Painting the native American Indians

05 November 2018

The Plains Indians were the native American people that inhabited the Great Plains of North America that lie between the Rio Grande in the south, Canada in the north and between Lowland Canada in the east and the Rocky Mountains in the west. 

The Great Plains are 3,000 miles in length (4,800 km) and about 300 to 700 miles wide, covering an area approximately 1,125,000 square miles (2,900,000 square km) - which is about one-third of the United States.

They cover in parts, 10 states and three Provinces in Canada - Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta.

The Plains Indians lived in this vast area, so it easy to appreciate why they are so different in dress, lifestyle and history. So, it's going to be a task and a half painting the Tribal Indians that were present at The Battle of the Little Bighorn.

There is a wide mixture of tribes that gathered in the big village, each bringing their own distinctive differences in skin tones from a lighter to some darker flesh colours. The style of clothes they wear also varies from tribe to tribe and area to area.

Anyway, we have to make a start at some stage. So, here's the painting guide we've decided on.

Headgear Feathers and War Bonnets

  • Multi-Coloured or Plain


  • White, Black, Red or Yellow

Jackets & Shirts

  • Browns, Tans or Wool shades.

Cloaks & Capes 

  • Red, Brown, Purple or Yellows


  • Red, Brown, Purple or Yellows


  • Various Browns and Steel


  • Brown shades, black or brown and lighter shades