Introduction: What Is the Miniature Painting and How to Create It?

What you see in this picture called Miniature Painting. There are a lot of steps and techniques to create such this picture and in this article we try to explain some parts of this art.

Step 1: Familiarity With Miniature Art

Before starting I take account of two points, the first: all of the rules and point that will be said in this article have unique and special principals and just explanation style, kind of performance, passing the stages and its arrangement are important, each person performs it with its method. The second: this Article is just as an acquaintance with it better choice and kind of spark in you and it depends on yourself to flame it. First, we introduce you a preface of this art and before that, we have some explanation about the word of miniature. Miniature means it was displayed more little and means little thing. Since in days of old, it had special elegance and painted and presented in small dimensions, called it miniature. Other words were used for this art and this major such as depiction but in my view the most correct word is miniature. To find the miniature origin, its root came back to the Saljoghi era in Iran, as on that time, painting subjects was included scientific and technical matters. After Saljoghian, we have Mongol school, after Mongol conquered Iran, Chinese came to Iran and Iran painting affected by Chinese and we can interpret dragon in Iranian paintings as one of the causes of Chinese painting effect on Iranian painting. Other school in miniature included Bokhara, Harat, Tabriz, Shiraz, and Isfahan, that each school followed special method. And among them, we had great artist like Kamaloldin Behzad, Soltan Mahammad, Mirza Ali and Reza Abbasi. We start our instructional method by Isfahan school and safavieh era and by the works of Reza Abbasi.

For more information and access to the instructional videos of the miniature art, refer to our website with more than four hours video tutorials totally free.

Step 2: Geometrical Designing of Safavieh School

The painting that you see in the picture related to Isfahan school that was worked on Safavieh era. (Figure 1)

For this style and model of painting we should work in three phase, the first stage is geometrical designing, the second stage is penciling and third stage is drawing by hair brush. The work that you see is drawn by hair-brush, which the line, painted with cat painting brush. But for painting the first stage, it should be painted a draw, which we call it geometrical designing. But before starting we should take account of some points: the lines and figures that you see in the picture are completely plain and they are analyzed, at this stage, it was not shown any special, complex by them. At the second stage, we work more on the lines and the third stage which is penciling we show the lines completely. We intend to start the first stage. The important point is to draw lines faintly that in the following stage; we did not need to clean it. (Figure 2)

So as far as you can, use broken lines and geometrical figures and we show lay out with that. We regulate dimensions, the less the number of your lines and make the figure more simple, you present it better and stronger. We call this designing, geometrical designing. Now our sketch is drawn generally. (Figure 3)

Take account of this point that put the sketch in the middle and as reminded the line should be painted faintly. To perform the second stage which is penciling, first, we practice the lines penciled then perform it on our sketch.

Step 3: Penciling Exercise

Penciling exercise and its instruction causes you master pencil. Then you can perform these lines by hair brush but before penciling exercise pay attention to the table which is in the picture. (Figure 4)

We call it color tonality which move from absolute dark to absolute white. There are many gray tonalities from darkness to whiteness that all these tonalities and gray color are seen in drawing lines. You can see that in this line that is drawing now and has all above colored tonalities. Look at the picture carefully. (Figure 5)

An important point that you should pay attention to the penciling lines is its thickness; we start the line with this kind of thickness and as we go forward to the end of the lines, it will become thinness and these lines should have seen completely. Look at the thickness with darkness and thinness with total brightness. Pay attention that eyes, should not see the end of the line. These lines are your first practice. Attempt to concentrate completely for drawing these lines and do those carefully, take time, hook at each line as a painting, it is valuable. The point which is important in performing these lines is that the line should not be cut. You can see that in these two parts, our lines are cut. (Figure 6)

The second exercise, draw these lines inversely that is, more from thinness and brightness to thickness and darkness. Do these exercises just like the first one. (Figure 7)

The third exercise is drawing circular and round lines. Look at the picture carefully. (Figure 8)

As the tonality that I explained previously is also seen in this type of line. We will arrive from brightness to absolute darkness. And at the end, do exercise number4. Draw faint lines at the corner of the paper and reach faint and thinness to the thickness and richly colored. Just like this. (Figure 9)

These exercises enhance your concentration to draw lines on the main sketch, so before drawing our sketch, first do these exercises.

