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"For the use and good and profit of anyone who wants to enter this profession."
-- Cennino Cennini, sometime before 1437

A Historic Note: This was originally a supply list for a class I taught at the Evanston Art Center in Evanston, Illinois. It is still useful as a general overall list of supplies needed for egg tempera painting, as well as for silverpoint drawing. However, it is not precisely identical to what is actually needed for the instruction given on this website. Please see the individual pages at left for more accurate supply lists for each step. If you have questions about the use or utility of these supplies, drop me a line.

Egg Tempera and Silverpoint Supplies Needed: A Basic List

Getting Started Painting

At least one "Claybord Smooth" panel, no smaller than 9x12 inches

Tracing vellum

A ruler (just a darned good idea)

A pencil with a regular lead(preferably mechanical, size 0.3 mm)

Optional: A silverpoint stylus (A piece of silver jeweler's wire, roughly 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7 cm) long, and a claw-type pencil lead holder (which can accommodate a variety of lead thicknesses)


Optional: Protective latex, nitrile, or plastic gloves

Two or three waterproof palettes (I use the porcelain ones shaped like flowers)

A few soft, watercolor-type brushes in small sizes. You will certainly need rounds, you may find some brights and flats to be useful, and you might want one or two with long hairs, the sort which are sometimes called "riggers" or "liners". Winsor & Newton "Sceptre" rounds in sizes 1, 2, and 4 are a good, inexpensive place to start.

A few small, cheap, slightly stiff (hogs bristle or badger or the like) brushes for mixing and carrying

Any type of brush you feel comfortable with or want to experiment with, and anything else you might care to try painting with, such as sponges, rags, &c. (if you bring a sponge, I recommend a cheap kitchen sponge rather than a good watercolor one, at least at first)

A roll of paper towels

Aluminum foil

An eyedropper

A clean container for your egg mixture, and one or more for water to rinse your brushes

One very fresh egg, preferably organic (it really does make a difference)

A needle, toothpick, or other small, sharp object to pierce the egg yolk

A dust mask

Preparation of Grounds

A piece of masonite or an unprimed art panel, no larger than 24 inches on a side (Smaller sizes are fine)(No plywood, please; it may develop hairline cracks down the road)

Rabbitskin glue (sold dry, in granules)

Gesso ground dry mix (Fredrix makes a good brand) OR powdered calcium carbonate/whiting/chalk and titanium white pigment (these will be mixed with rabbitskin glue)

Great big cheap hardware store priming brushes

Sandpaper, in medium, fine, and very fine grit. You may also wish to bring a clean white rag for really obsessive polishing.

A large, clean & sterile glass jar with a lid

Paper towels or plastic gloves (for handling the panels, which can be damaged by skin oils)

An apron, smock, or other protection for your clothes

A dust mask


Small clean, sterile (boiled) glass jars with rust-proof caps to hold pigments (baby food jars or those skinny spice jars with plastic caps are good) and some permanent way to label them

Small jars of pigments. To begin with, you must have at least Titanium White and any one of the following: Mars Black, Mars Yellow, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Mars Orange, Prussian Blue, Terre Vert (Green Earth), or Ultramarine Blue. (Later you will need most of these, but I recommend waiting until after the first week to purchase them).

Please note: You may wish to try other pigments later in the class. Please discuss them with me first, because some are really toxic.

Silverpoint Drawing

A piece of silver jeweler's wire, roughly 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7 cm) long

A claw-type pencil lead holder (which can accommodate a variety of lead thicknesses)

A pad of lightweight watercolor paper glued all around the edges OR good drawing paper, a drawing board, and watercolor mounting tape (the brown paper kind you wet with water)

A tube of white caseine paint

A large, cheap, soft priming brush