How to draw a mandala

We have some exciting things in store for you! First, I want to tell you about the first-ever Cloth Paper Scissors Holiday Sweepstakes! Starting today, you can enter here daily through November 25 for a chance to win fabulous prizes from Tombow, Sakura, Momenta, and more. The Grand Prize is a gift certificate from Cheap Joe’s, featured on the final day. Cool, right?

And it wouldn’t be a CPS newsletter if I didn’t let you in on the latest art techniques from talented artists. Today’s feature is about how to draw mandalas with Deborah Pacé, author of Creating Mandalas: How to Draw & Design Zendala Art.

How to draw a mandala, with Debora Pacé |
“As you can see, this mandala is a very simple design using mostly lines,” Deborah says. “The name River Flower came about because of the squiggly lines; each one looks like a river going through the flower.”

How to Draw Mandalas for Beginners by Deborah Pacé

“Mandalas are created from the center out, whether it is with a dot or circle. The substrate you draw your mandala on is usually white paper, drawn upon with black ink or pen. However, as you become more familiar with creating mandalas, you can start to explore and go beyond the usual. Mandalas are easy to draw. With a little bit of imagination and practice, you can take your mandalas to any level that is comfortable for you. They can be as simple as a couple of lines, circles and patterns, or complex, with fine lines, a series of concentric circles, and detailed patterns. Your mandalas are an expression of you, so remember, whatever you choose to do, enjoy the process.”

So What is a Mandala? A mandala is an artwork of intricately drawn patterns contained within a circular or square shape. The word mandala is a Sanskrit term that means “circle” or “discoid object.” Circles appear in nature (flowers, snakes, sun, moon, etc.) and in man-made architecture, and circles are believed to help individuals focus inward.

The basic form of most mandalas is a square with four gates containing a circle with a center point. Mandalas can contain both geometric and organic forms. They can also contain recognizable images that carry meaning for the person who is creating them. ~Deborah

Scroll down to see a four-step demonstration on how to draw a mandala in this excerpt from Creating Mandalas (order your copy of the book here, where it’s part of an exclusive kit that includes a compass and protractor).

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How to Draw a Mandala: River Flower Pattern by Deborah Pacé

How to draw a mandala, with Debora Pacé |
Step 1: Draw the mandala circles and lines.

1. With a pencil, lightly draw lines diagonally and across as shown. Using a compass, add a 3″ (8cm) diameter circle and a 5″ (13cm) diameter circle.

How to draw a mandala, with Debora Pacé |
Step 2: Draw the beginning petals of the flower mandala.

2. Using the black .25mm pen, draw flower petals from the center point to the first drawn circle. Use every other line for the center of each flower petal, and bring each tip to a point. Draw a line down the center of the petal and on either side of the center line.

How to draw a mandala, with Debora Pacé |
Step 3: Continue adding repeating shapes to the mandala.

3. Draw leaves between the petals with each point touching the outer circle. Using the .5mm Micron pen, draw a dark wavy line from the top of each leaf down the center. Repeat to make a second wavy line. Draw a flame shape (with 3 curved lines inside each) on every petal tip.

How to draw a mandala, with Debora Pacé |
Step 4: Connect the leaves and flames of the flower mandala.

4. Using the .5mm Micron pen, connect the leaves and flames with a dark, slightly curved line. Then switch to a .25mm Micron pen and outline the entire mandala with a second line. Erase all pencil lines.

Click HERE to your copy of Creating Mandalas and get a compass and protractor as part of this exclusive kit at the Interweave store.

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Starting to draw mandala designs, the easy way…..

You can either use the free printable mandala template provided in my Free Resource Library or start from scratch and draw your own.   The idea is that you want a central point with concentric circles of different sizes around that center point.  

The circles will help guide your design.  There is no right or wrong of how many circles there should be.  Less concentric circles will make for a simpler design.  More circles will be a guideline for a more intricate design.  My mandala templates use lines crossing the circles diagonally as well as vertically and horizontally.  If you are free handing your design feel free to add more guidelines if you choose. 

Mandalas for kids that are younger can be simpler and still have amazing results.  Know your kids and meet them where they are for the most rewarding experience. 

Use the free mandala template to draw mandala designs that look deceptively complex. Mandalas for kids (or any age) can be easy and fun!

