Saturday, August 30, 2008

Cheerleaders and the last Hurrah

For more years than I care to remember at this point I have painted Cheerleader megaphones. It's official, this year was my last year.

What was that you ask, megaphones?

That's right, those plastic cone shaped bull horn-y things the girls use at games to rile up the fans. They didn't have them during my time in High School and we only had 6 Cheerleaders. These days squads usually consist of about 18 girls and some even include a handsome boy or two.

I got into painting them years ago quite innocently enough when I worked at the uber cool Dick Blick Art Supply Store and a Cheerleader came into to ask about what to use on her megaphone. I think I stunned her with my long list of do's and don't's and what she should use because after a brief pause she said, "Would you be interested in painting mine for me?"

I enjoyed the rollercoaster ride that is early June through late August and got busier and busier every year. I never advertised but word of mouth soon spread like wildfire and some years were chaotic at best. One year I know that I did over 120 of them. Not bad you say, but remember it was only during that three month period.

I generally holed up in my house for 3 solid months and forgot the faces of my friends and family even going so far as to tote them along on trips and family reunions to work on them. Once I even hauled them up to a friends log cabin building party in the woods to work on them.

Every year I would whine and cry about the things I didn't get to do and the places I didn't get to go because I had to work on my megaphones and my friends and family would ask me why I continued doing them. I would tell them that I'm going to say no next year, ha! Until that first call came and the voice on the other end told me how great they were the year before and I did such beautiful work...I was putty in their hands...absolute putty.

Last year I stood firm and told them when they picked them up that I was retiring. I felt vastly relieved...and totally guilty.

I had one squad that over the years I had enjoyed so much working with as their Coach was such a joy to work with that when she asked me for one more year I felt I could not say no.
This is why I have been absent from my blog lately...

The part of the squad that didn't have megaphones from last year and unfortunately I managed to cut Elena off the picture on the right side.

Here I managed to get Elena in the picture but also managed to get the setting sun right in their eyes. It was only 100 degrees as the sun was setting.

Doing some great stunts!


I'm not sure which girl this is but I love this shot.

True Friday night Lights!


Staci said...

Hi! I was recently asked to paint a megaphone for a highschooler at the school where I teach - any suggestions on what kind of paint to use?

Fishstikks said...

Hi Staci-

According to the directions that the company uses for the megaphones you should mask off each area you want painted with, say blue, and use spray paint.

Very limiting on your design but works well for large areas.
I then use One Shot Lettering Enamel that I buy from Dick Blick for any other kind of details.
It's rather smelly so make sure you have lots of ventilation.

Good luck with your megaphone and I would love to hear how it turned out for you!

Anonymous said...

I had a question about your painted megaphones. How did you come up with the different designs for each cheerleader? Also did you use stencils at all (like for stars) or did you just hand paint the squiggles/stars/stripes??


Erin Jones
Patton Springs Junior High Cheer Sponsor

FishStikks said...

Hi Erin!

I hope you get this message and it helps you out.

Each girl submitted a design that they wanted on their own megaphone. Some schools wanted them to be all uniform and others let each girl design their own. From there they gave me creative license to use what looked best on each one.
Everything is done freehand. I found it rather easy to first design each star on a piece of paper and then using graphite paper i traced it onto the megaphone and hand painted.

Would LOVE to see your finished megaphones when you get them done Erin! Let me know if I can help with any thing else!