How illustrator Seb Lester drawing a poo emoji went viral to over 500,000 people

As artists and designers, we’re aware that sometimes the work that we put the least effort into is what other people like most.

Social media can amplify this, as success is exponential – likes generating exposure, exposure generating more likes, like some kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. And what social media likes is often the work that’s easiest to appreciate and comprehend – preferring the three-second laugh to getting drawn in by something with more depth.

A great example of this has just happened to calligrapher, illustrator and artist Seb Lester. He’d just completed a project that had taken three days – a project than combined well-known pop culture figure Taylor Swift with religious ornamentation to comment on the cult of celebrity. From his description of it, it’s clear he’s very proud of it.

He posted it on his various social media channels – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr – but unfortunately it wasn’t popular. At least, it wasn’t popular enough to go viral.

So instead, he recorded himself drawing a poo emoji on his iPad. You can guess what happened next.

"In less than 24 hours it’s reached over half a million fucking people across my social media, and received over 25K likes,” he wrote on Tumblr afterwards. "People seem to love it. My mate Dave says it’s the best thing I’ve ever put on the internet.”

Here’s the poo emoji video.

A post shared by Seb Lester (@seblester) on

And here’s the Taylor Swift piece.

Ask yourself, which would you share?

The final stage of this process is for it to leave the social networks and make it onto design and art news sites looking for something humorous to intersperse between the serious analysis, inspirational projects and new creative technology. And, er, that’s just happened.

A post shared by Seb Lester (@seblester) on

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