Join Von Glitschka for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a mandala ornament design, part of Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory.
(gears turning) - [Voiceover] Welcome to Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory. In this movie I'm going to go over creating a Mandala ornament. Now this is a mathematical based, geometric centric design, or based off of geometry that is. And math can be intimidating but it can lead to really cool artwork if you understand some basics. So I'm going to go over how I create ornaments like this and I'm going to show you an example of a simplified one first.
And that is based off of what I call a 1/8 drawing grid. All this is, is four simple squares stacked upon one another with an X drawn through. And it's this simple grid that I use to draw out over 700 ornaments for a book on ornaments that I did several years back. This shows the base refined drawing based off of this 1/8 drawing grid and you can see I've drawn out 1/8 of it here and it's on that principle that I've used to build just 1/8 of the design.
Once I have my design built, and this is just simply done with the anchor point tool, one point at a time. And once I have my black and white artwork I can simply clone this, Command + C, Command + F, use the Reflect tool, select the center point for the orientation and it can flip over as you see there. I can select these now, clone these, Command + C, Command + F, use the Reflect tool once again and flip these over. And once again, select everything, clone everything, Command + C, Command + F, use the Reflect tool once again to form the overall art needed to create the entire motif.
Now this is the principle I used to create all the ornaments like this for a book I did. And this shows a lot more ornaments from that book, and it's these principles that I want to use to create what's called a Mandala ornament. Now a Mandala ornament is a really beautiful design and it's derived from the Indian culture. I really love Bollywood movies. I enjoy watching those, but I really like and appreciate the artwork, the patterns and the motif's that you can find in the Indian culture, especially in their architecture.
This is an example of that context shown here and within culture they have a specific design, it's almost like a floral motif, and it's very circular in shape and centric. It radiates out and has all these wonderful design elements. But those design elements you can choose. It's all based off of, what we're going to create here that is, is all based off of a 1/16 drawing grid instead of a 1/8 drawing grid. And this one I added circular shapes that radiate out from the center to help us guide our drawing and our ideation of what we want to create before we actually create it in Illustrator.
And so that's what I've done here. You can print this grid out yourself and draw on it. That's what I've done here to draw out my design. 1/16 of the design that is. And you can see that right here. This is all I need to create. Think of it as a pizza with 16 slices. You only have to create one slice and then you can replicate that to create all the other pieces to form the whole pizza. That's the principle we're using here. It's all based off of math and it's all based off of simple vector building as shown here.
So this is the beginning, the genesis of building this shape. It's all based off of the mathematical idea that we're starting from a center point and it radi outs and kind of spreads out the further it gets away from the center point. This is the principle we're going to use. The first thing we're going to do is select this petal shape and we're going to go ahead and select these two circles. We're gonna clone them, Command + C, Command + F. We're going to create a new layer and we're going to move those to the new layer. We'll go ahead and name this layer Temp.
And I like to color my layer. I always use the same color, Medium Blue. You can use whatever color you want. That's just my preference. And we're going to turn that layer off. We'll come back to it later. The first thing we're going to do is we want to select this shape and we want to create an inset path on that so we'll go to Path, and we'll offset it. And minus five looks good. We can test it here. That looks good. We'll go Okay. And once we have that, now we can start shape building and shape building is just using existing shapes or using basic shapes to edit other shapes to create the final art that you need for your design.
That's all we're going to do here. We're going to take this petal shape, we're going to clone it, Command + C, Command + F, select this shape, use pathfinder and remove from shape to edit that. Now we'll take this same shape, we'll clone it again, Command + C, Command + F, we'll select the background of the petal and we'll go ahead and punch it through or remove from shape. And sometimes when you shape build like this you'll end up with little segments like this you don't need. Just delete them as you go. And now we have the top part is correct but we still have this shape we need to edit and for that we're going to select this circle, we're going to clone that, Command + C, Command + F, select this petal and then we're going to trim that using the pathfinder like that.
So that's how easy it goes to do this type of building. We'll select these petal shapes. We'll clone these, Command + C, Command + F, use the Reflect tool, find the orientation point of the center to flip those over to get the full petal. Now we're going to select these shapes, do the exact same thing by cloning it first, Command + C, Command + F, and then we'll use the Reflect tool. We'll find the part or the orientation point which is right here and we'll reflect those.
Now we'll clone this shape that's still selected, so Command + C, Command + F, and then we'll use the Reflect tool again to reflect the final petal shape like this. And so that's as easy as it goes. Now we're going to go to the layer we had turned off. So we're gonna turn this one off. And you can notice when I build a complex design like this I isolate certain things on certain layers because I don't need access to it all the time. So I'll turn this off. I'll focus on this part now.
On this part I wanted to take these circles and create basically a very thin doughnut. So this circle is on top of this circle. We'll select them. I'll Remove From Shape with pathfinder here and that ends up with a giant doughnut shape. If I colorize this you can see that that's all we have here. That's all I'm doing here. Now, I'm going to go ahead and leave it that color but we'll take this petal shape. We're going to use a throw away shape which is we're creating a shape for no other reason than to edit another shape.
