Gratitude Mandala

I am back to drawing mandalas! It’s been a while. Usually I prefer freestyle mandalas but, on this occasion, I decided to bring along my compass and ruler for more precision and balance (I haven’t grabbed the protractor yet, but it’s coming soon…).

I feel grateful every day for so many things in my life and, once in a while, I like to say it out-loud in one form or another, another thing I’m grateful for.

gratitude mandala thumbn

Watch it on Youtube and Vimeo (free download)



  • a compass, a ruler, Derwent white rubber and graphite pencil (the cute pencil I am using in this tutorial has been crafted by my niece from France, Gabrielle)
  • a black Sharpie Ultra Fine Point pen (my new favourite to use on thicker paper)
  • Inktense pencils: 0710 Deep Rose, 1400 Apple Green, 1500 Field Green, 0200 Sun Yellow, 1210 Dark Aquamarine, 0250 Cadmium Orange and 0800 Violet
  • a medium Pentel waterbrush filled with clean water
  • Posca PC-3M paint pen in white
  • a heatgun



I started off by building my mandala template, first by creating concentric circles (not particularly evenly spaced but I wanted variety of size for my shapes). Then, I am drawing diagonal line the separate evenly spaced sections of my circles. These sections created will help me create the shape of my mandala. To get the sections even, I am measuring the distance between the 2 adjacent lines and make a mark in the middle with my pencil, as well as on the opposite section, and draw a line across connecting the 2 marks. I repeated this process with all my sections, to get a total of 16 “pie slices”.

Using my mandala template, I am building up each stage by creating shapes around each circle, carefully using my sections to ensure that my shapes, although not exactly identical, remain even on each circle. I am leaving one circle section blank – this is where I will write things I am grateful for. I am being very brave on that one, using my sharpie pen to create my shapes (no turning back as it’s permanent), forcing me, first to focus on my lines, and also to embrace any imperfections, and find solutions for the lines I’m not happy with. This is certainly the case when I created my outer hearts; one of them was not connecting to the previous one, and I created an extra line to make it connect. I obviously had to recreate the effect on all the other outer hearts but I really like it this way. This is not something I would have intuitively created but this extra line, born from a “mistake”, really gives those hearts more interest. As Bob Ross said, there are no mistakes, only little happy accidents. So true.

Once all my lines for my mandala were created, I erased my pencil lines and started colouring in my shapes. I used my beloved Inktense pencils and a waterbrush for this. I also used a heatgun to fully dry my project and moved on to creating some details, using my black Sharpie and a white paint pen.

I circled my mandala with some journaling and filled in my empty (but coloured) section with things I am grateful for.