The Basics

Mandalas are everywhere!

It may have all started with the Buddhists, and they certainly are at the center of it all, but circular images are a deep part of every human psyche. MandalaMaker will help you to explore both mandalas and yourself.

The road to MandalaMaker mastery is not long or difficult, and once you get to know the program, creating images is both fun and intuitive. This orientation will help you to get the most out of the software.

Our Design Philosophy

In developing MandalaMaker it was our intent to build a powerful yet easy to use application for drawing radially symmetrical designs, both traditional and contemporary. We have tried to keep the interface as straightforward and intuitive as possible.

MandalaMaker is a vector based drawing application. This means that each shape that you draw maintains its identity and can be altered, moved or deleted at any time.

Manipulation of objects within a drawing may be done through simple slider and button controls on a handful of palettes and panels. This approach provides for accurate and predictable results. It is also possible to manipulate many object properties by dragging with the mouse directly on the image.

We receive feature requests regularly and we have incorporated many of them in version 3. We plan on implementing many more features as time goes on. Please feel free to let us know of things you would like to see included in the program, but we encourage you to explore what MandalaMaker CAN do rather than focusing on what you wish it could do.

We wrote MandalaMaker and work with it on a daily basis, yet we surprise ourselves regularly with new techniques and the unexpected consequences of combining them. The range of images and effects possible are truly staggering. We hope that you will enjoy exploring MandalaMaker as much as we do!

"Much of the beauty that arises in art comes from the struggle
an artist wages with his limited medium."

- Henri Matisse

Basic Elements

The Center

The essence of a mandala design is its organization around the center. In MandalaMaker, all drawing elements are created in reference to the center of the drawing, making it easy to create the radial symmetry required for mandalas.


The Shapes are an array of geometrical forms which comprise the structure of a MandalaMaker drawing. Each type of Shape has one or more attributes which can be adjusted to alter its appearance.

All Shapes have two aspects which can be painted independently: the Line, which is the outline of the shape, and the Fill, which is the interior area of the Shape.

You can learn all about MandalaMaker Shapes in the Working with Shapes section.


If Shapes are the bones of a MandalaMaker drawing, then Paints are the flesh and blood. Paints are the colors with which shapes are painted. Paints can be opaque or can have various levels of transparency. They may be flat, overall colors or they may be gradients, which subtly blend two colors either radially or linearly. To find out all about Paints read the Working with Paints section.


The Image Effect allows you to import images from your file system and incorporate them into your mandalas. Images can be manipulated in various ways and the result can be used to fill a Shape. To learn more about working with images see the Working with Images section.


Text elements can be added to MandalaMaker drawings. Text can be styled using fonts available on the host system. Text can be filled and/or stroked with Paints. Learn more about text in Working with Text section.

The Canvas

The Canvas is the on-screen representation of your mandala. The Canvas also allows you to interact directly with drawing elements. You can select Shapes by clicking on them in the Canvas, and when a Shape is selected you can alter some of its attributes by dragging the Shape's selection handles.

The Palettes

MandalaMaker has a number of tool palettes which give you control over various aspects of your drawing:

See the Application Window section for the locations of the various palettes.

How to Draw with MandalaMaker

Drawing a mandala with MandalaMaker is basically a process of adding shapes to the Canvas and adjusting them until the mandala is finished to your satisfaction. The basic steps of drawing with MandalaMaker are as follows:

  1. Launch the program

  2. Press the Create a New Mandala button - a new blank Canvas appears

  3. Choose a Shape from the Shape Popup Menu of the Shape Palette

  4. Click the New Shape Button - the new Shape appears on the Canvas

  5. Using the sliders and other controls or by dragging the shape's selection handles, manipulate the various attributes of the shape until you like how it looks

  6. (optional) If you desire, add an effect to the Shape by clicking the check box on one of the Effects Palettes (Transform Palette or Image Palette) and adjust the effect using the Palette's controls

  7. Deselect the Shape (Choose Deselect from the Edit Menu, click the Deselect button on the Task Bar or click in the background of the Canvas)

  8. Go to step 3 - repeat until you decide the image is complete

  9. Save, Print or Export your image if desired (remember - the Tibetan Buddhists sweep away their sand mandalas once completed)

Of course, there are lots of options, nuances and details that you'll learn about in the rest of this manual, but that's essentially all there is to it!

"I've always been fascinated with the idea that complexity can come out of such simplicity."

- Will Wright

Important and Useful Points