Artist Strong: How To Draw a Mandala

A beautiful example of a sand mandala shows you just how amazing, beautiful and intricate a mandala can be! His Holiness Dagchen Rinpoche’s hand holds a vajra drawing lines that close the Hevajra Mandala, after the empowerment, Tharlam Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism, Boudha, Kathmandu, Nepal

In last week’s post I discovered some of the first suggested creative therapy offered by psychologists was from and by Carl Jung. He encouraged his patients to create their own mandalas as a form of stress release. So today, I’m going to show you how to draw and color your own mandala.

First, let’s talk about the history of mandalas. The word is derived from Sanskrit for circle and is meant to be a symbol for our larger universe and connection to it. The Mandala Project has a great history of on their website. The Ancient History encyclopedia talks about how many different materials have been used to create mandalas, from paint to sand. Creating mandalas is seen as an act of meditation.

SO, if you are looking for some stress relief and enjoy drawing this may be the exercise for you!

How to Create a Mandala with Artist Strong

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Step One: Source your materials.

I suggest you obtain:

(1) scrap paper (I am reusing printer paper in this case)

(2) a fun pencil (Story: Mom has gifted me holiday themed pencils to me since I was a little girl. I now have a lifelong supply!)

(3) a compass (Or find another way to draw circles)

(4) a ruler or triangle

(5) eraser (to remove your pencil marks)

(6) coloring utensils (markers, paint, crayons, you name it)

How to Create a Mandala with Artist Strong

Step Two:

Create an x or a dot in the center of your paper.

How to Draw a Mandala |ArtistThink

Step Three:

Using your compass, draw a circle based off the point you created in the center of your paper.

How to Draw a Mandala |ArtistThink

How to Draw a Mandala |ArtistThink

 Step Four:

Draw as many concentric (sharing the same middle point) circles as you want.

How to Draw a Mandala |ArtistThink

How to Draw a Mandala |ArtistThink

Step Five:

Get your ruler or triangle and divide your circle into 4 equal “pie” pieces.

How to Draw a Mandala |ArtistThink

How to Draw a Mandala |ArtistThink

How to Draw a Mandala |ArtistThink

Step Six:

Now, create 8 equal divisions of your circle, or 8 “pie” pieces by dividing your current pie pieces in half.

How to Draw a Mandala |ArtistThink

How to Draw a Mandala |ArtistThink

How to Draw a Mandala |ArtistThink

How to Draw a Mandala |ArtistThink

Step Seven: Begin Your Design!

What ever you draw in one slice of your “pie,” be sure to draw in matching pie slices. This is about symmetry and repetition, but it’s up to you if you do the same marks in each and every pie slice OR every other pie slice, for example.

How to Draw a Mandala |ArtistThink

In this drawing you can see I start to match shapes I draw to those opposite each other:How to Draw a Mandala |ArtistThink

The lines you draw are entirely up to you. Make each mandala you draw an experiment! How to Draw a Mandala |ArtistThink

How to Draw a Mandala |ArtistThink

How to Draw a Mandala |ArtistThink

How to Draw a Mandala |ArtistThink

I made no plans for my mandala before starting this demo. I just made one set of marks, made sure they “match up” across from each other on my line axis, and then decided what marks to make next. It is an intuitive process: perhaps this is why it can be such a relaxing activity!

When you feel like you’ve made enough marks with your pencil, go through and lightly erase your marks if you don’t want them to show through in your drawing.

Now you are ready to color!

How to Draw a Mandala |ArtistThink

How to Draw a Mandala |ArtistThink

Consider symmetry and repetition when you color in your mandala, just as you did drawing out your mandala.

If you use a color in one corner, consider using it in all corners as I did with this yellow area below OR match opposite pie slices, as I did with the orange and magenta circles.How to Draw a Mandala |ArtistThink

How to Draw a Mandala |ArtistThink

How to Draw a Mandala |ArtistThink

How to Draw a Mandala |ArtistThink

How to Draw a Mandala |ArtistThink

Ta da! Now you have your very first mandala. Now that you’ve completed one, consider doing another! Try one only using straight lines. And then another only using curvy lines. Each mandala you create will be unique and offer you new ideas for your next one.

If you like this tutorial please share it with others and click to Tweet:

 Learn How to Draw a Mandala with Artist Strong – I did!

Work by Bojan Bjelic via CC Attribution license on Flickr

Mandala Work by Bojan Bjelic via CC Attribution license on Flickr

I want you to embrace your creative interests. Creating mandalas is easy and quick and a satisfying way to have some art play in your life. If you are thinking about drawing as a creative interest, this is a great way to build some confidence and get started. Mandalas are as complicated and skillful as you allow them to be!

Additional tutorials to help reinforce your understanding:

Thaneeya McArdle uses lots of organic shapes in her mandala demonstration

WikiHow has a great 10 step tutorial on making a mandala.

BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: SHARE the product of your creation with me! I LOVE LOVE LOVE (did I say love?) seeing the fruits of creative effort. Post it on the Facebook page.

FREE workshop on How to Draw and Color a Mandala – Click image to sign up

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