The Icarus Drawing Board is very safe when used appropriately. It is designed to reach temperatures warm enough for wax-based media to soften or melt but not so warm that it would cause users to inadvertently burn themselves.
Even though the warm zone, at its maximum temperature, feels very warm to the touch, one would have to intentionally leave his hand directly on the glass to get burned. Nevertheless please use common sense and read all instructions.
The Icarus Drawing Board is used like any other portable drawing board. It can sit on a desk or a table. The paper (or other support material) is placed on top of the board. It's important not to fasten the paper to the board because it needs to be moved freely from one zone to the other and back as necessary. The artist can rest his arms on the board.
After plugging the unit into a power outlet, turn the switch on and set the temperature dial to 6 (average working temperature). It will take about 10 minutes for the unit to warm up enough to start working. Depending on the medium used and your personal preference, you can adjust the dial to a higher or lower setting.
All wax-based media are ideal for the Icarus Drawing Board technique.
The main categories are: wax-based colored pencils, artist crayons and oil pastels.
These can be found on the market under different generic names:
There are only few tools that are necessary to implement this technique beyond the normal tools inherent to wax-based media (sharpeners, erasers, desk brush, etc).
To protect your art from staining and smudging, place a cotton towel between your arm and your work. A thin flour sack towel works great for this purpose. This towel prevents any oil from your skin to come in contact with your work. At the same time it makes the temperature of the warm zone more comfortable (the towel can be doubled up if necessary).
Gray Paper Stumps
Great for blending colored pencils, artist crayons and oil pastels.
Colour Shapers are shaped like a brush with a tip made of silicone. They are also known as "Clay Shapers" or "Wax Movers". They usually come in three different color tips: white, gray and black. The black ones are the sturdiest. They are used for mixing, moving and blending the waxy pigments of artists crayons and oil pastels.
Artists are encouraged to experiment and find their own preferred tools.
Any support material that would normally be used for wax-based media is acceptable for the Icarus Drawing Board as long as it makes full contact with the glass (no cradled boards, no stretched canvases).
Papers of any variety, from drawing to watercolor and pastel paper, boards such as illustration, museum, canvas or wood boards, fabric, glass, plexiglass and more can be used with the Icarus Drawing Board.
The thickness of the support material determines how quickly it warms up and cools down. A sheet of paper changes temperature almost instantly. A thicker board takes a little longer.
With any wax-based media, especially when applied heavily or burnished, the wax tends to rise to the surface and appear as a white haze. This can be easily remedied by wiping the surface with a soft cloth. The wax bloom will reform until the work is sprayed with fixative or varnished.
The heat of the warm zone sometimes causes the support materials to lightly warp. This is not a lasting problem and will rectify itself when returned to room temperature.