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Mandala: Black.Violet.1.2

“The camera makes everyone a tourist
in other people's reality,
and eventually in one's own.”
~ Susan Sontag

mandala in ink

5x8" watercolor Moleskine, pitt pen, micron pen

{updated from mid-2009} I developed a series of 4 mandalas over the course of a week while my kids took their evening baths. Me, my moleskine journal, a superfine pitt pen, .05 + .005 microns. I didn't intend to do a series, but when you do 4 similar mandalas it just turns out to be a series! Although my kids are independent in the tub/shower, I like to hang out nearby to help them dry off, deliver a new bottle of shampoo, etc. Drawing at this time of day has become a pleasure I look forward to.

I work on a bunch of mandalas and doodles simultaneously. When I get to a stopping point on one, where I'm not sure how I want to proceed, I flip to another and see something I want to add. The brain continues to work when I am not drawing. Drawing detailed mandalas in 30 minute increments is less taxing on my arm, allows me to bring a fresh perspective each day and it makes me happy.

 handmade mandala

Don't psych yourself out with time requirements. Some forms of art are incompatible with jumping in for 30 minute increments but doodling, embroidery, sketching and knitting are examples of art you can do in an incremental fashion. Your art isn't timed. It's not the doodle olympics.

Do you accomplish your art or craft in little pockets of your days?

Join the Creative Experiments challenge! We are challenging ourselves to add creativity to our lives, one month at a time. Check out the creative experiments for ideas & inspiration.

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Reader Comments (8)

I ran into a mandala on a bathroom wall in Dar es Saalam and now I doodle them everywhere. They're just relaxing things to work on- lately I've been such a perfectionist as far as proportions and perspective and such in my drawing go that I haven't actually been able to draw anything (self-defeating much?). Mandalas allow me to let that go for a little while, and just get pencil to paper.

04.28.2009 | Unregistered CommenterCorvus

Corvus, I find mandalas a good way to de-stress. I cannot do much of anything symmetrically so I wind up doing asymmetrical stuff *on purpose* with no pressure to make things even. ~ Tammy

04.28.2009 | Registered Commentergypsy

Love your work - these mandalas are fab but how do you go about starting one? they look complicated

04.28.2009 | Unregistered CommenterLeanne Hurren

Leanne, Good question... I usually start from the center work outward, doing the outline first and details later. Try drawing simple mandalas to get used to the process. ~ Tammy

04.28.2009 | Registered Commentergypsy

Tammy; Amazing as always, I have been doing Zentangle work the last couple of days when I had time.
If you get a chance check out my blog and give me some feedback. I tried to go by your advice. I aspire to someday have one as awesome as yours

03.20.2010 | Unregistered Commentermartha

*Martha, I will stop by! I wanted to mention that these are not zentangles, but rather mandalas or doodles.

~ Tammy

03.20.2010 | Registered Commentergypsy

Hi, Tammy.

A friend of mine referred me to your blog after she found it on at (via Facebook). I'm a mum with a two year old and a new one due any minute, but I'm also an arty-crafty person who has found her creative time somewhat mangled over the last couple of years :D So I've been reading your blog with some serious interest and admiration for the time you manage to find to both create and maintain your blog.

I'm also very interested in the freedom you have in your artwork. The majority of my work has been large pieces that take forever to complete, something I no longer have time for, so I'm looking to free up my restricted skill and just create.

I'm fascinated by the concept of an art journal and have just bought some supplies that might be able to help me actually do something in that direction. I'm also a writer and have a freedom to scribble that I lack in my visual art. I'm searching for the freedom to doodle! And your blog is encouraging me.

Anyway, I blather. The main reason I'm commenting is to compliment you on these mandalas (a concept I had not really encountered until I started reading here a few months back). I love the intricacy of your designs and the purple, black and white are a lovely combination. And again, you have such freedom in your work, while I'm sitting here scared to put pen to paper in the fear I might waste the paper for the lack of an undo button :D

You've opened a path to expressive freedom for me, I just need to follow it...despite my timing which will see me with no time at all in the very near future as a newborn will land in my lap within the next week or so. But hey, there is no time like the present.


03.20.2010 | Unregistered CommenterGumnut

Beautiful work Tammy!!! I'm always amazed at the little details you put into these!

03.21.2010 | Unregistered CommenterEden

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