I often talk about the beauty and power in the drawing of mandalas. It’s a magical, hypnotic process, one in which thoughts are silenced and order is restored. The art of drawing mandalas really feels like an oasis amidst the chaos – the chaos of the outside world and endless loop of doomsday news, and the chaos of the internal mind.
For me, drawing the mandalas creates more peace and more calm than colouring them. The process of drawing them demands a more intense concentration, thus quieting the noisy part of my brain. I am gifted a reprieve from my thoughts and can easily and happily reside in the space within. Colouring them however, albeit a calming, creative outlet, clearly accesses a different part of the brain and my thoughts are not silenced in the same way.
For this reason, it feels so important for me to share with you the process of HOW I create my mandalas, so that you may be able to do the same and experience the same glorious oasis in the chaos.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
Paper to draw on. A compass to mark your circles, with a light pencil. A fine black pen to draw with. (Ruler is optional to measure the precise middle point of your page.)
HOW TO DRAW YOUR OWN MANDALA
Whilst I always draw my mandalas entirely free hand, I create a series of different sized circles to act as my guide. Using a compass and a soft pencil, I draw approx 4 or 5 circles as a framework. This ensures each loop and curl is of equal size all around the circle.
I start in the middle and initially draw 4 markings – normally a loop, leaf or petal shape – positioned at 12 o’clock, 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock. This is to ensure as much symmetry as possible. Then I repeat the shape 4 more times between my first 4 markings, until I have 8 loops. I call it the power of 8, as each loop, leaf or petal will be repeated 8 times around the circle.
Once the middle 8 markings have been made, it’s simply a matter of connecting each of those with a new loop, leaf or petal shape. It doesn’t matter what your chosen shape is, as long as it’s the same size and the shape all around the circle!
The choice of marking is entirely up to you! I often think it’s best not to overthink it. Simply let your pen do the work, and enjoy watching as the sensational symetrical pattern unfolds. No need to plan. Just allow it to happen organically.
It can be easy and tempting to focus on the slight imperfections and size variations as you move around the circle. As a perfectionist myself, I feel you! When focusing on detail, the imperfections seem magnified, however, when your mandala is completed, it will be seen as a whole. All the individual markings, no matter how inconsistent and imperfect, simply add up to comprise the perfect whole.
As a general rule I suggest to add details and embellishments after the whole shape has been created. These can either be drawn into the design, or added later when colouring or painting your design.
Once you have completed your design you are ready to add colour! Depending on your surface, I’d recommend different pens or paints. Sharpies are fine for paper. Posca pens are great for non-absorbant surfaces, and paints are great for vinyl or canvasses. Painting mandalas however takes a loooong time and can be very fiddly.
This mandala has now been added to my free downloads! Print this off at home and colour to your hearts content.
As I don’t have a printer, I’ve chosen to colour this one digitally as a demonstration. I’ve consistently been drawn to rainbow palettes for my mandalas and in this current climate, I don’t believe there’s anything more fitting!
So in love with how this turned out and it’s got me experimenting and thinking about lots of future ideas! Whilst playing with the digital image, I discovered this happy accident…
I just love how delicate this image is! The white outline, (instead of the black) just softens it so much. I’m thinking prints, cards, maybe more? What do you prefer? The black or the white outline?
STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO DRAWING A MANDALA
- Using a compass & a pencil, lightly mark out 4 or 5 different sized circles as your guides.
- Start in the middle and draw 4 markings (leaf, loop or petal shape) at 12 o’clock, 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock, and 9 o’clock.
- Make 4 more markings – in between the original 4. This ensures you have 8 petals evenly spaced in a circle.
- Connect each petal with another loop, leaf or petal shape, using your next pencilled circle as your size guide for these markings.
- Repeat the same marking 8 times around the circle.
- Continue to add leaves, loops, petals, teardrops, swirls, frills, connecting each adjacent marking. Always ensure the same leaf, loop, petal etc is repeated around the circle.
- Details and embellishments can be added as part of the colouring process.
- Colour in your mandala!
As well as my Art to Heart instagram page, I now have a dedicated page to my mandalas – Oasis in the Chaos. If you download one of my colouring pages, or have a go at drawing your own mandala, please send me your pics or use hashtags #arttoheart #oasisinthechaosmandalas #oasisinthechaos. I’d love to see your work!