Get your free mandala template here….

To get the printable mandala template use the  form below to subscribe to my Kitchen Table Classroom newsletter.  You’ll get a weekly email from me about what is new on the blog as well as a subscriber only password that will allow you access to my Free Resource Library. 

Here in the library you’ll find all my printable resources in easy to print PDF form.  Click on any thumbnail and the easy to print PDF will pop right up!

Use the free mandala template to draw mandala designs that look deceptively complex. Mandalas for kids (or any age) can be easy and fun!

The key to an easy draw mandala….

Looking at a finished mandala and knowing how to begin to draw a mandala of your own can be overwhelming.  While the finished product is crazy intricate the making is easy of you think of it in a step by step fashion.  By dividing your paper into eighths and creating concentric circles around a center point you have provided yourself a grid to work within.  

The mandala template I provided is super light in color.   If you’re using these to get started the idea is that the lines of the template will disappear or fade into the outlines and colors of the finished mandala drawing.  

Whatever you do in one section of the mandala drawing you’ll do in the other sections.  Easy.  Start drawing in the middle and think simple.  Start with a simple shape and repeat it all the way around the circle.  Encourage your kiddos to work all the way around one concentric circle before starting in a new one.  Use a pencil for this step; sketching lightly.

As the paper gets filled with lines and patterns it’s easy to go back in and add new lines and ideas.  Start simple and add to it.

Use the free mandala template to draw mandala designs that look deceptively complex. Mandalas for kids (or any age) can be easy and fun!

How to create your own mandala experience:

A mandala can also be used to guide the viewer into a hypnotic or a higher state of consciousness. With its aesthetically pleasing designs, an irritating thought will not be able to wiggle itself into the person’s consciousness as they are solely focused on the hypnotic beauty of the mandala’s designs. Through this hypnotic state the person is able to reach a higher consciousness and a better understanding of themselves.

To meditate on a mandala, choose the one that you can connect with and then set an intention you wish to focus on. Your intention can be anything that is happening in your life and you’re looking to gain more clarity on it. Once you have set your intention you can turn your focus to the mandala. Take in the designs and the mandala’s circular and infinite structure.

If your mind starts to wander to mundane things, gently pull it back to the beautiful designs. Get completely absorbed and lost in the design of the mandala, and as you go deeper into it you will begin to feel more relaxed and lighter in your head.

“The mandala is an archetypal image whose occurrence is attested throughout the ages. It signifies the wholeness of the Self. This circular image represents the wholeness of the psychic ground or, to put it in mythic terms, the divinity incarnate in man.” ~ Carl Jung

Amandala drawingnother way to meditate on a mandala is to create your own mandala by drawing, colouring or painting. Everything in the mandala design is specific and symbolic, so by creating your own mandala you have the ability to meditate as you create. Drawing the meditative designs will calm you in any state, and give you the space to just be, and breathe, as if you were in deep meditation.

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Step one:

As before, the first step is to set your intention. What do you wish to gain from this meditation/experience? Choose a goal: clarity on a subject or situation, enlightenment or feeling, unblocking something from your psyche, or just a calm meditative experience.

Step two:

You can do this intuitively, choose the colour that matches your intention with the feelings you wish to experience or gain through your mandala meditation. You can also choose your colors based on the chakras you wish to focus on or heal.coloring mandalasRed: Strength and passion. (1st chakra) Orange: Intuition, creativity, and personal transformation. (2nd chakra) Yellow: Happiness, learning, wisdom and vibrance. (3rd chakra) Green: Nature, healing, and psychic ability. (4th chakra) Blue: Peace and emotional healing. (5th chakra) Purple: Spiritual and universal connection. (6th chakra) White: Purity and focus. (7th chakra) Pink: Intuition, love, and the feminine aspects of yourself.

Black: Deep thinking and individuality.

You can also choose colors as you go, by letting the mandala and the experience show you which colors you are drawn to.

Step three:

Put on some relaxing music, pick up your creative tools (crayons, markers, pencils, etc.), and start drawing, if you want to start your own mandala design from scratch. Others may take a mandala stencil from a book, or get a print out from the internet.

Remember to leave all judgment on the side as you start your mandala; it is not about artistic talents or outcome. Do not feel that your mandala should end up like the many professional mandalas that you see around you, just draw or color, engross yourself in the unique experience, and proudly embrace any outcome.

