Iconography Online

The Main Principles of Using Egg Tempera

Course V


Course V: The Main Principles of Using Egg Tempera

In order to successfully work with the egg tempera technique, you need to know all the basic rules of using egg tempera. That’s what the first four lessons will be about.

We are going to experiment with the consistency of the paint, explore the characters of powdered pigments, work with the brush in a variety of ways, study how to apply layers evenly, and how to create a soft color transition.



for everybody

for those, who have accomplished our course Drawing the Frontal Face or knows how to do it properly


180 USD 4 weekly assignments shared in Google Classroom.

280 USD for 6 weekly assignments shared in Google Classroom.

Payments are non-refundable. Students are accepted on a first come - first served basis.


4 assignments / 5 weeks
22 September - 20 October 2022

6 assignments / 8 weeks
27 October - 15 December 2022 Drawings are accepted for corrections no later than 13 December 2022


Each of the weekly assignments includes: a Full HD video with explanations (about 45 minutes), a PDF file with homework, lesson summary

All videos remain available to the students after the end of the course


Learners are expected to share photographs of their drawings in Google Classroom Stream. Personal feedback from the instructors with their corrections / comments / recommendations is given within 48 hour (weekends excluded). Feedback is guaranteed for the whole period of the course either written in words or/and drawn directly on the emailed image.


Please put about 1-2 hours for watching the video tutorials & at least 1.5-2 hours for drawing practice per assignment. We recommend practicing in short 30-minute intervals, several times a week rather than hour-long sessions once a week. We made this program as extensive as possible by splitting complex tasks into manageable parts, to make the assignments squeezable between routine work and family duties. We hope it will allow everybody to study at their own pace.

Necessary Supplies

Click here to download the List of Materials in PDF

Surface to work on

  • Drawing Paper (A4 or letter format) about 30 sheets (at least 120 gm upwards is fine). Do not use thin paper (80 gm) and watercolor paper as well.
  • Any board to stick the paper on
  • Masking tape to tape the paper to a board (optional)
  • Gummed kraft paper tape (only for the Part II)
  • Paper absorbs water as well as a chalk gesso. The only problem with paper is that it warps under a wet brush. In order to prevent it and make the surface evenly flat, I'd suggest you stretch the paper on a wooden panel using gummed kraft paper tape.
    Here is a link to the video: How to Stretch Watercolor Paper - YouTube Be attentive, we are going to use only the drawing paper.

    Powdered Pigments:

  • Black (better to have shungite)
  • Titanium White
  • Raw Umber
  • Yellow Ochre Light
  • Ercolano Red
  • Hematite (optional)
  • Ercolano Red
  • Verona Green Earth (optional)
  • Marble Dust*
    * The only marble dust I found for sale was at naturalpigments.com, but I highly recommend trying it. OPn their website it is named Oil Paints Bianco Carrara White Marble Dust Shop Artist Oils.
  • I checked a lot of pigment manufacturers and sellers, and found the best prices for pigments we need on naturalpigments.com Cost of each color is no more than 7.50 USD for 100gr (Except for the shungite it’s 19.50 USD). You can replace shungite with any other black, such as vine, bone or lamp black, but neither of these colors will give you a rich hue of blue with a mixture with white.

    Check alternative pigment producers:

  • Kremer
  • Kreidezeit
  • ITALY:
  • Zecchi
  • Dolci
  • Agulis
  • Langridge Colors
  • The Alchemical Arts*
  • (*Founded by a person, inspired to expore pigments after one of our courses).

    Round Brushes:

  • Squirrel #2, 3, 5
  • Kolinsky or Sable #3
  • I strongly suggest you use only natural brushes: squirrel or kolinsky. Do not use brushes with artificial hairs or brushes with mixed hairs because they do not absorb paint as well as the brushes with natural hairs. The quality of the brush hair influences the result a lot.

    I found appropriate brushes on naturalpigments.com If you know a better site or place to buy, please share the information.
  • Pure Squirrel Watercolor Brushes (round)
  • Pure Red Sable Round Brushes (round)
  • How to check brushes in a store?
    All the brushes look perfect in the store because they all are sealed with a weak adhesive solution. You have to check them before purchasing. There is always a cup with water in the artist store. Dip the brush in water and when you get it out, all the hairs together should make a perfect tip. Also check how elastic the brush is by pressing on the hair part. The main thing, try pulling the brush hair close to the base, all hair should remain in place. It shows how long this brush will last.

