Friday, February 14, 2014

Lessons in Life and Art: Doodle's and Mandala's Lesson I

I got a lot of feedback on my facebook and instagram on how I go about drawing my mandala's. I took a wonderful evening class taught by Kelly Barton, of Growing up Girl, and it was a perfectly timed refresher course. I went to school for architecture, and my curriculum was filled with drawing and design classes. There was a level of assumed artistic foundations that was expected, but foundations and techniques were still taught. Sometimes I forget that I am a trained artist, with a bit of engineering tossed in. The class reminded me that I need to not forget the foundations to putting together an art piece, even if it is a doodle on a post-it note. 

Lesson I in Mandala's and Doodles

Item one: establish a boundary, a frame in which to compile your work. You can always go over the boundary, its always a nice touch for a piece to flow past its edges. But for this movement to take place a visual stage must be created. I prefer squares and circles, 6" and smaller for doodles, exploratory sketches and themes. Sometimes I set this boundary as a hard black line, or in pencil knowing I will want to cross over the edge. Use a compass or ruler to create an accurate edge, or free hand for a free flowing flare. I prefer to use a compass when creating circles. Keep in mind, the more accurate the foundation, the more balanced the piece will be.

My tools, a pencil, triangle, compass and a sharpie is in the background.

Item two: breakdown the shape, the boundary into small geometries. Think in portions driven by three and odd numbers. Odd numbers create an asymmetry which gives movement to a piece, and the gold ratio is the idea division of space that is most pleasing to the eye per the ancient Greeks. This idea is carried through in today's art and great architectural masterpieces. I don't always measure out the proportions, but will eyeballs them, using my eyes to find the balance and movement which this rule creates. Just a side note, snowflakes upon examination have 6 points.

Try dividing the circle in 30 and 60 degree pie pieces
Mix up the shapes that are created, the can fill the page in many ways.

Item three: fill in the voids with curves, patterns and connecting lines. I like to set-up a little legend to the side of shapes, lines and patterns to use within the mandala's. Sometimes I will just play with what can go in the shapes. Sometimes I place sketches of flowers or planets or Kari things within the shapes. The options are endless. I recommend you explore the images, patterns and icons that are within your imagination and dreamscape. What is in your legend, your tool kit of parts that make up your creative expression? I know I have my go to shapes, hearts, stars, the sun and leaves.

Use my shapes above and set up your own and please share them with me!!
What inspires you, nature, a memory, a favorite place, what theme runs in your life?

Item four: don't forget the edge, feel free to revisit the edge, take your drawing beyond the edge, stretch the rhythm over the entire page, add a few other geometries and have them overlap and collide. think along the lines outlined in Item two in placement and size/scale of the elements. Perhaps place some of the patterns from the legend out in the space around the mandala, like energy forces or moons. Bring the entire canvas into the composition.

Draw over the piece with ink and then erase the pencil. I will go over this more in lesson II.

The next lesson we will look a few artist techniques on creating clean crisp drawings and different mediums that may be fun to work with, such as color!

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