Thursday, September 20, 2007


awakeningAwakening - (Healing in Circles series) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2006

More than one person have asked me how I make my mandalas. It is no secret that I start with the templates offered at Komra Moriko wrote those tutorials quite a long time ago, and the way Photoshop is laid out is quite different now; but the concepts are still the same. If you have tried to use those templates and got lost in the tutorial and need some help, let me know.

Starting with a good photograph helps too. When I shoot photographs, I tend to look for flowers that are fleshy and reflect light well. The mandala above, made from a photograph of a rose,and the one yesterday, which was made from a photograph of a succulent, both have lots of substance. I also work with high resolution photographs (240 ppi) which means I duplicated the templates to 240 ppi as well.

My other secret? Lots and lots of practice. I have worked on my art at some point every day for the past two years. This means learning about making adjustments, selections, layers, different filters, blending modes and how they all work together. I would say of all the photoshop tools I use that blending modes is my favorite. I have found that the less "photoshoppy" an image looks, the more I like it. And I keep wondering. What would happen if? I remain willing to break my own rules of creation. And I keep learning and relearning.

And that's how I do it!


Irene said...

I just can't stand it when there is a new mandala! I think, "No, it isn't possible!" But it is! It is beautiful as usual. What you are saying is, that it takes a lot of practice and a lot of patience and a lot of talent, which you seem to have in abundance. Good for you. There need to be great artists among us. People we can look up to. That only makes me feel good!

Unknown said...

Hi Irene, I don't really think that talent is anything more than alot of applied practice.

Rima said...

breaking the rules is an excellent rule to live by - hehe

Bev said...

I am visiting your site today on Sweet Irene's recommendation. You seem to have inspired a lot of people whose blogs I read to make these lovely mandalas and I enjoy looking at them.

Bobbie said...

Sue, I love this mandala. The pinkness, smoothness and thickness just reaches out and grabs me!

I am trying to use the templates from , but get lost at times when my result doesn't go exactly per step, which is probably a version difference. But I hang in there and eventually get something that sort of looks right and too, I realize that I need practice, lots and lots of practice. Your talent amazes me and you are sure my mandala role model!

lebanesa said...

thanks for the encouragement Sue
This is lovely - I feel as Bobbie does.
I will make another attempt at some point and try and work out where exactly I fall apart and ask you. I think maybe you have pin-pointed it. I don't have the same names for things on my version - so it may be that I am missing steps.

dianeclancy said...

Hi Sue,

I have been trying to get to comment the last couple of days ... each time I go to the reader, I see this mandala and I am knocked off my feet - it is utterly amazing!!

The pinks and grays just grab me and keep me looking and looking - it is fantastic!!

I gotta go find your map too ..

I want to go read and download those templates to try .. I have a couple of them ... you are a great example with these.

~ Diane Clancy

Artists With Artitude said...

Flabbergasting! Even if I practice for a thousand years, I will never achieve your skill because beyond technique, you have the spirit and the vision to guide you....

Elena said...

hey i cant get into earthmandalas ... please some help.. all what i get is a presentention of komras mandalas