For part two of this exercise, I’ll show you how I shaded my mandala. If you’re going to try for very smooth looking shading like I used, it could take you a while. Try splitting it into a couple of sessions if you get fatigued, because there’s no reason to stress yourself when you’re practicing. Finding time for drawing is hard enough as it is!
This is an excellent draw-in-front-of-tv or couch-drawing exercise. My friend coined the phrase “couch-drawing,” which rolls off the tongue easier than the other, but both of them mean the same thing. This is a casual kind of drawing that lets you sit with the whole family or in front of the tv while you practice. It takes away the pressure of “I must draw perfectly” and it helps you find more drawing time too.
Shine A Light On Value
The darkest points in the gradations are supposed to be a No. 10 (darkest) on a value scale. All of the gradations merge into white (or No. 1 on the value scale) except for the mandala’s outer rim which only makes it about half way to white, or to a No. 5 value.
I didn’t start with the outer rim shapes, but I should have. If you shade those parts first, you’ll know what a 10 value and a 5 value look like on your paper using your hatching technique, and then you can relate the rest of the hatching to them. (In other words, it makes the rest of the shading easier.)
Hard Over Soft For Smooth Dark Hatching
You can make hatching look much smoother by going over it with a harder pencil lead. The harder pencil adds some value itself, but it also acts like a blender and pushes the softer lead into the grain of the paper more evenly making the value smooth looking and quite a bit darker.
The sharper the pencil points are, the darker the hatching will be.
You don’t have to use smooth shading on your mandala though. As long as you keep the shading consistent, even very rough hatching should look fine.
Here’s How I drew the gradation in the outer rim shapes:
Filled darkest part with softest pencil (4B) to nearly a 10 value.
Filled lightest part with a medium hard pencil (B) to about a 5 value.
Filled the middle part with the medium soft (2B) pencil.
Then I darkened and smoothed the shading with the hardest pencil (2H).
Remember: The trick to drawing the gradations in this mandala is to work each piece as if it’s part of a larger whole. For instance, the arced shading of the outer rim shapes are part of a larger circular gradation.
The gradation on the largest square was made with 4B, 2B, B, and 2H pencils.
I used the same technique but added the 2H to make the lightest part of the hatch.
Notice that the angles run horizontal to the edges and lighten as they near each one.
Here’s the hatch smoothed with harder leads (2H and B) hatched over softer leads.
To help see how the gradation on the leaves are angled to fit into a box shape, I drew the box for you here. I used 4B, 2B, B, and 2H pencils for this gradations, and used the 2H and B to smooth them.
The small boxes are tricky. Their gradations are arced, with the darkest point in the outer corner.
Since this gradation was short, I just used the 2B, B, and 2H pencils.
And here’s my fully shaded mandala.
Different Ideas To Try
You don’t have to use these exact values, or the same hatching technique, or even the same medium to shade this mandala if you don’t want too. Here are a few different ideas to experiment with.
- Pen and ink stippling or cross hatching.
- Pen and ink stippling with color washes.
- Colored pencils using colors of different values to create depth.
- This would make an interesting texture experiment too. You could make different textures with hard and soft pencils, see which texture stands out the most and the least, and then combine them in the way that creates the best illusion of depth.