Tibetan Thangka Art: Painting the Body of the Buddha

Eight Video Lessons with Tiffani Gyatso

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

In this course we will complete a full simple traditional thangka painting of Buddha Shakyamuni, adapting some of the materials to make it easier for us to begin this profound study.

Instead of making our own canvas which is the traditional starting point for learning thangka painting, we will use a smooth thick paper. Instead of the natural pigments that are traditionally used, we will use both acrylics and water colors. Practicing initially with these materials will make easier to later be introduced to more raw and organic materials.

We’ll start by transferring our drawing of the Buddha onto a smooth paper surface and before coloring it, we will contemplate our palette and learn a little bit more about the color palette and different styles in Tibet. This painting will have a golden background. The central figure, the beautiful lotus throne and the aura of light behind will be our focus of painting. 

First we will paint a coat of color and secondly a soft shading with light watery color applying what is known as dry shading. We’ll finalize with contour, golden touches and the eye opening moment as a symbol of His presence in the painting - a real icon, or a door for the world of Nirvana. 

This traditional Buddhist icon, made by you can be given as a present to a loved one or kept on your altar as a bridge between the illusory reality and the enlightened vision of the Awakened One.

This is the most fundamental introduction to Thangka painting before learning any other deity. For those who complete this course and then we will be able to further learn any other peaceful chosen deity, like Medicine Buda, Tara, Vajrasatva or Yangchenma for example. 


Class 1: Transferring the drawing to surface and doing retouches

Class 2: Painting the background and applying golden color

Class 3: First coat of paint on aura and body

Class 4: First coat of paint on clothes and lotus

Class 5: Dry shading on the lotus

Class 6: Dry shading on body

Class 7: Contour and golden touches

Class 8: Landscape outlining and eye opening prayer

Course curriculum

  • 1

    Welcome to the course!

    • Class Schedule and Basic Information

    • Online Classroom Etiquette and Technical Requirements

    • Navigating this Learning Platform

    • Join the Tibetan Thangka Art Community

  • 2

    Thangka Art Materials, Images & Prayers

    • Art Materials Required for this Course

    • Daily Prayers

    • Buddha Shakyamuni (Painted Image to Print)

    • Buddha Shakyamuni Drawing (To print for those who did not attend the drawing course)

  • 3


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

    • Class One

    • Class Two

    • Class Three

    • Class Four

    • Class Five

    • Class Six

    • Class Seven

    • Class Eight

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.