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How to Make Kalighat Paintings through Rooftop Maestro Courses

How to Make Kalighat Paintings And Weave Intricate Narratives

Are you a fan of the caricature and satirical narratives employed in Kalighat paintings of the 19th century? These paintings depict events from daily life and social narratives from a unique perspective. The Kalighat style of painting is still popular today as a discussion of social issues and contemporary commentary in quintessential Indian painting. Very few artists practise the traditional techniques of Kalighat painting. Read on to find out how you can be one of them too!

Before you start learning Kalighat painting, it is important to learn basic information about the history of the artform, the artists’ community, the materials required, and the themes and motifs along with the techniques of making them.

You may find all this information scattered on various online sources, but imagine getting all this information in one place—that too from a master artist of Kalighat Painting! Yes, we make this possible through Rooftop App’s Maestro Course on Kalighat Painting that’ll teach you how to make Kalighat paintings of your own in no time! Here’s how you can learn from one of the most prominent Kalighat artists in the industry and master the Kalighat style of painting.

What’s Special About Rooftop’s Maestro Course on Kalighat Painting?

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A couple hours a week is all you need to learn this art form! Rooftop’s self-paced Kalighat Maestro Course is 11.5 hours long and filled with insightful instructions and step-by step guidance. You can access traditional art knowledge anytime and anywhere.You will learn not just the basics, but also gain a nuanced understanding of the Kalighat art form.

Apart from the course being completely self-paced and online, Rooftop Maestro courses have other perks as well. You’ll be awarded a certificate upon course completion. You also get one-on-one sessions with the artist, which you can use to ask for advice and gain insight into specific areas of painting that interest you. You can submit your artwork to the master artists and get personalised feedback on the areas where you need to improve. Not only that, you also get an exclusive Art Kit included with your course enrollment.

What You Need to Get Started

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So, what do you need to get started with Kalighat painting? Just some poster colours and paintbrushes should suffice. You get an art kit free with your course subscription, which includes a curated collection of goodies and art learning materials tailored towards traditional art lovers! The Kit contains colourful and artsy stickers that you can stick on your laptop or water bottle to add just a hint of droll satire to your belongings. Along with stickers, you also get postcards and bookmarks with Kalighat patterns on them. You can use the painting techniques you learn in the course to decorate them while adding a personal touch.

You also get a gorgeous art activity book that’s jam-packed with fun exercises, trivia, games, and information on Kalighat art techniques and motifs. This book is a great way to practise what you learn during the course and keep improving your art skills. Finally, you get a specially designed tote bag that you can use to store all your art supplies and a canvas that you can paint on and frame for everyone to see!

Meet the Master Artist: Anwar Chitrakar

A still from the Kalighat Maestro Course

Anwar Chitrakar is a Bengali patua who specialises in the style of Kalighat paintings that originated in the 19th century. He paints contemporary themes interspersed with traditional mythological references. His work has graced several collections and exhibitions, such as ‘Roop’ at the Percept Art Gallery in Mumbai, the Namaste India Japan Festival in 2012, the Berlin Festival in 2012, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the Mumbai International Airpost.

His identity as a storyteller and his perceptive brilliance in interpreting the satirical caricatures of society through Kalighat paintings are noteworthy. We are honoured to have such a skilled artist on board with us, and we have no doubt that his skills will help you hone yours.

The Kalighat Maestro course will begin with an introduction to the artist. Anwar Ji will talk about his journey as an artist and share stories about his National Award win in 2006. You’ll also learn about the Patua community and the role of Zamindars in their artistic exploration of contemporary themes. Next, you’ll delve into the etymology, history, features, origins, and cultural aspects of Kalighat painting.

How to Make Kalighat Paintings through the Basic Course

In the basic course, Anwar Ji will introduce you to the subject you’ll be painting. He will also introduce you to the basic motifs of the art form. You’ll learn how to make Kalighat paintings of Zamindar ladies, or more specifically, a Zamindar lady sitting on a chair. Anwar Ji will teach you the specifics of sketching and how anatomy and body language are depicted in Kalighat paintings. Next, you’ll learn how to choose colours for Kalighat artwork and the order in which they need to be painted.

