Tibetan Thangka Art: Drawing the Myth of the Garuda

Four Video Lessons with Tiffani Gyatso

Course content remains available for one year from date of purchase. 


Painting the Myth of the Garuda

In Buddhism, Garudas are mythical bird-like creatures whose wingspan is said to be many miles wide and who bring hurricaine-force winds with the flap of their wings. The garudas waged a long-standing war with the nagas, the serpentine water spirits and are thus are depicted with a snake in the mouth. After the Buddha protected nagas from a Garuda attack, both nagas and garudas took refuge in him.

Garudas are common subjects of Buddhist and folk art throughout Asia and statues of Garudas abound to "protect" temples. 

In Tibetan Buddhism, the Garuda is one of the Four Dignities—animals that represent the courageous characteristics of a bodhisattva. These four animals are the dragon representing power, the tiger representing confidence, the snow lion representing fearlessness, and the garuda representing wisdom.

About the Course

In this four session course we will learn how to draw and color the garuda, while getting initiated into some foundational techniques of traditional Tibetan thangka art. 

This course is open to all, and no prior experience in drawing is required. Let's have a wonderful time sharing inspiring stories, aligning our motivation to connect with bodhichitta, and mindfully creating a piece of devotional artwork.

Art Materials Required for this Course (Please purchase and have ready before the start of the first session):

  • Normal size paper 300gr/m hot press (less texture
  • Mechanical pencil 0.5, ruler and soft eraser
  • Watercolor color pencils
  • Thin brush nr 0 and nr 2, any brand preferably for watercolor 
  • 1 golden gel metallic pen
  • 1 black 0.5 Pinball pen or alike 
  • Notebook and a pen for note taking
  • Print out of images to be shared before class

Course Program


We will learn about the myths and symbology of the Garuda and its appearance through different cultures as well as the deities that accompany the Garuda. 

Next we will make the guidelines on smooth hot pressed paper done with a ruler, studying the proportions and precision and why this is so important in traditional Tibetan art. 


We will learn the techniques of copying using proportional grids, initiating and completing line a drawing of the Garuda.


We will learn about color symbolism in Tibetan art and use  color pencils to imitate the mineral color techniques traditionally used.


We will add contour and golden touches, finalizing and learning how to empower a sacred image and the path of the sacred artist. 


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.