If you follow my Twitter feed, you may have noticed some odd happenings yesterday evening. I decided, in light of the Easter holiday approaching, to take a rather different approach to egg decorating.
Of course it’s geeky.
I thought of a few options, as far as selection. I used to paint pop art portraits in high school, and the idea was much the same here: except, of course, on an egg. I considered Firefly, Star Wars, and potentially even Deadwood. But then I settled on some of the cast of Battlestar Galactica for a few reasons, but mostly because of the show’s themes of death, resurrection, and rebirth. I mean, that’s what Spring is about, right? We can at least agree on that.
First step in the creation of the eggs deviates from traditional egg making immediately. In other words, these are not eggs. Not real eggs. I would like to blame it on the fact that I have a three year old, and really didn’t want eggshells everywhere, but that’s but a part of the whole picture. In truth, I’m not so hot about putting my lips to raw eggs and blowing out yolk. Call me a wuss, but that just grosses me out.
So, instead I went to our local craft store—when they didn’t have what I was looking for, I went to the big chain, i.e. Michael’s. For $1.99 apiece (with an additional 40% off) I purchased six large eggs in various shades of spring colors; each has a flat place on the bottom and top for easy display, and they are pre-primed. I think they call these “craft eggs” and they had so many different types it made my head spin. I went with large—but not huge. Thye had one almost a foot high—which I supposed would have worked had I been adventurous enough to try and paint the base ship.
If you use non-primed eggs, you’ll have to do that before painting. But I just jumped in, figuring that with enough paint it’d cover it over; I was right, thankfully.
At any rate, for each of the characters (Adama, Tigh, Baltar, Athena, Six, and Starbuck) I found a decent front-facing photograph (or simply improvised if I couldn’t) and drew a basic, cartoon-like outline in pencil. Then, I started with a flesh-tone base. The pencil shows through just enough to allow for direct painting without losing the outline, and with the application of some shadow and definition (as well as a few clothing details) each of the characters came to egg-headed life.
There were a few challenges. First, I hadn’t used acrylic paint in a long time–and then remembered why. While it dries quickly, it’s also prone to chunking and, after a few applications in the same spot, going a bit streaky. So, the faster you can paint, the better. It also doesn’t blend as easily as oil paint, so getting shading right isn’t easy–ultimately I went for a more cartoon look with the characters, simply because handling the egg while it was drying and getting the shadows done was proving to be an issue.
A few tips: get decent paints, and don’t skimp on paintbrushes. You especially want a very good, very small paintbrush, for the detail work. I got one with a nice, springy finger hold that really did wonders for precision. Sure, it was $3.99, but definitely worth it.
Which brings me to another issue. The shape of an egg isn’t exactly the best for painting. It’s 3D, of course, but you’re applying 2D to it. This means that, aside from being difficult to handle while wet, the image sometimes warps a bit. This is especially an issue with the first egg I made, Six, whose face just doesn’t quite look right to me. By the time I got to Tigh, I think I hit my stride; but with Starbuck, I was too tired and made some pretty glaring mistakes. But hey! I have a half-dozen. Not bad for half a day’s work.
I’ll likely add a coat of shellac to the crew, for use for holidays (and maybe not just holidays) to come.
I do hope you enjoy the eggs, albeit virtually, and that you might be inspired to geekify the boundaries of the holiday. If you’ve done some neat designs, share ’em!
[Please note that all these pictures have been released under a CC license]