A still from the Kalighat Maestro Course

Anwar Ji will prepare the colours and begin painting the background. You’ll learn how to obtain the right undertones and develop the subtle nuances of Kalighat paintings. Then you’ll learn the specific shading techniques of Kalighat art. Anwar Ji will instruct you on how to add shadows to the skin, the lady’s attire, and the background. Then you’ll begin outlining the lady’s face and hair. Anwar Ji will guide you as you outline the hookah and the cat. He will also clarify why the woman is wearing traditional clothing but European shoes. You’ll learn how the inclusion of such details affects the mood of the painting and creates an accurate representation of the zamindars.

Next, you’ll learn how to add final details and the correct use of brushes to paint embellishments. Anwar Ji will demonstrate how to delicately detail the shoes, attire, and hookah and how to recreate the simple yet stylized ornaments worn by the Zamindar community.

How to Make Kalighat Paintings through the Intermediate Course

In the intermediate course, you will learn how to make Kalighat paintings depicting Radha and Krishna. First, you’ll begin sketching Lord Krishna, and Anwar Ji will explain the border-spacing details. Then you’ll sketch Radha Ji beside Lord Krishna and learn how to harmoniously portray these deities. Master artist Anwar Ji will demonstrate how to draw the deities’ attire and the Kadamba tree in the background. 

It’s time for colour! Anwar Ji will teach you how to choose the colours and practise the right techniques to add symbolism, life, and vibrance to the divine figures. While painting the Kadamba tree, Anwar Ji will teach you the unique approaches and techniques used to paint trees in Kalighat art. Next, you’ll add shading and delicate patterns to the deities’ attire. Colouring fauna in the background will add charm and depth to your painting.

A still from the Kalighat Maestro Course

You’ll also learn how to add blue shadows to Krishna’s skin and contrast them with the warm and vibrant orange tones of Radha and Krishna’s attire. You’ll add shadows to the clothes and limbs of the body for a touch of realism, and then learn to add intricate outlines to the painting. Anwar Ji will teach you the special techniques to outline flowers, jewellery, and the intricately ornamented attire that are essential to the Kalighat style of painting.

How to Make Kalighat Paintings through the Advanced Course

In the Advance Course, you will be taught how to make Kalighat paintings of ‘Zamindar Babu’, one of the recurring subjects of Kalighat art. You’ll begin by following Anwar Ji’s instructions and creating the sketch. Then you’ll learn the nuances of painting a Britisher in the Kalighat style. You’ll paint the zamindar’s biwi (wife) as well, but worry not, as Anwar Ji will walk you through each step and detail carefully. When you’re done, Anwar Ji will teach you how to paint a temple in the background of the composition.

How to Make Kalighat Paintings
How to Make Kalighat Paintings
Stills from the Kalighat Maestro Course

In this next section, you’ll discover the dynamics of colour-making in Kalighat paintings and how the shades of red, blue, yellow, green, white, rust, and black are created. You’ll then learn how to paint the figures in the composition and add details to the background to give it a captivating and harmonious appearance.

How to Make Kalighat Paintings
How to Make Kalighat Paintings
Stills from the Kalighat Maestro Course

Anwar Ji will explain how adding orange and red shadows creates depth and drama in Kalighat paintings. Next, you’ll add black, blue, and rust shadows and begin outlining all the figures in the image. You’ll learn how to add the final touches to the attire and intricately detail the jewellery of the figures while gaining an insight into the techniques associated with the Kalighat style of painting.

Why Learn How to Make Kalighat Paintings on the Rooftop App?

Rooftop’s curated learning experiences are designed for artists of all skill levels. You can learn at your own pace and go over the same section as many times as you like until you feel confident enough to move ahead. After course completion, you can polish your skills by joining the art workshops that we conduct regularly. You can also join a growing community of artists and become friends with like-minded art lovers.

The Rooftop App is completely free to download on Google Play and the App Store. You can use its plethora of features to make sure that you’re always inspired and growing your knowledge and art skills. Whether it’s the ‘Inspire Me’ section, the Community tab, or the Daily Quiz on Indian art forms, Rooftop has something for everyone.

Got some questions for us or want to reach out? Connect with us at +919820560980 or mail us at

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