Step 4: Drawing the Main Sketch

Well, I try to pencil each single part of our sketch, one by one. We start from turban. (Figure 10)

Geometrical figure, the figure that is drawn is the same as the figure in our general and geometrical sketch. (Figure 11)

But for concentrating on one part and made it ready for penciling, construction and Pardaz, I draw that sketch again. Pay attention to the lines carefully. (Figure 12)

Some lines are in penciling that started and ended by emphasis. The point that is considered after penciling and performing lines is very important as the figures of these lines need to work and experience, figure of line mean use darkness and faintness, thickness and thinness of lines. For example besides this thick and richly colored line, I draw a thin line under it. And it enhances your integrity and pretty of lines. (Figure 13)

The shortness and the height of the lines is very important for making our sketch more pretty and for making it more and more pretty, that is better the lines did not end, totally. If the sketch you want to perform is in a big dimension, attempt to work with pencils that its thickness is more than etude pencil. Such as B2, B3, but if your sketch has a smaller size, attempt to practice the same lines with etude. Now I want to pencil my sketch by etude totally. Take care well, the lines that I draw here are shooting hurling and jumping lines as the hand was hurled and the line was shot. (Figure 14)

The other kinds of penciling and brushing by hair-brush are return lines. You can see those lines here clearly. (Figure 15)

You should try that the lines which are drawn, did not cut absolutely. They should be Trimmed and faint. (Figure 16)

For drawing and penciling our sketch and our model, you can rotate the paper in each side you want or you are dominant. But for geometrical designing and drawing the general sketch, you are not permitted to rotate the sketch. I rotate the sketch completely to dominate it. (Figure 17)

You should not move on your lines again, try to draw line once with one movement and if you want to bold it, do it at the beginning of the lines. Moving again on the lines did not cause its beauty. You should always take account of this point. We did and explained all parts and details of this sketch except the face. (Figure 18)

When draw the plan, we compare it with our main sketch. There are differences in the sketch, and that is because the work is done with hair brush and we did it by pencil. But the only thing you should take care is the faintness or richly color of the lines and takes care of the thickness and thinness of the lines. We follow with drawing by hair brush and ink.

Step 5: Drawing Practice by Hair Brush and Ink

Here we discuss about drawing by hair brush and ink. We use cat hair brush. (Figure 19)

These hair brushes are hands made and it formed from cat hair and the end of feather. The hair brushes quality depends on your recognition of drawing by hair brush and ink that help you to choose a good hair brush. Pay attention that the hair brushes nib should be subtle and sharp to draw subtle lines. But before drawing with this hair brush, I should explain some points. The first: don’t take color from color disk by hair brush because its nib is so sensitive and it will destroy. The second point: picking up color by hair brush, pay attention not to beat the color by hair brushes nib directly. That is false and it destroys its nib again, so you should pick up color diagonally in this way. (Figure 20)

But before start with hair brush and drawing with hair brush and ink, we draw the lines that we had in prior step about drawing but now we draw them by hair brush. The exercises are the same but now we use hair brush. Well, look at carefully. (Figure 21)

We have the same tonality and thickness and thinness of lines that we had in drawing by pencil. The line should not be cut here and it does not have any difference with drawing by pencil. But if you want to draw nice firm lines with hair brush, you should learn how hold the hair brush with your hand. Look at my hand carefully. (Figure 22)

The index and thumb finger hold this part of the hair brush (The part which you see in Figure 22) and the other threes go back part of the hair brush parallel. Sometimes the second finger, orders the hair brush. Don’t hold hair brush tightly in your hand. The other point, the angle of the hair brush with the paper should have 45 degree slope and don’t hold it vertically that you can draw the lines. Like this. (Figure 23)

The second line is from thinness to thickness. Exercise three: circular and spiral lines. These lines can become bigger. (Figure 24)

And at the end, exercise number 4 that you should do it, down side of the page. Draw lines like a leaf from thinness to thickness. Like this. (Figure 25)

Try to exercise this form and form number3 very much. Since then you can use it in work with leaf shape and use exercise 3 as cloud shapes.

