Art Lessons on Folk Art, Tribal Art and Masks for Kids

If you are looking for ideas to paint Indian folk art with kids, you are in the right place. Explore folk art and tribal art from India and all around the world through step-by-step folk art lessons, tribal art projects and painting masks sessions. But first, what do these terms folk art, tribal art and mask mean?

Folk Art and Tribal Art

Learn to paint Bengal folk art in the style of Jamini RoyFolk art is the art of peasants and common working people. It comes from culture and community of the people living in a region that has been practised and handed over from one generation to the other.  Each region has a distinctive style of their own folk art. This art is usually self-taught and it draws inspiration from everyday life. Find these intricately designed paintings on walls, rocks, and floors of huts in villages and also on items of daily use like cloth, wood, and metal.

Tribal art, on the other hand, is the art of tribes who moved from one region to the other. They have a religious aspect to it and therefore they paint in symbolic elements like you would see in totems.

Folk and Tribal Art of India

Here are folk and art forms of different states in India.

warli-painting_housesWarli Painting– These are beautiful scenes of rural India created in simple sketches on walls by the Warli tribes in Maharashtra and Western India. The folklore in the villages are easily drawn as triangular figures and they are painted in action doing various chores.

bhil-art-lilcreativkidsBengal folk art in style of Jamini Roy – Jamini Roy loved painting large portraits of Santhals, the tribes of Bengal.  His motifs and patterns typically depict the traditional Bengal folk art.

See also the Santhal folk painting of Bengal in different styles. You can distinguish Bankura, Midnapore or Kalighat folk painting styles.

Painting peacock in Indian Folk art style – Peacock is the national bird of India and have an idea of different Indian folk art styles like Madhubani, Sohrai, Kalamkari, Bheenth Chitra, Bhil and others by painting peacocks in these styles.

Can you draw things that you see with Lord ShivaBhil Art
is the traditional tribal art by the Bhil tribes in western and central India, mainly Madhya Pradesh. Bhil art show images of everyday life of villagers and these images are adorned with dots in distinctive patterns.

Sohrai folk art is painted on the mud walls of houses by the Santhals of Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal. This art draws inspiration from nature and the bold colours and subjects make these paintings look attractive.

Kantha stitch style patterns to create motifs. Kantha literally means a soft, light blanket and these blankets are created out of old sarees or soft cloth stitched together with small runs. Kantha stitch is a traditional stitch from Bengal which is used to stitch these blankets.

Rangoli or floor painting is an ancient tradition of drawing floral and geometrical patterns in front of the houses in India to welcome guests. These are also known as Kolam or Kolangal or Muggulu. Learn how to make Rangoli design with dots. 

Madhubani folk painting is from Bihar, in the east of India. You can easily recognize a Madhubani painting by the style of hatched lines alternating with a solid colour. The main subject is usually outlined with double lines. Find Madhubani art project to learn to paint in these patterns.

Pithora painting – Paint the famous horses of the Pithora folk art. The horses are drawn in just a few steps. They look so perfect yet they are simple.

Folk and Aboriginal Art from other parts of the world

Norval-tribal1-lilcreativekidsAboriginal art from Canada – Norval Morrisseau created powerful earthly images of birds, animals, tribals, leaves and flowers in the aboriginal art style. You will love painting them.

Haida art and Mexican or Mayan motifs – Haida art is the art of the Haida people, an indigenous group who lived on Northwest coast of America. Organic shapes were used to fill an object rather than geometric ones. Mayan motifs beautifully illustrate all sorts of animals, birds, fishes and other elements that formed a part of their culture.

Molas, Kuba cloth, and Hmong applique art – These are all fabric art design drawn on paper. You will learn how to make organic shapes and patterns. They are all forms of reverse applique work on fabric.

Scandinavian folk art is bright and colourful and has a distinctive style of its own. Explore the animals, the horse and bear and other elements of nature in this folk art style.

Painting roosters in the style Rooster of Barcelos, Portugal, and Polish folk art, Wycinanki.


The masks were worn by people in ancient times as an object or a covering of the face designed to disguise, perform, entertain and frighten others. Masks were made either of wood, clay, cloth or metal. Here we will paint some masks from different parts of the world.

How to Make Hahoetal Masks – Hahoetal masks are masks from Korea carved from solid wood and later painted to create different characters of their famous, ritual dance dramas.

How to draw a Tiki Head – Though not a mask, these tall statues of tiki heads were carved out of wood or stone by the ancient Hawaii, New Zealand, and Easter Island.


Cheriyal Masks – Cheriyal masks are bright and colourful masks created on wood or coconut shells worn by storytellers from Telegana regions. Chhau masks are worn by Chhau dancers from the eastern part of the country.

kids an paint heriyal masks on canvas - lilcreativekids



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