How to Draw a Mandala | Step by Step Tutorial for Beginners
Hello, Lisa from @nolalettering here today to show you how to create a beautiful mandala in your bullet journal. There are so many uses for mandalas in your journal, including monthly cover pages, mood tracker, or even a coloring page. You can also use it as a way to meditate and relieve stress. The repetitive patterns that you create can help set your mind at ease and let your worries disappear, for a little while at least. In this blog, I will show you the materials you will need, how to set up your page to make creating mandalas easier, and give you some ideas of what patterns you can include.
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Setting up guidelines is important in creating somewhat symmetrical and even-looking mandalas. I have tried free-handing mandalas in the past, and it never turns out as good as when I use guidelines. Therefore, I highly recommend setting up your guidelines - they can be as detailed as you like.
First you want to draw a vertical and horizontal line that cross in order to determine where the center of your circle is. Then, either using your compass or circular ruler, draw concentric circles based around the center you just created with your lines. You can do them all equidistant apart or different distances, it is entirely up to you. I like doing different distances because it leads to me creating pieces with different sized patterns, which makes it more visually interesting.
Check out the video below to see how I set up my guidelines for today’s post along with how I add in the patterns and details.
There are an infinite number of patterns and styles you can add in your mandala. Geometric shapes are the easiest, but I always end up with petal-like shapes, like I’ve shown in the photo. It is probably because I always have a flower in mind when I’m creating one. However, I highly recommend you look at other mandalas to gain more ideas of possible shapes and patterns. Also look around you, particularly if you’re in nature, to be inspired!
Before you create your mandala, create a pattern dictionary for yourself. That way, when you feel like you have no idea what shape to use, you can refer to your dictionary and see what inspires you. When you first start creating mandalas, it seems daunting to think of different shapes to use. The dictionary will come in handy then. However, once you’ve had a lot of practice, the patterns will come naturally to you. As with all art, practice and experience helps a lot.
Fill in your rings
It is difficult to explain how to fill in the rings because there is no right or wrong way to do it. I like to fill in one ring at a time, starting from the center and going outwards. Sometimes I stick to one pattern for each ring, but other times, I like to do big patterns that span multiple rings.
Something to keep in mind is that the closer your lines are together, the darker the space will look. For example, my outer ring looks darker than the adjacent ring because the petals are so much closer together. Also the center of my mandala looks much darker because again, the lines are closer together. You can use this idea when you’re creating if you want to increase the contrast of your mandala.
You can consider your mandala done after this step, but if you’re like me, you may want to add more details! Or color it in!
Add in details
For adding details, I like to take a thinner pen, maybe a 0.1 or 0.3 fineliner. This adds more contrast to your mandala, and also it fits in tiny spaces much easier. You can also consider coloring in certain areas in black if you feel like there is too much white space. You can use the base shapes you’ve laid down already to guide you in what details to add. I like breaking up large empty areas into smaller bits with more lines or even more patterns.
Again, there is no right or wrong way to do this. The only thing to keep in mind is whatever you do in one section of your mandala, you need to do the same thing all the way around as you want that symmetry. It doesn’t have to be exact, as we’re not computers, so don’t stress if one piece is slightly larger than another. In the end, your eyes and brain even them out for you. If you look closely at my final piece, you will see lots of pieces that are slightly wonky or different from others. Overall, though, it still looks symmetrical!
It is very difficult for me to know when to stop adding details. But as I’ve mentioned repeatedly, there is no right or wrong way to do it. For me, creating a mandala is all about the journey, not the final piece. There is something soothing, relaxing and meditative in the creation of a mandala. Repeating the same patterns over and over again allows my brain to empty of all thought except for creating the lines on my paper. Sometimes when I’ve hit an art block, I’ll do a mandala as a way to reset my brain.
If you don’t want to create your own guideline or you would like a completed mandala for reference or to color in, I’ve created a print out that has a basic guideline and also a coloring page.
That’s it for today’s tutorial. I hope you found it useful and fun! If you create any mandalas, please share with us on social media and tag me, @nolalettering, on Instagram along with @archerandolive, @archerandolive.community and use the hashtags #AOShare and #archerandolive so we can see your beautiful creations.