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Tips to Draw a Mandala And Exploring Different Styles

I discovered mandalas a little over 2 years ago. Back then, I didn’t know they were called mandalas. I used to draw circles filled with designs, motifs and patterns; not even knowing that it was called such. Fast forward to the present, I still wouldn’t call myself an expert in drawing them but have achieved a significant level of mastery in coming up with different styles and ways to draw them.

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.

Different Styles of Mandalas – Inspiration

If you ever hit a creative block on what you want to draw, head to Pinterest to gain some inspiration. I have a whole board of mandalas and doodle ideas I keep pinned if I ever need some ideas for a mandala. You can also just google out mandalas, and check out what other people are searching for. Instagram is also filled with loads of inspiration; you can check out other artist’s work and get inspired to try something. But remember, do not copy, and even if you are inspired by their work, please do give them all the credits.

For quick inspiration, here are a few styles you can try out:

1. Starting off from point number 4 in the previous section, draw your mandala straight up with a pen. No guides, no perfection, not bothering about the shape and size. Keep doodling and drawing shapes and build up your drawing. Make it a whole page if you want to. Also, use different colours; let’s make it colourful, shall we?

Color Mandala

Whole Page Colour Mandala

2. Dot Mandalas. These are something of a trend now. The whole mandala is composed of different sizes of dots in different colours. This requires a lot and lot of patience. Mandalas do need patience, but dot mandalas require a lot more of it along with your complete undivided attention. You can find a whole lot of these types of mandalas on the internet if you need ideas and inspiration to make one.

3. If you’re good with lettering, combine that with mandalas. Draw concentric circles; let the circles act as your guidelines and letter all around the circles. You can letter random words or your favourite quotation, anything you like.

Lettering Mandala

Lettering x Mandala

4. Work with paper? Why not try to make a mandala with paper. Layer different colours or shades of paper on top to get a 3D looking mandala. If you work with paper quilling, why not try quilling a mandala? I sure hope to try this out really soon.

5. Finding it boring to draw on just white paper? Coloured paper to the rescue. Draw your mandalas on a variety of coloured paper for some fun, colourful artwork. Watercolours also work as beautiful backgrounds for your drawing. Create some colourful backgrounds using a variety of colours, let it dry and draw over it.

6. Fuse mandalas with alphabets. Draw a letter along with the circular guides, (or go freehand with the mandala) and draw your mandala. Alternatively, draw the letter, and draw a mandala around it for some gorgeous negative style effects. You can do this with a variety of shapes and motifs too.

7. Fuse your mandalas with illustrative elements. Introduce florals, animals, birds, watercolour illustrations, lettering, anything  you like and draw a mandala around it, over it, between it; anywhere you feel it will add pizazz to your drawing.

Illustrative Mandala

Work in progress- A Mandala around another element; in this case, a peacock

Conclusion

Drawing a mandala is not rocket science at all. All you need to do is keep drawing. Start with something small and keep progressing as you master the skill. You will be amazed at your own progress as you keep working on your skill. Experiment with different styles, types of mandalas. Don’t restrict yourself to the just repetitive drawing of mandalas. Try some of the styles I have mentioned. Work with different mediums. If you haven’t really tried different things, where is the fun in learning and the joy of discovering something new and fun?

Until the next blog post,

Cheers!

Comments (2)

  • Anusuya

    February 21, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    Love your Instagram posts and this blog! Your work is amazing! I have been drawing small mandalas in the corner of my class work book…practically every page!
    I’m doing a doodle…kinda is like a mandala I guess…don’t know. I’ll try applying your tips on that. Thanks again!

    1. Swathi

      February 22, 2018 at 1:05 pm

      Thank you so much! Keep up with the doodling, and do share your work with me on Instagram whenever you can 🙂

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