Since the past year, I have been slowly but surely getting hooked to drawing zentangles. I’ve been an avid henna artist for years, slowly improving the stability of my squiggles on someone’s palm by constant practice. I guess this was a logical next step!
I thought of illustrating my blog pieces with zentangles and began this with a piece about deconstructing happiness.
It was a very basic zentangle of the word “happiness” surrounded by whorling designs, but it set me firmly on the path to exploring more and more.
I then began to write the Bhoomija story. It was a true story encompassing several parts and phases of life, and challenged all my creativity to come up with the right illustrations for each part. The zentangles just poured out of me, as did the emotions while I wrote and illustrated the parts of this story.
I never looked back after that.
My neice stayed with me most of last year and she is an amazing artist too. One of the things she was into is the art of drawing mandalas. I’ve been wanting to try one since then. I got the opportunity last month when I was on leave and with nothing much to do except challenge myself.
I was determined to make the most of my vacation and used the time to zentangle several more creations for my blog pieces. But at the back of my mind was this big challenge that I really wanted to take on. That of drawing a mandala from scratch.
While the origins of mandala drawing lie in deep spiritual manifestations in the Hindu, Buddhist and other traditions, today many artists like me draw the mandala just to depict circular geometric patterns that take precision and focus to draw and fill in.
Therefore, I expected my experience to be one of focus and attention to detail. Building key skills of concentration, balance, stability of my hands as I drew and then outlined and then filled in the pencil sketched mandala, finishing with colour pencils.
What I didn’t expect was to feel a connection with the universe and the cyclical patterns of the world we live in. As I drew, with full focus on precision of my circles, lines and shapes, I could see how bit by bit, it all fit, it all came together perfectly and in harmony.
Every circle told a story, every pattern weaved its own magic. When I began to fill in the colours, I saw how the combination of red, blue and yellow that I chose lifted the entire pattern to a whole new level.
Everything came together in a balanced way.
As I admired the results of my efforts with pride, a thought struck me. This must be how Mother Nature felt when she first weaved the world out of a multitude of shapes, colours, patterns, flora, fauna, everything in harmony, everything in balance.
As I closed my drawing book, satisfied with the outcome of my creative journey into the world of mandala drawing – I could only wonder when humanity as a whole would collectively realise this and begin the work of respectfully restoring balance in the world.
With many around the world in similar lock down situations, there is hope that more of us are pondering on these realities, and slowly a collective will develop which will be stronger than the forces that threaten to destroy the world.
It starts with a single thought.
Author’s Note – For those who would like to see all the zentangles I’ve done to date, here’s a video!