One of the many tools used by Icon painters is a paint loading compass. It is a draftsmen tool used to make exact round lines on icon and over the heads of saintly images with paint. These lines represent the halo and define the holy images called icons; or in Greek eikōn . Many centuries ago icon painters drew the halo with a brush, by hand, or made their own devices to draw the halo around the heads of the divine images.
Working with a paint loaded compass takes practice. This balanced tool is metal, with wheels, sharp pin like end, and the part that holds the paint looks like tweezers. Examine the tool and get to know its parts. You will see it will almost come completely apart, it aliens where you direct, easy to clean, and, dry.
Take a few hours to prepare paint you will load into the tweezers end, noting the texture of paint, and what flows out of the compass with greater ease. The paint texture should be like fresh honey. If the paint is to thin, the flow will be too fast. If the paint is to thick, there will be no flow at all, or the compass will get clogged while drawing the line. The compass opening where paint goes should be tight. In my experience the compass works better if the opening is small and full of paint. Load the paint from the side with a brush. Hold the compass side-ways till your ready to draw the line.
It will become second nature when you use the tool often. I recommend practice because, the halo should be drawn on to the icon in its last stages, and can cause much damage to the icon painting. Practicing is vital to a good line quality; this will finish the work. Practice many times on a transparency before going directly to the icon. With the halo lined up, marked and ready to draw before attempting to place directly on to the icon, will ensure perfection. The careful placement of the halo is critical to the icon painting. If the halo is poorly placed, you will go through pain to correct it. You may even risk destroying many hours of work. Take your time preparing this step, breath, use the Jesus prayer. Every icon painter before us had to do this step in their practicing of the icon. They will stand behind you pushing to send you to success. When your confident in attempting to draw the halo, empty your mind, bring your heart to your center, and do it with peace.