My Ostrich Egg Art Featured in a New Book

Sunday, June 08, 2008

A few months ago, Cheryl Hall contacted me to see if I'd be interested in letting her include my ostrich egg art in a book she was putting together. Of course I said yes. What's interesting is that Cheryl is in Australia - through the magic of the internet she found me and via e-mail I was able to get images of my art to her. Well, her book is now available . . . called A Showcase of Decorated Eggs, you can find it on-line at

Click here to preview or purchase the book.
Click on the image to see the book.
Click here for my page in the book (scroll down about 6 pages, my page is on the right - with a bobcat, giraffe & frog).

Oh, I suppose I should back-track a bit and explain. I've been drawing animals in pen & ink on ostrich eggs for many, many, many years. It all started when I began volunteering at the Sacramento Zoo. I started out as a keeper's aide, then became the volunteer volunteer coordinator and later a paid staffer as the volunteer and events coordinator. The zoo's administration staff had been presenting ostrich eggs to donors and as event prizes for some time before I started working there. I was happy to get involved and start doing some ostrich egg art. Even after I left that job, zoo staff has continued to commission eggs from me. At one point, I calculated I'd done at least 200 eggs! They commission at least 10 eggs each year. It's a fun thing to do and very unique.

Pen & ink flamingo drawing on an ostrich egg, by Ann Ranlett
This is one example, you can see more on this page of my web site.

I buy drained, cleaned ostrich eggs and use a technical pen with India ink to draw critters on the egg. Usually, zoo staff tells me which animals to draw - it's often dependent on the event's fund raising goal. For example, the giraffe barn is old and really needs to be replaced, so the money raised from the recent golf tournament goes toward the wonderful new giraffe exhibit - I was asked to draw giraffes on those four eggs. The eggs were presented to the winners of the golf tourney.

If at all possible I use my own photos of the Zoo's animals for reference, but sometimes, I have to borrow a photo from the Zoo's photo collection. When I'm drawing the same critter on 4 eggs (which usually occurs twice a year) I'll print my reference photo, sized to fit the egg, and then trace over the photo onto tracing paper. I transfer the traced image to each egg, filling in some of the details with pencil. Then I do the ink work on each egg. If it's a single egg, I'll freehand the drawing onto the egg with pencil and then ink it.

Here's a set of 4 eggs:

Poison dart frogs in pen & ink on ostrich eggs, by Ann Ranlett

. . . and if you're interested in an ostrich egg of your very own, of course I accept commissions!


aishah November 10, 2008 at 6:21 AM  

Hi Ann,

I love your work. Just wondered where can i buy the book. I'm an egger myself but mostly, i make decorated eggs. Recently, I'm learning to carve eggshells and still struggling to make it perfect.Love to hear some tips from you.


PaintDog November 17, 2008 at 10:28 AM  

Thanks Aishah!
Click on the image of the book for the link to buy it.
I tried to contact you through your blog account, but your id is not public, so I can't get in touch with you.


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