Art & Craft

Paintings Miniature paintings: Visualizing life coin size​

Painting miniatures

Miniature paintings are tiny paintings usually made in the size of your palm or even coin size with intricate brushwork and a melange of colors. The photographic details, varied forms, shapes are some features that still make them out stand and impress the audience in today’s art world.

Topics we’ll cover during the process

  • History and background of miniature painting.
  • Instruments needed for painting miniatures.
  • Process and tips.
  • Motivating your self and avoiding distraction.
  • Free video tutorial
  • Finding inspiration
  • FAQ’s

HISTORY & BACKGROUND

The history of miniature paintings can be traced back to around 750 A.D. when the Palas of Bengal gave birth to this art form. During this age, palm leaves were used for painting, and knowledge about their religion was spread through these painted leaves. Due to the space constraint, these paintings were tiny in size with astonishing details. Further, with time, the art and styles evolved, spreading it in the West around 950 A.D. The themes and nature of painting developed under the community influence of different dynasties and rulers.


hISTORY OF MINIATURE PAINTING

History of miniature paintings

The art of miniature paintings reached its zenith during the Mughal period: Rajput artists and painting schools of Orissa, Jain, Rajasthan, Pahari, Deccan, and Kishangarh. The paintings of this time depicted the Royal lifestyle of kings and queens and their tale of bravery. 

Soil, flowers, and stone Colours were essential ingredients for making colors. Even today, some artists around the world have kept the essence of miniature paintings alive in the form of daily objects, places, landmarks, famous personalities as the subjects of modern-day miniatures.

Let’s get started with some instruments you’ll need for miniature painting.

Materials needed for painting miniatures

Some of my mini paintings.

GETTING STARTED WITH WATERCOLOR MINIATURE PAINTING

Now once you get the materials, make sure you have a settled and organized space so you can concentrate and enjoy the process of painting miniatures. What fascinates me the most about miniature painting is that the outcome is fantastic with minimum paints, paper, and mediums.

THE PROCESS AND TIPS TO FOLLOW WHILE PAINTING MINIATURES

The process is very easy, very similar to water colour paintings that are coloring layer by layer, starting with lighter shades and then medium and then darker shades.

At first, while making the sketch, always remember to use light grade pencil since watercolors are not opaque. So keeping the sketch light will help in not oppressing the colors. Make an outline sketch with a sharp pencil so that you can capture most of the details possible.

Now, after sketching, you can start coloring with base/lighter shades to medium to darker shades. For highlights, I recommend you use the base white of the paper to your advantage, i.e., I mean to try and leave it blank, and later you can add necessary touch-ups to make it pop highlight.

Once finished with medium and dark tones, you can add final details using a fine pointed brush. Keep a cotton bud and tissue paper handy to make corrections by wiping out the extra color on the paper’s brush tip or surface.

    Another essential tip that I feel is very important is holding your breath and practice deep breathing. This technique really helps you get those fine strokes and avoid shaking your hand during a painting. Coordination between your eye-breath-hand is key to detailed work.

    STAYING MOTIVATED AND OVERCOMING DISTRACTIONS WHILE PAINTING MINIATURES

    If you are giving the first try to this art form, then the resulting artwork might deviate from what you expect it to look. But don’t let all of this stop you from painting again. The best work comes when you do not give up and continue to put effort.

    When I first painted, and things were not going right, I threw my painting. I’d suggest you not make the same mistakes and take a moment for yourself, take a few deep breathe, and give yourself a break. 

    It is completely alright to take a break for a while; this helps you understand where you go wrong and concentrate better next time.

    After all, painting miniatures is all about Depiction, not Realism. All you need to focus on is on some characteristic features of the subject while painting, and depict it in the best possible way in miniature form this will all evolve through practice and time.

    Step by step miniature painting tutorial

    FINDING INSPIRATION FOR MINIATURE PAINTING

    Finding inspiration for miniature painting is one of the widespread issues that many of us struggle with, finding inspiration to draw. Instead of chasing for it, I’d suggest you to keep observing your surroundings and being curious. You can get inspired by an object as big as Eiffel tower and as small as a coin. You can create whatever you like, one that makes you happy. If you’re a nature person and you love sunsets, go and paint that in miniature form. So, in short, there is no thumb rule to finding inspiration in art. Just keep exploring and keep creating!

    Frequently thought questions

    1. How many types of miniature paintings are there?

    The different types of miniature paintings have been classified based on the different communities that practised this art form in ancient times. Every community had their own lifestyle and customs which were depicted in these paintings and that is what make them unique.

