Icon Painter

Essential Tips for a Beginner Icon Painter

The art of icon painting is a cultural and religious tradition that continues to develop even in the modern world. Undoubtedly, mastering the technique of painting religious icons is rather difficult. A modern icon painter should have a tremendous amount of experience under their belt to reach the result of the old masters known for creating truly valuable sacred images. However, it is still possible, even in today’s realities. Below we have shared a few essential tips for those icon painters who are just embarking on their journey in this field.

Essential tips for a beginner icon painter

  1. Before exploring the icon painting technique, it is important to grasp the true purpose and significance of the icon creation. An icon is not a mere painting. Through colors and images, it reveals the spiritual and dogmatic teachings of the Church. A novice icon painter needs to understand their role in the making of such a sacred religious object. It is only then painting an icon will be considered a spiritual endeavor.
  2. Then comes the study of the icon symbolism, its specific elements, the color palette, etc. This step is incredibly important for a full immersion in the process of creating an icon because the attributes, gestures, and vestments of the saints convey the meaning of the whole spiritual image.
  3. Any aspiring icon painter must first rely on existing examples of antique icons. The Church, along with iconographers, has long been refining the canons and artistic form of icons, which now serve as a basis for all religious shrines. By reproducing an ancient image, the master can improve their skills and knowledge of the celestial world.
  4. The process of copying an antique icon can help the novice artist properly use colors and light. One should not be afraid of combining different tones of colors. The desired result can be achieved only through making mistakes and analyzing them.
  5. On the one hand, creativity and iconography are incompatible concepts since icons are based on canons and church dogmas. However, spiritual vision must still be combined with a creative embodiment of the truth. Therefore, it is important for an artist to show their talent, though still according to the spiritual teachings of the religion.

These points should be learned by every aspiring icon painter who wants to preserve a long-standing tradition and improve their mastery of icon painting.