Hello Planning Mashers!
Today we’re taking a deep dive down a rabbit hole of mandalas! Be ready for a fun and mindful journey.
I’ll be honest with you – these last few weeks, quarantined and all, haven’t been the easiest for me either, so I’m really doubling down on self-care and other calming mindful activities before I snap.
One of the recommendations to pass time and keep a positive healthy mind was doing mandalas, so I said what the hell, let’s give it a try.
Yeah, they quickly became one of my favorite ways of finding peace of mind and happiness these days. I tell you Planning Mashers; it was such an incredible change in my life that I started researching more about them and decided to share them with you, in hopes that this will be a fun and calming activity you can enjoy as well.
Gosh, I have so much to share with you in this post! Where do I even start?
Ok obviously, we can talk about what a mandala is, how to draw these beautiful structures, and how you can use them in your Bullet Journal, including some inspirations from amazing creators.
Be sure to check the end of the post for images and a sign-up form to get access to our Resources Vault.
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What Is A Mandala?
Mandala actually means circle, and you can see it’s reflected in the designs. Whatever the designs inside are, they always tend to go in circles. Mandalas, however, are much more than just circles decorated in different patterns. They have a strong symbolism in many Asian cultures.
Mandala has two meanings – externally it represents the universe, and internally it’s a guide towards inner peace and self-discovery.
Creating mandalas is often used in Asian cultures for meditation and prayer.
Benefits Of Creating Mandalas
All this is poetic and symbolic, but what exactly drawing a mandala can do for you?
The answer was surprising to me since when I sat down to draw a mandala after a crazy and emotionally draining day, I was not expecting things to work out that well!
Here are just a few benefits I noticed after drawing mandalas:
- Feeling more relaxed, both body and soul.
Drawing mandalas is that perfect activity that allows you to unplug from the world for a bit, shut down your inner voice and relax like no other activity.
It allows you to keep a certain level of concentration and creativity, but it’s not too much pressure on you. You get in a flow, and your mind flows with you.
- Feeling happier and peaceful
Drawing mandala is your me-time. Moreover, there are no mistakes there – every imperfection is just something that makes your mandala unique.
Since you’re not afraid of making mistakes, you can really let it go and enjoy the process, ending with feeling happier and more at peace.
- Relief anxiety, overwhelm, worrying
When you’re feeling anxious or worried, this thought is there all the time and doesn’t leave you.
Drawing mandalas will provide enough of a distraction to take your brain out of the loop and give it a well-deserved break.
Moreover, while you’re drawing, your brain has space to unconsciously find connections and solutions for your anxieties, so who knows, you might finish your mandala and suddenly see the solution to your worries.
- Improves creativity and focus
Mandalas are fun, but they also help you use your brain in all ways.
It’s a perfect exercise for both sides of your brain. The creative side is coming up with different patterns ideas, while you also have to stay focused on making things align and keep the elements symmetrical.
It’s a great and non stressful way to train your brain.
- Cultivated self-awareness and mindfulness
Drawing a mandala is similar to meditation, and it helps you step aside and learn more about yourself, as well as teaches you to be mindful of your every stroke.
Meditation might not be for everyone, but drawing a mandala is definitely a more accessible alternative you might enjoy.
Considering all this, I hope you’re now convinced to give a try to drawing mandalas, and this is what we’ll be talking about next!
Every drawing starts with getting your supplies, but you really don’t need much for your mandalas!
But if you want something more, here are a few things I found useful on my mandala adventures.
First of all – a compass. They aren’t too much of an investment, but they’ll definitely help in creating better circles.
Alternatively, you can try the Helix circle maker. I have one and use it for creating circle elements for my Bullet Journal pages, so I was happy to realize it works great for mandalas as well.
It does have its limitations, but if you want to just draw a quick mandala in your Bullet Journal – it’s absolutely perfect!
- VERSATILE DESIGN - Create precise angles and circles with the Helix Angle and Circle Maker.
- INTEGRATED CIRCLE TEMPLATES - Convenient circle measurements with integrated templates.