    The types of miniature paintings based on the different schools of paintings are:

    1. The Pala School of miniature paintings
    2. The Mughal School of miniature paintings
    3. The Jain School of miniature paintings
    4. The Orissa School of miniature paintings
    5. The Rajasthani School of miniature paintings
    6. The Pahari School of miniature paintings
    7. The Deccan School of miniature paintings

    2. What Colours are used in miniature painting?

    Modern day miniature painting is usually made using Water colours. Other than this one can use colours occurring naturally in flowers, soil, minerals and natural dyes. Organic and natural minerals like stone dust, real gold and silver dusts are used to create the exquisite colours.

    3. What kind of surface is best for miniature paintings?

    Miniature paintings can be illustrated on a range of materials like palm leaves, paper, wood, marble, ivory panels and cloth. But since the paper industry has evolved so much with time easy use surface today is Water colour paper. Water colour paper is a textured thick paper which allows you to do layered colouring step by step with its high-water absorption ability and avoids leakage.

    What are Indian miniature paintings?

    Indian miniature paintings have their origin in our ancient past. They depict the life and customs followed by the people of those times. Further they are classified based on different schools of paintings which took this artform to new heights.

    How to make Mughal miniature painting?

    The Mughal miniature painting is based on supple naturalism based on close observation of nature and fine and delicate drawing. Natural elements like flora and Fauna, Water fountains are integral part of it. Mughal paintings contain scenes of royal court, hunting expeditions, wild life and battles. Plants and trees are portrayed realistically.

    How to price miniature paintings?

    There is no specific fixed amount that is to be charged every time you paint a miniature painting. Actually, the price will change from painting to painting based on the time you put into panting it, cost of materials used, and the cost of your services. So ideally the pricing should be any amount that will recover your time, material and efforts put in.

    Where to sell miniature paintings?

    You can sell miniature paintings to a collector, or in a solo exhibition once you have a good collection of it. There are also some online platforms like Etsy store, Stock websites where you can sell your art. Exhibitions is one of best way to sell your art since the audience can see your work live and such detailed miniature works stand out at exhibitions that usually showcases large canvases.

    When were miniature paintings invented?

    The earliest Miniature paintings in India can be traced back to the 7th century AD, when they flourished under the patronage of the Palas of Bengal. Buddhist texts and scriptures were illustrated on 3-inch-wide palm leaf manuscripts, with religious teachings and images of Buddhist deities.

    How to display miniature paintings?

    Framing with proper care is the best way to display miniature paintings. While displaying them in an exhibition, keeping a magnifying glass handy for the audience can work wonders for you as it increases the engagement between the audience and artform. While displaying your miniature paintings online for blogs and post you should add some small objects like matchstick or pencil near the painting for a photograph so that the audience can compare and understand the scale of the paintings.

    What is Rajasthani miniature painting?

    Rajput miniature painting developed in the modern-day Rajasthan in the 17th-18th century. Unlike Mughal miniature art, which depicted royal life, Rajasthani miniatures centered around the love stories of Lord Krishna and the mythological stories of Ramayana and Mahabharata, created as manuscripts and decorations on the walls of havelis and forts. Human characters with Long Necks, Fish shaped eyes, traditional Rajasthani clothing are some of significant features of their style.

    Artist contribution for blog and tutorial: Abhijeet Jadhav

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    10 thoughts on “Paintings Miniature paintings: Visualizing life coin size​

    1. Tejaswini M. S. says:

      Wonderful blog post??? I really appreciate the way this has been written, right from the history of miniature art, how to paint in this style and till other FAQs related to miniature art. Very useful and informative blog.

      1. ayushpaper says:

        Thank you so much! do paint and share

    2. Kamia says:

      Wow! This is so inspiring ??. I am definitely gonna try this ?

      1. ayushpaper says:

        yes! waiting to see what you create.

    3. Nahid says:

      This has been articulated so well! Lot’s of information!

    4. Nikhil Sharma says:

      I found all the essential points I needed about Indian miniatures. The blog is well written and informative and your artworks are really good.

      1. ayushpaper says:

        Thank you so much for going through our miniature painting blog. I would love to see what you create.

    5. Ana says:

      Thank you so much. This is made so simple and clear and has helped me a lot. Awesome post.

      1. ayushpaper says:

        Thank you very much for sharing your views. We’d love to see your work. If you are on Instagram you could dm us on ayushpaper24. 🙂

    6. Thankyou all for the kind appreciation…glad it helped!
      you can reach out at @anartsmith on instagram for further queries about miniatures.
      Thanks to Team Ayush Paper for this opportunity!!! 🙂

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