Wednesday, September 2, 2015

m is for mandala...

...and coincidentally "inspired by mandalas" is the prompt this week* for the sisters with heart in art instagram challenge. so today i'm going to show you some mandalas i've made over the years and we'll talk a little bit about the form, answering such questions as, "do you have to follow a lot of rules?" (no!) and "are they hard to make?" (NO!) and "can i make a mandala if i don't like drawing or doodling?" (yes!!) ok, so here's what i'd call a pretty basic hand-drawn mandala:

nuthin' but black pen on white paper... which is all ya really need
(a bit wonky, as well, which doesn't bother me)

as far as i know there are no rules for the making of secular/decorative** mandalas... which are the ones i'm talking about. although, for that matter, even if there were rules, i'd be totally in favor of you breaking them!  :)

on the other hand, I LOVE COLOR!!!
(ps: using a gridded paper helps with symmetry, if you like that sorta thing)

probably the most common decorative mandala structure you see around is more or less a series of embellished concentric circles... sometimes they look like flowers or snowflakes, or even a bit like the spirograph art i loved in childhood. often they are filled with zentangle-esque doodley embellishment. they can be mathematically precise or really loose; they can be colorful or not. if you do a google image search or pinterest search for mandala, you'll get a nice sampling of ideas. i've also made my own mandala pinboard, just because... ok, there's no real reason... except that i've been having a bit of a back issue over the last week, and may have become slightly more addicted to pinterest, lol.

this is my very first stamped mandala, from icad, 2012
(remember what i said about not drawing?)

tammy of daisy yellow art*** has done loads of unique, AMAZING and inspiring mandalas over the years, and it's thru her (during my first year of icad) that i got into them. she has doodled, collaged, even stamped tiny images or letters in circles!

another non-drawn version... punches this time!
(and arguably waaaaaay too much stitching but it's easy to get carried away, kwim?)

which brings me to the issue of drawing, which i realize not everyone enjoys. sooooooo... can you stamp or stencil a mandala? yes! can you make one out of stickers or punches or paper flowers? YES! for that matter, you don't have to actually make a mandala as such. we've deliberately called this prompt "inspired by mandalas" to make it as fun and easy and loose as possible, so please go ahead and make this into something fun for yourself! seriously, having now looked at a few mandalas, go and do literally ANYTHING you'd like, darlings!

a square mandala? ok, maybe it doesn't quiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiite work, but i still kinda love this one!

having said all of the above, i want to tell you a secret: for me, mandalas turned out to be the thing that made me enjoy drawing for the first time since i was about seven. i feel like they're a great intermediate step between doodling and drawing. i suppose it's because there are enough standard shapes (circles, petals, scallops) to get you started, but you can also branch out any way you'd like. you don't have to worry about making them look "real" or dimensional, etc; and as you can see by my own "body of work", lol, a little wonkiness doesn't seem to do them too much harm! so if you find yourself with a little extra time, grab a pen and some scrap paper and maybe have a little go... you don't have to show anyone...

my attempt at a triangular mandala came out more like "picasso's pizza" but it was FUN, so i defend it staunchly!!! :)

on the other hand, for anyone who'd like to assay the "typical" mandala, i'll be posting tips, tricks and new examples over the course of the next week or so. i'm also happy to answer questions here, via email, or on instagram! the biggest hint i'd give from the get-go is to always work from the center out, and possibly start yourself off by tracing around a cup or bottle top so you have a nice solid/symmetrical circle to build on. after that, just do... whatever happens!!! :) :) :)

the peacock mandala got its own entire blog post, last fall
(and is still quite a favorite of mine!)

need more mandala examples? (she asked, expecting the answer, "omg NO!!!!!!" lol) here's a clip art one i used on a card; here's one drawn with black and white pens on a bright background; here's one that i used a set of nestabilities flower dies to create mandala layers out of pretty papers; here's one that illustrates my "off page" stratagem to avoid symmetry. 

*guess whose turn it was to pick the theme??! ;)

**there's a whole separate category of buddhist mandalas, which don't have rules as such, but tend to follow a certain structure and contain recognizable iconography; they're kind of the buddhist equivalent of stained glass windows in a church. here's a wikipedia article that gives a sort of overview of those, with some nice illustrations. 

***if you type "mandala" into the search feature on the daisy yellow art blog you will find TONS of inspiration for beautiful mandalas that can be accomplished at any skill level!

1 comment:

  1. Your mandalas are amazing <3 <3! I totally think of you whenever I start sketching one.


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