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How to draw a freeform Mandala

How to draw a freeform Mandala

Today I am going to show you how I made this mandala.  Hurrah!

I have been enjoying drawing a few mandalas this month and I have been really surprised at how effective they are once they are all done.  Working a step at a time really makes the layers work together and flow outwards beautifully.  Like most things, one step at a time works best!

Previously I have been making the base lines by measuring with ruler, compass and a protractor which works great and I have loved the mandalas I have made like that.  I also wanted a nice quick and easy way to get started on one without all the equipment, so I just drew out the basic lines – horizontal, vertical and the two diagonals, the only rule being that they must cross in the middle.  This way I can make a mandala anywhere, all I need is pencil and paper.   I drew in the circles, not worrying one jot about them being perfectly round or spaced apart.  In fact I deliberately made them uneven. I know, pretty rebellious!

The amount of straight lines and circles you add in is totally up to you, just make sure the lines all cross in one place,  this will be the centre of your mandala.

How to draw a freeform Mandala The intial ‘base’ lines I made with pencil and as lightly as possible because these are going to be erased once the mandala is finished.

I grabbed my ink pen (I used a Micron pen in green, size 05 because I knew I wanted to watercolour over the finished drawing and these pens are waterproof) and started at the middle and made some petal shapes all the way around, using the spaces in pencil as my guide.  You can also draw in pencil and trace over in pen when you are done and happy with it.

From the centre I worked a circle at a time and added shapes and lines using the lines as a guide at all times, so that the pattern would flow outwards as well as around.

How to draw a freeform Mandala

Sometimes I draw on the lines and sometimes between them, always a repeat.  The slightly different shapes and sizes are dictated by the original lines which are slightly uneven.  I think this creates a lovely undulance to the drawing and pattern making.

How to draw a freeform Mandala

I will often go back into the shapes and patterns I have already drawn and add dots or a tiny shape or a new line.  So don’t erase any base lines until you are super sure that you are finished.

Once you are all done and drawn in pen, leave your masterpiece for a few minutes to be sure the pen is all dry before erasing the pencil lines.

At this stage, I added a very pale wash of watercolour in vague circles of colour.

I like this mandala and the slight uneven-ness to it.  Makes me want to fill a sketchbook!

Fancy a go?  Let me know how you get one and leave me a picture in the comments, or on my Facebook page or tag me on Instagram.  I can’t wait to see what you make!


  1. Oh my goodness – how gorgeous. Definitely going to give this a try and maybe my six year old will play along with me. He will probably find a way to incorporate sky landers into it, but I guess that’s okay 🙂

  2. I’ve never done one of these before, but this approach seems very doable. I’m adding it to my list of new things to try. Thanks for sharing this Clare ! p.s yours looks great.

    • Give it a go Emily, so fun! I like the measured ones too, they look more even, but for a quick practice, these are great. I might have a go at one a day for a month!

  3. Love this Clare! It looks like a lot of fun, I like the idea of drawing it up without ‘tools’. It looks really great!

    • This way means that you can happily sit in the park or on the train doodling a lovely mandala or two!

  4. Katie says

    This is gorgeous – I’m going to do this with my niece – what a lovely project to do together. xx

  5. These are really wonderful! I love how loosely you made these; I love mandalas but it’s cool to see your style coming through with these. GOOD ONE!

  6. What a beautiful idea – totally will try it. I like drawing but often don’t know where to start. x

    • Thanks Viv, I sometimes think the mandalas where you have to measure and get it all perfect are too much pressure, these are super fun!

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