Monday, March 28, 2016

Madhubani workshop experience

Madhubani Krishna

It has been few days since I joined the art classes and it is fun so far. When my art teacher announced that she would be conducting a 5 days Madhubani Workshop, I decided to jump the wagon. Madhubani is not new to me and I have been doing here and there and gifting them to my dear ones. The workshop has been a different experience for me since the painting had to done on the fabric. Doing on the fabric has advantage of long life.

Now few facts about Madhubani

Mithila/ Madhubani paintings are from Mithila region of India and Nepal. Most of these paintings have deities from Indian epics like Ramayana, Mahabharata, natural elements like fishes, trees, birds,Sun etc. Although originally people painted using the natural dyes, nowadays  people also use poster and acrylic colors. These paintings are popular internationally and popularity is on rise in India too, thanks to good marketing, craft fairs, online markets. If you observe these paintings they are typical with large eyes, pouting lips, colorfully dressed and mostly the figures are in side view. This is because these people used to paint these figures on their house walls more for religious purposes and they are not artists with a degree in art.

Detailed information about origin, types of Madhubani, here on Wikipedia

Coming back to the my workshop, we followed the below procedure to create Madhubani art. This is for the benefit of people who are new to this art or want to try one themselves. The basic idea of the workshop was to give information about Madhubani art, few works of famous artists and doing one ourself. Since this was for learning, we had to choose our favorite from the list of images from internet, trace it and color it.

Intially a A3 sized board is taken, this is to pin your fabric. We used off white poplin cloth.

Cut about the size of the board(slightly more than the dimensions of the board), folding them and tightly pinning them to the board using a heavy duty stapler. This is how it looks from back.

Now take the carbon sheet and stick it on the fabric board using the tapes. Put the tape only at the edges. For my design I used two carbon sheet side by side.

Now select the design that you want to paint. If you are creative then you can draw your own composition on the tracing paper/paper. I chose a design which was originally done by one of the artist from Madhubani, Bihar(unknown) and that design was available in A3 size.

Now stick the design on the carbon paper with tape, sticking it to the edges.

Slowly start tracing the design, from top to bottom. Take care not to stress on the other parts of the design since the carbon paper may leave unwanted color on the fabric.

After tracing remove the carbon paper and design.

Your painting is ready to be filled with colors and outline. Always do the outlining first, with 000 sized brush and black color.

This is how it looks after outlining. Now your painting is ready to be filled with colors.

I used the fabric acrylic colors and along with size 000 brush also used size 2 and 4 brushes.

After you are done with the painting remove the stapler pins, board.

Frame your painting on the fabric well and let it be a talk among your friends.

Do not trace very minute detail like lines, since you can paint it later.
Try to use the earthy colors like blue, green, red, orange, yellow, use different shades of these colors.
If your composition is rich with colors and figures it is not a must to have designed border. A plain thick one looks always fabulous. The original painting in my case had no designed border, just a red one and I felt that looked more beautiful than mine.


  1. very pretty work on an intricate design!

  2. Thanks everyone for your encouraging comments. Makes me happy!!

  3. Wow! So involved and so beautiful! I love the detail in the design. Just lovely! ~Terri

  4. Beautiful painting vashudhaji..thank you for sharing your workshop experience so nicely :)