Santosh Sivan was born into a family of artists. His grandmother used to teach him painting and music in the palace and as a kid he accompanied her to the palace. These visits gave him an opportunity to become familiar with the paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, a nineteenth century Indian painter whose renowned works were themes from Hindu mythology, and everyday life of his times.
His grandmother often narrated the mythological stories of the themes of these paintings, where in the postures, colors guided the imagination. This turned out to be his very first visual education.
His father used to make documentaries and during holidays he would excitedly, volunteer to help. These trips were very interesting. He loved sketching with charcoal, and was fascinated by details that you observe when you want to sketch. During these travels to remote areas in South India, He was fortunate to listen folklore's and stories of people of the land.