Learn how to draw a mandala using this simple pencil transfer method.
Materials for easy mandala drawing…
The basic materials for drawing a mandala are simple as can be. Here’s what you’ll need…
- paper- lightweight copy paper is best
- circular objects to trace or a compass
- colored pencils or crayons
Let’s prepare for drawing a mandala….
The first step of drawing a mandala is cutting out a circle of paper. I traced a plastic plate with a pencil and then cut with scissors. You could also use a compass.
The circle can really be any size but the larger it is the more room there will be for including details.
Prepare the circle of paper further by folding it in half, then in quarters. If your students are younger stop here. For more experienced artists fold the circle one more time, this time into eighths.
Easy mandala drawing…
For our purposes today a mandala is a circular design that displays radial symmetry. That means all elements radiate out from the central point. By folding the paper the center point is made evident and the circle is divided into either fourths, or eighths.
The design drawn in the first segment will be repeated in every other segment, thereby creating a mandala drawing with radial symmetry.
Choose one segment and use a pencil draw a few simple shapes and lines. This will work best if at least some of the elements extend all the way to the edge of the segment.
Transferring your mandala drawing to further segments….
The easiest and quickest way to transfer a pencil drawing is to use graphite tracing paper. But, if you don’t have that on hand I’ll show you a super simple way to transfer pencil drawings that requires nothing more than the pencil and paper you’re already using!
Simply take the portion of the mandala drawing that has been completed and fold the segment next to it over on top of the completed mandala drawing. Flip the circle of paper over so you’re looking at the back of the segment that has already been drawn on. Trace over pencil lines. You’ll be drawing on the back of the paper that’s already been drawn on. The pressure will transfer enough pencil to the facing segment of paper to be seen, at least faintly.
Open the paper and trace over the faint lines. Fold next segment over the previous segment and repeat the process for your easy mandala drawing. When your mandala drawing is complete your circle of paper will have the same drawing on the front and the back. Choose whichever side is the neatest and cleanest to proceed with adding color.
Drawing a mandala with color…
To this point your mandala drawing is just black and white. Now let’s add some color! I used my favorite Prismacolor colored pencils but you could also use crayons or even marker!
Encourage your students to choose a color palette before they start coloring. Choose four or five colors that really pop together. Seeing those colors repeated in multiple places within the mandala drawing will provide a sense of unity.
Layering color onto your easy mandala drawing….
Because the initial transfer method involved drawing heavily in pencil this mandala drawing has some dark pencil lines. I like to camouflage these lines a bit by outlining each shape with a heavy layer of color, colored pencil or crayons. Then, fill in the remaining spaces with a slightly lighter hand, allowing a bit of paper to show through if you like.
These small areas are great places to learn about layering and blending colors. Encourage kids that are ready for this step to choose two analogous colors and layer them lightly one on top of the other to create a new, unique color.
More mandala art…..
Mandalas are so popular and there’s no end to the way you can incorporate these designs into your own artwork. Here are a few more of my favorite mandala inspired art projects!
- Check out this mandala made with a found object printmaking process.
- This easy mandala drawing process starts with a printable template that makes it easy to get started quickly!
- Incorporate art and nature with this leaf mandala drawing lesson.
- Try your hand at “scratch art” with this paper plate mandala.