Step 6: Drawing the Main Sketch by Hair Brush and Ink

Well to draw the main sketch by hair brush and ink, I draw the geometrical sketch again, and then I start to draw by hair brush to see the differences between pencil and hair brush. (Figure 26)

The point you should take account of it in drawing with hair brush is the amount of color that should be in the hair brush. To find out how much color should be in hair brush, you should experience more and more to get it. How much color should be in the hair brush for example you got that color is little or much or even its viscosity or watery, the color is so important. It should be in the way that hair brush moves on the paper easily and also the color doesn’t scatter but before working with hair brush put a paper under hand and put extra color of your hair brush on the paper in this way. (Figure 27)

When you feel your hair brush has enough color then you can start drawing by hair brush. It is not necessary to beat hair brush in water regularly, so if you feel that its hair stick then you can put it in the water, as I said for drawing lines, you can rotate the paper each side you want or you dominate. If you draw with hair brush you can use other color, rather than watercolor, like dried ink color. But if watercolor is available, use it and it doesn’t have any difference in the kind of color. Well, I rotate the paper toward the side I dominate. (Figure 28)

Draw lines down to up and up to down. The subject in drawing with pencil that I said about the forms of line it works here. You see, besides thick line, thin line show off and also emphasis up and down displayed. The etude that I draw now is more than our main draw. It doubled beauty in the work, makes it more natural and it shows its cloth mode better. (Figure 29)

Now I clean draw lines. You can compare drawing by pencil with drawing by hair brush. (Figure 30)

With this comparing, you get penciling better and you know that in the style, how the lines you used in the work are important. As much as you concentrate on penciling and make drawing lines stronger by pencil, certainly, you meet less problems in drawing by hair brush. Now I start drawing the main sketch by hair brush and ink. Those who choose miniature as a major don’t choose heavy work; I mean the works you need to pressure on your hand. Because hair brushes drawing lines are so elegant and cause to trembles your hand. In Isfahan and Tabriz schools, the line and color are so important especially in Isfahan school on safavieh era. Lines are very important to form our draw, so, many works which had performed on safavieh era, are picture just drawing by hair brush and there is little color used and if used it is just one color and the most color was golden color. (Figure 31)

Don’t forget rotation. Do you remember the lines draw with pencil? I perform by hair brush. Some lines become thin or thick, or lines are started from thinness, emphasis, and then thinness again. The line that you see in this part has this condition. (Figure 32)

As we continue, the hair brush more sleep on the paper and then it will be taken up. All lines in this draw, present in this way. All drawing lines with hair brush in miniature are smooth, elegant and dancing forms. Well, our draw is nearly over. Now you can compare it with drawing by pencil. (Figure 33)

In drawing by hair brush and ink, many places which are look like each other, such as tip of the sleeves, armpit and hair wrinkles which are performed in the same way in all miniature works. If you look at carefully at this part of sleeve, (Figure 34)

I said the armpit lines are hurled and jumping like the lines which are performed in this draw and explain it in pencil drawing. Now take care the lines in the tip of sleeves, attempt to show the first line bold. (Figure 35)

After now, each line you want to draw it, follow the previous line. If the end of the first line was thick and rich color, the second line will reverse, it means the beginning of line is thick and richly colored. In the same way, for the next line, the end of line should be thick and richly colored. It causes a good form in the line. One of the most difficult parts of drawing by hair brush in safavieh era is drawing the sleeves. Be careful not to cut the lines and be continued from up to down and down to up. As much as going toward the sleeves, we show the lines more faint and trimmed and also some lines didn’t reach to the end. Just like this. (Figure 36)

We do not have another debate in drawing clothes by hair brush. Just one form remained, which we will teach it now. This form is the style of clothes which are drawn in the turban or scarf. Look at carefully. (Figure 37 & 38)

If the kind of scarf was like cashmere scarf, we do in this way if we want to show one part of the scarf. The continued line should not reach the first line and line which goes toward should be front of the first. This form repeated till the end. If you draw the first one right, the other parts will be drawn like this. (Figure 39)

Inside these lines, takes shadow and will be shown the lining or its back. This form of the cloth and this tip of sleeve are very functional in all miniature forms. (Figure 40)

Well in drawing by hair brush it doesn’t have anything left and all debates are explained.

For more information and access to the instructional videos of the miniature art, refer to our website with more than four hours video tutorials totally free.