Quest Part 1 Blog Post

Quests, Levelling and Achievements – part 1

Digital Thangka Painting - Starting Area

I started drawing digital thangkas in 2008, but my quest line started a few months before. In November 2007 the Maitreya Institute in Emst discovered that I was proficient in computer graphics. They asked me to do a drawing of the stupa they wanted to build.
Since I didn’t have a clue about stupas (or any Buddhist art form for that matter) they told me to go to their centre in Amsterdam for a weekend. There I could receive basic instructions on the construction of a stupa by a renowned thangka painter. I should bring paper, pencil and a ruler.

Stupa Drawing On Paper
Drawing a stupa with pencil and rulers. On paper....

This is how I met my teacher Andy Weber – and the only time I used paper and pencil in one of his courses. Ever.

Andy Weber
Andy Weber

Andy and I came to talk about art and computer graphics before I returned home. Since he showed interest in what I did, I drew a little head of the Buddha and send it to him by e-mail. Of course without any knowledge about grids.
His reaction: “You got talent but you need to follow one of my courses.”

And so I did, in his 2008 summer course. Subject: Amitayus, a longevity deity. Andy wanted me to do the mandala, because it would be easier to draw on a computer, being geometrical and all. Being cocky as I am, I insisted on doing the actual figure in his Sambhogakāya form. Andy does have a massive amount of knowledge about Buddhist iconography and the technical aspect of traditional thangka painting but none whatsoever on computer graphics, so I had to figure out all the techniques in setting up the grid, drawing lines, shading and gilding with virtual gold myself.

Several fases of my first drawing: Amitayus.

This is how I set off on my quest for the perfect digital thangka.

This is Part 1 of a three-part blog on my quest for the perfect digital thangka.
Read more in Part 2.

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