The objects we keep in our homes say a lot about us. Decorations, keepsakes, trinkets, mementos, clothing, jewelry, and things we adorn ourselves with are all in our lives because we’ve chosen them. They’re special to us. Objects help tell stories and inspire us. In this post, I’ll show you how to draw a personal mandala, using inspiration taken from those trinkets around your home.
Here are Soul Flower, we use personalized mandalas all the time in our mandala clothing designs and love to hide items and meaning within our mandalas. It is interesting to see what objects show through in a personal mandala and what other people notice first. These mandala headbands are made from recycled plastic bottles and printed with our own hand-drawn Mandala designs!
The coolest thing about this mandala drawing lesson is that your mandala drawing will be completely your own, unique to you (and your possessions)! Don’t worry, mandalas are pretty simple to draw when the steps are broken down 🙂 Let’s get started…
Personal Mandala – Collect Your Items
Wander around your home and collect a handful of objects that will inspire your mandala. Grab anything that speaks to you today, or anything that catches your eye. Aim for 5-10 items, and try to find a variety.
Places to look for trinkets/objects:
- on your desk/in your desk drawers
- on your shelves
- in your jewelry box
- on your dresser
- in your closest
- on your window sills
- by your bed/on your night stand
- on your bookshelves
- in your kitchen cabinets
Personal Mandala – Sketch Some Shapes
Once you’ve collected your special items, sit down with them in front of you. Grab a scratch piece of paper or the back of some junk mail. You’re going to sketch out some shapes inspired by your objects that you can use and repeat in your mandala.
- Start by drawing your object, roughly. If it’s too complicated to draw quickly, then simplify. Draw only the outline, or a small piece of it. If it has a pattern, draw a piece of the pattern. Draw the “doodled” version of it: instead of drawing a realistic flower, doodle a flower that looks like your 9-year-old-self drew it.
- Doodle more! Improvise and let one shape inspire the next. Don’t overthink it, just draw whatever comes to mind, even if it doesn’t look anything like your object.
- Draw the meaning behind an object: if you have a boring-looking pebble but it’s from your vacation where you swam in the creek and spent the weekend listening to music with your friends, then draw that! Draw some shapes that look like waves from the creek, draw music notes, draw hearts that represent your friends.
Personal Mandala – Start Your Mandala
Grab a new sheet of paper and a thicker pen (the thicker your pen, the quicker your mandala will come together because you’ll be forced to keep things simple). If you want to color in your mandala when you’re done (like a coloring book!), then make sure your black pen is waterproof. Sharpies are waterproof and won’t run when you try to color them later with water-based markers.
Start by tracing something small & round. We started by tracing quarters. This helps your mandala stay round from the beginning. It might get lopsided down the line, but that’s OK 🙂
- Build layers on top of each other, from the center out. Each new layer builds on the previous layer.
- Draw a series of overlapping circles (rings) that you can fill in with shapes. Use a compass or trace some circular objects of varying sizes (bowls, plates, cups, food cans, etc), and then fill each layer with shapes.
Choose one of those methods and then use the shapes you doodled to layer up your mandala! Try picking a shape, then repeating it in a row as if that shape was a bead and you were making a bracelet.
Personal Mandala – Add Layers
Draw until you run out of room on the paper, or until it just “feels right.” If you get stuck, just repeat a layer you already drew.
Fill in any spaces that feel “empty” with more shapes or other doodles/decoration. Sometimes it helps to use a smaller pen size to better fit in the small spaces.
My mandala’s inspirations:
- the very center has a snowflake, inspired by the snowflake pendant
- a chunky flower shape inspired by the broken earring and filled with layers of lines inspired by the dark purple crystal
- crystal shapes inspired by the raw citrine
- wavy lines and leaf shapes inspired by the pottery bowl
- snowflake-inspired branch shapes
- hearts inspired by the heart stone and the rose quartz (meaning = love)
- criss-cross shapes inspired by the facets of the citrine.
I tried out this tutorial with my sister, who does not work as an artist but wasn’t afraid to try drawing a personal mandala (thanks, Kari!). Her objects were the amethyst bracelet, blue crystal necklace, wavy rings, and bag of tiny Worry Dolls. She was pleasantly surprised with how her drawing turned out and hung it up in her room as decoration. It’s amazing how layered shapes can look so cool, and it’s especially awesome to have a custom work of art that was inspired by your own possessions.
Use this drawing time to acknowledge your physical and spiritual blessings… and remember to enjoy the process of drawing a mandala!
artist at Soul Flower who drew many of the beautiful mandalas featured in our mandala clothing shop, where you can find mandala leggings, mandala tapestries and mandala shirts.