Mandala Art Project # 1 Due 1/14/2022

Mandala Project:  Mixed Media Due:1/14/2022

  • Learning Objectives: image transfer
  • composition balance: circular design
  • composition contrast: shapes and color
  • repetition: pattern
  • line/shape stylizing
  • organic shapes vs. geometric shapes
  • Color theory: color schemes
  • mixed media color application:
    • colored pencils
    • watercolor pencils
    • watercolor
    • optional: gel pens

    • history of mandala

    • A mandala is a devotional, sacred sand painting done by Buddhist Monks of Tibet.
    • The monks use millions of grains of brightly colored sand to create the sand painting.
    • The ceremony of creating a mandala takes nine days.
    • The mandala represents the world in its divine form. It also represents a "map" by which the minds of people can be transformed from an ordinary mind into an enlightened mind. After the mandala is finished, the monks who created it, destroy it.
    • The destruction of the mandala is important to the ceremony because the destruction of the mandala symbolizes the impermanence of life.


    • The basic pattern of the circle with a center is found in nature and is seen in biology, geology, chemistry, physics and astronomy.

    solar system

    • On our planet, living things are made of cells and each cell has a nucleus–-all display circles with centers. The crystals that form ice, rocks, and mountains are made of atoms. Each atom is a mandala.
    • Within the Milky Way galaxy is our solar system and within our solar system is Earth. Each is a mandala that is part of a larger mandala.
    • Flowers, spider webs, and the rings found in tree trunks all reflect the primal mandala pattern. The "circle with a center" pattern is the basic structure of creation that is reflected from the micro to the macro in the world as we know it.


    • So…… Mandala is a graphic, mystic symbol of the universe. 
    • It is typically in the shape of a circle enclosing a square or a square enclosing a circle. 
    • A mandala often bears symmetrically arranged representations of gods or deities. Many cultures embrace the mandala as a “circle of life” symbol, but in many cases it is often merely ornamental

    Starting to Design your Mandala

    Find a photo of     #1.  An Animal---- at least the size of your hand.

                                 #2. A picture of a man-made object (mechanical part, clock parts, car part,

                                        Etc.---At least the size of your hand

    #3.  Trace or draw each of the objects on separate pieces of paper.  Include details and textural   surfaces. Do line drawings only, no shading!!



    You are going to use a square 15"x15" board to create a radial design.

    Divide the board as shown.

    Important: use a cold press, double thick (30-ply) board for better results with watercolor techniques.

    transfer images


    Then use a mirror to find the most interesting reflective shape for this particular image.

    The image should have as many details as possible.

    half drawing

    Use the mirror to draw the axis.

    Trace the image onto the board (only one side - the one you used to preview in the mirror).

    divided drawing

    Align one of the diagonals on the board with the "cutting" line on the traced image.

    Mark the center of the design on your tracing paper for a better alignment.

    mirror drawing

    Flip the tracing paper and trace the mirror image.

    drawing 2

    Make sure center is aligned.

    Repeat the steps 3 more times.

    drawing 3

    Trace your other image.

    Position it to fill in the space behind the animal.

    Use a mirror to draw a cutting line

    drawing 4

    Mark the axis for alignment.Trace the object carefully.

    Do not trace over the animal - just the negative space.


    Trace with a fine point Sharpie


                                                                                 Repeat the steps.



    Stylize each corner in the design by filling them in and rounding them up. This will add a “stained-glass” effect to your design.



    Divide the board into 4-5 circular areas.



    negative space


    Fill in the negative space with designs/shapes between the circles.


    Change the design as you reach the circle.

    When it’s time for coloring – you will have to use at least two or three different coloring medias:      Suggested choices:  colored pencils,  watercolor pencils,  watercolor paint

    Once you cross the circle line you need to switch to a different media.

    Use the variety of colors. If you have a large area of the same color – use different shades and tones of that color to make the design more interesting.

    Watercolor pencils:

    Shade lightly, use multiple colors, small strokes. Blend with a wet watercolor brush.


    Colored pencils:

    Blend colored pencils, create gradients.


    Watercolor paint:

    Mix and blend different colors within larger shapes.

    Stay inside the outlines

    Continue with coloring.   Remember, craftsmanship counts!

    Fill in background of the last sections with small areas of paint, then - while the paint is still wet!!!! - sprinkle some salt over that area.

     Continue with painting more areas and sprinkling salt.

     Do not touch the surface until the paint is completely dry.  Then lightly shake or brush salt off.



    Fill in the center if the mandala with a design or an image.

    Outline with Sharpie, stylize corners.

    Choose your favorite coloring/shading technique and medium.

    Repeat the steps for the rest of the design.

    Finished product