Iconography Guide

Tools and materials PDF Print E-mail

Iconographers use the following materials:

wooden board

The most used board is got from linden tree. Made in a special way to prevent board warp.

icon board front side

icon board


When you paint icon, first you make a drawing on paper and then this drawing transfer to the board.

cotton gauze

It is applied to the board before the substrate. It is a reinforcement of the substrate.

chalk powder

Instead of chalk can be used so-called "Paris gypsum'', finely ground gypsum that has lost the ability of hardening (it was processed with keeping in water for a long time).

skin glue

It is glue for wood made of animal skin and bones.

Gelatin,which is used for making the cake, is very similar to skin glue. It can be used as a substitute for skin glue.


Acrylic is an artificial resin which is used as a binder in colors and painting substrates.


Zinc-white is a pigment that is used as a supplement in the substrate and it prevents deterioration of substrate. Zinc-white is used for making colors in iconography.


Shellac is a natural resin-fluids of one kind of insects. It is used as lacquer or insulator. Wooden furniture is lacquered with shellac many years ago. There is an ordinary red shellac and white artificial shellac.


Mixtion is adhesive for gold which is based on hemp oil. There are several types: mixtion that is dried for 3 hours, one that is dried for 6 hours, or one that is dried for 12 hours. The exact composition of mixtion manufacturer keep as a secret. It is based on thick hemp oil, with possibility of rapid drying. In oil were added siccative - artificial drying accelerators.


It is used in polished water gilding. In fact bolus is clay, entirely free of inclusions, which has ideal properties for gilding and polishing.

Egg white

It is mixed with bolus to increase the viscosity, when you gild. Before using egg whites, whip them and leave couple of days at Sun until it would be spoiled.


You need fine pure gold, 24 carat, or gold with a little impurity, 22 carat. Gold is in the form of sheets of paper which are sticking with mixtion or applying to the bolus.


Pigments are finely powdered materials, which are the main ingredient of paints and give them color. The most common pigments are of mineral origin, so-called earth pigments, or were obtained through artificial chemical way. Vermilion-red pigment is also made in the Middle Ages, artificially, from living and sulfur.

rose pigment


Egg yolk

To get the color is not just enough to dissolve pigment in water. If color does not have the binder after drying color will be wasted. In iconography, as a binder is used egg yolk. Color made from yolk and pigments is called egg color. The following video clip demonstrates the making of egg color:

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egg tempera


Dammar lacquer is the most used. Except it, in use is still acrylic lacquer, oil and nitro lacquer.

The following tools and equipment used in iconography:


iconography easel




for applaying substrate It should be flat, about 5 cm wide, thin.

sand papers

Used for substrate glazing. Shared by fineness. Roughest is fineness label 100, the finest is label 2000. steel wool It can be used for glazing substrate, instead of fine water abrasive paper.

lead pencil

It is used for sketching drawings.

painting brushes

There are two kinds: the first, flat , and second, pointed, special, for lines. flat brush is used for underpainting - applying paint in wide strokes. Other species are pointed brushes that have the ability of self-formation peak after moves you made. They are used for withdrawal lines at drawings and application of lighting and shadows at underpaint part.

Knife for gold

It use to divides and cuts golden paper into smaller parts.

Pillow for gold

You can easily cut golden papers on it. brush for gold You can transfer gold paper from pillow to board, or from fascicle to pillow, using a brush for gold.

gilding brush

brush for gilding

various containers glass and plastic

used for mixing colors and making the substrate. pricker for engraving substrate



Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 February 2010 18:57

Copyright © 2009 Dejan Sabadoš and Milan Sibinski


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