Madhubani-Indian Folk Art

                                          Peacock and Fishes

Today, I want to introduce you’ll to a very popular Indian folk art called Madhubani, which literally translates into honey forests. It’s a very old rural art form which originated in a village by the same name in Northern India. These paintings are known for their  simplicity, line work and vibrant colors.

Tree of Life

Madhubani is traditionally done by the villagers to decorate the walls of theirs homes, especially on important occasions like weddings and births. Dip pens and twigs are used to draw everyday scenes and deities and the local flora and fauna. Fishes, peacocks and  the tree of life are some of the more popular motifs. Turmeric, indigo, sandalwood, roses,  rice flour, soot  are hand ground to use as their choice of colors and resin is  always used as a binder.

Lately, this art form has been given a huge impetus and village women have started contributing to  the household income by selling their work and have started using acrylic paints on handmade paper and raw silk to make them market worthy.

Here is how I approach this art form…

I have used Sumi ink, dip pen  and watercolors for my painting today.There is not much in terms of steps to do this art, it’s just
doodling and drawing to fill the space. This could also be compared to today’s popular Zentangle, but the major difference being that there are not tiles or tangles or copyrighted patterns. Each Madhubani artist has his own unique representation of his surroundings.

Shall we talk supplies and start painting?


Yasutomo Sumi Ink,

Dip Pen/ruling pen

Or Permawriter in different sizes

Niji Chinese Watercolors

I have used a dip pen, ruling pen and  fluid ink to do my peacock painting, but it could easily be done with the Permawriter, which is what I use when I take my sketch book out on field trips.

I love this ink, not too thick not too watery, just perfect for dip pens.

Keep drawing and repeating patterns to fill the space and pretty soon  you will have a lovely painting!

Add color…

And more fine lines ..

The tree of life..monochromatic

I have a couple more paintings on my blog, stop by for more inspiration!

Disclaimer-      I do not have formal training in Madhubani art, but over the years this is what I have observed and thought of sharing with you’ll today. This might not be the original way of painting, especially when it comes to colors and ink and certain motifs, so in no way am I claiming this to be an original, but, I enjoy doing it this way and hope to share what I know and inspire people to pick up their pens and start drawing!


3 thoughts on “Madhubani-Indian Folk Art

  1. This intricate, beautiful art has such a rich and evocative name. Thanks for the introduction!

  2. I am glad you liked it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s