have work would that generate an income for me. I didn’t quit because of irkafirka, but it did give me confidence in my own work and helped me build up a portfolio that wasn’t exclusively comprised of other people’s brands. irkafirkas are drawn quickly, in a single sitting, with little or no advance planning, so they’re frequently full of mistakes, but as with great music, I like to think that this is compensated for by the energy put into them. When showing my portfolio, it is the work that generates the most interest. As irkafirka is a significant part of my portfolio, I like to think it’s played a part in all the work I’ve picked up since I started freelancing. The only paid work that’s resulted directly from irkafirka is a side-project for Nokia where we draw illustrations based on comments from the official Nokia blog. It’s too early to say whether it’s been a success, but I certainly don’t regret it, and it’s very hard to imagine going back.

How can someone get hold of an irkafirka print, and which ones would you recommend as christmas presses for specific members of the family?
Selling prints wasn’t initially part of the plan, but the demand was there, so we set up a shop at Zazzle. They’re most frequently bought by the subject, so the market is fairly limited, but we’re looking for ways to make irkafirka-based products with a broader appeal in the new year. The images that make it into the shop are added on the basis that somebody expressed an interest in buying them, rather than because we necessarily think they’re the best works. However, based on what’s there already, here’s my handy irkafirka shopping list that’s surely better than the tired recommendations you’ll find on Amazon.

For your Mum: @BangsandaBun
For your Dad: @BruceandSimon
For your Grandparent: @Whatleydude
For your dirty uncle: @bennycrime
If you find something on irkafirka that isn’t in the shop, and you’d like to buy a copy, just let us know and we’ll upload it. Happy Christmas!

**************************************************************************
Alas, I broke the rules, so I have yet to inspire my own illustrated tweet… although I’m fairly sure that a quick glance through tweets produced in the 24 hours previous to Nick completing this Q&A could have turned up a few goodies (let’s just gloss over the fact that the best was a retweet, okay?)

Best go put the hob on in the kitchen so I can spread them around a bit. (Hob to keep me warm, bloody arctic down there)

RT @PennyRed I am a tiny protesting icicle. A protesticle.

have not left house for nearly three days. or seen anyone. I am a hermit.

pah! I wouldn’t miss it that much, I just went out for food supplies and my face nearly fell off – staying put now

I live in hope that one day I will be deemed worthy…
Daria H cat
Pet Portrait by Daria Hlazatova.

I think it’s fair to say that pet portraits have a slightly naff reputation. A quick google reveals the existence of reams of *traditional* pet portraitists who offer tacky artwork fit only for those with very little concept of style. And yet I know full well that there are lots of people out there who have both pets and good taste. Who then to cater for them? A portrait of a much loved pet is the perfect gift – especially for those who dote on their animals.

Back when I had time to create my own handmade artwork I liked to paint our cats Orlando and Grace. Nowadays I work with a constantly shifting team of very talented illustrators, visit this site many of whom are deeply attached to their own pets and much enamoured with animals as subjects. Amongst these I felt certain to find pet portraitists who could create personalised paintings with a bit of spirit – for pet portraits can also be fun, more about as epitomised by Daria’s offering. What follows is the pick of my discoveries: all of whom offer a unique piece of art for an incredibly good price. There’s still time to commission one of these illustrators for a one-of-a-kind Christmas present, and not only will you receive the perfect gift for a pet lover, but you will also be supporting the artistic community. Rather that than buy mass produced tat on the high street? No?

Gemma Randall toby milly
Toby and Milly by Gemma Randall.

Gemma Randall
Gemma was hot off the mark with her Christmas offering: she accepts commissions for intricate artworks of your best friend, all framed and wrapped for a total of £96, and she even offers two different styles – Contemporary and Classic. Find out more information here.

Molly & Fred Karina Yarv
Molly & Fred by Karina Yarv.

Karina Yarv
Saint Petersburg based Amelia’s Magazine contributor Karina Yarv offers both people and pet portraits in her inimitable bold style. She works fast and will produce either a computer created image or one made in black ink and a few colours. Prices start from £43 – find out more information here.

Mavis the Cat Kayleigh Bluck
Mavis the Cat by Kayleigh Bluck.

Kayleigh Bluck
Kayleigh Bluck offers a personalised gift via Etsy. She works predominantly in watercolour and coloured pencil and needs only three days to complete her gorgeous artworks, which will be done from an emailed photograph straight onto watercolour paper. A bargain at just £25. More info about creating this particular portrait here!

Piers and Fulton by Daria H
Piers and Fulton by Daria Hlazatova.

Daria Hlazatova
Daria is another of our far flung illustrators – this time hailing from the Ukraine. She creates lovely bright scenes and all she needs are: a photo, a name and a little bit of information about your furry friend. The price is £50, and you would need to contact her by email to discuss further details.

Piers+Fulton by Holly Exley
My parents’ new rescue cats frolic in the snow. Piers+Fulton by Holly Exley.

Holly Exley
Holly has created a Facebook event for her special Christmas pet portrait offer. This has already prompted a huge response, so I’d advise you to get in there quick – she’s creating beautiful watercolour A4 paintings for just £15, which is ridiculously cheap.

stephanie thieullent tabitha
Tabitha by Stephanie Thieullent.

Stephanie Thieullent
Stephanie is predominantly a digital designer who offers people portraits as well as pet portraits, but she can also work in ink to order. A simple postcard starts at just £15, and prices go up to £130 for an A2 portrait, so there’s a wide variety to choose from. Just click here.

It does rather seem that most of my friends and families are cat lovers… but these illustrators would love to tackle anything from cats and dogs…. to rabbits and hamsters. Just wonderful, I am sure you will agree. Why not get in touch with your favourite illustrator and commission them now before they get too busy to accept any more?

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2 Responses to “Pet Portraits: Your Furry Friends Illustrated for Christmas”

  1. Gemma says:

    Thanks Amelia! Thanks to you and your lovely blogging I’ve already had one new order in – I LOVE DRAWING PUGS! =}

  2. Amelia says:

    Yay! here’s to hoping that everyone featured gets lots of lovely orders. It’s a tough job but someone needs to do it and you’re all ace. Let me know how it goes ladies xxx

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