On my art table: Mandala magic


I’ve long been drawn to mandalas – to their symmetry, their beauty and, most of all, to the calmness that they evoke. But I’ve always been afraid of trying to draw them. This year, though, I finally took the plunge.

And it was so hard! Whoever said dividing a circle into 12 equal pies is easy, is lying! I wish I could show you how many pieces of paper I crumpled up and threw and how many tears I shed just trying to draw those 12 symmetrical pies. By the end of it, I’d much rather have been eating apple pie, and I’m not even that fond of it! And when I finally did manage to get it divided up, drawing symmetrical shapes in that circle gave me nightmares!

By the time I got my “practice” mandala ready, I was so stressed out, that I just traced it onto another piece of paper and used it as a template on this piece. No more trying to hand draw a mandala, no sir-ee! And don’t you dare ask me how to divide that circle. I managed it once, I doubt I can do it again!

But, I did enjoy the process of painting it! I layered magazine images, meaningful symbols, and stencils, and then traced the mandala over it and painted it in with Uni Posca paint pens. I left some of the shapes unpainted to let the layers show through. This particular piece is done on watercolor paper. I plan to do another one on canvas board soon.

What? I still have this mandala template – I’m guarding it with my life!

Want to learn how to create a layered background like this one? Sign up for my monthly newsletter, Gypsy Wanderings, and get a free copy of my ebook Art Journaling 101. Click for details.

Posted in Art Journaling, On My Art Table and tagged , , , , , .


  1. Hahahahahaha! I can imagine how difficult it must be to divide. I love asymmetry and that’s because I can never draw a vase perfectly. My brain is unable to translate symmetry through my hands. It’s very irritating. I love apple pie, so IF you plan to bake one some day, give me a holler! And yes, mandalas are so mystical and beautiful. I wish you could take a couple of classes. Sigh.

    • Oh tell me about it! I work up a sweat even trying to draw a straight line! So I embrace asymmetry and call it art 😀
      I do want to conduct some classes. Maybe at home, if I can’t figure out a space outside. But for that, I need to organize my work space first – that entire room is a holy mess! And organizing is not my strong suit. Sigh.

    • I do rangoli only on Diwali, and I use flower petals instead of powdered color. Most often, I just put a big diya on the floor and scatter petals around it and call it done. 😉

  2. This is so beautiful Jini. It feels so good coming back to your blog, kind of like new lease of energy and creativity. Fresh air kinda feeling. I am waiting for the newsletter to learn this. 🙂

    • You made my day Ramya!! Thank you! But the newsletter doesn’t have art lessons. The ebook, which you would have got when you signed up for the newsletter, does. 🙂

  3. That’s a beautiful and creative Mandala. Very impressive! My artistic endeavors have been restricted to just doodling and drawing biology diagrams in school and college days!

    • Thanks Shilpa! I started my artistic journey with doodling too! Although my mom drew my biology diagrams for me in school! I used to be (and still am) quite bad with symmetry 😉

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