Iconographers translate revealed scripture and divine truths into visual images, writing the icon with consecrated brushes, paints, and materials. Ideally, they should be pious individuals trained by holy fathers. Monks and nuns, therefore, have traditionally been the primary source of icons.
Iconographers traditionally pray, fast, and avoid worldly excitement during their work. Individual interpretation is ideally be kept to a minimum as the task is to pass on tradition by replicating previous icons within prescribed limits. Throughout most of Church history, icons have remained anonymous, but in recent decades some icons have begun to be signed with "Through the hand of [name]."