Tibetan Thangka Art: The Face of Compassion

Four Video Lessons with Tiffani Gyatso

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

Thangka paintings are images of sacred deities and enlightened beings that follow strict rules of proportions, symbols and colors. The drawing of a Buddha in traditional sacred art does not indicate his physical anatomy, but rather the spiritual anatomy of an awakened mind. The painting itself channels the teachings in a direct intuitive level where the practitioner lays his or her eyes on the image and is able to unlock his own Buddha nature combined with polished dedication and consistency. 

This is a workshop of sacred art, a yoga of the mind and the body to turn your inner artist into an offering of beauty, symmetry, balance and benefit. The practice of a traditional sacred artist is to put aside our own mundane wishes and visions and dedicate our efforts to following what hundred of other sacred artists have done for centuries, nourishing the existence of a living lineage of Buddhist teachings from the far away land of Tibet. 

We will pray together, align our motivation and intention,  learn about materials and traditional techniques and have a lot of joy in our hearts. This course is open to total beginners and also experienced artists, as this is not only an art course, but a meditation and a motivation alignment. It awakens joy, surrendering and union with the beauty of the beloved awakened mind already inside of each one of us. Be welcome! 



In this first class we will understand how the dharma is presented through the right proportions and symbols in the image of Buddha Sakyamuni - a true spiritual anatomy. To maintain the proportions of the Buddha as a powerful symbol, the Tibetans defined sacred proportions supported by a grid of measurements. After the theoretical introduction, we will use pencil and ruler to understand and draw the grid on a piece of paper.


We have made our grid, and today we will draw the face of the Buddha on top of it, using the technique of spying. Do not underestimate the simple and humbling practice of copying, and learn the path of the sacred artist who polishes himself in order to become a channel of the sacred.


We will now transfer our final lines to a thicker nicer paper. We will check all proportions and share our experiences and questions. Traditional Tibetan thangkas are painted with mineral paints and more modern ones with acrylics. As a beginner’s online class, we will take the advantage of watercolor pencils to learn about the color symbolism and some techniques of shading. Remembering that it is a traditional art which means our creative voice is put to rest and it is offered to serve a continuing lineage of teachings from the Awakened One.


Our last class will be dedicated to the final touches, which is contour and golden details. We will finish by blessing it with a mantra and with instructions on how the continue the studies and how to handle sacred art in your life.

Course curriculum

  • 1

    Welcome to the course!

    • Online Classroom Etiquette and Technical Requirements

    • Art Materials Required for this Course

    • Navigating this Learning Platform

    • Join the Tibetan Thangka Art Community

    • Face of the Buddha: Please Print Before Beginning the Course

    • Daily Thangka Prayers

  • 2


    • 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.