Painting a simple Madhubani Fish in 12 steps

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Madhubani painting or Mithila painting is a style of Indian painting, practiced in the Mithila region of Bihar state, India. Painting is done with fingers, twigs, brushes, nib-pens, and matchsticks, using natural dyes and pigments, and is characterized by eye-catching geometrical patterns.

The paintings are traditionally based on mythological, folk themes and pastoral symbols. The central themes of most paintings are love, valor, devotion and fertility, though the approach may vary. So it is common to find scenes of courtship and marriages and symbols of fertility and prosperity like fish, parrot, elephant, turtle, sun, moon, bamboo tree, lotus, etc. in prominence.


Today I’m sharing a simple tutorial on

Painting a simple Madhubani Fish in 12 steps

Style most suited for kids 5 years and older…  DSC05907
Step by Step process of painting a Madhubani styled Fish.[ Click for a larger image ]

PS: This was a quickie project (10 mins) and I very boldly used a gel pen .. Excuse me for the imperfections

This style is typically characterized by a double border that gives it a almost 3-dimensional look. Also pay attention to the typical motifs & designs.

I hope this step by step guide is helpful in teaching young kids to make one of their own. While on this subject, Do take out time to explore other contexts

What is Folk art?
Which part of Indian is famous for this style of folk art?
Which characters are typically painted?
How similar or dissimilar it is to other folk arts near this region?
Are there different styles within madhubani . If so, whats the difference between them?
What is the typical folk attire of that region?
What is the typical food style & occupation of the  region?

If art is understood in these ways, in terms of its functions, in terms of what it’s for, in terms of why it’s made and displayed, we have a solid and rich foundation upon which  art appreciation will thrive.


Indian Readers

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  1. I just wanted to say YOU ROCK!
    I absolutely love the theme for this month. You are doing a tremendous job, keep up the good work 🙂 Thank you!!!

  2. Hey thanks Shruti.. this is just wonderful. BTW I tried out those Gond drangons from utbkids.. turned out quite nice. At the risk of repeting myself I have to say your blog’s a compltete treasure.

  3. This is really good. Thanks for the inspiration. I am thinking of madhubani collage and decoupaging it on a wine bottle. Would you mind if I adapt your work? Thanks. I will give due credit to you once I am done with the project.

  4. hey…first time on this site…ur really good.
    i gotta bring a reference for my art class. topic-madhubani.thanx for the instructions…u rock

  5. i like your ideas.and it help me to complete my holiday home work.i have used this site first times and i like your ways to put the popular post on the site.

  6. This is such a great way to teach kids other countries artwork. I appreciate the step-by-step and historical background! I also saw the Gond painting of the bird, which I thought was amazing as well. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Since the times of Ramayana, when Videha Kingdom used to worship their lands, a plenty has been changed. Jungles were converted into modern cities, new dynasties arrived and vanished, and immigrants filled the cities. However, against the fact that the time has beautifully shifted entities from one end to another, one thing has remained persistent i.e. the indulgence and the passion of Madhubani artisans to keep this delightful art intact and thriving.
    I personally recommand following article on Madhubani paintings written by an arts and craft designing college of india – IICD

  8. I really like these kinds of painting. Your learning tutorial for drawing a fish is really nice and easy to draw. I will definitely try this way.