So we're going to use a rectangle here, cut this one in half. Then we're going to use this doughnut shape with the other shape we cut in half and we'll intersect it using pathfinder. And we wend up with this little wedge shape. So why'd I do that? Well, let's go ahead and show you why. We'll turn on the layer underneath, because I want little segments to rotate around. You can see how I've roughly drawn it. Now, I'm going to take this shape that's highlighted and I'm going to clone it, Command + C, Command + F, use the Reflect tool, snap on the orientation point to reflect it.
Then we'll go ahead and take this same shape that we just reflected, we'll clone that again, and then I'll use the Reflect tool to reflect that. And we're going to do the process one more time. And we'll use the Reflect tool to reflect it over. And because it's built on the mathematical principle of everything going from the center out like this, means the math works out that I can simply keep doing that reflection all the way around to create everything I need.
But I don't need to do that. I only have to do 1/16 of it and I'll be able to do the rest as we progress forward. So we're going to go ahead and move these down to that layer and at this point we can get rid of the temp layer. So, what I want to do now is I want to move to the next section and the next section I want to focus on is this part. So let's zoom in so you can see what's going on. And you can see this part is almost like a floral motif and we want to go ahead and start building that.
So what I'm going to do is I'm going to go ahead and select this circular shape. And I cloned it, Command + C, Command + F, and I just make it larger. So this is the perfect center of this design. I can take these elements, clone them, Command + C, Command + F. Select this circle and now I can go over here to Rotate, double click on it, and then enter a rotation. So let's try 30 and go Preview.
You can see how it rotates over. That's what I want. So I'll click Okay. Now, I'm going to go ahead and select these and clone them, Command + C, Command + F, select the circle again and then I'll go to Rotate and we'll do it again. And you can see it moves the next one into the position we wanted. That's what I wanted, that's what I'm after. We want to select these first and we'll go ahead and clone these, and once again we'll go back to Reflect tool, find the center point and reflect these over to this side.
Then we can select all of these circular shapes, and unite them into one shape as shown there, and now we can go to Object, Path, Offset Path, and on this one probably want to do five still. Yeah, that looks good. We'll go Okay. And now, once we have that then we can select the other shapes that are already here, the circular shape. Select this shape we united and then we can trim it. Select this circular shape again.
So you can see I'm using the same shapes over and over again. So this process goes fast. You just have to take your time. It's not hard. You just have to pay attention to details so you can build easily as you go along. Now the next thing is these shapes right here and you can see in my design I had this kind of radiating circle and that's what I wanted to do. But as I was building the design I realized I needed another one. So I let the design guide me generally but I'll make decisions as I go along to make the process work better.
We're going to do a shape blend which is using this tool here and we're going to go ahead and double click into that tool. We're going to go to Specific Steps and in this case I think I want to have six steps. We'll click Okay. Then all you do with this tool selected is first click on the start point. We're going to start with this anchor point. We'll click there. And then we want it to end on this anchor point and we'll click there. And you can see how that blends those shapes. Now, in order to make it fully editable you'll have to go to Object, and you'll have to go to Expand, and Okay in order to get access or to select the other paths within it.
But that's how you create that. So we're going to go to the next part which is here. And you can see I used the same principle here. If we go into the Isolation mode as shown up here, I used that same wedge principle to create all of these that rotate around, and because it's based off of geometry, going from this center point radiating out those were easy to create. So I used the exact same methodology to create those. That wasn't hard at all. Now as I create all my content I have it organized on its own layer so when I get to the point where I have all the content needed, this shows you kind of what I end up with right here.
Most of this is in black and white. And this is when I start moving to black and white, and these are simple strokes of black with white fills and everything, if I go to Keyline View, you can see is registered underneath it. Actually, we can turn off our sketch layer here. And if I go back to Keyline View you can see that things are under other things but because they have fills you can't see the hidden content. That's what you want at this point to make it fully accessible. Now you can see, all I've done at this point with these, these are still the raw shapes I have that are simply just the magenta stroke no fill, and so I'll take these and I'll go ahead and use eye dropper and I'll sample one of those colors in order to get that the same way.
And this shows you all the basics I need to start creating my motif. So, when I saw creating my motif, what do I mean by that? Well I mean I have everything here now to build my design, to create my design, to start utilizing it. Notice I have this circle shape out here. This is going to assist in the process. Everything is based off of this center point. This shape I am going to use to rotate and to control my content. That's all that shape is for. I won't bother selecting any of the inner shapes.
I'm just going to focus on only selecting these shapes right here. So you can see those. And I'll go ahead and clone this, Command + C, Command + F. Then I'll select the circular shape and you can see if I hold Shift down it'll lock into 45 degree angles and because it's mathematically based it already is starting to create the full design. You can see how it's aligning those. Now the overlap isn't correct. That'll be the next thing I need to focus on.
