Currently Shang Shung Institute Australia holds monthly courses in the traditional art of Thangka painting with qualified Thangka Artists. The courses are designed to guide the student through the tradition of Thangka art from drawing to painting. To start with, each student will learn about the system of grids and measurements according to the Tibetan system of Karma Gardri.
Students then progress towards drawing the Buddha’s face, body, robes, lotus and body aura. Through each step of drawing the teacher will describe the symbolic meaning behind the drawing. Once the student’s drawing has reached a level that is sharp enough, with clear detail, they can then progress on towards painting a Thangka.
As in other disciplines, Thangka art has a process where students start by learning the symbology behind Buddha Shakyamuni (Nirmanakaya Deity), as well as drawing followed by painting. As students progress, they can then follow onto other classes of deities such as Green Tara, White Tara, Vajrasattva, (Sambogakaya Deities), and finally students learn wrathful deities such as Vajrapani, Guardians and Mahakala. The process is always the same - learning symbology, as well as drawing and painting before progressing, as the student’s skill level develops.