Mandalas (pretty circle drawings)

Another of those – “I am not sure how or when it started”. I became interested in mandalas (not the religious part, just the pretty drawings) and I started practicing drawing simple mandalas. Mine usually start out with six or eight “petals”, sometimes I struggle with making the petals more complex or interesting. I can spend hours at a time drawing mandalas in notebooks and scrap pieces of paper. (I like using paint chip samples too.) I’ve even purchased special sketchbooks just for mandalas. I have one with black paper and I’ve been using gold and silver Uni Posca markers to make them really pop.


Notebook sketch.

I am still surprised that many people don’t know what a mandala is. Here is a definition I’ve found online.

mandala: (noun)

  • a geometric figure representing the universe in Hindu and Buddhist symbolism.
  • from Sanskrit meaning disk
  • in common use it has become a generic term for any diagram, chart or geometric pattern that represents the universe



Notebook sketch.

I started drawing small simple mandalas at first. Trying to learn new ways to make them more fancy and intricate. Having “mandala envy” when I see other more complex mandalas on instagram.


Some pink paint I found on sale at Lowe’s, painted on a 6 x 12 canvas.

I played around with adding color to my backgrounds and tried doing some larger pieces (8×11 and then 18×24) This piece below was a disaster. I had made something that “I” thought was horrible. When I tried to paint over it I ended up with a crazy weird effect and you could sort of see the mandala underneath. I still wasn’t happy with it but decided to draw something anyhow. In the end I managed to save this canvas, so you never know what might happen if you keep trying and not give up on a piece.


I experimented using charcoal for shading.

I moved on to other substrates besides paper and canvas. I think I saw someone draw on plates and I had to give it a try. My mother and I would make trips to Goodwill looking for interesting pieces, something that would be good to draw on. It was a lot of fun, but I had to limit what I took home, I didn’t want to become a hoarder! After we were done hunting for treasures we usally stopped at the Meadow’s for frozen custard. 🙂

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A little yellow plate from Goodwill.

I had some problems finding the right marker that wouldn’t rub off the plates. At first I settled on the Uni Posca black paint marker. I use this marker for everything and absolutely love it!


Uni Posca image from JetPens

But the Uni Posca weren’t the greatest for this new project. After drawing the design on the plate or cup I would need to spray it with a clear sealant so it wouldn’t rub off. So I went to my trusted site to experiment with other markers.

After going through 4 or 5 different markers, I found some that were much better suited for the task.

I found this marker and it works well on plates and cups. Sakura makes a ton of different pens and markers. (I might have a slight hoarding problem with pens and markers, sshh don’t tell) It doesn’t rub off easily and the surface doesn’t need to be sprayed. It isn’t safe for the dishwasher but can stand up to being touched and dusted with a soft cloth.


Here is another Goodwill find, maybe a vase? It was a find by my mother way back on a shelf and I thought it was so cool, I couldn’t wait to draw on it.


Vase? Lamp? Not sure but it was fun to draw on.

I find myself looking at walls and thinking about drawing on them. Here is a wall in our basement. I didn’t know what to do with the thermostat so I made it the center. It was my first large mandala and there are a few things I might change on it but overall I am happy with it.


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