*A guest post by Kathryn Costa.
What You’ll Need: Paper – Select your paper based on the medium you want to use. My favorite is Bristol board as it works with a variety of medium. I’ve created mandalas on just about everything including plain copy paper, cardboard, watercolor paper, and canvas. Compass Protractor Pencil and Eraser Black Fine Point Pen – Micron, Pitt, Sharpie are all good options. Stencils (optional) Colors – For today’s example I used Derwent Inktense pencils. Raid your stash and explore the possibilities including colored pencils, markers, and paints.
Step 3: Decide How Many Sections In this example, the final mandala design is divided into 12 equal sections. Divide 360° by the number of sections to determine how big to draw each section. For example: 360°/12=30° Using your protractor and pencil, mark your circle in 30° increments: 30°, 60°, 90°, 120°, etc. Another Example: For an 8-sectioned mandala, 360°/8=45°: 45°, 90°, 135°, 180°, 225° Tip: I like to double the number of sections so I have “mid-point” guidelines. For today’s example I measured out 24 equal sections. 360°/24=15°
Step 5: Draw Several Circles Using a compass, draw several more circles. Vary the size of each circle to create an interesting pattern.
Step 6: Begin Your Design In this example, notice how the flower petal design takes shape connecting the bottom of one grid point to the top of the next guideline and then back down to the next grid point. Repeat the design around the entire circle. I used a black pen at this point. You may want to draw with a pencil and then trace over with a black pen.
Step 7: Build Your Design Outward Move to the next row and draw a shape, repeating it around the entire circle. Here I have used the same flower petal shape. Feel free to mix and match the shapes that you use. Notice how I alternated the placement of the flower petals in this row with the previous row.
Step 8: Vary the Shapes In this example, I changed the shape for the third row. You may want to draw the geometric shapes using a ruler, but I like the look of a hand-drawn design within a carefully measured grid. The little imperfections add character and charm. You’ll find that your own style will develop with each mandala that you draw.
Step 10: Follow Your Instincts I didn’t plan out the design for this mandala. I started in the center and worked my way around until I filled the mandala with various shapes. It is fun to work this way as the mandala emerges before your very own eyes. Experiment with different shapes and patterns.
Step 14: Finding Meaning in Our Mandalas As you work on your mandalas, notice your thoughts and feelings. Consider the different shapes, symbols, and colors. What do they remind you of? For this design, I saw a sun and it wasn’t until I was coloring the sun’s rays that I made the connection that the circles could be the moon in different phases. After I finish a mandala, I enjoy spending time looking at it and reflecting on the “message of the mandala.” I like to title my mandalas. The title doesn’t always come to me right away. I may prop up the mandala and look at it over the course of a few days before the name emerges. I’m still considering the title for this mandala. Any suggestions? I’d love to hear your ideas.
Kathryn Costa hosts the 100 Mandalas Challenge and shares her love for mandalas at 100mandalas.org.