The Icarus Boards are very safe when used appropriately. They are designed to reach temperatures warm enough for wax-based drawing media to soften or melt but not so warm that they 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 surfice to get burned. Nevertheless please use common sense and read all instructions.
The Icarus Boards are used like any other drawing boards. They can be placed on a desk or on an easel. They can be used at any angle, from horizontal to vertical. On the Icarus Drawing Board the paper (or other support material) is placed on top of the board and moved freely from one zone to the other and back as necessary. On the Icarus Painting Board the paper (or other support) is held in place by powerful magnets.
On the Icarus Drawing Board the artist can rest his/her arms on the cool side of the board.
The Icarus Painting Board has one large warm zone and no cool zone.
After plugging the unit into a power outlet, turn the switch on and set the temperature dial to around 5 (average working temperature). It will take about 5 minutes for the unit to warm up. Depending on the medium used and your personal preference, you can adjust the dial to a higher or lower setting.
All wax-based drawing media are ideal for the Icarus 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 drawing media (sharpeners, erasers, drafting 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 drawing media is acceptable for the Icarus Boards as long as it makes full contact with the warm surface (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 Boards.
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 drawing media, especially when applied heavily or burnished, the wax, when cooled down, tends to rise to the surface and appears as a white haze. This can be easily remedied by warming up the surface again on the Icarus board. 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.