What is a Mandala and How to Draw One

what is a mandala and how to draw one

What is a mandala?

The word mandala literally means “circle” in Sanskrit, but they are so much more than that. Mandalas are beautiful geometric images that represent the circle of life, the universe, divine power, synchronicity and more.

Evidence of mandalas date back to the first century B.C. However, they are likely much older than that. Mandalas have been found all over the world, from India to South America. They are a common symbol in many religions including Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity.

Christian Mandalas Rose Window Sainte Chapelle Chapel in Paris
Rose Window Mandala in Sainte Chapelle Chapel in Paris

Today, mandalas are used around the world as a meditative art practice. They utilize a combination of radial balance and abstract patterns to mesmerize the artist and viewer alike.

Why draw mandalas?

Drawing mandalas can be a tranquil and meditative experience. They are often used in Art Therapy as a way to disconnect from stress and anxiety. They help the artist concentrate on being present in the moment.

Drawing intricate patterns is also a great way to improve hand-eye coordination.

Drawing mandalas is easy and fun, and the end result is unique and beautiful.

How to draw a mandala

There are many different ways to draw mandalas.

You can draw them completely free hand, or use a template. You can create your own template by using a compass and a ruler, or you can download the templates I created here.

Generally when drawing a mandala you start from the center and work your way out.

mandala drawing template
Drawing a mandala using my template

Incorporate different geometric patterns into your mandala as it expands outwards.

You can use many different materials to create mandalas. Pen and paper is the most obvious. However, people create mandalas from sand, rocks, leafs, crochet, yarn, and many other materials.

yarn mandalas diy craft project kids
Mandala made with yarn. aka Ojo De Dios or “God’s Eye”

It’s a good idea to keep a sketchbook or even a Pinterest Board with different patterns to refer back to for future mandala drawings.

Learn more about the history and religious uses of mandalas here.

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about mandalas, and how and why you should draw them!

Cheers,

Julie

How I’m Breaking the Mold as an Artist

Hey guys! Today I’d like to share with you a little bit about how I’m breaking the mold of being an artist in the 21st century.

Throughout history, artists have had to fit certain molds to have their work accepted by galleries and the art community.

But the greatest artists were the ones who broke the mold.

In Medieval Europe, art was controlled by the Church. Artists had to create work featuring religious characters and stories in order to sell. Artists found ways to work around these limitations by inserting the faces of their patrons into religious scenes.

The great art of the Renaissance was a rejection of these restrictions. In fact, there has been a constant back and forth throughout history, with each art movement being a reaction to the one that came before.

Impressionism was a reaction to Realism. Monet and the Impressionists were originally shunned by the art community in Paris. Of course they are now widely loved and celebrated (not to mention, the art is worth millions).

In 1917, Marcel DuChamp submitted an upside down urinal as an affront to the so-called “Society of Independent Artists”. This move has gone down in history and gave rise to Dadaism.

Marcel Duchamp Fountain 1917

The greatest historical artists we know today were the ones who broke the mold and pushed back against the establishment. These artists were ahead of their time, controversial, and often under appreciated until late in life or even after death.

Artist Gustav Klimt The Kiss

So how can I follow in the footsteps of the great artists of the past?

Today, there are once again pervasive ideas about what being an artist should look like.

Many of my professors at University scoffed at the idea of selling art online on fashion and home decor products. They held the belief that a true artist should suffer for their work, and should only show in established galleries, otherwise they’re “selling out”.

Another pervasive idea is that art should only be understood and accessible to an elite few. I think that idea is bullshit and needs to be smashed like the patriarchy! I hold the belief that art should be accessible to all.

The internet and the ability to self represent has completely changed the landscape of being an artist today. We can spread our work around the world all on our own, and become business men and women in our own right. We can create any kind of artwork we want and find a market for it.

All artists should be taking advantage of this and starting a new movement. Our movement doesn’t have a name yet but one day people will be reading about this time in history. Just like we read about the “Renaissance” “Impressionism” and “Dadaism” movements of the past.

This is how I’m breaking the mold as an artist and doing what every other great artist has done before me.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on what being an Artist in the 21st century means to you. Leave your comments below! Please note: I’m not an art historian and have definitely over-simplified some aspects here, so feel free to point out if I’m completely wrong.

Thanks for sticking around long enough to read my rant! I really appreciate it. Head over to my gallery to check out my artwork, and make sure to subscribe to my blog if you want to follow along on my journey.

Cheers,

Julie

Tangled Hands and Other Art Projects

healing hands zentangle drawing

I’m into the last month of school so things are getting crazy busy for me!

While I have a few minutes I wanted to share some of the best artworks I have made so far this term.  This one above is titled “Tangled Hands” aka “Healing Hands” in which I was dealing with the idea of trauma and the healing effects art can have. It is pretty large sized, like 24×36 inches so it took me forever!

I used a combination of watercolour and Sharpie pen to create this piece.

Below is an acrylic painting inspired by the historical painter Guiseppe Archimboldo.  It is called “Wine and Cheese”.  I know it’s a little funny looking, but look up Archimboldo’s works they are amazing.

wine and cheese portrait painting

Lastly I’ve added some psychedelic Op-Art I drew in my sketchbook using pencil crayons.

op art 3d colorful doodle

In other news, someone has asked to feature my recent Butterfly Zentangle piece in their online Art Zine!  It comes out in a month or two so I will definitely be sharing the link to that.

In other goods news, my boyfriend is taking me to Ibiza this summer!  Sooo exited!  I have only been to Europe one other time and I loved it so I know it’s going to be amazing.

Anyways I hope to share many more things I’ve made with you all soon, probably more once the school year is all finished.

If you would like to see more of my artwork please visit my website.

Enjoy,

~Julie