Narayan began painting with no formal training, and his first public showing was in 1949, followed by a solo show in 1954. He had over 50 solo shows and his work is in several collections, including the National Gallery of Modern Art and the National Museum in New Delhi as well as the Philadelphia Museum of Art‘s South Asian Collection. Initially, he worked on tile and ceramic, and this informed some of his subsequent water-colours. His paintings are intimate and appealing, often with an element of fantasy, with simple outlines and accessible subject matter in two-dimensional stylised representations. He worked primarily in ink or pastel and watercolour.
He also illustrated children’s books and wrote short stories and verse. He has been the subject of a documentary by Mumbai All India Radio, and received numerous awards, including the Padma Shri in 1987 and the Maharashtra Gourav Puruskar in 1990.
Badri Narayan died on 23 September 2013 due to frail health, at a hospital in Bangalore.
- The Mahabharataby Shanta Rameshwar Rao; illustrations by Badri Narayan. (1985, Orient Longman)
- The Ramayanaby Laxmi Lal, illustrated by Badri Narayan (1988, Orient Longman)