Video Tutorial: Mandala Love in Dip Pen & J. Herbin Ink

I continue to find mandalas intriguing and challenging, inspiring curiosity and creativity after drawing them for over 6 years. In every possible medium, in a zillion ways. Each mandala is started from scratch, usually with a simple circle. I've lost track of all of the variations and motifs and ideas pursued.

You can take the form or theme of a mandala in unlimited directions; it can also be used quite effectively to focus and to strategize as you add layers and lines and marks to the design.

So I challenge you to draw a mandala in ink, magic marker, pen, ink, crayon, watercolor, Neocolor, colored pencil... anything!

I’ve lost track of all of the variations and motifs and ideas pursued; a mandala can be simple and elegant or complex and multi-faceted. In my world of mandalas, anything goes! No need for symmetry or perfection or rulers.

99% of my drawings start directly in pen or ink, and that extra 1% in pencil. So for this mandala I used a pencil to first create a "secondary" mandala or maybe an echo that was almost the same as the ink version. My plan was for both the pencil and the ink to bleed but it turns out the pencil was not water-soluble!

The mandala is painted with a dip pen and J Herbin Perle Noire Ink, embellished with water and a tiny bit of gouache. The surface is an 8x8" Clairefontaine watercolor journal. This is one of my favorite inks - on some sites it is described as black but it absolutely has lush purple-blue-maroon undertones that cannot be missed. Definitely not a true black. It is a decadent ink, a luxury, and well worth the investment.

What is a dip pen? It's simply a nib-holder, usually plastic or wood, with a metal nib attached. You dip it in the ink and you are good to go!

Here's a video to show you how I created this mandala. 
Watch here or at Vimeo. {2 minutes, music but no words}


To draw this sort of playful mandala, draw a circle on your page. Keep going around and around until it looks fairly round. Then draw some sort of petals around the circle. Between those petals draw shapes or another petal of a different type. You can add patterns and details inside the petals and in between any of the shapes of your mandala. Add the same thing in symmetrical fashion, all the way around. Keep adding something around the circle until you don't wish to add anything else! If your circle is off-center, part of your mandala will be imaginary and be invisible {off the page} and that is completely fine.