- 360-DEGREE MEASUREMENTS - Accurately measure angles in 360 degrees.
Another tool is a mandala stencil from MoxieDori. It helps so much to keep the big shapes straight! I really enjoyed using it and can highly recommend it.
You don’t really have to create your mandalas in black and white only! If you want to add color – use some colored markers, or maybe do it in fineliners and use watercolor on top.
Play around, see what you like and what feels right to you.
Mandala Pattern Ideas
Ok one more thing before we go to the drawing part.
I thought I’d share with you some mandala pattern inspirations. I like to create an inspiration page to kind of get my creative juices flowing.
I might refer to it later when I need help, or might just use it as an exercise to start thinking about shapes.
The cool thing about mandalas is that you can use any patterns you like! Your mandala can be as different as you feel like.
You can always start with the more traditional way and this is inspiration for that. These are some basic larger shapes to use with simple inside pattern decorations.
You can also use more of zentangle (yes, that is a word) design inside the circles. Check out below; there are some of zentangle patterns I love.
I hope these will give you some fun ideas on how to proceed with creating your mandala.
How To Draw A Mandala
Time to get started!! I hope you’re as excited about it as I am. We’ll be going through the process step by step.
It’ll really help to have a compass, but if you don’t – here is how you get started.
Start by finding the center of your canvas and marking it with a dot. This will be a center for your mandala.
Draw two lines 90 degrees to each other, both going through the center of your mandala.
Think of how wide you want your mandala circles to be, and add dots to your line accordingly.
Make sure the dots on the horizontal line are as far from the center as are dots on your vertical line.
Add two more lines going through the center of the mandala and add dots there as well, measuring the same way we did above.
Connect the dots in circles. If your circles don’t come out perfectly – don’t worry about it! Mandalas don’t have to be perfect.
Get to the drawing! Start from the center and move out as you complete circle after circle.
Keep on adding more levels and trying out new patterns; this will only make your mandala more interesting.
How To Draw Mandalas On iPad
I know I’m not the only one who is experimenting with digital design and is totally obsessed with Procreate!
I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to create mandalas there, and it’s still a very enjoyable process, be it of course very different from creating mandalas on paper.
I’m a paper girl 99.9% of the time and nothing will replace it for me, but still, I don’t want to limit myself or anyone else that way, so I thought I’d share with you how to create mandalas on iPad.
Below is a video of me drawing mandalas for some of the free printables I created for this post. I also added some calming meditation-type music so you’d feel as calm watching me draw as you would by drawing mandalas yourself.
I hope you enjoy the video and the free printables you can get at the end of the post!
How To Draw Mandalas: Free Lessons
Drawing mandalas isn’t that hard, but it’s very interesting how different people have different approaches to it and very unique design ideas.
What helped me a lot in exploring different mandala styles is taking some classes, so I want to share them with you.
These classes are from the learning platform Skillshare, where they have hundreds of classes on tons of different subjects, including how to draw mandalas!
You can get 2 weeks FREE access to all their classes if you follow this link, so you might as well give a try to these mandala classes.
Mandala Bullet Journal Inspirations
Mandalas are great for so many reasons, but they also are something you can use in your Bullet Journal!
You can use them for decoration – weekly spread, cover page – you can create a whole monthly theme around mandalas.
Beautiful cover page and absolutely stunning brush lettering work here!
I like that black sky with stars spilling on the page. Kind of makes me think this could be a great inspiration for the space and galaxy Bullet Journal theme as well.
I think this is a yearly birthday tracker and it looks absolutely stunning.
But the same concept works for a circle weekly spread or maybe a habit or mood tracker.
Speaking of a weekly spread, how stunning is this one?
I really like this horizontal format, but I always have trouble with what to do with all the empty space on the sides. Drawing a mandala seems like a good idea!
The mandala is pretty subtle here, but I think it still counts.
I also really adore those tiny icons she used on the circle part of the week.
This is such a fun idea to use mandalas as background for your cover page.
I like the extra black color of the mandalas, it really helps to make the background darker and therefore make the month and calendar stand out more.
