Drawing  Mandalas 

When I make my mandala type images – I use the process in different ways, it can be to absorb time – at work as a distraction – in between busy interludes with clients, I work at a counselling agency, so every 50 mins of so there is a flurry of activity and then periods of quiet. Even if I do all the paper work necessary and answer the phone there are still long periods of quiet when I can doodle.


When I go out with my partner at the weekend – he needs to read papers or books for work so I draw in coffee shops. Sitting chatting or quietly listening 

In the evenings we watch box sets or series that I need to be slightly emotionally distant from so I draw. 

Sometimes the drawings get very tight and detailed. If I try and draw like this when I am not listening to other conversations or the TV I get bored , I can’t zone out enough to draw neatly or at a measured enough pace.


Looking at the finished images when they are really tight and detailed makes me want to rip them up or scrawl all over them with a large black marker. The image below was definitely improved.


The very detailed mandalas represent a tightness in me , a sitting still for to long, so that my neck and jaw ache or my feet go to sleep. Drawing more slowly in a zoned out way is better for me ergonomically , as long as I remember to stretch every so often. 

Last week we had a frenetic gas man who climbed up and down on my kitchen units, complained loudly that this was his last job of the day and charged around in his large boots. He left front door open, ( it was cold) and seemed to expect polite conversation 

I doodled in a different way – quickly in layers and different colours as a way of keeping calm 


I have been ripping paper and my art works for a while. The ripping  has become another process, I enjoy tearing magazine pages and paper to disrupt the images making lengths of colour and texture. 

Ripping the mandalas and keeping the energy and pattern of the circles requires the production of segments .it is fiddly and not perfect .laying out the pieces to make larger works I like the addition of space and the layering of pattern. 


I draw on security envelopes a lot of the time , recycling, so the blue patterns add another layer. This week I have been using a pad printed with geometric patterns. The prints add a mechanical perfect texture behind my hand drawn lines. 


I find the absence of conscious thought during the making of these mandalas doesn’t sit easily . I did graphic design at uni and every line or letter or block of colour was considered and worked through before a final design was produced. 

Sometimes I look at the finished images and think ‘I wish that petal was more regular’. I have tried working out the design in rough or using a template , but the final design looses something and they be come more homogenised 

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2 thoughts on “Drawing  Mandalas 

  1. So wonderful to hear your thoughts on these! I will try some of the techniques you mention. I have a very old pad of pattern paper (circa 1970) that I must resserect to try your techniques. Thank you for sharing all this 🙂

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