Folk Art

Madhubani Art for Kids

Paint peacock in the madhubani art styleMany of you are familiar with Madhubani painting.  Madhubani art is a very old folk art style practised in Mithila, Bihar, in Eastern India. This form of art originated from the city of Madhubani and that’s how it gets its name. Like Bhil art or Warli art, Madhubani art is created by the women of that region. There were 5 distinctive styles to create Madhubani painting. 

There is one central theme in the painting like peacocks, elephants or fishes and then they are decorated with leaves and flowers. The entire painting area is covered with work and the painting is usually quite busy. Other than nature and other natural things, the women also paint images of Gods and Goddesses and important activities and festivals of the village folklore. They are then brightly coloured with few base colours like blue, yellow, red and green. 

How is Madhubani Painting created?

Traditionally, Madhubani painting or Mithila Painting, as it is also known, was done on mud walls and floors of the huts with natural pigments and dyes. The paint was applied with fingers and twigs. After its popularity, it is now done on almost everything including handmade paper, canvas and fabric.

How do you recognise Madhubani art style?

The first thing you will notice is that the main subject is usually outlined with double lines. One striking feature is that the designs are painted with hatched lines alternating with the bold solid colour to make patterns. There are a lot of curves and swirls to draw the subject but the patterns are quite geometrical. The art is flat and covers the entire drawing area.

Madhubani painting art lesson

You will need:

Art paper, black 0.5 or 0.8 markers, coloured pens and some watercolour. You can use crayons instead of watercolour too.

Children from 10 to 12 years of age can try these paintings. Visit some Madhubani paintings to understand the style.

Here are some easy Madhubani paintings and themes which children can try.


First, the main subject. It can be birds like peacock, animals like elephant, fishes or women. Draw them big to cover the centre area. Then divide the subject into parts to fill it with patterns.

A typical shape of a fish or a bird might look something like shown here. The eyes are big and are in focus. Remember to alternate with hatched lines and bold colours.

Leaves and flowers and branches are used to fill the background. They twist and turn to make the painting look ornated and gives a natural softness to the picture.

The paintings also have a frame with similar sort of patterns. The bold colours along with the black make the painting look bright and beautiful.

Enjoy drawing your own Madhubani paintings using this easy Madhubani activity sheet.

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