    Cups and pestle for paint mixing and a palette:

  • 5 basins
  • pestle or a bristle brush (for paint mixing)
  • palette or white plate
  • Usually we use evaporating basins from a chemistry supply shop as containers for the paint and a pestle to mix pigment with egg emulsion. It’s good to have at least 5 basins. These evaporating basins have different sizes. Usually we use the smallest ones. As a chipper option you can buy egg stands, or small bowls with smooth semicircular bottoms from a dollar store.

    As a palette you can use any white plate, but do not use it for food after you have mixed paints on it. All our pigments are non-toxic, but I always prefer to separate things.

    Additional instruments:

  • Container for egg emulsion
  • Eye dropper for egg emulsion
  • Small plastic spoons to take pigments from a bottle
  • Rug or paper towel to wipe a brush
  • Container for water
  • For people who are going to take only PART I:

    It will be ok to have only one brush: round squirrel or kolinsky#3, but I suggest you have both to try the difference.
    Do not buy gummed kraft paper tape.


    Online Icon Painting Course  5

    What You Will Learn

    PART I

  • To work with a brush properly
  • To apply paint evenly
  • To make a soft color transition
  • To create soft shadows and highlights
  • To use different consistency of paint
  • To use different properties of powdered pigments

  • How to paint a face using different methods
  • Different ways of modeling the face with shadow and highlights
  • Two ways of modeling the face with flesh tone
  • Different ways of using glaze
  • Different ways of applying blush
  • Different ways of applying final accents
  • Learning Process

    Each of the weekly assignments includes:

  • a tutorial video
  • a PDF file with homework, lesson summary
  • Start each assignment by watching a video to have the main idea about the tasks. When you start practicing, it will be useful to pause the video from time to time to repeat a certain step. If something is going not so well as shown in the video, pleasy, try watching again and notice more details that help you to move on.

    Homework Part I
    As the first four lessons of the course are dedicated exclusively to the technique, we would like students to perform all the tasks on their own. It will be difficult to evaluate the homework through the screen. Instead of evaluating homework, we can answer additional questions that you come up with after having watched the videos. We can provide feedback about any specific technique that you find to be challenging. We share this feedback in Google Classroom so that everyone has a chance to learn even if they are too shy to ask. We are always ready to lend a hand and guide you as you go along. It will be great to share the results at the Google Classroom with fellow classmates and see each other's process.

    Homework Part II
    During the second part of the course students are suggested to share their images in Google Classroom at any stage for feedback. Feel free to upload your work as you go along, so that we can better guide you or just upload your work when you finish. So that we may provide feedback and see how you’ve grown throughout the course.

    It’s best to practice in short 30-minute intervals several times a week rather than to make only one hour-long session once a week. Why? This course contains a lot of new information and it’s easier to focus on a new subject for 30 minutes instead of two hours. In fact, the studying process doesn’t stop when you stop painting, as the brain continues to process the new skills and concepts. Small sessions help it to digest more information. Don’t be disappointed if you can’t replicate everything you see in the video right away. All that you will see in the videos is a result of practice. Split your sessions into small intervals and keep practicing!

    We kindly ask you to take a photo of your paintings without distortion. When taking a photo, hold your cell phone or tablet parallel to the drawing. It will help a lot with your homework presentation and correction.

    We hope that at least for these short painting sessions you will switch off or put your cell phone on “silent mode”. We also recommend to ask people around not to disturb you, providing some peace for your concentrated work. We insist on this because the learning process is way more intense and effective if performed with a complete immersion in the process, thoughtfully and carefully.

    We expect you to do your homework on paper of A4/Letter format and post it in the Google Classroom Stream.

    If you experience any technical difficulties with Google Classroom, please let us know via email, we will answer you as quickly as we can.


    PART I. Basics

    Assignment 1. Applying Paint
  • What is Egg Tempera
  • How to Mix Egg Emulsion
  • How to Mix Paint
  • Consistency of Paint
  • How to Work with Brush
  • Right Amount of Paint on a Brush
  • Applying Method
  • Application Speed
  • Palette
  • Choosing the Right Size of the Brush
  • At the End of the Work
  • Assignment 2. Modeling and Glazing
  • How to Make Color Darker
  • How to Create a Soft Color Transition
  • Different Ways of Creating Volume
  • What is a Glaze
  • Why Holes Appear on My Painting
  • Assignment 3. Highlighting and Glazing
  • Different Types of White
  • Titanium White
  • How to Make Color Lighter
  • How to Create a Soft Transition of White
  • Consistency of Paint
  • Different Ways of Creating Highlights
  • Different Ways of Using the Glaze
  • Assignment 4. Composing the Palette
  • Natural Pigments VS Historical Pigments
  • Simple Palette
  • Opaque and Transparent Pigments
  • Coarse and Finely Ground Pigments
  • Crystalline and Amorphous Pigments
  • Black
  • Umber
  • Yellow
  • Herculanum Red
  • Hematite
  • Greasy or Opaque Paint Surfaces
  • Different Ways of Mixing Colors in Egg Tempera
  • PART II. Painting Faces

