The 'Pichwai' paintings are made on rough hand-spun cloth or canvas in rich dark hues. These designs are painted directly on the cloth and sometimes printed using hand blocks. It is usually a group effort with many painters working under a master artist.

Raw Materials

Cloth - A rough hand spun cloth is used as the base.
Canvas - This is also used as a base.
Tea/Chai steeped water - The canvas is soaked in this water to achieve an antique finish.
Paper - Earlier these were sourced from villages like 'Gosunda' and 'Kotah' near 'Chittorgarh'. Today local shops provide such coarse paper.
Gum or resin - This is used as a pigment binder.
Poster paints - These are also used nowadays to provide ready-made color shades.
Colors from natural sources:  
Cow urine - This is used as yellow color. 
Henna leaves - This natural source is used to obtain black, blue and green colors.
Lac - This gives a light red color.
Palash leaves- These leaves are used to obtain a bright orange color.
Dried fruit of Peepal Tree - This is used to get a bright red color.
Cactus - This is used to get a different shade of yellow. 
Black - This is derived from ground stones.
Thin gold and silver foils/sheets - These are placed inside a leather purse and beaten with a hammer to get extremely fine sheets.

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Waste

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Tools & Technology

Slanted Low wooden tables - These are used as an easel to spread the canvas.
Jhina - Fine brushes made of horse, goat or squirrel hair. The hair is attached to a piece of pigeon quill and a bamboo stem.
Jara - Broad brushes of goat tail hair are used to dust of fine particles
Containers or coconut shells - These are used for mixing paints and water.
Imli ki Lakdi - Charcoal is obtained from tamarind twigs and is used as fuel.
Ghonta - A polishing tool enclosed with an agate stone used to burnish the coarse paper. This prevents the paintings from flaking.

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Rituals

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Process

Before painting begins; the cloth is tempered to create an ideal painting surface. It is first starched and then polished to achieve a smooth finish. Nowadays synthetic colors have replaced the earlier use of natural colors. Poster colors are more easily available and do not require long duration of preparations as natural colors would do. Pure gold is sometimes used in the paintings and it may take about three to four days to prepare the color. Pigmented stones are ground to obtain different colors. Cow urine is dried and ground to get a brilliant yellow shade. The cow would be fed a diet of mango leaves for six months before its urine can produce the desired shade.

The sketches are first penciled in by the artists and then filled in with base colors. Broad  areas and figures would be finished first before moving on to the deatils. If the canvas is large, the artists will spread it on the floor, and sit on the canvas itself when painting. The finished portions would be then covered with newsprint and would be reopened later for detailing and shading. 

Shading is always done with the same color that is used as the base, for example a pink base would be detailed with a shade of pink and similar. After this the facial features and other fine details are painted using a fine brush and a skilled hand. This layered process of intricate detailing is finished by bejeweling the paintings with glitter stones.

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