Madhubani, or Mithila paintings are done in the rural areas of Bihar. Madhu meaning honey and ban means forest. So it means forests of honey. The paintings are done by women on freshly plastered walls. The name Mithila refers to the birthplace of Sita and of this style of painting. It started when King Janak, the father of Sita, commissioned these paintings for the occasion of marriage of his daughter to the Hindu God Rama.
The themes revolve around Indian mythology and are filled in with a generous amount of natural elements such as birds, animals, creepers, flowers and trees. All the colours and the brushes used are made out of natural material. The brushes are made by wrapping cottonwool around a bamboo stick. The paintings are painted with flat colours and usually have a double outline surrounding them.
My students were assigned to paint any story they wished from Indian mythology in this style. First they drew out the main images with a double outline. Next, they filled in the background with leaves, flowers and other natural elements. A border could be made around the paper. Finally, they filled in some of the spaces with colours.