I’ve written about how much I love drawing these concentric designs, which are a lot like mandalas. In fact, if you want to find ideas online, you should definitely use mandala as your search term. But since mandalas have a religious purpose in eastern religion, I am not entirely comfortable using the term to describe something I draw. I see this as a “follow your conscience” issue, so I don’t care what you call it. Robby and I have had some interesting discussion around it, but it really doesn’t have to be a thing here.
Also, I apologize for the poor quality photographs. They looked fine on my phone, but now that I see them here…blech. This will improve as I go along.
Here are a few tips that I have picked up as I’ve drawn kaleidoscope designs:
- Don’t strive for perfection, just consistency. It’s the repetition of the same pattern that creates the overall coolness of these things. Don’t worry if you mess up on one element…
- …Because you can fix almost any mistake.
- Use a variety of line thickness to make it really eye-popping.
- Copy, copy, copy. Find element ideas online, steal my ideas…whatever you need to do to fill in your circle. Nobody owns the rights to swirls and paisleys.
- If you don’t like the black and white look, use color. I have seen some really cool designs online where people used Bic pens or colored markers to fill in their mandalas, with great effect. And of course, you can draw it in black and then color it.
Anyway, now that all that’s out of the way, here’s how you draw these really cool designs.
Step 1: Gather your supplies: Paper (not shown, but I used multi-media paper in case I decide to use watercolors later) A compass, for drawing your circles A pencil A protractor or another ruler you can measure angles with markers (I use this set of Faber-Castell markers, but a Sharpie or a Micron pen would be great, too, or you can use whatever you already have.) The penny is totally optional.
Step 2: Next, draw your circles. I like to draw at least one double circle somewhere around the middle so I have the option of doing a thick line. It’s just easier to draw it if the pencil marks are there. Make the whole thing as big as you like or as big as your paper will support. Other options are to start in the corner and do a quarter circle, or if you’re feeling ambitious, do overlapping designs.
Step 3: When your circles are where you want them, draw your guidelines through the center. I usually do 8 at 45 degree angles, because it’s easy. You could do any number you like, as long as they are evenly spaced. This is where the protractor comes in handy, but I have eyeballed it and had it turn out just fine, too. I guess it depends on how obsessive you want to be.
Step 4: Start drawing. Start in the center, and don’t worry if you don’t like how it looks right away. As you add more detail and thicken some lines, it will start to look much more interesting.
Step 5: Here I have drawn several layers in the same thickness. Notice the center flower where I tried to fix the overlap that was there. I still didn’t like it, so later I thicken the line completely and add some detail.
Step 6: Here, I have drawn more layers and thickened some lines. The double circle that was in the middle is now a thick line.
Step 7: I didn’t like how the outside lines came out so I thickened them in order to correct their shape. I also added detail in the smallest marker size to the middle section.
Step 7.5: A closer view of the detail in the middle. Please notice how imperfect the individual pieces are, but how they combine for a pleasing overall effect.
Step 8: Keep going until you feel like the piece is finished-or you run out of room. Continue adding details and/or thickening lines until you are happy with the way it looks.
Step 8.5: A detail view of the finished product.
Step 9: When you are done, erase your pencil lines. A white eraser or gomme eraser works the best, but again, use what you have. A pencil eraser would be just fine.
Something to keep in mind: I almost always hate my designs when I just finish them. I see all the flaws and the parts I don’t like. But every time I set them aside for a day or so and then come back to them, I love the way they look, and often think, “Did I really draw that? It looks so cool!”
Step 10: Scan your finished design and make copies to experiment with coloring, or to share it. Share it with us on the His Banner Over Me Facebook page. I would love to see what you draw!