Taking Time for Some Surface Design – Mandalas

Do you doodle? When you doodle what do you mostly do? Have you ever tried mandalas? I found myself doodling some mandalas last weekend. Settled in for a bit of Middle-earth adventuring with the Hobbit Trilogy, pen and paper in hand I started to draw mandalas.

My first design got us most of the way to our first peek at Smaug. Ok, disclaimer now, if you haven’t seen the Hobbit films then that is so not going to make any senses to you, my apologies for that. Just take it as read that it took me about the length of the first film to draw and colour my first mandala.

Working away in my new 5.5 x 8 inch Strathmore visual journal. I found the whole process somewhat hypnotic, it could have been the epic journey I was watching but I think it was the mandala.

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I enjoyed the first mandala so much that I decided to cover a whole page with them. I picked up a Sakura Gelly Roll Opaque pen, and it happened to be one in my favourite colours at the moment, It’s an orange-red, think of the Morocco Tsunkineko Memento ink or the Abandoned Coral from the Tim Holtz Distress ink range.

This kind of large style mandala is new to me and I’m pretty sure it was inspired by the work of Alisa Burke. Alisa uses mandalas a lot in her work and she even has an online class focusing on them if you are interested.

The faint patches in the design are where my pen started to run out, the ink doesn’t go very far in Sakura gelly pens does it? I love the glossy finish on them though.

My mandalas were all done freehand, I didn’t draw around any circles or use any tools to make them I just started in the middle and worked outwards with doodles. I’m not even sure I can call them mandalas seeing as I have not used any symbolism or stuck to any mandala-creating rules. But as an exercise in surface design and a relaxing way to watch a film I would totally recommend having a go at making them.

The page took me through the battle with Smaug and out to the big battle with the five armies (there she goes again, talking Hobbit gibberish to those of you that haven’t seen the movies!) and even through some Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs (ya what now? It’s another film, go look it up if you don’t know it).

I’m wondering now how well these would work up into stamps, I might transfer my favourites to some Speedball Speedy-Carve and try curving them into stamps. Might be fun. Oh and I started another one last night, this one in blue whilst investigating an alien disturbance in the Quatermass Experiment, just be aware of any part man, part cactus creatures in your vicinity (don’t worry, it is another film!).

Are you a Mandala fan? If you have been blogging about Mandalas or have pictures in your gallery please do leave a link in the comments, I would love to come and have a look.


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