Introduction: How to Make Mandala Art

About: A student. Aspiring maker. From Deltech (DTU) in Delhi, India


So I usually add instructables only relating to electronics, but when I take a break, art is the way to go. It is therapeutic and frankly, a steady hand helps during soldering. :)

Today I am going to walk you through a beautiful Indian art form called the "Mandala", which translates to circle. The mandalas you will see online would be usually based on concentric circles. They have usually floral or geometric art, which is drawn quite closely together. This holiday season you can make unusual hand made cards for your loved ones, using mandalas.

To begin, you will need:

1. A sheet of paper, preferably A5 size.

2. A pencil

3. A stationery compass or a stencil of circles

4. A black gel pen/marker

5. Pencil colors of your choice

6. and loads of patience.

Lets get started!

Step 1: Doodle With Your Pencil

So naturally the first step is to take a piece of paper and start drawing concentric circles to lay the basis of your mandala. For beginners, I would suggest making half circles or quarter circles as mandalas need a lot of patience. Draw the half and quarter circles aligning with the edge of your page to have a better end result.

Another important tip would be to use a light pencil for your basic layout. Often afterwards, these lines have to be rubbed out.

When you start drawing inside your circle, the important thing is to be symmetric. Try and use patters like flowers, triangles, heart shapes, leaf shape, half circles to fill in between your circles. You can also take inspiration from Mughal art elements and can use geometric figures as well.

The idea is the have small elements, drawn close together. For your last circle or in between, some big and bold elements can be incorporated to avoid the overall look being that of a crammed drawing.

After you fill in your mandala using a pencil, take a look at your work. Don't worry about the messiness. That can be corrected in the next step.

Do you like your work? If yes, lets move on to the next step.

Step 2: Finalize the Drawing

Now, you have a piece of mandala with you in pencil, and it looks a little messy. And that is why, we draw on the pencil using a black pen. Make sure the tip of your pen is a fine tip for the best result.

When you draw such small elements that close together, chances are you have marks of erased pencil and smudges and a bunch of other stuff that makes the mandala look unimpressive. One of the very defining points of a mandala is its sharpness and for beginners the best way to go is black pen/marker. If you have a different color scheme in mind, a colored pen would also do great. And if you have black paper, go for a white pen (use correction fluid pen)

This is the part where you correct all the issues with your mandala. You correct the asymmetries between elements, the spacing, basically, anything that needs correction.

Do this bit patiently and carefully. Not using a stationery compass can make drawing circles tough and that is where stencils are useful. Unfortunately I did not have a stencil, so I drew really slowly and steadily, drawing small arcs at a time rather than a single motion.

After using your black pen, erase out the pencil marks beneath it. It makes it look neat.

After you are done, your mandala would look something like the photos.

Step 3: COLOR!!

So, you can clearly consider your mandala done now. It looks classic, black and white. Looks beautiful.

But for people like me, who look color and bright colors, Pencil Colors are the way to go now.

Now, a lot of other medium of colors can be used but the sharpness of a mandala is very important. So if you believe you can handle water colors on such a small scale, then only go for it. As for crayons and oil pastels, they can smudge and get messy. Besides, pencil colors offer precision because of their sharp tip.

Try and go for colors on the same end of the spectrum. I used reds and yellows for one of my pieces and blues and purples for the other.

This is honestly the best part of creating a mandala, you can just see it come to life.

Your mandala is done. Use it on cover of your Christmas and New Years cards. Use it on your journals as cover pages. Or just use it to unwind and relax just like I did.

Happy Holidays!