“In your light I learn how to love. In your beauty, how to make poems. You dance inside my chest where no-one sees you, but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art.” ~ Rumi

You should feel as if you are immersing into the drawing and allowing it to take you on its unique journey. As your mandala progresses you can feel the palpable energy that you are creating it with; as the creator, you are able to infuse it with your unique intention and energies.

When your work is finished, put it up in a place where it unnamed (3)can be easily seen as you go about your day. Put it up on your wall, as your screensaver, or on the fridge. Your mandala will carry your intention and bring you back to focus whenever you look at it.

I have personally made my own mandala as I was putting together this article, and it was a peaceful and meditative experience, as I had hoped it would be. When I look back at my mandala I am again brought back to the experience and filled with the peace that I had set out to gain.

It was a very nurturing experience to pick up each color and think: “This is for gained strength and enthusiasm. This is for peace and tranquility,” etc. Each layer around the center of the mandala gave me more strength and peace as it went on, until the last hour circle when I felt a final satisfaction with my work and the journey I had embarked on.

Image sourceMandala drawingMandala artDrawing mandala


A Few Quick and Easy Tips for Drawing a Mandala

Mandalas do look big and complicated but don’t let that get you down. They are pretty easy once you get started drawing them. It’s all about geometry, shapes, and the level of detailing you would like for your drawing.  I’ll be sharing a few tips on how you can also get started to draw these pretty intricate drawings.

1. Start small. Mark a centre point and using your compass draw a few concentric circles ( 5 circles should do to get you started). For more tips on how you can get started on making mandalas, you can check out my article over here.

2. Use geometrical shapes like triangles, circles, curved and straight lines to make up your mandala. A mandala is basically a combination of all these shapes, with some additional intricacies like shading, shape within a shape and dots (also called as stippling).

3. If you are not confident of drawing with a pen at the first, draw your whole mandala along with details with a pencil. Then go over the lines with a pen. You can keep modifying it as you go over the pencil sketch.

4.  Don’t want to use/Don’t have a compass? Draw your mandala straight with a pen. Don’t worry about the perfection, if it goes out of shape or if one shape is bigger than the other. The point is to just draw the mandala. This helps you develop your focusing skills and makes you think about how you want the design to turn out.

5. No circles? Mandalas can be concentric squares, rectangles, triangles or any shape you want. Also, mandalas can be drawn from over half of the page, from the corner of a page, off centre, anywhere you want

Black and white mandala

Freehand mandala from the corner of a page

6. Don’t want to work with a pen? Try drawing your mandala with watercolour paints, poster paints, gouache, whichever you feel comfortable with.

How To Draw Mandalas. Even if you can’t draw:

We’ll start with a uber-simple little Mandala so you can see how it works:

  1. Draw a small circle.
  2. Think of it as a compass. Add triangles that point to North, South, East and West.
  3. Add triangle points in between North, South, East and West. Now you’ve got 8 spaces to play with… these are your 8 Slices Of Pie.
  4. Add a circle to the end of each triangle. Now you’re starting to see how it works…
  5. Keep building it! Every time you add something to your Mandala, add it to each of the 8 Slices Of Pie.  You can add circles, domes, triangles, squares, lines, waves and outlines… and play with different ways of doing circles, domes, triangles, squares, lines, waves and outlines. You can also make up secret symbols, totally break the rules or do anything else you want to do – it’s YOUR Mandala.

Click here to watch the (6 second) video that shows this simple pattern.

Because drawing Mandalas isn’t actually about drawing!

It’s about connecting – deeply – to your inner wisdom.

It’s about learning to be more intuitive and building paths so your intuition can send you messages and advice when you need it.

It’s about exquisite self-care and being fiercely committed to your creative dreams and finding ways to make it easier and more fun to stay on the path every day.

And then it’s about expressing what’s going on inside you.

how to draw mandalas (and why you want to)

As I say in the tutorial video: learning how to draw mandalas is really about practicing listening to and acting on your intuitive voice.

And that is probably why you are so drawn to work with mandalas.  You can feel that there’s a depth, an opening, a bit of magic in them.  They’re not just cute little drawings.

how to draw mandalas (and why you want to)

Something deeper is happening.

There is something for you here.

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