Work in Progress: Mandala Design

Today we’ll be taking a step out of the digital realm and back into the world of hand-drawn designs. This mandala-style design was drawn using household items and can be fairly easily replicated.

For starters, I laid out a basic bull’s eye pattern by tracing a collection of plates, glasses and saucers that I had lying around the kitchen. Once satisfied with the ring layout, I worked from the inside out to create the design. Smaller circles were traced using coins- in my case 10 and 1 yen coins. Because I like to add design elements from the illustrations for Encircle the Sun, I also threw in a variation of the “S” pattern frequently used by Clan Cordura.


As I worked, I decided that the design needed yet another ring. Back to the kitchen!


Lastly, I chose a radiant pattern for the outer ring. Now, the sketch is ready to be transferred to higher quality paper.


There are a few different methods for transferring sketches, including using tracing paper and carbon paper. I used to make my own carbon paper- a time-consuming process- but results can be less than ideal. These days I prefer to use a light-box.


My light-box is by Dbmier, very lightweight but powerful enough to allow me to trace onto heavy paper or cloth. You can buy one on Amazon ( in the US or Amazon Japan ( in Japan. Tracing using the light-box is convenient and much neater than other methods.


Once traced, I outlined the pencil in ink, adding more weight to lines in certain areas. The design is now ready to be colored. How do I intend to do that? You’ll see…


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