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 thangka painter's palette consisted mainly of paints derived from the mineral pigments . Tibetan artists also made some of their paints by mixing the pigments with organic dyes and lakes such as indigo and lac dye. Important mixtures of this type included the blending of each of these two dyes with white. But since the dyes and lakes were mainly used during the shading and outlining stages that followed the initial application of .
Almost every object depicted in a thangka required outlining or linear detail. Outlining proper (bead) served to set off most objects from their surroundings, and it was used to demarcate the main subdivisions within them. Tibetan painters also used line drawings to develop the form or texture inside a given area, for instance within a swirling mass of flames or within the hair of a deity.
Furthermore, fine linear drawings were the main way of .
The application of colour to the thangkacanvas involved two main steps first, filling in the areas of different base colours, and second, the subsequent shading and outlining of those areas.
To these steps there corresponded the two essentially different types of paint in the Tibetan palette
Mineral pigments (rdo tshon and sa tshon) and
The organic dyes or lakes (tshos)
The mineral pigments had to be mixed with a binder before being applied as paints. .
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 .
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 .
Steps for Preparing a Thanka Painting
The painters of Tibet pursued their art in an orderly and systematic I way. When creating thangkascroll paintings they proceeded through six clearly defined steps:
The first step was the preparation of the painting surface.
Second, came the establishment of a design on that surface by means of a sketch or transfer.
The third step involved laying down the initial coats of paint, and that was followed by .