Folk Art

Easy Kalamkari Designs for Painting

Let’s paint in another famous Indian folk art style called the Kalamkari. We look closely look at some common and easy Kalamkari designs and patterns and then look at the complete paintings.

What is Kalamkari?

Kalamkari is a form art done on cloth. Here beautiful paintings are painstakingly drawn by hand with a Kalam or a pen on a piece cloth made of silk or cotton. In fact, the cloth undergoes a lot of processing like bleaching, dyeing, starching, block printing before the art is complete.

Kalamkari is said to be existing in India for centuries where painters and folk singers used these painted cloths and scrolls to narrate stories of Hindu mythology to the people in the villages. Later Moghuls and the English recognised these art forms and further popularised it. Now we see this art form in two different styles, the Srikalahasti style and Machilipatnam style in Andhra Pradesh. The Srikalahasti style is more based on epics and draws inspiration from Indian mythology. Other than Hindu Gods and Goddesses and stories from Epics, they paint animals like cows, elephants, horses, peacock and lotus. The rest of the area is filled with floral designs and other known Indian symbols.

Designs of Kalamkari

As true with most folk and tribal art, the artists use natural dyes to paint. The colours commonly used are earthy colours like black, indigo, mustard, rust and green.

You must watch this video on the creation of Kalamkari art to see how these painted fabrics are created.

If you notice the style carefully you would see that the shapes are usually curved or round. Whether you see shapes of animals or the patterns that are used to fill them, they are filled with circles or repeated curvy pattern.

Easy Kalamkari art for kidsThe patterns are intricate but there seems to be a balance between the empty space kept in between the intricate designs.

The colours are mainly meant to fill up the empty spaces rather than to paint the pattern itself.

The figures and animals usually seem to be in action with eyes and heads facing upwards or looking down.

Here are some flowers and leaves that you see in Kalamkari design.

Visit some Kalamkari paintings and create one yourself. Take a black permanent marker and start drawing your own animals and designs. Painting folk art is relaxing with its repeated patterns and designs. Do not stop until you have completely filled up the area. It will always look beautiful. You can then paint some of the remaining areas with earthy colours like rust and mustard. 

Since we painted a horse here, can you try to paint also a horse in Pithora art style?

You must have seen how to create Madhubani paintings. Now compare and find how these two folk art styles vary.




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