Thursday, December 13, 2012

How to Make a Madhubani Painting - Outline Later

I have been captivated by Madhubani ever since I saw a painting of Lord Ganesha at our neighbor's house. It was a small and simple Madhubani painting made on a handmade paper using poster colors and outlined with a black marker.

I haven't been in Bihar and all my Madhubani knowledge came from looking at the Madhubani paintings at the art shops, other people's homes and - the Internet.

As a beginner I am trying to experiment with different materials in order to discover the second most authentic way of making it after the flower extracts mixed with the cow dung.

Madhubani painting of Lord Ganesha at the neighbor's house 


To make a Madhubani painting I use a handmade paper. In India it is known asMadhubani paper and it's color is yellowish and it has a dotted texture. If you want to buyMadhubani paper in India but don't know where to buy and  what it looks like, go to a famous stationary shop and ask the shopkeeper about it. A sheet of Madhubani paper costs  about 20 rupees (August, 2011).


In Bihar villages, thin bamboo sticks are used to paint on the house walls. To paint on a handmade paper, I use very thin brushes (size 000) or bigger sizes - to cover larger areas. In Indian stationary shops I usually get only one brand and type brush.

My brushes


I use poster colors for Madhubani paintings. The main colors used in Madhubani paintings are the natural colors: yellow, orange, red, blue and green. However I like using additional colors such as: lemon yellow, mustard yellow, orange, red, sky blue, navy, purple, brown, ochra and green.

Poster colors's set


If you want to paint on silk you can use acrylic colors. Acrylic colors have a thicker consistency than the poster colors and may leave the visible signs of the brush strokes. I have never tried painting on silk but I have used acrylics to paint on a simple white paper.

Acrylic colors' set


It is also possible to make a Madhubani painting using oil on canvas. Oil paint may be thicker and more expensive than poster colors or acrylics and they also take time to dry. You may find it challenging to use a thin brush to do the line work, however it can be fun too. 



Once your painting is dry, you could finish it by outlining it with a black marker (or a thin brush). The best and cheapest (10 rupees) black marker that I was able to find in local stationary shops was this one:

The best black markers for Madhubani outlines 


shivani said...

hw to treat the paper with cow dung ?????? i will b very happy if u could explain and also hw to get the yellowish paper effect

CrazyLassi said...

Hello Shivani, I haven't tried treating paper with a cow dung yet. I always use teabags. Just boil some water and add 6-8 teabags in it. When it cools down, take a teabag and brush it over the paper. It might brake and leave some tea leaves on the paper but they will fall off naturally when the paper is dry.

Regarding cow dung. I think they use fresh cow dung mixed with water. They would use a big sized brush or cloth to go over the paper. I don't use it because of smell and because teabags give a perfect effect.

Megha Mathur said...

Hi wanted to know what paper should be used to give this tea bag colour effect

CrazyLassi said...

Hi Megha, the paper pictured in the images of this post is handmade paper that was already brownish when I bought.
I think handmade paper is the best to use with tea bags, however any paper can be treated (even exercise book paper, if you want to get an old rusty letter look).

Megha Mathur said...

Thanks I tried this method on watercolor paper and acrylic paper too it has great effect!!!

uc said...

Hi Lassi, I have a question do you know what this cloth is called in the States? is it papyrus sheets or like muslin? I can't find this on Amazon or in local craft stores. Thanks in advance, and also for sharing your tips, I'm working on a comic book and am trying to recreate this style for it! your tips and videos are super helpful as I cannot find a lot of refrences!

Vasudha S said...

Hey thanks for the info. All this while I was struggling to get thin black outline for my Madhubani paintings. I did try using a black sketch pen. I was unsuccessful probably the ink in the sketch pen had dried out..

CrazyLassi said...

Hello uc and sorry for the late reply. That paper is simply called "handmade paper" and there are varieties of different handmade paper. You may simply find a paper that absorbs the water well, such as watercolor paper, or paper suitable for ink. It really doesn't matter as Madhubani is made on canvas and walls as well. It's up to you and feel free to experiment.

CrazyLassi said...

Hello Vasudha, you have to make sure you're using the sketch pen that is new or that has enough ink for brighter and blacker line work :) I buy several and have to throw one away after making 1 large drawing as it doesn't have enough ink afterwards.

Anonymous said...

I used acrylic paper with your tea bag method and a mixture of acrylic (by fevicryl, only 18 rupees and non-toxic) and poster colours. Worked really well. For outlining, the markers i had were too thick. So i used a thicker ink pen. I am satisfied the way it turned.

Anonymous said...

Even coffee powder can be made to make a similar concoction to wash the handmade paper. Coffee can be adjusted to make a darker or lighter wash for the paper and will not leave tiny bits of tea leaves on the paper.

Anonymous said...

hello ,
Your blog is really inspiring! I am also just a housewife who loves to doodle , will try this art-form!

Elakiya M said...

hi... ur work is really amazing and very useful for me... can u pls let me know how to make handmade paper?

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