The Kalamkari tradition chiefly consists of scenes from Hindu mythology. Figures of deities with rich border embellishments were created for the temples. In Masulipatnam, the weavers were involved in the block printing art, while at Kalahasti, the Balojas (a caste involved in making bangles) took to this art.
Owing to Muslim rule in Golconda, the Masulipatnam Kalamkari was influenced by Persian motifs & designs, widely adapted to suit their taste. The outlines and main features are done using hand carved blocks. The finer details are later done using the pen.
Under the British rule the designs as well as the end use of the fabric differed - for garments as well as furnishings. During this period floral designs were popular. The artisans were made to create even portraits of English men.
The Kalahasti tradition which developed in the temple region mostly concentrated on themes form Hindu mythology, epics (Ramayana, Mahabharatha), images of Gods and heroes.
The artists use a bamboo or date palm stick pointed at one end with a bundle of fine hair attached to this pointed end to serve as the brush or pen.
The dyes are obtained by extracting colours form parts of plants - roots, leaves along with mineral salts of iron, tin, copper, alum, etc., which are used as mordants.