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How Long Does It Take To Learn Traditional Art Forms?

Can You Learn Traditional Art Forms Quickly?

Let’s get right into it. The truth is that traditional art forms are so complex that you can’t learn everything ‘quickly’. Whether you’re a beginner to traditional art forms or a professional looking to expand your skill set, you can easily pick up traditional art forms once you learn the basics. Indian art forms developed over hundreds of years. You cannot learn them in their entirety in just a couple weeks or months, but you can get pretty good if you put your mind to it.

Traditional art forms can be elaborate and have complicated motifs and techniques. You may feel like learning them will take forever, but don’t worry! If you have a year or two to dedicate to practising your craft, you can learn quite a lot. Let Rooftop guide you through the process of learning and mastering traditional art forms.

Traditional Art And The Journey To Perfection

Madhubani painting (image source:

Some people take longer to learn traditional art forms, while others can do it fairly quickly. How long it takes you to master an art form will depend entirely on your process and the effort you put in. The traditional art form you want to learn is also an important factor. The more ‘intricate’ or developed the rules and techniques of the art form, the more time it’ll take to learn. A beginner artist learning Gond art will learn at the same speed as an advanced artist learning Pattachitra.

These art forms use different techniques and mediums, so don’t worry if you can’t master art forms like Mata ni Pachedi, even though you could draw Warli art on your first try. Every traditional art form has simple techniques as well as difficult ones. Just being able to draw something doesn’t indicate mastery over it. You have to keep practising until you can draw without copying. Read on to discover how much time it will take to learn traditional art forms based on your skills and amount of effort you put in.

1. How To Learn Traditional Art Forms At The Beginner Level

Traditional Art Forms
Warli art (image source:
Traditional Art Forms
Madhubani painting (image source:

Yes, you read that right! You can definitely learn traditional art forms even at the beginner level. Your strokes aren’t as fluid as you’d like them to be, and your hand doesn’t move the way you want it to. You can’t figure out why your art isn’t ‘good’, why it doesn’t match the image in your head.

At this stage, it would be best to focus on improving basic skills. Practise drawing lines and simple shapes. Start with really simple motifs like spirals, flowers, leaves, and other decorative elements. Then move on to more complex shapes such as birds, animals, and human figures. It’s okay to draw from reference in the beginning, but as you start to develop more control over your hand, practise some improvisation.

Venkat Raman Singh Shyam creating a Gond painting (image source:

It may take about two to six months to learn the important motifs. It will take about 6 months to a year for you to learn a couple of techniques and 1-2 years to learn the basics of traditional art forms like Warli, Gond, or Bhil art. It may take longer for more intricate and stylised art forms like Madhubani, Pattachitra, Kalmkari, etc. The amount of time you take to learn can be reduced significantly if you attend regular art classes or a comprehensive course. Rooftop’s workshops and courses are beginner-friendly, and the Maestro courses have been designed as an introduction to traditional art forms.

2. How To Practise Traditional Art Forms At The Intermediate Level

Indian miniature painting (image source:

As an intermediate artist, you can draw, no doubt about it. But you may face issues in composition, colour, and perspective. At this stage, you know what good art is—you know how to identify when something is good or bad and how it can be improved.

You’ll have an easier time picking up techniques and learning motifs. You’ll also be able to draw patterns from reference and will soon start improvising your own designs. You will also be able to design basic compositions and environments on your own. You can finish learning the basics of a traditional art form in a year if you practise regularly. However, it may take you anywhere between 2 and 5 years to fully learn it and an additional 4 to 5 years to master it. Since you already have some skills, all you need to do is thoroughly study the techniques. And yes, you can reduce the time it’ll take to learn by attending workshops and courses, like Rooftop’s in-depth Maestro courses.

Also read: 3 Reasons Why Rooftop’s Maestro Course is Your Golden Ticket to Learn Indian Art!

3. How To Master Traditional Art Forms At The Advance Level

Vaikuntam Nakash painting Cheriyal scrolls (image source:

So you’re an advance level artist. That’s amazing! You already have a thorough knowledge of drawing and painting. You’ll have no problem picking up motifs and design elements from traditional art forms and incorporating them into your work.

You may still find it a bit difficult to draw intricate motifs, but because of your skills, you’ll learn fairly quickly. Sometimes things that you’ve learned in the past may collide with the art forms you’re interested in. You may be used to painting first and lining your drawings later. It may feel uncomfortable reversing the process for Mata ni Pachedi. When you learn traditional art forms, understand that the process might be different from what you’re used to. Give it a shot anyway. You can later adjust your workflow if you feel like the new methods don’t suit you.

You can take anywhere from two to six months to learn the basics of traditional art forms and be able to fully learn one in a year if you give it your all.

How Much Should You Practise?

Painting traditional Ganjifa cards (image source:

You must have heard the saying, ‘Practice makes you perfect’. The truth is, perfect practice leads to perfection. If you aren’t practising using the right techniques, you’re going to learn really slowly. For example, assume that you can’t draw backgrounds or human figures at all but are competent at drawing faces. If you keep drawing only human faces in the style that you know, you might improve slightly. But your other skills won’t improve at all. And if you don’t experiment with new styles of drawing faces, you might keep making the same mistakes.

That’s why it’s important to ensure that your learning is structured and thorough. You also need to learn from the right artists. Poorly trained instructors can cause more harm than good. You may spend more time unlearning the wrong techniques than learning the new ones! You don’t have to do all of this yourself anymore- Rooftop does it for you.

How Long Does It Take To Master Traditional Art Forms?

Traditional Art Forms
Pattachitra painting (image source:

Learning traditional art forms is time-consuming. With Rooftop’s online Maestro courses, you can learn from award-winning artists. These artists spend their childhood as well as most of their adult lives in the pursuit of their craft. Rooftop works with artists who have been creating art for years, even decades! So, depending on the amount of time you practise and the kind of skills you want to learn, you can master traditional art forms in anywhere between 8 and 10 years or more.

However, in 4-5 years, you’ll have a good understanding of the art form and start producing amazing art! Once you become a good artist, you’ll want to be great, and once you’ve become great, you’ll want to be extraordinary. Art is a perpetual process, and there are levels to mastery as well.

Have Fun While You Learn

Rogan art from Gujarat (image source:

You only live to about a hundred, and even if you painted every single day and tried to learn every single technique, there’s always going to be more art forms and skills to learn! So don’t let perfection consume you. It’s never too late to start. It doesn’t matter if you feel like your skills are lacking or that it’ll take too long. All good things take time; let go of your doubts and start the journey to learn traditional art forms today.

Download the Rooftop App from Google Play or the App Store to enrol in our Maestro courses and learn traditional Indian art forms!

Discover us on Instagram @rooftop_app for all things on traditional, folk and tribal Indian art.

By Melissa D’Mello

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