Mandalas are an ancient art form of developing patterns and shapes within a circle. They are very accessible forms of art – you don’t need to be a master artist or a zen monk to create some beautiful and rewarding results. However, when you’re starting out they seem a little intimidating. So I have created the following warm up exercise to help you begin creating your own mandalas.
In early April 2015, I went on a Play Adventure where each day for 30 days I ‘coloured in’ a mandala colouring page (that I had previously created).
Here are all thirty designs that I created out of that one mandala colouring page. I even surprised myself by how many different and unique results I could create out of such a seemingly simple outline.
This Play Adventure was rewarding in so many ways. I introduced more play and fun into my day. I got to express myself creatively. I learnt more about the creative process and what worked for me. It also got me thinking about creative inspiration, taking risks and how ideas can flow. I learnt so much!
I captured my learning in the following blogs each week:
Unless you’ve been living in an internet-free cave during the last year, you might have noticedthe growing popularity of colouring books for adults – yes, for adults, that’s right :-). And I’m not talking about cartoon or franchise inspired designs, but intricate, detailed and complex illustrations created by artists.
I’ve been happily watching this space with interest over the last year. There has been increasingly more press about the benefits of colouring. And I am still blown away that my Colouring For Grown Ups board on Pinterest is my most popular board, with around 4 times as many followers as most of my other boards. But I really knew that it was a “thing”, when I walked into my local bookstore to see their front display table full of adult colouring books! And then again, when I saw a big display at a large department retailer.
We all want to be more creative. The tricky part is making it happen by making the time for it.
You may have noticed that I didn’t say find the time. This is not about waiting around for that perfect chunk of spare time to do your creative project. Because, like most people out there, you don’t have a whole lot of spare of idle time where you have absolutely nothing to do on your ‘to do’ list. So this is why I say make and not find the time.
You need to commit. You need to honour yourself. Say ‘yes to doing what brings you joy and lets you express your creativity. You need to set aside a chunk of time for your creative project.
Now before you start telling me all about the hundreds of things that you have to get done by yesterday and about the multitudes of family, work and other commitments you already have on your plate (and I so know where you are coming from 🙂 ), I’m going to re-assure you that this can be done. You can make time for that creative project you love.
Going on a mandala Play Adventure was rewarding in so many ways. I got to introduce more play and fun into my day. I got to express myself creatively. I learnt more about the creative process and what worked for me. But the biggest takeaway was learning about the importance of developing a creative habit or practice: doing something creative on a regular basis and making it a normal part of my everyday life.
By creative habit, I mean that you are spending time on a specific creative project (like collating a photo book, colouring in a colouring book, or knitting a baby rug). It can also include what’s known as a creative practice, where you are developing a particular craft or skill over time, for example short story writing, watercolour painting, or hand carving wooden chess pieces.