What a creative idea to use mandalas as a decoration for a peacock tail.
It’s also a good example of a colorful mandala, you don’t see that many of those.
The fun thing about mandalas is that they don’t have to occupy all the pages, this is a great example of that.
As always I adore Nicole’s work. Is there anything she can’t do?!
Barbara has a unique and beautiful style, and it comes through in her mandala design as well.
I also really like this quote. Those are definitely the words to live by!
Eva is really amazing, and when it comes to mandalas – her account is definitely a go-to.
I love the different types of patterns she used in her mandala here.
Such a fun idea of using several mini mandalas instead of a few big ones.
I think it allows for a lot of variety – you can try out completely different ideas for your mini mandalas. And these are easier to doodle as well.
One more example of a colorful mandala. Or at least a mandala with some color.
I love adding just a little splash of color to my doodles, and this is a perfect example of how to do it with a mandala.
This is a pretty great idea, mandala on this spread really looks like a rising sun.
Plus, half mandalas are half work, so it may be an easier idea to start with.
Just wow, I’m absolutely in love with this weekly spread. It’s so clean and neat.
Somehow it manages to mix a minimalist feel with highly decorative mandala drawings. I really love the extra feel of stippling on mandalas.
If you’re looking for some more inspiration, check my post Minimalist Bullet Journal Weekly Spreads.
Mandalas are obviously a perfect idea for a circle weekly spread.
Adding a bit of kraft paper is a great touch. I’m kind of obsessed with the effect you get from that.
I was about to say this is another example of a circle weekly spread when I realized this is actually a future log.
I don’t particularly find this format the best for myself, but it looks stunning for sure.
I never thought about it, but you can actually use mandalas to decorate corners of your Bullet Journal spreads.
This decoration can be used on any page imaginable and can be a great filler idea.
Barbara did such a fantastic job on this one! there is space for so many things on this spread, but she also added so many decorative elements.
I also really like the shadow effect she added to letters and boxes.
A good idea for a one-page weekly.
I don’t think it’s particularly practical, since the daily boxes don’t really offer that much space. But it might be ok for a not-so-busy week, and it looks beautiful.
I love those letters, they look super cute and the yellow is such a beautiful color.
You can check my post Bullet Journal Font Inspirations for some more ideas on how to enhance your headers.
Another very popular way of using mandalas is as a mood tracker! Mood mandalas are so fun and it really connects to me that mandala would be a place for you to record your feelings.
This is probably my favorite way to create a mandala mood tracker. It has a beautiful mandala, but also all the days are pretty clear.
I also think it’s a pretty fun idea to use lines like that to symbolize the moods.
I bet with this type of filling-out tracker, it will be a fun and very colorful tracker after the pen.
Ady is a wonderful artist, and I adore how neat her mandala looks.
All the shades of black and the background of the header list look absolutely stunning.
The only thing that I don’t really see is the difference between the sad and happy. But I guess it’s more clear when you actually see the journal, not the picture.
Here is a different approach how to color mood mandalas.
It looks super fun! Especially filled out, the colors the creator chose match so well!
Who knew that green and gold will be such a great match?
This mandala looks amazing and it seems like this is a mood tracker. But I can’t say for sure.
This is such a stunning and colorful mood tracker. I love it!
And I love the quote added to this page. This seems like a good technique to try to make your life a bit happier.
Free Mandala Printables
Finally, I want to finish this post with some free printables I created for you!
First is mood mandala, it’s been in our Resources Vault for a while, and you can find it under “TRACKERS”.
The other mandalas are for coloring – I created three different coloring sheets in US Letter size.
You can print and enjoy coloring it, or resize and use them in your Bullet Journal as cover pages.
To resize the images when you send them to printing, just choose an A5 size of paper – this is the size of usual Bullet Journals.
These you can find in the Resources Vault section “MISCELLANEOUS”.
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Have you ever tried creating mandalas? Share with us your experience in the comments!
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And remember: Keep Bullet Journaling, and Don’t Be A Blob.