Mandala is a reminder that it is the journey that matters, not the destination and, there is no perfection.
Derived from the Sanskrit word, “Mandala”, which refers to the center or circle through which everything evolves, Mandala Art is developed on the same principles. Mandala represents the cosmos, and so does a Mandala painting. It is a connection between yourself and the outside world. In a mandala painting, symbols, lines, shapes, and forms flourish from the center.
Mandala is more than just an art form. Today, it is widely recognized as a stress-busting exercise. Mandala therapy is a popular term and therapy form across the globe.
Because mandala painting requires concentration, which leads you to tune out the outer world and focus on the self. It is an enriching experience. Regardless of the results, you will enjoy the process. It helps you calm your thoughts and processes. Mandala painting is a relaxing and soothing art form.
Looking at mandala painting, it is natural to assume that drawing a Mandala painting can be strenuous. But actually, it is not. It is extremely relaxing and not as difficult as it appears to be.
The key is to create a rhythm and symmetry.
If you’re clueless about how to start it from scratch, then you’re going to find the answers soon.
Hang in there!
First, let’s talk about the tools.
You don’t need a ton of tools to start your mandala painting journey.
A pencil, paper, and eraser are enough to begin. Add a compass and ruler to your list if you’re into the geometric mandala.
To add colors, you can use any medium of your choice— pencil colors, crayons, watercolors, dry pastels, etc. Choose whichever you have or you are comfortable with.
Use markers to add more details, accentuate shapes, and give depth.
However, if you are a digital artist or prefer digital medium, then you can dump all this material and your iPad and a graphic tablet pen are all you need.
It’s handier because you can paint from anywhere — bedroom to a cafe or even while traveling. Another advantage of the digital medium is that you can focus more on intricate details and complex designs because of the automated symmetry.
Now that we have gathered our tools, let’s dive into the drawing part.
First, we’ll cover hand drawing a mandala and then how to draw a mandala in Photoshop.
1. Start with a square sheet of paper. The bigger the square, the more is the space for details and the bigger is the mandala painting.
2. Place a dot in the center.
3. The next step is to create your guidelines. Draw concentric circles at varying distances. Three circles are a good start. But it totally depends on you and your style.
If you want to add more, feel free to do so.
4. Now, draw lines passing through the center at every 30 or 45 degrees. The angle that you decide will determine the number of sections you will form.
Since mandala is a radial design and it is all about symmetry, remember that each section will be a replicate of another.
Another method to create guidelines is to start with a cutout of a circle.
Fold it into half two times. You will create 4 segments. Repeat the same for as many segments as you want.
5. Now that you’ve created your guidelines, it is time to draw.
Start with a small element like a flower petal or a circle. Replicate it around the circle.
6. The best way to form a balanced mandala is to plan bigger shapes and then fill them with details. So, think about the design you want to create. Don’t get overwhelmed. Just draw shapes that come to your mind.
Now that you have built some structure, it will be easier to add details.
7. Use the guidelines for structure and draw lines dots, swirls, triangles, shapes, petals, or any elements.
For example, if you draw along the straight lines that pass through the center of the circle, then ensure that the same pattern is replicated on all the lines.
Since rhythm and repetition are at the core of the mandala. Keep it consistent throughout.
8. Once you are content with your piece, trace the guidelines with markers. To keep it interesting, vary the weights of lines. Play with them — make double lines, bold lines, thin lines.
Wait for the ink to dry and erase the pencil tracings.
An additional tip: When drawing with a pencil, trace lightly. It will be easier to erase tracings later.
9. Once you’re done, it’s time to paint them.
How to draw a Mandala Painting in Adobe Photoshop?
1. Start with a new file. Have the same width and height.
2. Set the background to white or any color of your choice.
3. Add a new layer.
4. Select the brush tool and set the brush settings from the toolbar on the top.
5. On the extreme right of the toolbar, there is an icon for the Symmetry option for painting. Click on it and choose ‘Mandala’ from the drop-down menu.
6. A pop-up will appear. Select the number of segments you want.
Remember the lines we drew in the manual version to make sections? In Photoshop, you just have to mention the number and it will automatically create guidelines for you.
7. Now, you can start drawing your mandala. Since you have chosen the Mandala option, you only have to draw in one segment. The software will replicate the design automatically.
8. When you’re satisfied with the design, create a new layer. Rename the layer to color. And start coloring the segment.
And voila! It’s done.
You can also try other software like Adobe Illustrator, Procreate, or Clip Art Studio.
While starting out, planning out designs might seem overwhelming. That is completely fine. Take inspiration from others. A simple Google search will give millions of results for you to try out.
To make it easier, here is a list of a few ideas that can help you start your journey.
Observe patterns and designs. You don’t have to copy the exact design. Remember that it is the process that you have to focus on. Pick the elements you resonate with and create your own unique patterns.
If drawing mandalas does not interest you, then you can paint them on ready-to-color designs. There are several templates available online for mandala painting.
Once you get the hang of it, you can try newer designs like Zentangle, Mehendi, semi-circle mandalas, etc.
One thing to remember is that it’s all about you. There is no pressure besides maintaining symmetry.
In fact, you can play with that too, if you know how to break the rules.
As long as the variation does not disrupt the whole image, everything is right. Be creative.
Here are a few more tips:
If you feel that you’re repeating the same patterns over and over again, build a repository of patterns and symbols.
Take reference from the Internet. Explore Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration.
There are no mistakes or errors in the Mandala painting. Everything is a part of it. So, find a way to blend the irregular lines or shapes.
Don’t stick to just a sheet of paper. Keep things interesting. Paint on stones, vases, bookmarks, or paper plates. Mandala painting is about creativity.
If you’re drawing digitally, keep it organized and structured. Create separate layers for colors, backgrounds, and sketches. Name your layers properly.
Play with brush tools and eraser. Try different brushstrokes. Change weights. Keep it interesting.
Paint a sheet of paper with watercolors. once it dries out, draw your designs with black markers.
Don’t worry about the end results. Just keep drawing.
Once you train your hand, you can come up with more complex patterns and unconventional designs.
If you want to learn more about mandala paintings, then check out Skillshare. It has several courses from beginners to advance that you can explore.
Now, take a long breath, collect your tools, find a nice spot, and get started!
In case you want to showcase your skills on a larger platform, GoSocial has got it covered for you. We’re here to help you reach out to more like-minded artists and be a part of the community. To know more, click here.