Tibetan Thangka Art: Drawing the Body of the Buddha

Four Video Lessons with Tiffani Gyatso

Recordings are available for viewing for one year from the date of purchase

For the first two years at least, a thangka painter in Tibet would only learn the proportions of the Buddhas and other deities by drawing them many times. Painting would be introduced some years after the artist was intimate with the lines, shapes and style. The proportions of the body of the Buddha relates to the anatomy of his enlightened being, which recalls us of our own “inner shape of perfect awareness”. By drawing the Buddha, with so many rules and perfect proportions, it demands our full presence, pristine devotion and aligned motivation which with some time of practice it transforms into a kind of joy and freedom attained only by consistent discipline. The drawing is the essential basics for any sort of further studies in the art of thangka painting. 

In this workshop we will be introduced to the proportions of the full body of the Buddha and lotus throne as well as all the symbolism and preparatory prayers. During the week we will also given practice to do at home. It will be a commitment with the Buddha and with the sacred artist within you wanting to take shape in the world.


Presentation of the full grid template and the first lines of the body of the Buddha


Today we will dress the body of the Buda with the two pieces of a monk’s clothes: a robe and a zen. Let us understand the curves and lines of a cloth working gracefully with gravity and the energy that the Buddha emanates from its pores, not letting any of it touch his skin as a symbol of blazing brilliance. 


Today we will continue the drawing together, finalizing with the drawing of the lotus throne where all enlightened beings sit as a symbol that their presence is untouched by the poisons of samsara just as the lotus stands unstained by the mud from where it emerges. 


We will finalize our drawing with a thin marker. It is just a step before of using a brush which requires a stable and precise hand. With that we can erase the sketching lines and have a last piece clean and ready for the next classes for those wishing to paint. 

Course curriculum

  • 1

    Welcome to the course!

    • Course Basics

    • Online Classroom Etiquette & Technical Requirements

    • Navigating this Learning Platform (Video)

    • Navigating this Learning Platform (PDF)

    • Join the Tibetan Thangka Art Community

  • 2


    • Art Materials Required for this Course

    • Buddha Templates - Please Print

    • Daily Prayers

  • 3


    • The Art of Nirvana: Introduction to Tibetan Thangka Art with Tiffani Gyatso

    • Class One

    • Class Two

    • Class Three

    • Class Four

Join the Full Thangka Art Series

Tibetan Thangka Art: Foundations

Three course bundle teaching the theory and practice of Tibetan Thangka art including drawing and painting techniques of the face and body of Shakyamuni Buddha


Tiffani Gyatso

Tiffani Gyatso is an artist from Brazil who focused her studies on the sacred expressions of art from different cultures. She specialized in traditional Tibetan Thangka painting, which she learned in India at the Norbulingka Institute from the years 2003-2006 and later furthered her studies at the Prince School of Traditional Arts in London where she studied sacred Geometry of the Middle East. Today she runs her own art retreat center at the Atelier YabYum at the mountains of Brazil and guides art groups to India and Nepal.