Mandala Illustration



A mandala is an intricate, abstract design, usually in circular form. In this project, you will use your background of patterns, circles, measurement, and positive and negative space to create a fun mandala illustration.

If you prefer a shorter, printable version of this challenge be sure to check out the linked PDF in the Materials tab.


Materials (ruler, paper, protractor, compass, pen, pencil, eraser) sitting on a desk
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Ink pens/markers
  • Ruler (or any straightedge)
  • Drawing compass (OR tie one end of a piece of yarn to your pencil. Place one end of the yarn in the center of your circle and hold it with one hand. With your other hand, move the pencil in a circle. Shorten the length to create smaller circles. You can also trace coins, lids and jars!)
  • Protractor (OR use your straightedge and estimate your sections like you’re cutting a pizza; up and down, then diagonally across)

Project Steps

These steps guide you through creating your mandala illustration.

Step 1

Using your pen, make a small dot in the middle of your paper. This doesn’t have to be perfectly in the center but will serve as the anchor point for your compass. 

Compass and pencil drawing on a piece of paper

Step 2

Next, take your compass, and place the needle on the dot. Make several circles of different sizes by adjusting the hinge of your compass. All of your marks should be light, you’ll erase them later. The size of the circles is the designer’s choice.

  • If you don’t have a compass, use the yarn and pencil method
Several circles drawn on a paper with a compass

Step 3

Using your ruler, draw a line straight through your circles, using the dot you made as a guide.

Several circles drawn on a paper with a line drawn through

Step 4

Bring out your protractor! Align your tool on the horizontal line.

Determine how wide you want your sections to be. For example, for every 30 degrees, mark 0, 30, 60, 90, 120, 150, and 180.

  • If you don’t have a protractor, use your straightedge and estimate your sections like you’re cutting a pizza; up and down, then diagonally across.
Protractor placed on top of the circle drawings

Step 5

Using your ruler and pencil, draw lines to connect the marks to the center and extend to the other half of the circle.

Ruler placed on top of the circle drawing

Step 6

Using your pen or makers, begin marking in your Mandala map. You can start in any circle. The trick to keeping it balanced is that you count how many elements are in each divided section. Repeat that pattern all the way around!

Step 7

There are no rules! You don’t have to be an artist, any pattern works. Youth enjoy making cat, money, and car-themed mandalas.

A pen being used to fill in the lines between the circles

Step 8

Erase your pencil lines and share your mandala!

Discussion Questions

Here are discussion questions connected to this project. Try to research or figure out the answer yourself first. Click the arrow to reveal the answer!

What is the difference between organic and geometric shapes?
  • Organic shapes are irregular like paint splatter
  • Geometric shapes have uniform measurements. i.e. Circles, squares, triangles, etc.
What is the diameter of your circle?

Measure a line through the mandala’s center that meets the sides of the outer circle – this is your diameter.

Can you calculate the area of your mandala?

Area= Πr2

What is a pattern?

A pattern is a sequence in which the elements repeat in a predictable manner.

What does a 90-degree angle look like?

Two lines that form a right angle, such as the corner of a square.

How many degrees are in a circle?

There are 360 degrees in a circle.

What is the degree measure of a straight line?

A straight line measures 180 degrees.

Sharing Your Project

Once you’re done, you can share a picture of your project! This is completely optional. We’ll be using these photos to create a project gallery. If you’re interested, please fill out the following form and upload a photo of your completed project.

To share your project, head to and fill out the form!

Provide Some Feedback

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Here is a downloadable version of the activity. Please feel free to download and print this PDF!

Daily Prompt - Mandala Illustration