Designing the actual mandalas that go into books and products is the most fun and creative part of the whole publishing experience. How do I design the images that go into a book? It’s a multi-step process.
Here’s a base image that I downloaded from Pixabay – a free service that provides open source images. All of the images on Pixabay can be used for any project, whether personal or commercial. I selected this butterfly because a) butterflies are cool, and b) I liked the different line thicknesses and swirls in the design.
Next, I opened the butterfly in Scopeworks. This is a software program for Mac computers that turns images into kaleidoscopes.
Here’s a mandala that I created from the original butterfly image, using Scopeworks. Do you see the butterfly’s features in it?
Scopeworks is a beautiful kaleidoscope-making program that produces many different variations and versions of any one source image. What I like to do is play around with the different features (number of repetitions, angle, how much of the original image is sampled for the kaleidoscope) and then save as many possible mandalas as I can. After that, the very best mandalas can be edited in Photoshop for final selection in a coloring book.
Here are some other mandalas that I created out of the butterfly source image. It’s one of my favorites! As you can see, they look like members of a family. For that reason, I try to include only a few designs from each source image in any one book collection.
Anyone can go online and find images on Pixabay, and download Scopeworks, to start creating their own mandalas. I’ve taught my 6th grade students to do it and demonstrated the method to a live crowd at the local library’s coloring event. If you want to give it a shot, let me know! I’m working on a video to show how I work in more detail.
The great thing is, even if you and I start off with the same image, the odds are excellent that we’ll create very different works of art!