Steps for drawing a Mandala

Here is the progression of a simple mandala done on mixed media paper and a .5 marker. This is just a simple drawing, it took a bit longer to document the whole thing. Maybe I’ll try a more complex one again, when I have daylight so I can get better pictures.

I often draw these without the pencil lines but of course I kept getting all messed up since I was trying to document the process. The compass lines help keep everything together.



It can be messy in the beginning and you can fix things as you go.


I add tic marks before drawing the petals.



I added some shading to the first row of petals.



Adding details like dots and accent lines.




Erased the pencil lines and darkened lines and added accents.



Mandala + Mosaic = Magic

This was the largest, most complex mosaic I’d ever attemtped and took me over a year to complete.

My mother and I made an awesome find at Goodwill. A round mirror from a very old dresser. As soon as I saw it I knew I HAD to have it. It cost $10! I’ve since seen a few more but the asking price was much higher. I am now on the lookout for another mirror. (you’ll soon find out why)


My idea was to have overlapping circles and fill in the background with tempered glass.

The hardest part in developing my pattern was that I wanted the overlaps to be a different color than the circles, and of course all the touching colors had to be different. This mirror took quite a bit of brain power and planning. It was quite challenging and at times I ran out desire to work on it, so it would sit on my livingroom floor as a constant reminder that it needed to be finished.


I drew out my circles and design on paper first to work out the composition and transferred the circle outlines to the mirror. The only mistake I made was using a red sharpie. I should have used a black or brown. I was worried the red marker would somehow be visible after grouting. I spent a considerable amount of time with nail polish remover and qtips removing all the red lines from between the pieces of glued glass.


This project took up most of my livingroom floor.


Close up of the overlaps.

My other goal in making this piece, was for each of the circles to consist of different kinds of shapes. Some were random shapes, some circles had long slivers and others were triangles.


All grouted and ready to clean.

All cleaned and ready to go!


I am glad I got this picture of the completed project because about 30 minutes later it fell on the floor and broke into pieces. It was my fault, I bumped it and knocked it over. I should have put it back down on the floor….I shouldn’t have been so stupid….augh, what was I thinking…

I tried not to cry, but I have to admit I did.

I want to do this project again, I learned a lot on the first round and I think I could get it finished a lot quicker. I don’t often keep any of the things I make, but this piece was mine and I had intended on hanging in the kitchen.

So now comes the task of finding another mirror to start the project all over again. It’s been two years since it broke and I think I am ready to tackle this again.

Some New Canvases!

Working on some canvases this week. These two are finished, so I thought I would give you a little peek. I have a few in aqua of different sizes that are all painted and waiting for me to draw on them.

These are fun to make because of all the layers. First, there are two base coats, after these dry I drizzle paint around in swirls. These take quite awhile to dry.


The third layer is ink. I drop it on and then spray with some water and let it move around on the canvas. Then more drying time.


The fourth layer is some matte medium to keep the colors froms lifting if I erase or use some water to erase a mistake.


And the last layer is my lovely Uni Posca Black paint marker. Here is the whole piece. It is 18 x 6.


I also finished this pink one.


I use blue and purple ink on top of the pink paint. I got the paint at Lowe’s for $2. The picture came out a little light a tthe top, it is a dark pink throughout on the background.



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.



Besides drawing bunnies and cats I end up drawing mandalas on almost anything, paper, walls, cups and plates. On the rocks pictured below, I used white ink and a dip pen. I have a love hate relationship with that pen, mostly hate but it is because I need much more practice using it.


Little pebbles from in front of the house.


I need to get to the beach  and find more smooth stones.

I follow a ton of people on Instagram that draw the most complicated and intricate mandalas, I can’t seem to get mine to be so complex, but I try to incorporate bits and pieces of others to keep things interesting.

Here is an example of a beautiful and complex mandala, I wish I could make something like that.

Here is a little pitcher I found at Goodwill. I am pretty happy with how this one turned out! Simple but elegant.


The example below is a lot of fun, it is done with a special marker (Elegant Calligraphy) and when you go over the lines with a wet paintbrush the ink spreads and has leaves behind bits of pink and purple.(you can’t quite see it in this picture) I love using this method, it is so much fun because you aren’t sure what you will get in the end.