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How to Draw a Mandala

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Posted by Eliana Ribeiro
I started painting when I was working on my masters in Education. I love to incorporate art into whatever I'm teaching as a way to relax the mind and expand creative thinking.
How to Draw a Mandala

Table of Contents:

Draw a Meditative Mandala

These mystic images known as mandalas were created by Buddhists, but have been used in Hinduism and other religious practices for centuries. Their spherical shape is thought to be an illustrative representation of the universe while the interior graphics used to make a mandala are believed to be our soul’s connection to it. For those who wish to paint a mandala, much focus and practice are required. That’s why these artful symbols are often used as a vehicle for meditation by individuals and art therapists.

I’ve written this guide on how to draw a mandala as a helpful tutorial to teach the art of making your own now and as a future reference. After creating mine, I encourage you to draw one and be as creative as you want, using those images or symbols that have special meaning.

List of Supplies

Prepare the Drawing

Before beginning, first create an outline. This will act as its foundation and will help ensure symmetrical shapes.

Step 1

Measure 21 cm or approximately 8.25 inches from the paper’s upper edge down. Draw a pencil line at this location across the page to form a square.

Step 2

Measure 10.5 cm or approximately 4.13 inches across the top and put a vertical line. Next, measure that distance along the side and put a horizontal line to form a center point.

Step 3

Next, I used a compass to help me draw an accurate circle with a 9.5-cm or approximately 3.74-inch radius. This is this large outer sphere inside of which you will put all the smaller circles.

Step 4

Divide the sphere into 8 equal sections. I used a protractor to make this step easier and for the most accuracy possible. Then, beginning at the center point, I measured and made marks 1 cm, 2 cm, 2.5 cm, and 2.5 cm apart.

Step 5

I used a compass again to make the outlines of the inner circles. The marks I made previously act as a guide for their placement. Erase the measurements and marks.

Begin the Drawing

Step 6

I started at the center point, filling the smallest central circle with repeating elements. I decided to start with petite petals. I managed to fit two of them into each section.

Step 7

Move up a row, and begin filling it in. Since I decided to continue with the flower theme, I drew some double petals with pointed ends, repeating this shape until the entire row was filled.

Step 8

Experiment a little! It’s okay to draw outside the borders of each row. Do whatever feels right. Here, I connected my petals’ points with semi-arcs and drew little circles inside.

Step 9

Here, I continued drawing more complicated and peculiar shapes.

Step 10

There shouldn’t be any empty or uninteresting spaces between the borders of each row. Even if you have to place tiny dots or squiggles, try to put something in all the available space.

Step 11

In the next to last row, I drew petals similar to the ones from the previous step. I kept adding as many smaller details to fill any empty spaces as I could.

Step 12

Keep going and continue to put in petals while filling them with vertical lines or hatching.

Step 13

Notice that in the outermost row I drew some oblong circles, extending them into the edge.

Step 14

As soon as you decide the drawing is complete, step back and look at the entire composition. Do any empty spaces need filling? Remember, a mandala should be very detailed as well as interesting to gaze upon. Are all elements spread evenly? Are they symmetrical in size, in shape, in spacing? Now is when to make these adjustments. Once you begin coloring, it’s impossible to change things.

Add Color

Step 15

Erase the construction lines and remove any smudges. Use the Inkonic Fineliner Pens to reinforce the contours. These pens are also ideal for coloring in the small elements as well.

Step 16

Choose colors with plenty of contrast as I did here. The Real Brush Pens are perfect for adding color in the larger areas. Their thin brush point helps fill in those areas accurately without interfering with the sharper contour lines made with the fineliner pens.

Congratulations! You’ve created your first mandala. I know with practice, making mandalas and playing with intricate motifs will become an enjoyable way to escape from life’s stress. Soon you’ll see that focusing on the lines and adding little details, over and over again, you’ll lose all track of time!

Recommendations

  • Don’t hurry, be consistent. Focus on your arm’s movements and the scratching of the pencil against the paper’s surface.
  • Make all initial pencil lines light by not applying too much pressure. Light lines are easier to erase in case of a mistake.
  • After practicing drawing mandalas, you may no longer need to make the outline with pencil but can draw with gel pens, markers, or fineliners right from the start.
  • You can begin without an outline, but this may cause you to lose your concentration and you won’t get the full meditative benefit. Measuring, drawing the lines, and adding the circles at the beginning of the process is what helps put you in a meditative state of mind.

Mandalas make stunning wall art as well as beautiful greeting cards. But don’t stop there, you can use them for all kinds of projects such as with fabric paint to add one to a favorite T-shirt or tote bag, or use chalk markers to add them to a whiteboard. I’m sure that whatever you decide to do with your mandalas you’ll enjoy making these complex and spiritual symbols!

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