Persian and Indian miniature painting with gilding with Vaishali Prazmari

Ref: S3D31615

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About this course

Learn ancient techniques of classical Persian and Indian miniature painting. Prepare paper, apply colours and gold, render forms and outlines to create jewel-like surfaces inspired by great Safavid and Mughal royal manuscripts of the past.

Course Description

Immerse yourself in the jewel-like, vivid colours and wondrous stories of Persian and Indian miniature paintings. Learn ancient techniques of classical miniature painting to create your own painting inspired by the great Safavid and Mughal royal manuscripts of the past. This mysterious Silk Road artform is a manuscript book art that spanned hundreds of years, yet is comparatively little-known. You will explore Eastern and Western, ancient and modern influences and create your own miniature painting using traditional and contemporary techniques.

Miniature painting is 'the art of the line'. These paintings embody a fineness of line from China and vibrancy of colours and pigments from India and Central Asia to be synthesised into beautiful miniatures in the royal courts of Safavid Persia and the Mughal Empire, which in turn influenced and was influenced by the magnificence of Renaissance Europe, and all were inflected with the brilliance of shining gold as pages were turned by candlelight. Gold was a staple feature of fine manuscripts. Pigments, paints and paper all vary; climates, seasons and moods can change; the essential, enduring tool, of course, is the brush.

The first welcome evening illustrated lecture talk will serve as an introduction to this unique artform. On the following days, you will learn: paper preparation and gilding; burnishing; tracing and transferring techniques; inking in lines; paint application techniques; colour, composition and framing theory and ideas; special rendering and shading techniques; special outlining techniques; unique brush handling techniques. We will break it down, take it slowly then build it up step-by-step. You will come away with a foundation skill set of the basic miniature painting techniques, including line and colourwork common to the Persian and Mughal Indian schools, an awareness of cultural exchange and an insight into the history, theory and context of miniature painting. At the end of this course, you will have your own miniature painted page and basic knowledge of this little-known ancient and amazing artform.

Please note, the tutor will demonstrate gilding. If you would like to gild your piece on the course, you will need to bring along the gilding kit specified below.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • On this course, the college will supply most of the materials, including paper, paper preparation and polishing/burnishing materials and equipment, a set of studio paints and other studio equipment and materials.

What students need to bring

  • Paints: Set of Artist's quality watercolour paints, preferably a set of pan paints*
  • Gilding set: Recommend Wrights of Lymm genuine gilding starter set (Gold-1) and Kolner Miniatum gold size
  • Brushes: You will need 000 (American 00000 – tiniest size) brushes, plus larger size sable watercolour brushes up to size 5-6 - bring any you have. The tutor will provide a trial studio set for use by course students.. Handmade brushes for painting in this style can be purchased in advance if you wish from e.g. or from the tutor with 10% discount during the course.
  • Palette with wells to contain water-based paint, water pot
  • Drawing equipment: sharp HB pencils, erasers, sharpeners, rulers
  • A3 portfolio or sturdy folder to take work home in
  • The rest will be provided by the college and the tutor.
  • *Set of artist-quality watercolours to include ivory black and titanium white, zinc white, ultramarine blue, cadmium red, cadmium yellow (standard blues, reds and yellows) and then any other colours you like or are drawn to. This is not an exhaustive list, and please don’t feel you need to include all these colours, only the ones you particularly like: malachite, lemon yellow, Naples yellow, permanent magenta, dioxazine violet, dioxazine mauve, cadmium orange, cobalt blue, Indian yellow, cobalt turquoise light, French vermilion, cobalt violet, lemon yellow, Payne’s grey, permanent alizarin, permanent sap green, manganese blue, indigo if possible. Earth colours yellow ochre, gold ochre, green earth/terre verte, raw sienna, burnt sienna, raw umber and burnt umber preferably also. A general, good artist’s quality watercolour set will contain all the basic colours and we will work with whatever you have.
  • The tutor will demonstrate gilding. If you want to do gilding, this is optional. You must provide your own gilding set if you want to do gilding on the course. It is optional and as a demo only, or you can try for yourself, but you will need to bring a kit along. The tutor recommends: Wrights of Lymm Ltd – Genuine gold standard starter kit (Gold-1) and 50ml bottle of Kolner miniatum from the same supplier.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good variety of general art materials are available to buy, including artist quality watercolour paints pans and tubes, palettes, brushes size 000 and 5 or 6, drawing equipment, A3 portfolios.
  • Available from tutor:
  • Brushes: You will need 000 (American 00000 – tiniest size) brushes, plus larger size sable watercolour brushes up to size 5-6 - bring any you have. The tutor will provide a trial studio set for use by course students.. Handmade brushes for painting in this style can be purchased in advance if you wish from e.g. or from the tutor with 10% discount during the course.

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals.


Vaishali Prazmari

Vaishali holds degrees from the Slade School of Fine Art University College London and the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts. She studied Persian, Indian and Chinese painting under various masters and is now working towards a PhD at the Slade. She has taught since 2012 and has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally. 


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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