Sketching is the major work in creating the art. Sketching involved several steps, the first of which was to lay down the main lines of orientation. Most important was the central vertical axis, for this would be the exact center of the painting around which the artist would plan the rest of the composition.
The vertical axis usually marked the center of the main figure, and it was in relation to this line that all .
The last main step involving the application of colours was the rendering of the faces of the main figures. This was in effect the final stage of outlining, and sometimes a master painter would step in at this point and complete the painting of his student.
Of all the finishing details, the facial features demanded the most attention, and among these it was the eyes that received the greatest care. The painting of the .
By the time the painter sat down to begin the sketch he already had in mind the main contents and design of the thangka. Usually, the patron had indicated to the painter precisely which deities he wanted to be depicted.
Sometimes the patron also furnished a diagram that showe the names and relative positions of each figure in the painting, such diagrams often having been composed by the lama of the patron.
When the patron provided .