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The Mandala Lady::Art for the well-being of your heart, mind, and soul

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a different question? Then submit a question on my "I have a question" page.

General

How long have you been doing this?
I started drawing/coloring mandalas after a trip to Egypt in 1999. Read my biography for a more complete explanation
How did you get started making mandalas?
I was coloring in other brands of coloring books and became bored with the designs. Then my husband and I went to Egypt in 1999. To put it simply, it was if a lightswitch went on in my head. I just started drawing them and have been ever since.Read my biography for a more complete explanation

How Do I Do What I Do?

Bowling for Sunshin copyright 2004
Do you create your own designs?
Yes, I do. Usually I'll see a particular pattern or shape in nature or in architecture and then use that as the basis for a new mandala. Some of my designs came to me in my dreams. For that reason, I keep a sketch book by my bed.
Do you use a computer to create your symmetry mandalas?
Yes and no. I hand draw my ideas on paper. I then go on to my computer and hand draw the design again only this time on a graphics tablet drawing with the stylus pen that comes with the tablet.
How do you get your designs so symmetrical?
As much as I want to draw my mandalas free-hand, I found early on that I had trouble evenly distributing the repeated patterns and keeping some semblance of a circle. I created a circular template with 12 sections that I put under my sketch paper. Now I can free hand draw the mandalas using the template as my guide, to keep me in line (so to speak). I have a digital copy of this template that I use in photoshop when I draw the mandala into the computer. (see previous question)
What brand of colored pencils do you use?
I mostly use Prismacolor Colored Pencils. I have used van Gogh and Derwents, both are perfectly fine brands of pencils. When I want creamy, rich, bright colors, Prismacolors work the best for me.
How do you pick what colors to use?
I usually just look over at my pencils and whatever color jumps out at me, that's the one I use. When I'm done with a section or have colored it all the way around the circle, then I look at my pencils again and pick out the color that jumps out at me.

Other times, I use the primary and secondary colors only and just mixed them up or do them in order of the rainbow or chakra colors.

Then there are times when I already see in my head how the mandala will look when it's done and use the colors as I 'see' them.
How do you do the shading?
Keeping the principle of light and shadow, I determine what direction the light is coming from and then color the opposite side darker. See my Creative Activities Blog: light/shadow for more info on this topic.

As for the coloring of it, I usually use some shade of purple to color over the original color and then color the original color over the purple. I'll have a Creative Activities blog about this soon.

Coloring Questions

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How do I make my colorings look more 3-dimensional?
To make things look 3-dimensional you have to incorporate the principles of light and shadow. See my Creative Activities Blog: light/shadow for more info on this topic.
I would love to color but I am confused as to what colors to use. What do I do?
All you really need to know about is your primary (red, yellow, blue) and secondary (orange, green, purple) colors and how they work together. I'll have a Creative Activities blog about this soon. In the meantime, check out your local library for a book on it or search on the web for information that's already out there on this topic. Complementary color combinations: red/green, yellow/purple, and blue/orange.
I bought one of your coloring books and I feel frustrated about one of the designs. For now I just skip over it. What do I do?
Rather than feel frustrated or ignore it, look at it from a different perspective. What is it about it that frustrates you? Is it the design? What in the design is frustrating? If it's a symmetry mandala, is it the words that are bothering you? Is the frustration with how to start it? Are there too many open spaces or is it too detailed?

If the frustration is with the design itself, then change it! If it's too open, add lines in and/or around the mandala. If it's too detailed, then try coloring several sections as if they are one section.

If you're open to the idea, be still with it and ask it or yourself why it bothers you. You could also meditate on this mandala to find out additional information.

Here's an exercise you can do...place the mandala and your pencils(or crayons) in front of you. Now blindfold yourself and color the mandala without seeing with your eyes. When you feel like your done, take off the blindfold. What do you see? I have found this exercise to be quite powerful.

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