Brilliant Colors with Egg Tempera Made Easy

Fairyland Twins.jpg

"Fairyland Twins" is a work I adapted from a Victorian pen and ink drawing from my collection of antique books. This example shows the vibrancy of color that can be achieved through egg tempera over watercolor.

A centuries-old painting technique is back, but without all the fuss. You don’t need to be a monk to illuminate your artwork with incredible detail and radiant color. Mix it in minutes and paint away! 

About Egg Tempera

The egg tempera technique dates back to antiquity. The Ancient Egyptians used it to paint onto stone, and Byzantine artists in Europe used the medium for their illuminated manuscripts. Amazingly, their colors are still vivid today.

Advantages of Egg Tempera

  • Egg tempera produces glowing permanent colors, more vibrant than can be achieved with any other paint or medium.  
  • Egg tempera has a consistency that allows for incredibly fine detail and delicate line work. 
  • Egg tempera is opaque and bright, even over dark backgrounds.
  • When egg tempera is thinned with water, it becomes translucent. It is not as transparent as watercolor nor is it as opaque as gouache (opaque watercolor.) Layering brushstrokes creates gorgeous rich colors.
  • Egg tempera is a permanent medium after it dries. The colors will not fade.

Fast and Easy

Traditional techniques for painting with egg tempera are way too involved for most artists today, so I devised some fast and easy ways to work with the medium. All you need is an egg, water, and watercolors. I can’t guarantee works will last centuries like those of the great masters, but I, myself have paintings completed more than 30 years ago that are still bright and intact.

I’ve put it all together in “Brilliant Colors with Egg Tempera Made Easy.” (PDF 1.6 MB). You're welcome to this free download, and please let me know what you think.