The Mandala

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For this exercise you will need drawing paper, colored pencils, pens, crayons, water-based paint and brushes. If you decide to collage your Mandala, you will need glue, scissors, magazines, and personal photographs according to your design and goal. The form of the Mandala is a circle. You will need a compass or a dinner plate.

Draw the circle on the page. Within this circle you will have four cardinal points. These may symbolize anything pertinent to the topic of your Mandala. On traditional Mandala’s, these points represent the four directions, seasons or elements.

The essential point, however, is the center. The center is the area around which the rest of the Mandala revolves. Think of a symbol or an image that could represent you in the way you relate to others. For example, a chameleon changes color in order to protect itself by blending into the surroundings, or a heart would be a symbol that represents a loving person. Your symbol goes in the middle of your Mandala.

Now think of your four elements that will revolve around your center. This could be four different elements or one element drawn for times. Decide how you would like these four elements to revolve around the center. You could draw for smaller circles and contain each element in one or you may prefer to work with triangular shapes and other symbols. A Mandala is a good way to learn to develop images as symbols and metaphors, and to get to know yourself. If you feel you cannot draw your images, then do the Mandala as a collage or incorporate collage images in with your drawing. You might want to you expand the circle by putting a border around it or by writing some reflections around the outside.

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