The process of Medinipur Patachitra involves few steps which are carried out by the Patachitra artists with immense care and passion. The artists make outline directly with the brush on the paper. They don’t use pencil or charcoal for the preliminary drawings. Then they fill the spaces with appropriate colours.
After painting, a layer of recycled soft fabric is pasted on the reverse side of the paper to make the scroll stronger and long-lasting. Then it is dried in sunlight. One of the distinct features of Patachitra is the use of natural colour made by the Patuas from locally available sources like leaves, vegetables, stones and flowers etc. The knowledge of colour making is passed on from one generation to the other.
Simplicity is the trademark of Santhal pats. The pats are also marked by minimal background decoration and usage of colour. After drawing the main pat with thin black border, it is filled with colours. The artists use natural, herbal or organic colours. But some them use artificial colors available in the market.
As the base material they use paper easily available in the market. Especially, fullscape or chart paper is used. The method to make the base strong and long lasting is not known. At the beginning of making pat, about 8’’ – 1’ part of the same is covered with plastic, which is easily available. It is done primary to protect the rest of the paper from water. Two handles on two sides are made with bamboo strips, help the artists to wind up the pat. It also becomes easier for the artists to unfurl the pat with the two handles.
Sources Of Natural Colors used in Medinipur Patachitra
New leaves of the teak tree, Betel Leaf, Annatto fruit, Catechu
Blue Pea flower
Runner beans, Leaves of Ivy gourd
Matured teak leaves
Kusum Mati (also known as saffron soil), Lime stone
Sources Of Natural Colors used in Santhal Patachitra
Geru Pathar ( local name ) : Gerua ( Indian Red)
Holud Pathar – Yellow ( probably yellow ochre)
- Khorimati: White
- Bhushokali: Black
- Kamala Pathar: Orange
- Simpata: Green
- Pui metuli: Purple
- Boter Kuri: Pink
- Phanimanashar phol: Red
- Dela nil: Blue
- Palash Flower: Yellow
They use conventional neem adhesive. They know the usage of adhesive made of woodapple, but the artists refrain from using it.