    Assignment 5. Basic Sankir Method. Face Volume
  • What Is Sankir
  • The Main Steps of Painting Face with Sankir Method
  • Modeling the Face with Shadow
  • Importance of Volume in Iconography
  • How to Fix Overglaze
  • Are There no External Lights on Icons
  • Where Are the Most Illuminated Parts of Face
  • Modeling the Face with Highlights
  • Two ways of Highlighting the Face
  • Assignment 6. Extended Sankir Method. Highlights and Glaze
  • Making Paint for Sankir and Skin Tone
  • Practicing Modeling and Highlighting the Face
  • Egg Tempera Hardens over Time. How Can It Help in Painting
  • Difference between Glazed and Unglazed Faces
  • Assignment 7. Basic Sankirless Method. Last Dark Accents and Blush
  • What’s the Main Difference between Sankir and Sankirless Methods
  • Modeling the Face with Shadow
  • Glazing and Highlighting
  • Last Dark Accents on Models
  • How to Apply the Last Dark Accents
  • Blush on Models
  • How to Apply Blush
  • Comparing Faces Painted with Sankir and Sankirless Methods
  • Assignment 8. Extended Sankirless Method. Small Faces
  • Choosing a Color for Underpainting
  • Making Paint for Flesh Tone
  • Glazing and Highlighting
  • Last Dark Accents and Blush
  • One more Way of Modeling the Face
  • How to Paint Small Faces
  • Assignment 9. Combined Method. Facial Coloring on Old Icons
  • Main Advantages of Using Combined Method
  • How to Model the Face
  • How to Work with Flesh Tone and Highlights
  • To Glaze or Not to Glaze
  • Repeating Shadows
  • Last Dark Accents and Blush
  • Facial Coloring on Old Icons
  • Assignment 10. Ancient Sankirless Method. How to Work with Models
  • The Main Difference Between Ancient and Contemporary Sankirless Methods
  • Ancient Models Painted with Sankirless Method
  • How to Work with Printed Models
  • Choosing Colors
  • Modeling the Face with Shadow
  • Glazing and Highlighting
  • Last Dark Accents on Models
  • Comparing the Faces
  • Practical Matters

    PART I. Starts the 22th of September 2022
    It consists of 4 weekly assignments posted every Thursday.
    We will work with simple forms in order to understand well all the tips and tricks of this technique.
    After the last assignment is published on the 13th of October, you will have one week to submit your homework for checking. Homework is accepted no later than on the 20th of October 2022

    PART II. Starts the 27th of October 2022
    It consists of 6 weekly assignments posted every Thursday.
    Each assignment is based on a tutorial with detailed explanation of how to paint one or two faces using a certain method.
    After the last assignment is published on the 1st of December, you will have two more weeks to submit your homework for checking. Paintings are accepted no later than the 15th of December 2022

    Access to the Google Classroom and the videos is strictly limited to the online course participants only and must not be shared with anyone else in any form

    Ready to Enroll?

    Online Iconography Drawing Course V consists of:
  • Part I (September 22 - October 20 2022, 4 assignments) - $180
  • Part II (October 27 - December 15 2022, 6 Assignments) - $280

  • The first part of the course is recommended for everyone who is interested in learning egg tempera technique. It will give you the right skills of how to work with layers and understand what kind of effects you could reach by using this technique. It’s also good for iconographers who still have some difficulties in using egg tempera technique.

    In the second part of the course we will continue practicing. We are going to paint several faces using different methods. To practice successfully you have to know how to draw a frontal face. This part is made mostly for iconographers. At the same time, any artist can take a lot of detailed information from iconographer techniques to create your own artworks.

    If you plan to sign up for this course we suggest making registration payments for one part at a time, starting from the first one. If you prefer to make a full payment right away, choose an appropriate option using the Paypal button.
    Choose an Option below
    Online Course for Learning Egg Tempera for Iconographers
    Students are accepted on a first come - first served basis. Making your reigistration payment, please provide a valid email address. It will be used to send you a personal invitation to Google Classroom and for all the further communications.

    The Assignments will be emailed on Thursdays at 00:00 AM Moscow time (GMT+3). Make sure you let us know if you have any further questions.
    If you wish to be informed about our future courses and other events, subscribe to our regular Newsletter below.