Malaysia Tourism Hunt: Learning the Art of Batik Painting


Malaysia is known for its rich and colourful culture. And this is evident in their batik painted products.

Ever wonder how those beautifully painted batik products were made? Have you ever thought of creating one for yourself? From of a simple white canvas or cloth, one can make a beautiful piece of artwork with just a few strokes, some coloured inks and a little creativity.

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I had the first hand experience learning the art of batik painting from one of the best batik painters in Kuala Lumpur, Mr. Ismail. While I don’t have that much creativity in terms of mixing colours, I got my hands anyway on the paint brush and dipped it in makeshift water colour palette.

First, using a specially designed scoop, take a scoop of the melted wax and draw any pattern or picture of your liking. And I mean practically any! Just let your creativity do the job.

Before colouring your artwork, apply a layer of water on the area to be painted. This will prevent the colour from creating blotches. And it will be easier to spread the colour in the entire area, as needed.

Now, time for you to pick the colours you want for your artwork. Generally, you have the basic or the primary colours. You can just mix them to create secondary or tertiary colours. Sounds like your art class back in grade school, right? Let you mind fluidly direct your hands to do the talking. Again, creativity is the key. So let it shine!

Tip: Use a paint brush dipped in a plain water to lighten the colours for an added effect.

Once you’re done, let it stay flat to dry to prevent the colours from getting mixed. A sodium silicate is applied to the entire painted area so the colours don’t get washed off.

Fatil putting some finishing touches to the artwork.

Fatil putting some finishing touches to the artwork.

Batik painting is a family business for the Ismail household. Mr. Ismail started the craft when he was 25 years old. Being the head of the family, he went on to teach his children the craft at a very young age. His daughter, 20-year old, Fatil learned the batik painting at the age of 6.

This particular batik product costs RM30.

Batik painting can be your past time activity, or a diversion from your daily routines. It builds and hones your creativity. And for the Ismail family, batik painting has become their good source of living.

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Disclaimer: This Malaysian tour was sponsored by the Malaysian government through the Malaysia Tourism Hunt program.

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