Nov 02 2008

Mandala Color Wheel

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The following exercise gives students the opportunity to explore a 12-hue color wheel, combined with a gray scale of each color.  Through its radial repetition, the pattern for each of the segments becomes a mandala.  The idea for this color-pattern exercise came by way of a book that I own, titled “Drawing the Light From Within”, by Judith Cornell.  The sample image below was created by my student, Ann O’Keefe.

The first thing that the student will need to do is to create a pattern for one segment of the wheel. You will need a ruler, compass and protractor to create the 12 divisions for the circle (alternatively, you could try printing the image below, as a template, though you may need to enlarge it first).  If your circle is 10 inches in diameter, for instance, then each section is 5 inches long.

I suggest creating 7 sections for this design.  Keep the pattern simple.  The lines can be straight or curved.  You can draw them freehand, or use a ruler, compass or protractor.  If you make it too complex, you’ll regret it as you get into the exercise, as you will need to repeat this process 12 times!

Once you have traced your design into all 12 sections of the circle, begin painting from the outside-in, starting with the pure pigment and adding white to each section as you move inward.  It will be helpful to use a gray-scale to discern the steps of each segment.

6 color mandala

Here’s a simplified version of the above exercise, using only 6 colors:

Students divide their  circle into 6 equal sections. Create a design that has 1 shape for the pure color, 6 sections for tints, 6 sections for shades, and 1 section for a neutral gray. Each section is to be painted with the same values of each tint and shade.

Art Inspiration Articles:
View the index of all of my articles that are created specifically for class projects:

5 responses so far

5 Responses to “Mandala Color Wheel”

  1. Faye Pini says:

    I have just been reading the Judith Cornell book “Drawing the Light from Within” and am enjoying her approach to art.

    Like your site.

  2. Lois says:

    Thanks for all these tutorials. Nice

  3. medha says:

    very nice

  4. sheri hancock says:

    is it possible to buy the above “color wheel” as a print? i am looking for art for a salon studio and this is beautiful. would i have permission to enlarge it and hang on my wall? would the artist do a reproduction and sell it to me?

    sheri hancock

    • Robin says:

      Sorry I took so long to respond to this post, Sheri. You can make a copy from this post, but I’m not sure it will print well at this size. Sorry, but I cannot provide you with a larger file.

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