I’ve decided to give a step by step account of how I created my Fancy Snowflakes. I’ll be using my most recent snowflake mandala to explain the process.
How do I, and YOU, make something like this? What goes into it and what kind of planning do you have to think about?
So that’s the finished project above. Now check out below how to make something similar:
For the first step I used a couple templates I picked up at the local art store: a circle template and ellipses template. I find that this helps a lot at keeping each section as balanced and as symmetrical as I can get without doing exact measurements with a ruler (and who really wants to break out a ruler?).
A snowflake typically is six sided.
I made the center circle and then built up the six sides. To make the sides as symmetric as possible I drew the first ellipses and then the second was draw directly across from the first.
At this point it is a lot easier to measure with the eye where the other side ellipses go. I look for the middle point between the #1 and #2 ellipses that I just drew and from there I can figure out where the #3 and #4 ellipses go. Sometimes I will use a pencil to mark a dot where I think the starting point would be for the third and fourth and then I look at it and see if they seem evenly spaced. When the spacing looks right I will then use the template to draw the #3 and #4 ellipses and then from there repeat the same thing I did when I drew the #2 directly across from #1 ellipses.
Now comes the freehand. Now that you’ve got your basic six sided snowflake made you can start building up the sides. Start simple. Add a border around each ellipses. Before you add any other shapes or lines make sure you’ve completed the borders (or any other shape you’ve added). If you try to do one side completely and then move on to another you will be much more likely to forget just what you’ve done and how you did it.
Here I’ve added a border around each ellipses with a nice pointy tip at each end. Next I added those little triangles at the tips inside the border. Then I drew the curved lines inside at the base of each ellipses. I wanted a pinwheel effect so I’ve added a long curved line and a short curved line on opposite sides of each ellipse.
Remember what I said about completing each addition all the way around your snowflake before moving on? This is when things get complicated and the lines can start messing with your eyes and confusing them.
Keep building up interesting little details slowly so that you don’t loose your place.
Here you can see that things have grow considerably and I have added some swirly & curvy shapes to visually close up the outer circle of the snowflake. This helps to pull off the mandala look.
I have mostly worked on the space between the ellipses up to this point.
Next I’ve begun to work on the center and I’ve added some lines in that first border I drew around each ellipse.
Once you feel like you are happy with the snowflake design you’ve constructed you can then start filling in lines. You can do this along the way as you build up your snowflake but if you wait you can see the overall picture and you’ll have a better idea of how you want to do this step and you’ll probably achieve a much more balanced look.
After you have the basic color filled in where you want it you can just leave it OR you can add some shading here and there. I use a soft grey for this when I use any color.
Now, remember what I was saying about symmetry and completing each step as you build your snowflake? Check out this photo, it’s the same as above but I’ve only highlighted one portion of the design. This one section seems small, yes? Well, it is repeated 5 other times and makes up the entire snowflake.
At this point I liked how the snowflake looked so I added corner borders because the paper size I use is 5×7. If you use a paper size that is perfectly square you might not feel like doing this step, and that’s ok. Notice how I’ve pulled elements directly from the snowflake. Look at the image above, you can see which portion I used – the outer edge in between the ellipses segments.
And that is how I created this: