Heart Shaped Mandala Tutorial

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Here’s a fun little tutorial for making a heart-shaped mandala.

I made this one on a piece of Bristol paper, which I cut into a 6x6 inch square. I like using square paper for mandalas because then I don't need a protractor to measure out my guidelines. Besides your paper, you’ll need the following:

  • Pencil
  • A fine tip marker (I use Micron, which are finer-tipped than Sharpies)
  • A ruler
  • A compass (or just mad circle-drawing skills)

That's all! Let's go!
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Find center, and draw your guidelines.

Use a pencil for the guidelines. We'll be erasing them later.

To find center, lay your ruler across the width of your paper, make a mark at the halfway point, then draw a line that divides your paper in half, vertically. Turn your paper and do the whole thing again, drawing a line that divides your paper horizontally. (On my paper, the halfway point was three inches.)

Create two more guidelines by drawing lines from corner to corner of your square paper, passing through your center point. (If your paper isn't square, you can do this with a protractor. Check out my video tutorial to see how that's done.)

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Create the heart shape

Using your vertical center line as a guide, draw in your heart. Once you've got the shape you want, go ahead and trace it in pen, that way if you need to erase anything later, your heart shape is safe.

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Draw the Mandala Circles

First, draw tick marks along your horizontal guide, every half inch starting at the midpoint.

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Next, place the point of your compass on center, and draw circles through each of your tick marks. Then, draw one more, as big as the biggest part of your heart.

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Create your mandala patterns

Now the fun part! I'm going to switch to ink now, but if you're at all uncomfortable, stay with pencil. You can always trace with ink later, when you're happy with your patterns. (I often use pencil first if I'm testing out a pattern I haven't tried before.)

Let's start at the center and work our way out. First, draw a circle around your center point, then use your guidelines to form petals around it.

(Notice how imperfect my petals are. It won't matter. Trust me. Part of mandala-making is having faith that everything will be fine in the end. And it will; mandalas are very forgiving.)

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In the next circle, use the guidelines to draw pointed petals as show in the photo on the left. Then, use your guidelines again to draw alternating, overlapping petals as shown on the right.

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In the next circle, draw these simple small petals. You can use your guidelines to help you get them more even. I drew approximately five petals between each line but, as you can see, I wasn't overly careful.

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Fill in the next circle with two new petal patterns as shown in the photo on the left. Then draw lines in the next circle, as shown in the photo on the right.

You'll notice that the heart is starting to cut into our mandala design here. This design is pretty simple, but if you had a more complicated one, you could fill out the entire circle design in pencil to make sure you've got it all right. Then apply ink only on the elements inside your heart.

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Finally, I'm cheating a little with the last circle. Instead of drawing a pattern all the way around, I'm using the shape of my heart to dictate the final petal pattern.

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Continue that pattern in all the empty spaces of your heart shape.

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Now, just erase all your pencil marks, and we can start adding the details!

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Add Your Mandala Details

Again, let's start in the middle and work our way out. Here's a list of each new detail I added. You can click each image for a closer look.

Left Photo:

  1. To give the mandala some depth, color in the center point circle and the spaces between your first set of petals.
  2. Add a little black dot in each of the very small petals in the next circle.
  3. Draw a striped outline around each of the larger pointed petals, and a line down the center of each.

Center Photo:

  1. Draw a simple tear drop shape between each of the pointed petals.
  2. Draw a circle at the base of each tear drop.

Right Photo:

  1. Draw a line along the right side of each thin petal.
  2. Put dots in between each petal.

Fill the pointed petal in the next circle with the Zentangle pattern in the photo. Use the photos in the slide show below if you need a closer look at how it's done.

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Fill in the details on the rounded petals in between as shown in the photo.

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Add simple details to the next circle as shown in the photo. (Despite how ornate and complicated mandalas tend to look when you're finished, each detail is surprisingly simple.)

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In the last circle, draw tips on each of the petals, and a line down the center. Draw lines between each peral to make them stand out and accentuate the heart shape.

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You could definitely stop there, but (of course) I couldn't resist adding a few more details. In the final photo, you'll see that I added some dots and stamens, and a fancy little curl to the pointed inner petals.

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Voila, a heart-shaped mandala! Leave it as is, or color it using whatever medium you like. (I colored my photo above using Photoshop.)

You can use this same technique to draw other shapes as well. If you look at my Lettering Gallery, you can see that I've even used this technique to create word art ("Trust Love").

Have fun and explore!

xo