Sept. 24, 2012, 1:15 p.m. - DIY,Art Forms

Make Your Own Warli Painting At Home

Warli paintings are some of the most popular tribal paintings in the country. The beauty of these paintings lies in their simplicity. To create them, all you need is knowledge of geometric shapes and combinations. All pictures are made by a combination of triangles, sqaures and circles. Squares are used as the central element. On a broad basis, these pictures can be classified as stick figures.

Here is a simple way of making Warli paintings. As for the design, once you familiarize yourself with the basic principles of the art form, you can make your own interpretations and create unique paintings. Anybody can try out these paintings because they do not require intricate work. For example, faces are bereft of features and proportionality is not the prime concern.

Creating a design

Warli paintings are all depictions of tribal lifestyle and celebrations such as marriages and festivals. So, to begin with, choose a theme for your painting. You can just create a spiral chain of people holding hands around a central temple figure or a towering tree. This is the most common Warli picture. Since figures are so easy to draw, you can recreate entire village scenes as well. Contrary to other forms of paintings, you don’t really have to design a layout here. Random placement of figures all over the paper makes good Warli pictures.

Couples are a common feature in these paintings. Man and women are shown holding hands, symbolizing relationships and weddings. Other common images are women pounding grains, drawing water out of wells, sieving and carrying pots of water on their heads. To depict celebrations, men are shown playing various musical instruments such as drums and trumpets. Among animals, cows, bulls, oxen and dogs are the most common. Birds also feature in these paintings, especially cocks, hens, fowls and peacocks, but are not as common as the animals.

Triangles are the most common shapes and are used for almost all life forms including humans, animals. Circles represent sun and moon. Square represent land. Rectangles are squares are also used for houses, temples and wells and carts. Mountains and trees are drawn using triangles.

Proportionality is also not the prime criteria in these pictures. You have human pictures as large as houses and insects as large as humans. Animals are also not drawn in proportion to human and building figures. Trees, however, are always the tallest features in these paintings because they are considered sacred.

One thing that you need to take care about the whole design creation part is connection between pictures. Every figure on the mural responds to another figure, be it a small dog or humans.

What you need:

Handmade paper – paper has to be colored because Warli figures are in white. For more authenticity, use red paper because Warli tribes plaster their homes with red soil in preparation for these paintings

White paint – acrylic for paper and fabric for cloth paintings

Tracing sheet

Carbon paper

Create your design on a sheet and trace it carefully on a tracing sheet. Using carbon paper, draw the picture on paper or cloth on which you wish to paint. Once the design is on paper, use white paint to fill in the figures. For more detailing, you can give a thin black outline for figures.

If done on cloth, iron the fabric from the reverse side after the paint is set.

Because of the simplicity of Warli paintings, you can paint these figures on pots, vases, t-shirts, plates and almost any other object. An easy way is to make stencils and use them for painting.

Here are the basic images, which can give you an idea about creating other life forms.

Simple Warli man, woman and dog

Warli Painting Illustration

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