Tag Archives: mandala

Sketch, Color & Blend!

Remember the doily-inspired mandalas I created in my art journals?  I’ve created a few more since that first post, and thought I’d share a recent creation with you.  I decided to take photos as I worked, to show the three main stages of my process:

1. Sketch the design
2. Color the mandala with water-soluble colored pencils
3. Blend color with a paintbrush & water

My sketch was very loose and rather sloppy.  It’s obviously not precise, symmetrical, or to scale, but that’s not what I’m striving for.  I’m focusing on interpretive renderings, more stylized designs, and am just having fun playing!


Thus far I’ve added color with water-soluble crayons or water-soluble colored pencils, but will likely add acrylic inks and other media into the mix in the near future.


I love seeing the colors come to life when they’re activated and blended with the water.  Making these mandalas is a great way to try different color combinations.


Are you ready to make a doily-inspired mandala of your own yet?
Please let me know if you have any questions, dear readers!

Warm regards,

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Doily-Inspired Mandalas


I recently purchased (ahem) a “few” doilies and crocheted pot holders.  I originally intended to use them to make a wreath modeled after one I’d seen online, and have since expanded my scope.  I’ll likely post some of these creations in the coming months, and thought I’d start things off with the simple “project” I recently worked on in my art journal.

I’m still recovering from my two hand surgeries, so I’m limited on what I can do, but working in my art journal with my right hand has been do-able.  Last week I selected a doily from my stash, and decided to sketch it.  Though it’s far from perfect, I’m pleased with the way the page turned out.


I sketched out a stylized version of the doily’s pattern and design with black micron pens, and then filled in some areas with color.  I used water color pencils, some water, and a paint brush to “render” the color.

As I continued to work I realized that the image looked like a mandala of sorts, and since I’m pretty bad at creating mandalas from scratch this is a good way for me to work with pattern, color, and to relax.



I decided to work on a second doily-inspired mandala last week on election night, and like how this one turned out as well.


Instead of using bold black ink pens, I decided to use a water-soluble pencil to lay down the pattern.


The softness of the lead pencil marks dividing the page into segments reminded me of the leading in a stained glass window, and that sense grew as I used watercolors from a pan set to add color. Does it remind you of a stained glass window too, or is it just me?



If you like the idea of working in your art journal and creating a design and pattern on your page – in color or just in black and white – consider using a doily for your starting point.  As you can see, the color schemes I put on my page aren’t based on the doilies’ actual colors – that was me using my artistic license.

Do you have any doilies laying around?  Will you give a doily-inspired mandala a try? Have you ever used other textiles or pieces of needlework to inspire other types of artwork you’ve created? Do tell…

Warm regards,

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My Mandala


I’m away from home this week, but I’m still blogging!  I’m in Cambria – along California’s central coast – and am in the middle of an art retreat for one.  Thus far my days have been filled with proofreading my novel draft, photography, paper arts, and other creative pursuits.  And though I only brought some basic art supplies (okay, a small carry-on suitcase full!) I decided I’d try to make at least two projects – in addition to taking many photos.

One project, incorporating the radio tubes in my Artful Ingredients post – will be shared in the next few weeks.  The second project I wanted to take on was the making of a mandala.  I was able to complete it and photograph it despite a somewhat limited setup, and I hope you like it.

Mandala = Circle

Mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning “circle”, and though mandalas are often used religiously or spiritually, I was mostly interested in challenging myself with the design element and the meditative/slow process of creating one.

I’d only successfully made one mandala in the past, years ago, and an attempt I’d made a few months ago was a disaster, so I wasn’t sure how it would go.  Thankfully, I have plenty of time to create this week, so I wasn’t rushed or distracted when I worked.


Making My Mandala


There is a lot of information about mandalas online, so I’m not going to detail the general how-to or the history.  Instead, I’m going to share a bit about what I did:

I started with watercolor paper, and traced the outline and center circle of a CD onto the smoother back side of the paper with a black ink pen.  I added some additional circles by tracing smaller circular objects within the largest circle’s frame.  This helped provide me – a mandala novice – with some structure.

I slowly built up the design in ink, and then started filling in some of the design with color and metallic gold.  The color – from Caran d’Ache water-soluble crayons – was added by pulling the color from the crayons with a wet paintbrush and then painting onto the paper.  The gold is metallic gouache with water added, and it was applied with a paintbrush as well.  Some mandala makers fill in all of their design with color, but I decided to go with a combination of color and the natural look of the paper.

You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet…

An art friend of mine, Doreen Grozinger, makes incredible mandalas!  Click here to see Doreen’s mandalas – you’ll see a range in style, coloration, etc. I aspire to be as good at mandala-making as Doreen is!

A Few Questions

Were you already familiar with mandalas before reading this post?  Have you ever made one?  Do you prefer multi-colored mandalas, or black and white?  If you’re new to mandalas, and decide to try making one yourself, I hope you enjoy the process!

Warm regards,

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