Drawing Mandalas

What are mandalas?

Black ink pen mandala

Turns out the internet has a whole lot of ideas of the definition of mandalas…

– comes from Sanskrit meaning “circle.”
– Sanskrit word meaning cosmogram or “world in harmony.
– Hindu and Buddhist symbolism that represents the universe
– circular designs symbolizing the notion that life is never ending
– a circle enclosing a square with a deity on each side that is used chiefly as an aid to meditation
– serves as a tool for guiding individuals along the path to enlightenment

So they are all variations on a theme symbolising the notion that life is never ending – the Circle of Life if you will! (cue Elton John)…. Not that the definition really matters anyway, since you can draw mandalas for whatever reason and have no inner meaning behind it if you want!

I discovered mandalas when search rock artwork (for my felted stones) and stumbled across the work of Maria Mercedes of MegaMerlina who paints mandalas on to flat beach rocks (check out her work, it’s stunning!) and I was so inspired that I tried my hand at them.

I tried some mandalas with watercolour pencil, but I like black best.

They are so easy to do, and are really good at covering small mistakes (which helps when you have hand shake like I do) – sometimes I will draw something a bit wonky, when you look at the bigger picture it all just fits together. 🙂 It is a very relaxing process just adding layer upon layer and when you take a step back a beautifully intricate pattern has emerged without you thinking about it’s design.

I tried some mandalas with watercolour pencil, but I like black best.

Last trip away I took a super small art journal and a pen, so when I got tired of reading magazines or if I was listening to a podcast I could just draw mandalas to happily pass the time. Great travel creative entertainment!


1. Use less pressure! I get so caught up in creating even lines that I dont realise I am gripping the pen so hard, then I finish a section and realise my arm is aching.

2. I would like to get some waterproof pens so I can add some watercolour in the white areas to give it some more colour and feeling.I have seen white pen on black paper and it looks awesome! Will have to try that too.

3. Use a circle template/marker. I try to do free hand up I have noticed that on the bottom right corner when drawing my circle the bottom right curve always gets very wonky. I might try a compass, but I have heard they leave a pin mark.

What do you draw that relaxes you?

~ Emily


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