Madhubani Painting in 6 Easy Steps

I have learned a lot by observing other artists’ works. Some live works while some other through different media. I strongly believe that in this Google age one can learn anything and everything if one is really determined to learn, because there are lot of generous people sharing their knowledge and skill over internet.

I used to wonder what makes these wonderful people take so much effort and share their learnings? Now I realize what made them do so. There aim is to help others so that interested people can learn.

It’s the same reason why I wanted to write this post. So that I can pass on the help I received when I started painting and wanted to learn in any way possible.

I am still learning each day as I continue to paint. However, I feel I can still share what I have learned over the period of time. Therefore, thought came that why not write a post to share my knowledge on how to do Madhubani painting.

I have completed this Madhubani painting of Radhe-Krishna in a week’s time and taken photographs in each important stage. Madhubani or Mithila is the folk art of Bihar. You can read my post on Madhubani /Mithila paintings for more information.

Few important things for whosoever gets tempted to try Madhubani painting.

  • It’s an intricate art form and takes time to complete a painting. Please don’t be in hurry to finish it. Enjoy the wonderful journey of painting.
  • It can be done on handmade sheet or any thick white sheet – no special papers needed. Just make sure you start painting on rough side of the sheet. Smooth and shiny surface makes the colors slip.
  • Traditionally, special nib is used to draw line with black ink in Madhubani art work, but that requires lot of practice. However, black marker pen can be used to draw the outline (it’s important that pen should be water resistant).
  • Water-based poster colors are used on paper while if attempting on fabric use acrylic colors. Round tip brushes are used to fill colors.

Painting Procedure

  1. I start with sketching the border. Border is important aspect of Madhubani painting and it makes the painting look complete. Continuous geometrical designs or nature-inspired motifs can be used. Border can be from ½ inch to 2 inch wide (depending on the size of the canvas you are using). Bigger the canvas wider the border. Here I have drawn a ½ inch border.

making border of madhubani painting2. Conceptualize the layout of the painting. Start with the main character and fill the remaining space later. Here, I have sketched Radha-Krishna first and then made tree, abstract peacock and fish in the given order. The idea is that abstract patterns should support the main theme. Since its Radha-Krishna, adding peacock and fish made sense. Peacock is the symbol of romance and fish stands for fertility, good luck and devotion.

madhubani painting sketching Radhe krishna

3.Repeated patterns are made to add detailing as you can see in tree trunk or the way leaves are filled. There is no fixed rule to it and any pattern that blends well with the theme can be used. Border looked too simple so I added further detailing to it. As you must have understood no space is left blank and it should be filled with detailing.

Madhubani painting adding details

Since in this painting we are following Bharni style, we fill the painting with vibrant colors. While in Kachni style it’s mostly black and white with minimum use of colors. I am biased towards Bharni style as it is more colorful and bright.

4. While filling the colors, first decide the background color and then choose the foreground colors. When background color creates contrast with the foreground colors it makes painting more appealing. Choice of colors is very crucial. So, get yourself familiarized with color-wheel to know more about color combinations.

Madhubani painting filling background color5. Once done with background color, I infuse bright colors in foreground. When in doubt, start with adding obvious colors. Like tree trunk will be brown and leaves will be green, skin tone of Radha and Krishna, peacock will again be in shade of blue. After this it will be easy to visualize and choose other colors.

Madhubani painting adding colors6. You can leave the background as filled with single color but Madhubani painting is all about intricate patterns. So I add repeated pattern with black color (shown below) and fine tip round brush all over the background.

Madhubani with Background PatternThe painting is complete and ready to be framed. Decorate your home or your workplace or you can even gift it to someone.

Madhubani Painting
Madhubani painting ready to be framed

There is nothing more special than gifting handmade gifts. Like I gifted my friend personalized name-plate as house warming gift and she really loved it.

I am flabbergasted when I see the works of acclaimed Madhubani artisits Bharti Dayal and Vidushini Pandit. They have taken the Madhubani Paintings to great heights and their efforts have made this folk art more popular.

If you are fond of mono color paintings. Have a look at one of mine black and white madhubani painting.

I don’t claim to be an expert. I am sharing here what I have learned and explained here in best possible manner.

I will keep updating this page if I feel anything else can be helpful too. If you think some information is missed or anything else can be mentioned here please bring it to my knowledge and I will update it.

Thanks for reading and do share your feedback as your viewpoint may help some other readers too.

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16 thoughts on “Madhubani Painting in 6 Easy Steps”

    1. Thank you Nidhi for reading and commenting. Yes its true if we have determination to learn we can find sources to learn it.

    1. Thank you for generous comments.Yes Madhubani painting is all about intricate patterns and fine detailing. Do try it I’m sure you will love it.

  1. Hi,
    Vibrant colours and live looking faces, your painting says evrything. Read blog of few artist but yours bhaili is eye catching i could not stop reading it till d end. I think i develop interest in this art after reading so many blogs could you please suggest how can i start it and how much tym it will take to excel in etc .
    Thanks in advance
    Shruti.

    1. Thank you for your appreciation Shruti it means a lot to me. You would like to try this folk art fulfills my purpose to write this post.
      If you are determined to learn this art you will definitely do it. This is an intricate art and it requires practice, to excel in it may take some time.
      Start with Practicing different patterns of border and basic motifs like fish, peacock, sun and filling detailing in it. If you have any doubt while drawing or need help, share your sketches on Bhaili’s Facebook page. Seeing your attempts I can guide you further.

  2. Hello Megha. Its very helpful to me. I have started making madhubani paintings aince around 2-3 months and have made 3 paintings. But still was facing some small difficulties while doing so,your blog helped me out to correct some mistakes while painting. Can you plz help me in guiding more abt how to draw fine repeated patterns in background.
    Thanks in Advance
    Radhika

  3. Beautifully explained…i just loved the way you chose vibrant colors for the designs u created.. very attractive. I have saved some of them to do..thanks..:)

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