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Blog . Make My Mandala


Make My Mandala

09/22/14  |  Posted by  |  Posted in Digital Creativity

I used Adobe Illustrator to make a colorful mandala to use in a longboard design. I like that the mandala is representative of individual expression and unification at the same time, a fitting description of how I feel when I take a ride on my longboard. It's freeing to surrender to the way the earth is formed and flow with it rather than against it, or you could end up with a pretty mean battle scar. I like the risk of falling. Stepping on the board is an expression of no fear coupled with strength.

A mandala is an amazing map of geometry. What looks like hours of work, is actually mathematics. I did pretty well in my high school math classes and I always find places in my career as an artist where I am grateful for the knowledge. My design started with a perfect circle using the ellipse tool. Holding down shift while dragging will create a proportional circle. I used the line tool to dissect my circle into eight equal parts. Holding down shift while dragging with the line tool will give straight lines that snap to increments of 45 degrees. I deleted all line segments until I was left with one slice of the circle.

In my pie slice, I used the line tool to create fragmented shapes. This was the most exciting part of my design process. There's no way of knowing what the mandala will look like until I rotate the slice. I used the paint bucket tool to block in color. This created a challenge for me in some areas of my design. If there are gaps where the lines aren't flush with each other, the paint bucket tool will not recognize the shapes as separate. It is possible to change gap options by clicking Object > Live Paint > Gap Options.

With my slice decked out in bright colors, I was ready to rotate. I selected everything and grouped it to move as a unit. I rotated each piece at increments of 45 degrees, making a copy each time. I overlayed my finished mandala on a wood texture to simulate what it would look like on a board. I was a bit skeptical blocking out large negative spaces, but it gave it a pinwheel look which I love. The ray patterns fold in and out of each other, almost like stained glass. Now I just have to find a longboard company to invest in my design...

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Sculpture + Expanded Media major David K. Ross will participate virtually in an emerging artist discussion this week during SculptureX! Learn more about his involvement in the symposium, his artistic practice and why he chose to study at CIA.

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