Dipping your eggs into a pastel bath may be everyone’s favourite approach to transforming plain eggs into springtime artworks. However, with all the creative, fresh, and innovative new methods to dyeing eggs, it’s nice to celebrate traditional art forms. To that point, consider illustrator Dinara Mirtalipova who has an egg-cellent approach to decorating Easter eggs influenced by Uzbek and Russian folklores. And they’re meant for marvelling and preserving for years to come.
Dinara, a self-taught illustrator and designer born and raised in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, uses her Soviet Uzbek culture to inspire her various patterns, designs, and illustrations. Working from her home studio in Sagamore Hills, Ohio, she creates whimsical designs inspired by European fairytales. Her artwork has appeared everywhere from the likes of American Greetings, Papyrus, and Godiva Chocolates. And while she works within a range of art mediums including acrylics, carving linoleum block, and gouache, her styled interpretation of Uzbek and Russian folklores are evident in all her works.
With spring’s arrival being a welcome sign of warmer days to come, Dinara uses this time of year to take her illustration skills to a new blank oval-shaped canvas — porcelain eggs. Painting Easter eggs was always a family tradition for Dinara, something both she and her grandmother loved to do together. Instead of soft pinks, purples, and mellow yellows, Dinara takes a poised paintbrush to her porcelain eggs to tell a fairytale-like story. Dinara’s egg-decorating passion began with her grandmother who used all natural dyes such as purple cabbage, beets, onions, and parsley to colour the eggs of her childhood.
“My grandma Lilia was the queen of Easter — she baked ‘kulich’ and she decorated Easter eggs,” Dinara tells Martha Stewart Living. “Every year, all of her grandchildren gathered together to help with the processes. Sometimes, the preparations took a few days. I loved the smell in her kitchen during those days, every corner in the kitchen was filled with Kulich bread and eggs. As a child, my most favourite part was dyeing the eggs.”
After the bread and eggs were made each year, it was Dinara and the other kids in the family’s job to go and pass out the Easter goodies to all of their friends and neighbours. “Since that time even after Grandma Lilia passing, I still continued to paint eggs,” Dinara says. “And now that became part of my family tradition.”
While Dinara’s grandmother used vegetables to dye the Easter eggs of her childhood, Dinara prefers to use acrylic paints on either wood or porcelain eggs to create her whimsy designs. Although, she also notes that it is possible to do the same on blown out eggs too, but the porcelain eggs have a very life-like quality to them.
After her egg medium of choice is selected, she begins to paint. “I start by sketching with a pencil, trying to go as light as I can,” she describes. “Then I begin painting using the tiniest brush for the delicate elements. I personally don’t apply any protective coats as I like the roughness of the uncoated egg. But it really is a very personal decision.” After sketching, it’s time to select a colour palette. For Dinara, that means bright eye-catching colours. “I realize there’s an established Easter color palette of pastels that many prefer,” she says, “but for me, Easter is such a folk holiday, that I prefer using my bright folk colour palette and not being shy of using black at all.”
In fact, Dinara proves that it works to think outside of the Easter egg carton as her eggs are rich in colours as well as illustrations depicting fanciful flowers and whimsical birds. She signs each egg she creates. In fact, you can purchase Dinara’s eggs (among many other artful creations) from her Etsy shop.