Traditional murals used panchavarana (Sanskrit: five colors) exclusively i.e. red, yellow, green, black and white, white being the color of the wall itself. Colors are prepared from vegetable and mineral pigments. Red is derived from red laterite, yellow is derived from yellow laterite, white from lime, and black from oil-lamp soot. Leaves of Neelamari (Indian Indigo; Indigofera tinctoria ) plant are squeezed and the extract is used after drying up to be mixed with Eravikkara (Garcinia morella) for obtaining the green pigment. Wooden utensils are used for mixing the colours and the binding media used is derived from tender coconut water and extracts from the Neem tree (Azadirachta indica).
The characters in the murals are colored according to their characteristics as illustrated in the relevant Hindu mythological scriptures. Spiritual, divine and dharmic characters (satwika) are depicted in shades of green. Those influenced towards power & materialistic wealth (rajasic) are painted in shades of red to golden yellow. Evil, wicked and mean characters (tamasic) are generally painted in white or black.