Updated: Apr 2, 2020
by Rebecca Loechler
In Sanskrit, the word 'Mandala,' translates to 'circle.' A mandala is defined in art as a complex abstract design that is often (but not always) found in a circular form. Mandalas can contain both geometrics AND organic shapes and representations. A mandala begins at a central point, which represents our inner selves. As the design works its way out, the connection between our inner selves and our outer reality is shared.
*Fine Tipped Pen or Marker
Step 1 - Mark the center of your paper:
To begin, find the very center of the page you are working with. My page is a standard sheet of 8.5”x11” printer paper. To find the center, I measured 4.25” across the width of the page and 5.5” down the length of it. I then drew lines through these measured points. The spot where the two lines intersect is the center of the piece of paper.
Step 2 - Mark measured segments along each line:
Using your ruler, mark lengths along each of your lines with the center as your starting point. I marked ¼” out from the center, then ½” inch out consecutively after
that. Don’t feel like you need to follow my exact measurements. These will eventually become guiding lines to help keep your mandala symmetrical. Just be sure to replicate the measurements precisely on each of the four lines.
Step 3 - Connect your measured points:
Connect your measured points. Start at one point, and draw a curved line through the consecutive points on the other lines to create a series of circles. If you are interested in making your circles precise, consider using a compass or tracing circular objects from around the house. Don’t stress about them too much! These lines are just guides. If you don’t feel like drawing your own guidelines, feel free to print out my MANDALA TEMPLATE.
Step 4 - Begin your design:
Start at the central point. Use the lines you have drawn as guides to keep your work symmetrical as you work your way from the center out. For line and fill inspiration, check out my MANDALA DESIGN ELEMENTS sheet.
Step 5 - Continue your design into the next layer:
Continue your design using the lines you have drawn as guides to keep your work symmetrical as you work your way from the center out.
Step 6 - Try crossing over circular layers:
Try crossing over layers to create more dynamic designs.
Step 7 - Continue to grow your design and Finish Sketching
Finish your design using the lines you have drawn as guides to keep your work symmetrical as you work your way from the center out.
Step 8 - Line, Erase, Fill!
Once you have reached a point that you’re happy with your design, reline your mandala using a fine-tipped pen or marker. Let the ink dry for a minute, then erase the pencil lines. This will give your mandala a more clean, finished look. Consider going in and filling your design with further detail once your basic lines are finalized. For line and fill design inspiration, check out my MANDALA DESIGN ELEMENTS sheet.
Now you try!
Before you get started, I wanted to share some final thoughts. There is no 'right' or 'wrong' way to draw a mandala. There is no 'good' or 'bad.' A mandala is an expression of you, and creating one can be an extremely enriching personal experience. Mandalas are often used as a form of meditation and self-realization. Take some time before you begin to think of some ways that you can represent your current state of mind, or what you would like to shift your current state of mind to be. These could be colors, shapes, objects, ideas; whatever speaks to you creatively.