How to draw your own mandala.
Begin with a rough idea of what you want to create. Choose circular or rectangular, black and white or colour. You might want to draw petals and leaves for a floral mandala. But don’t worry if you’re not sure what you want. “Sometimes I have no idea what I’m doing,” Madra says. “I just start from the smallest layer, the innermost circle and then I grow it out and it changes. I like the free flow.” If you need inspiration, study patterns in your surroundings for possibilities or look at some of the mandala examples on Behance.
The first step for any mandala is to make a grid. “We want it to be symmetrical and we want all of the patterns to be equal,” says Madra. Bonafini suggests drawing grid lines that cross the circle at every 30 or 45 degrees. Whether your overall shape is square or circular, you can start around the centre point with a circle. Then decide what basic shapes you want to radiate from that circle, like an inverted U or V. Then, the next layer should be slightly different. You might change the shape a little, fill it in with different strokes or colours. “It’s the same pattern, but these small variations will give you a different look once your piece is completed,” says Madra.
If you’re not sure what patterns to apply, study the ones you like in other mandalas. Choose the patterns that resonate with you and combine them how you like. Bonafini recommends practicing the patterns by themselves before putting them on a circle. “Try to train your arm to do the movement so you can get them to be the same size. That’s what makes the mandala aesthetically pleasing.”
Madra suggests collecting patterns you like. “Create a repository of patterns, so any time you feel like you’re stuck or like you’re drawing the same patterns again and again, you can refer back to your repository.”