Saturday, 9 January 2016

How to draw Mandala Greeting Cards

I've been really enjoying making these Mandala inspired cards so I thought I would share the process with you in case you fancy having a go at making your own.
How to draw Mandala Birthday cards
Even though I have enjoyed making these SO much I have been in two minds about whether to share them publicly. I am aware of issues of cultural appropriation and the rampant taking/stealing of things of cultural significance to others. Mandalas and Rangoli are sacred geometric art for many people so I do not create them lightly. A quick internet search will find you lots of information about them, traditional symbolism, meaning and uses if you want to know more.
I have asked several friends who are Buddhist, Hindu or Sikh and none had any issue with my cards, in fact they all asked if they would be getting one on their birthdays. With their nod of approval I feel comfortable sharing here and hope no one is upset as that is not my intention.

To make one you will need:
A square card blank and envelope
A pencil and ruler
A good eraser
A compass (the kind to make circles not to navigate!)
A black fine liner pen

Using the ruler and pencil, draw diagonal lines faintly from corner to corner on the front of your card blank.
Then going through the centre point where those lines cross draw a central line vertically and horizontally. I'm not sure how best to describe this so here is a diagram!
Now take your compass and with the point in the centre of the card front, where all your lines are crossing make a series of circles in faint pencil 
This photo shows this but might be a little hard to see as the pencil is faint so that it's easy to rub out later.
 Now just start drawing. Circles, lines, swirls, ovals, whatever you like.
If you are not confident just keep it really simple; circles joined by lines, a swirl or two.
 I've generally started in the centre and worked out. 
drawing your own mandalas
Use the circle guide lines to keep the design round and the straight guide lines to help you keep everything symmetrical.
I think it looks best if each "slice of pie" is the same, has the same number of each element in it, the same number of circles etc.
Stop once you have the basics of a design in place and then start inking it in using a fine liner pen. Mine was black but you can use any colour, I suggest you check on some scrap card that it doesn't seep through first though.
Once you have inked in the design so far you will find it much easier to see any gaps that you think need filling in with more design elements.
It can be hard to know when to stop, I say just stop when you think it's enough! 
These are incredibly relaxing to draw. Because you can do very simple shapes and just repeat them it is quite meditative. You need to think about what you are doing so you don't make a mistake, but then that means you are not thinking about everything else - like what is for dinner etc! 
Normally I would have the radio on when I'm making anything but for these I just liked it quiet.

This next design is a little more flowery but you can see it was built up in exactly the same way.
In this close up you can see what I mean about using the guide lines to keep things symmetrical.
I drew one petal centrally over the guide lines, then another centrally between them. Finally I filled in the gaps. Does that make sense? 
Here are some of the other designs I ended up with:
How to draw your own Mandala designs
How to draw your own Mandala designs
How to draw your own Mandala designs
I ran out of square card blanks so made some on 5 x 7" rectangular cards and added some twirly writing.
How to draw your own Mandala designs
I made a mistake on the outside border of this last one below and had to end up putting more lines with a loop in that I originally intended, if you look closely you can see it's not very even. However I think it finished up being pretty so I'm including it here so you can see little mistakes don't matter too much!
draw your own Mandala birthday card
This whole thing started when "Mandala" was the word of the day on the brilliant #DNDchallange over on instagram. It's a doodle and hand lettering challenge organised by the super talented Dawn from Dawn Nicole Designs, details on how to join here
This was my entry on that day, I liked it so much I just wanted to draw more!

It's a really lovely challenge, you might remember I did it back in September too. Dawn also does a facebook based class for learning fancy hand lettering, where she gives helpful hints and homework. You can find more details are here.

I've left all my Mandala designs just black and white but you could colour them in too if you like. 
I hope you have a go and enjoy drawing these Mandala's as much as I have.

Julie Nyanyo
Julie Nyanyo

Hello, I'm Julie. I love making things and this is where I share my enthusiasm.

22 comments:

  1. They are gorgeous Julie! You make it look so easy, but i am sure that i'll only make it until the circles! Happy New Year!

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  2. So pretty! I love the idea of using these as greeting cards. I also love that you acknowledged their significance and history.

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  3. These are wonderful, love them and thank you for sharing your tips Julie x

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  4. These are beautiful, you are so creative :)

    Thanks for sharing at Creative Mondays

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  5. Your so clever honey! These look fantastic! xx

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  6. These are so pretty! Nicely done and that you for sharing with us.

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  7. Seeing them I thought they were too difficult to try but your instructions are so clear and detailed! Thanks for sharing these, they look amazing. Pinning!

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    1. They do just build up from simple shapes and once you start inking them in it's amazing how fancy they look. thanks for sharing.

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  8. These are lovely, I can imagine the recipients colouring them in too as I would be very tempted! x

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    1. It would be lovely to think someone enjoyed colouring them in, like a little bonus present!

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  9. These are such beautiful designs and so relaxing to look at. Your tutorial is so easy to follow. If I have some free time I may try it myself.

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    1. Thanks Mary, from what I gather Buddhists use a slightly different type of Mandala for meditation sometimes, so the fact you find them relaxing to look at means they are doing their job I guess, I certainly found them relaxing to draw!

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  10. These cards are beautiful. When I was in college for architecture and design we studied the history of design. Often times symbols were part of our college writing and we would also draw renderings of them that resemble your Mandela cards. You have done a beautiful job and been thoughtful in the process.

    Thank you for sharing with us at Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop.

    Olivia- Co-Hostess
    Reinvented Collection

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    1. Thank you Olivia, these kind of symmetrical circle designs crop up all over the world for all kinds of things, they are so pleasing to the eye.
      I do think it's important not to just snatch things we find pretty for ourselves when they have much greater significance to others.

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  11. They're beautiful! Your tutorial makes it look easy even for a non artistic person, I'll have to have a go!

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    1. Do it Anna! Just keep it simple if you are not confident with lots of twirls, geometric shapes are much easier to draw and build up nicely into quite fancy looking designs - enjoy!

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  12. Wow!!! You are very talented. That is a brilliant tutorial and I love how crafty you are. Thanks for sharing because I'm definitely going to try that. Have a lovely weekend... :)

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    1. Thanks Dee, I hope you do give them a try, and enjoy the process as much as I did!

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  13. I just might give mandalas a try from your tips makes them a little easier

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  14. Wow, so beautiful!!! Thanks for sharing at My Flagstaff Home!

    Jennifer

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  15. Very clever! I remember making these in school, but couldn't remember how to get started. Thank you for sharing at Merry Monday!

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  16. They are lovely and you've written a lovely tutorial for it, I might have to have a go at drawing some myself.

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