Adult coloring books are everywhere these days, but wouldn’t it be nice to be able to stay warm indoors and create your own?
In this tutorial, I will show you just how fun and easy it is to create a festive mandala coloring page in Adobe Illustrator. We will be using symbols, simple shapes, and a variety of tools and effects to create our coloring page.
Let’s get started.
1. Set Up the Document and Create the Guidelines
Open Adobe Illustrator and create a new Letter sized document. Make sure Align New Objects to Pixel Grid is not checked.
Go to Edit > Preferences > General, and make sure Scale Strokes and Effects is not checked. Turn on Smart Guides by going to View > Smart Guides (Control-U).
Using the Line Segment Tool (/), find the center of the page with the Smart Guide, hold down Shift, and pull a line straight down the center of the page. With the line segment still selected, double-click on the Rotate Tool (R) to bring up the dialogue box. Type 15 degrees into the Angle field and click Copy.
Press Control-D (this shortcut repeats the last transformation you made) 11 times to fill in the full circle.
Select the lines as shown in the image below, and Copy (Edit > Copy (Control-C)) and Paste (Edit > Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V)) them onto a new layer. Lock and hide this layer for now.
Select all the line segments on Layer 1, and go to View > Guides > Make Guides (Control-5) to convert the line segments to guidelines. Rename this layer Guides and lock it.
2. Create the Symbols and Move Them Into Place
Unlock and unhide Layer 2. With the Ellipse Tool (L), click on the point where all the guidelines meet in the middle of the page and hold down Shift and Alt to a circle that fills the page. Open the Pathfinder panel (Windows > Pathfinder), select everything on the layer and click Divide on the Pathfinder panel.
In the group that was created, find the two triangles in the same position as the ones in the image below and pull them out of the group layer stack. Delete the remaining shapes.
Select the triangle on the right side (the one on the center guideline) and Copy (Control-C) and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) on a new layer. Rename the layer with two triangles Double Slice and the layer with one triangle Single Slice.
Open the Symbols panel (Windows > Symbol) and with both of the triangles on the Double Slice layer selected, click New Symbol. Name the symbol Double Slice and click OK. Do the same with the triangle on the Single Slice layer, but this time name it Single Slice.
With both of the symbols selected (select everything on the Double Slice and Single Slice layers), double click on the Rotate Tool (R) to bring up the dialogue box. Change the angle to 180 degrees and click Copy.
With the two symbols still selected, use the guidelines to move them into place below the original symbols (as shown in the image below). You’ll want to zoom in so you can line them up perfectly on the guidelines.
Lock and hide the Double Slice layer. Select everything on the Single Slice layer, and double-click on the Rotate Tool (R) to open the dialogue box. This time enter an angle of 30 degrees and click Copy. Press Control-D four times to fill in the rest of the circle. Lock and hide this layer.
Unlock and unhide the Double Slice layer. Select both symbols and double click the Rotate Tool (R). Enter an angle of 60 degrees and click Copy. Press Control-D once to fill in the rest of the circle.
3. Create the Snowflake Center Piece
I will be using a Black 1 px stroke throughout the whole tutorial unless otherwise stated. All shapes have a White Fill.
We will be creating all of the elements of our mandala inside the Symbol Editor panel. To enter the Symbol Editor panel double-click on a portion of the symbol on the Artboard, not the Symbol Panel. Always click on the same piece of the symbol (I’m working on the top center symbol throughout the tutorial). Clicking on any other instance of the symbol will rotate it into the original symbol’s position, making it harder to work on. To exit the Symbol Editor panel, click on the arrow on the top left-hand side of the document.
Double-click on the top middle triangle on the Double Slice layer. From inside the Symbol Editor panel, delete the triangle shape as we no longer need it.
To create the snowflake, use the Rectangle Tool (M) to make a 3 x 50 px rectangle, and line it up on the center guideline. Use the Ellipse Tool (L) to create a 10 x 10 px circle, and line it up on the center guideline on top of the rectangle, overlapping it slightly. With the circle still selected, go up to Object > Path > Offset Path, and enter an Offset of -3 px to create a smaller circle inside the previously created circle.
Select everything and create a copy (Edit > Copy (Control-C), Edit > Paste (Control-V)). Select the copy of the rectangle and change the height to 25 px. Nudge it into place under the circle so there is a slight overlap between the two shapes.
Select the larger circle and the rectangle you just created and click Unite on the Pathfinder panel. Select this new shape and the smaller circle and click Minus Front on the Pathfinder panel. With this new shape still selected, use the Rotate Tool (R) to rotate it 30 degrees. Move it into place on the guideline as shown in the image below.
Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to create a 3 x 16 px rectangle and a 3 x 12 px rectangle. Rotate both of them 40 degrees using the Rotate Tool (R) and move them into place as shown in the image below. Select both new rectangles and double click on the Reflect Tool (O) to open the dialogue box. Select Axis > Vertical and click Copy. Use the Right Arrow key to nudge the reflected copy into place on the other side of the long rectangle.
Select all the rectangle shapes and the large circle and unite them by clicking Unite on the Pathfinder panel. Next, select the smaller inner circle and the shape you just made and click Subtract from Front. Your image should now look like the image below.
Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 30 x 30 px circle, and line it up so the center of the circle is exactly where all your guidelines meet in the middle of the page. Create a smaller circle inside this one by going to Object > Path > Offset Path and entering -3 px into the Offset field. Select the larger circle and both pieces of snowflake, and click Unite on the Pathfinder panel.
With the new compound shape still selected, use the Scissors Tool (C) to delete the parts of the circles that are outside the boundary of the Double Slice symbol, by clicking on the path where it crosses the guideline (refer to the image below). Give this shape a Fill of None. Do the same to the smaller inner circle.
Select all of these shapes and group them by going to Object > Group (Control-G). Exit Symbol Editing Mode by clicking the arrow at the top of the panel. As you can see, by setting up and rotating our Symbols in Step 2, we ensure that Illustrator automatically fills in the whole mandala for us.
4. How to Create the Mug of Hot Chocolate
Go back into the Symbol Editing panel by double clicking on the section of snowflake you were just working on.
To make the main part of the mug, use the Ellipse Tool (L) to create a 35 x 35 px circle, and line it up on the center guideline. With the Direct Selection Tool (A), move the bottom anchor point up 2 px by pushing the Up Arrow on your keyboard twice.
While holding down Alt, use the Eraser Tool (Shift-E) to erase the top portion of the circle, just above the anchor points.
With the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the top anchor point on either side of the half circle, hold down Shift and push the Up Arrow key once to move them up 10 px.
To make the base of the mug, use the Ellipse Tool (L) to create a 20 x 7 px ellipse. Move it behind the half circle by going to Object > Arrange > Send backwards (Control-