So I'll select my art here and clone it, Command + C, Command + F, and then we'll select this circle and once again holding Shift down I'll go ahead and slide this over. We'll continue this process all the way around. Now, the next thing I'll want to do though is I'll want to select content like this here and I'll want to push this content backwards. So I'll go ahead copy that out and then I'm going to paste it behind this shape. So Command + B to paste behind the shape and you can see how it's starting to put it in the right hierarchy although this is still in the wrong one so we'll copy this.
We'll select this shape, we'll select this shape, and we'll select this shape and we're going to go paste behind. And this one we'll go backwards. And so you can see how now this is aligned the way it should be. It's looking the way it should be. We can go ahead and grab this one and push that one behind. And it's starting to, the hierarchy of this design is starting to look correct now. Now, we still have a problem here so we'll select these shapes like this.
And those will come to front. So that's all you have to do is you have to go through your design, push things back, bring things forward, in order to get the hierarchy right. So what you end up with is you end up with a design that looks like this. If I go to Keyline View it's still just these group elements that are overlapping one another and it looks like a mess in Keyline View, but right now it looks really nice. Now, what's going to improve this design is now going into it and figuring out balance of color.
Balance of black, balance of how thick lines can be, so on and so forth. This is where it gets very experimental. If I select this shape and I go fill, I want that area black. I'll select this one and I'll make this area black. I want to take this shape and make this area black. So it's making decisions like this. It's also determining not just what's black in a design. These will be black too so we'll go ahead and color those. But, how thick a line will be.
So if I select these strokes on these petal shapes right here I might want to have these strokes a lot thicker than the other strokes. So if I select the stroke palette here, right now they're .75. I'm going to make them three. And then I might have the strokes that are on these petals here, on the outside edge of these petals, I want these thicker. And right now they were the same 75. These I might want double that. And I'll make these decisions in order to improve characteristics of this design.
And you can see, just the thicker lines give it more character. Having black in there is nice. And these are the decisions I'll go through and make on the entire design. So what I end up with is something that's far more balanced like this. So if I toggle between this and this, you can see how much more dynamic this design is with thick's and thins and solid blacks in certain areas. Once I have that I can determine tonal family and then it just comes down to simple coloring.
This is why this kind of design motif is used a lot in coloring books, adult coloring books especially because it's ideal for a coloring book. It's kind of in that genre right now. So you can select something and you can fill it. Select something and fill it. You can do whatever color you want. It's really up to your prerogative. What you think's going to look good, what you think's going to work good and start coloring your design according to your, you know, your own sensibilities. What you think a cool coloring design is.
Now, it was at this point that I was going to color it but then I decided you know what, people like coloring books it seems like, especially now. So I gave this to my daughter and I said, hey, gave her a black and white print and said, hey you color it. And she did. This is exactly how her coloring came out. I ended up going in and coloring it digitally obviously to demonstrate it here. But this is how she colored it on a piece of paper. But it was black and I changed the black to this nice purple color because black is a little too stark.
I thought this was a little more artistic. Now this style in my opinion is pretty busy. So even though she loved this color, I kind of prefer it in a simple one color format. I think it looks really cool. Now, when I create this, once again if I go to Keyline View this is still just simple groups of shapes. If you want to use this to its fullest intent or potential that is, you'll want to build out these shapes. Meaning turning strokes to paths. And what I mean by that is if I turn this on, these look identical.
If I go to Keyline View, the one on the left is still simple stroke shapes that are grouped together and put behind one another to form the hierarchy that visually looks right but they're not built shapes. Even though they look the same they're not the same. If I zoom in on this one you can see everything's been built as its own shape. It's nothing but fills. There are no strokes. Even though it looks the same this is fill based, this is stroke and fill based. So if you want to use it to the fullest you're going to have to make the decision to create these outlines into, the strokes into actual outlines.
And the way you do that, you just select your shapes like these two inside ones are still paths, and we go to Object, we go to Path and you go Outline Stroke. and now I can select everything and I can go ahead and go to pathfinder and I can fuse it together into one cohesive shape. So if I ever wanted to change the color, let's say we'll change it to green. It's easy to do. It's just a one click, one color process and speaking of one color, my favorite usage for this type of design is one color.
I think it looks really great. I if I go to Keyline View you can see these are nothing, all these paths have been converted to outlines so it's very easy to use. So working on this type of artistic type motif is a fun creative exercise. I plan on doing more designs using this same process in the future. I encourage you to print out the drawing grid, the 1/16 drawing grid and design your own Mandala ornament you can build. Remember, practice doesn't make perfect, process does.
So use this process to explore your own creative possibilities. Thank you for watching DVG Lab, and until next time never stop drawing.
Skill Level Intermediate
Q: Why can't I earn a Certificate of Completion for this course?
A: We publish a new tutorial or tutorials for this course on a regular basis. We are unable to offer a Certificate of Completion because it is an ever-evolving course that is not designed to be completed. Check back often for new movies.