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Step-by-Step Guide: How to Create Your Own Tanjore Painting

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Create Your Own Tanjore Painting

Tanjore artwork, or Thanjavur artwork, is a conventional art type that first started to appear in Tamil Nadu, the southern part of India. These paintings have unfolded their style and flourished through the centuries. It is rich in history and cultural themes. Known for their vibrant detailing, shiny colorations, and distinguished use of gold foil, Tanjore paintings have emerged as highly valued in Indian art. Nowadays, Tanjore artwork is getting used increasingly in home decor around the world.

Today, we will discuss how art lovers hunt and discover low-priced Tanjore paintings online. We will also talk about how the Internet has made it less complicated to add fascinating pieces of art to your house.

Materials Needed For Your Tanjore Painting Project

Before we dive into the innovative method of doing this painting, let’s gather the important elements of it. Here’s a listing to get you started:

  • Canvas or Wood Plank: Your base for the painting. Wood is traditional, but canvas works well too.
  • Chalk Powder and Adhesive (Gesso): To prepare the surface for painting.
  • Gold Foil or Gold Paint: For that iconic Tanjore shine.
  • Tanjore Painting Colors: Typically, water-based colors are used.
  • Brushes: Various sizes, for different detailing and filling.
  • Palette: To mix and hold your colors.
  • Pencil and Eraser: For sketching your design.
  • Carbon Paper (optional): For transferring designs if freehand drawing feels daunting.

Make sure you source quality materials. Local art stores often carry these, but online retailers can be a treasure trove, especially for specialty items like gold foil and traditional colors. Some stores even specialize in supplies for Indian art, so keep an eye out for those.


Where to Find the Raw Materials You Require for Your Tanjore Paintings

Let's talk about where to find the raw materials for your painting.

  •  Local Art Stores: Your local art store is a great place to start. Here, you could meet every basic requirement of yours, starting from brushes and paints to canvases.
  • Online Retailers: If convenience is key, online shopping is the way to go. Websites like Amazon and specialized art supply stores offer a vast selection of items. You can easily find everything from gold foil to specific Tanjore painting colors with just a few clicks. Just be sure to check reviews and ratings to ensure quality.
  • Specialty Stores for Traditional Indian Art Supplies: For the most authentic experience, seek out specialty stores that cater specifically to traditional Indian art forms. These stores often stock unique items like the perfect gold foil or the exact type of gesso used in traditional Tanjore paintings. A quick online search can help you locate these niche suppliers.

Start Your Tanjore Painting Project

Step 1: Preparing the Base

  • Choosing Your Surface:  Tanjore paintings traditionally use wooden planks, but canvas works just as well. Wood offers a sturdier base and a classic feel, making your artwork durable. However, it can be heavy to lift and a bit pricey. Canvas, on the other hand, is of lightweight material. It is easier to handle and more easy on the pocket. However, it may require more careful handling to avoid damage.
  • Preparing the Surface For Your Painting: Once you've opted for your favored base, it's time to prepare its surface. Traditional artists start by mixing chalk powder and adhesive to create a compound called gesso. This acts like a primer to ensure that your paint sticks to the base properly. Apply a smooth and even layer of this gesso mixture across the whole surface of the painting. A couple of coats would be just right. Check to see if each coat is dry completely before applying the next. You must aim for a smooth and even base without any bumps or uneven spots.

Step 2: Drawing the Outline

Tanjore paintings often feature Hindu gods and goddesses, but there is no limitation to your theme. A light pencil sketch is where you will begin.

  • Creating the Design: If your drawing skills are quite good, go ahead and sketch freehand. For those who are less confident, you can take the help of carbon paper. With it, you can transfer the design neatly onto your prepared surface.
  • Tips for Beginners: Simplify complex designs to avoid frustration. Ensure your design is symmetrical and proportionate—key elements in Tanjore art. Don’t rush this step; a good outline is the foundation of your painting.

Step 3: Applying the First Layer of Paint

Time to bring your design to life with color.

  • Choosing Colors: Traditional Tanjore paintings use vibrant hues—reds, greens, blues, and more. Each color has its significance, adding to the painting’s depth and meaning. Feel free to experiment with modern variations, but maintaining a balanced palette is essential.
  • Techniques: Start with flat washes to cover large areas, then build up layers for depth. Apply paint evenly, taking care to avoid streaks or blotches. Patience is crucial here; let each layer dry fully before adding another to prevent smudging and ensure a smooth finish.

Step 4: Adding Gold Foil/Gold Paint

Glittering gold accents are the greatest attraction of Tanjore paintings.

  • Gold Foil Application: Prepare the surface with adhesive, then carefully apply the gold foil. You must burn it gently so that it adheres well. Once done, remove any excess foil present and give it a clean, polished look. Gold paint can be a more accessible option. Achieve a rich, metallic finish by applying multiple thin layers rather than one thick one. This technique ensures an even, lustrous effect.
  • Highlighting and Detailing: Enhance the painting’s richness and depth by adding gold accents to key areas. This step brings a three-dimensional quality to your work, making it truly stand out.

Step 5: Give Your Painting the Final Touch with Embellishments

Now, it’s time to finetune your masterpiece to refinement.

  • Fine Detailing: Using fine brushes, add intricate patterns and details. Highlights and shadows will give your painting depth and realism.
  • Embellishments: Incorporate stones, beads, or other materials to add texture and luxury. Get the balance of embellishments correct, or it could overpower the overall design.

Step 6: Finishing Touches and Preservation

Your painting is almost complete. Just a few more steps remain.

  • Final Touch-Ups: Inspect your work for any missed spots or imperfections. Make any vital corrections to your painting so that it's complete and you can see no flaws.
  • Preservation Techniques: Apply a protecting varnish to keep your portrait away from dirt and harm. Proper framing and show techniques will not only enhance its beauty but will additionally guard it. When it comes to looking after your Tanjore painting, everyday cleansing and upkeep are key. Use a gentle, dry material to remove any dirt, and keep away from direct daylight to maintain the colors and gold accents.


Creating your own Tanjore painting is a rewarding journey that beautifully intertwines history, culture, and personal creativity. By preparing a smooth base with gesso, sketching a precise and symmetrical design, and patiently applying layers of vibrant paint, you lay the foundation for a masterpiece. Adding shimmering gold foil or paint brings your artwork to life with rich, luminous details. The final steps of intricate detailing and thoughtful embellishments add depth and texture, making your painting truly unique. Remember to protect and preserve your work with varnish and proper framing. For beginners, the key lies in practice and patience.

If you are an art lover who wants to buy Tanjore paintings online, contact Mangala Tanjore Paintings. We have a varied collection of Tanjore paintings online that are made by our skilled artisans from Coimbatore. Visit Mangala Tanjore Paintings today to browse and buy some of the best Tanjore paintings available in the market.

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