Card shops have a lot to answer for. Just the other day, I popped into one as I wanted to send a message to a friend who had lost two important members of her household. But could I find a ‘sorry your fish died’ card? Not for love or money. Well, money. The woman behind the counter got very sniffy when I asked about the store’s policy regarding trading against sexual favours and I was asked to leave.

Anyway, I decided to make my own. What’s quite cool here is that you can see that the design evolved quite a bit from my initial sketch to the end product.

Initial sketch

I started out with the idea of making a jokey card with very simple fish silhouettes. But after I researched the fish (a fan-tailed and a bubble-eyed goldfish) on the internet, I realised that I could recreate them pretty accurately without it being ridiculously complicated.


Cutting out the text was definitely the hardest bit. I’m hoping I’m going to get better at using a craft knife soon! Because I sketched the design on scrap card, I was able to cut out templates for the fish, which I flipped over and traced onto my coloured paper.

Cutting out a fish

I then had the shape the right way around on the paper with no pencil marks.

I wanted Wingus and Dingus to stand out, so I used some adhesive squares on their backs.

Fish with sticky tabsBackground

The observant among you will notice that one of those plants is, in fact, a pineapple as a subtle nod to Spongebob. I am all about understated allegory in my art.

As a final finishing touch, I added some rhinestones because SPARKLES. I used clear nail varnish to stick them down as that was the least messy thing I could think of.


Another hard bit was making their haloes. I used quite thick card because I wanted them to stand out, but cutting out the centres was a bitch.