Chain reactions

3 May

“The mandala describes balance. This is so whatever the pictorial form.” ~ Stephen Gardiner

Designing and colouring in mandalas is a method often used to assist in meditation or contemplation. According to Wikipedia a mandala is “a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism, representing universe.”

I’ve never coloured in a mandala myself, but I did realise the other day that I do have my own version of ‘colouring a mandala’ that I use to relax.

When I was young an uncle or a family friend (I can’t remember exactly who it was) showed me a simple way of drawing two links of a chain using straight lines and squares. I’m not sure why, but I became obsessed with drawing this style of chain.

I soon realised that by expanding and joining the links to others I could create all sorts of different patterns and designs. The more complicated the better. I even purchased graph paper so I could make my drawings perfectly symmetrical.

Whenever I’ve needed to concentrate in a lecture or a meeting or whenever I want to take my mind off things, I often draw these chain links and shade them in. For me the process is relaxing as well as helping me focus.

If I don’t have something to keep me occupied I often find myself tuning out during lengthy presentations. Rather than being a distraction, sketching chains seems to quiet my superfluous thoughts and helps me concentrate on what’s being said.

It’s mindless and mindful all at the same time.

I thought it might be interesting to document the process of completing one of my chain link designs. The photos below demonstrate the progression from a bunch of (seemingly) random squares to finished product.


A bunch of random squares?


You may need to let bystanders know you are NOT drawing swastikas


Linking the chains or chaining the links


Shading in some horizontal-vertical definition


If you only colour in half you miss out on half the fun


A final outline to make the design ‘pop’


And because I love my highlighters why not throw in a splash of psychedelic colour at the last minute?

And there you have it. You can all go create your own designs now, or just shake your and head and think I have too much spare time on my hands.

And yes, if you know me well you’ll know that the extra blue line where I accidently overshot the mark is driving me crazy! If only I’d packed my white out as well as my highlighters.


2 Responses to “Chain reactions”

  1. Rosemarie May 4, 2013 at 7:51 am #

    Most definitely a mandala.

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