Tag Archives: thangka

Quest part 3

Quests, Levelling and Achievements – part 3

Achievements on a different path

It took me over a year to bounce back. Luckily I had help, both from family and friends, as well from professionals.

I have always been out of sync with society and its perception of what is ‘normal': I had a somewhat deviant view on career, politics, society and wealth;  add Buddhism and my stance on animal rights in this mix and it’s clear I had it coming.
My mental make-up doesn’t make it easier as well: highly intelligent, highly creative and if you want to have your kitchen installed: “I can handle that”!
These talents are not uncommon on their own, but  I learned two important things last year: first that my talent combo is very rare, and second that I should stop trying to fit in – didn’t work for me in the past, will not work for me in the future.

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Quests, Levelling and Achievements – part 2

Levelling… and life’s lessons

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

From day 1 I started out drawing my thangkas entirely in a vector-based drawing program called Xara; still, all my images are firmly rooted in Tibetan painting traditions. Andy would supply me with all the grids, basic drawings of garments, jewels , lotus thrones and other elements, and – last but not least –  explanations of Buddhist iconography, mantras and pujas. And let's not forget the meditation sessions that started off the day. I would attend his courses at least twice a year, in spring and the 10-day summer course.

Drawing Process Namgyalma
Drawing process of a digital thangka, in this case Namgyalma

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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.

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Vajrapani Blog Post

Thangka Grids 101

My Xara brother-in-arms Gary Priester asked me to explain how the grids are used in thangka painting, so I decided to make a small 101 to indulge him. However, before I start with the explanation there are a few things to understand.

Firstly, Buddhist figures are not meant to be human-like but rather are icons of perfection, typifying a wide variety of Buddhist views and ideas. Their basic shape is highly stylized and has to abide to a strict set of traditional rules, regarding the shape and colouring of the figure up to the most auspicious moment the eyes should be finalized.

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