colorful doodled mandala on paper

Easy Mandala Designs to Doodle (Plus a Free Download!)

Mandalas and doodling go hand in hand. While doodling can really be any little drawings you make – from cute doodles to mindless abstract shapes and lines – drawing mandalas can take your doodling to a whole new relaxing and satisfying level.

It is easy to start doodling mandalas, with the side benefit of giving you a simple beginning point, so you don’t have to stress about coming up with doodle ideas. You can just jump in and start drawing!

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How to Start a Mandala Drawing

As a very easy way to start mandalas, you can draw a simple circle or dot in the center of your page. This gives you a quick starting point to draw out from.

Alternatively, you can draw a bullseye shape, with concentric circles going out that you can just fill in with your doodles.

Use a pencil if you want, and go over your lines with ink later, or you can dive right in with pens and enjoy the meditative and mindful practice of mandala drawing.

intricate doodled mandala in a sketchbook with woman's hand coloring it in

What to doodle in the mandala

Start simple and fill your first mandala with basic lines, shapes, and doodles. As you work out from the center, just doodle what comes to mind, and don’t think too much about what the final result will look like. This can be super relaxing as you are staying present with what you are drawing, and not stressing about creating a gorgeous first mandala!

You can even draw a few small mandalas to get warmed up and when you look back at them, you will see which shapes you’ve drawn that you like the most.

Build up and save a repertoire of doodle shapes and patterns to add to future mandalas. You can keep a sketchbook of doodle ideas, print out a resource bank of ideas, and even look for design ideas when you’re out and about in the world and snap a photo. (You’ll start looking for mandala design ideas everywhere!)

As you continue drawing mandalas, you’ll get a better feel for how to structure the doodling process. It will feel more natural and instinctive how you want to let the mandala design flow out from center and form a cohesive design.

6 mandalas in rainbow colors to use as ideas for doodling

Mandala Designs to Doodle

Here are some easy mandala design ideas for you to play around with in your first mandalas. You may find that you enjoy one or more of these, and want to keep exploring them. Go with what feels the best as you are drawing, and keep experimenting and practicing!

  1. Simple Circle Mandala: Draw a circle in the center of your paper and then draw another circle around it (like a Target shape). Divide the outer circle into sections, then fill in each section with repeating doodles.
  2. Flower Petal Mandala: Draw a small circular flower in the center of your paper and then draw several petals around it. Add more petals around the outer edge of the circle, then fill in each petal with designs or patterns.
  3. Heart Mandala: Draw a heart shape in the center of your paper and then draw a circle around it. Add repeating patterns or designs within the circle. Keep with the heart theme, or let that doodle remain in the center of your mandala.
  4. Star Mandala: Draw a star shape in the center of your paper and then draw a circle around it. Divide the circle into sections, then fill in each section with designs or patterns. This is a fun way to keep your doodles geometric and less flowy if you want to explore this style.
  5. Spiral Mandala: Doodle a spiral shape in the center of your paper and then draw a circle around it. Add repeating patterns or designs within the spiral, then add more designs or patterns around the outer edge of the circle.
  6. Leaf Mandala: Draw a dot in the center of your paper and then doodle leaves around it, creating a circular pattern. You can keep adding leaves like they are on a vine, and draw patterne within the leaves, or keep them plain.
  7. Sunburst Mandala: Draw lines radiating out from the center of your paper and add shapes or patterns along each line. This is a fun twist on a traditional mandala and is fun to doodle a different pattern in each section, or alternate the same pattern.
  8. Dot Mandala: Draw a circle and then use dots to create different patterns within the circle. This makes mandala doodling extra meditative, and the dots are reminiscent of pointillism.

More posts you might like: cute, easy doodle ideas, must-have art journaling supplies

Doodle Pattern Ideas for your Mandalas

Want a cheat sheet with some pattern and doodle ideas? Sometimes it’s fun to just go at doodling without thinking too much, but other times you just want something in front of you to use for inspiration!

Click the image below to print out a sheet of pattern and shape ideas to use in your mandala drawings.

two printable pages of easy mandala designs to doodle - image showing the download

History of mandalas

If you are curious, mandalas originated in ancient India, and were originally used as spiritual and religious symbols in Hinduism and Buddhism. The word “mandala” is derived from the Sanskrit word “mandala,” which means “circle.”

Mandalas were traditionally used as a tool for meditation, with the circular shape representing the universe and the idea of wholeness and interconnectedness. In Hinduism, mandalas were often used in temple architecture and were associated with various deities. In Buddhism, mandalas were used to represent different aspects of enlightenment.

Mandalas also appeared in other cultures, such as in Native American and Celtic traditions, where they were used for healing and spiritual purposes.

Mandalas have exploded in popularity as a form to doodle as westerners are getting more into meditation and spiritual practices. Carl Jung, in the early 20th century introduced mandalas to his patients to help explore their inner worlds.

Mandala Drawing Supplies

I can’t help but include a list of my favorite drawing supplies here! If you are serious about doodling mandalas, you’ll eventually want to enhance your drawing practice by using top notch art materials. This will make all the difference in the world with how satisfying it is to draw your mandala, as well as how they turn out visually.

(Also see: my favorite art supplies and where to buy the best art supplies online.)

Paper – If you are keeping your mandala doodles in a sketchbook, pick one with thicker paper that can hold up to erasing, and whatever ink and potential paints you want to use. If you are just drawing simple mandalas with a pen, make sure the pages are thick enough so the ink doesn’t bleed through too badly to the other side.

As far as drawing paper goes, you can use a mixed media paper or even a card stock will work well for your drawings.

Pencils – I’ve written a whole post on the best drawing pencils for artists, but for these mandala doodles you can stick with a basic light pencil for sketching your initial designs. Something that will erase easily and not smudge all over your paper.

Erasers – A basic white drawing eraser is perfect here to quickly remove sketch lines. Any eraser you have will work fine, though!

Ink – Here’s where we get serious. πŸ™‚ A good set of drawing pens is essential if you will be doodling lots of mandalas. If you are just starting out and are a casual doodler, use any fine-tip pens you have: Sharpies are great, gel pens, even ball point pens are fine.

And finally, take your Mandala doodling further with these books!

Mandala Drawing Books

Thanks for sharing! 😍

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