The Genesis Pattern

The Genesis Pattern, also known as the Seed of Life, has a very long history that dates back to the Egyptians. It's very appealing, indeed, and if you've got a pencil, a compass, some paper and the time then you can draw one yourself.

This tutorial will be completed with PaintShop Pro and the exact same steps can be used with Photoshop or any of the great vector programs, such as Adobe Illustrator and a really great free vector program called Inkscape.

At its most basic the Genesis Pattern is made up of seven equal sized circles.  One is in the middle and the other six all run through the exact centre of the inner circle.

There are other explanations of the Pattern and this is not the forum for an in-depth discussion.  If the subject is of interest to you then you will find more information here and here.

This is a Genesis Pattern.

It's a collection of six circles that are the same size all intersecting at one central point.

If you've got this far on the page then I expect you find this pattern as appealing and as beautiful as I do.  You can leave it as is on a white background or eliminate the white background and save the pattern as a png file and you can even color it any way you wish.

It's relatively easy to make one for yourself so let's get going with the steps.

Building the Genesis Pattern

Start off by creating a new document - mine was 3000 X 3000 pixels with a white background.

Turn on the Guides and Snap to Guides - View > Guides and View > Snap To Guides.  This will make it very easy to line up the circles so your the end result is neat and tidy.

With this initial set-up drag out a couple of Guides - one horizontal and one vertical.

Place them at the exact centre of the document, that is, at 1500 pixels.  Now you can start your Genesis Pattern in the exact centre of the page.

Drawing the First Circle

The first circle will be drawn with the ellipse tool that lives with Shape Tool (on my version of Paint Shop Pro X9, the Shape tool is the fourth tool from the bottom).

With the Ellipse tool selected go up to the Options Bar and set it as follows ...

Circle Pre-Set - creates a perfect circle.

Create on Vector - creates a new vector layer above the Background Layer and every circle you draw will be on that layer.

Line Style - sold and any line style will work.

Size - around 7 - 10 pixels works well.

The goal is to have circles with solid lines and no fill.

This is set-up in the Materials Palette by selecting Black as the Foreground Color and the Background Color is transparent.

To make the Background transparent click on the little circle on the bottom right of the Background color.

Now it's time to draw the first circle.

The first circle

With the Ellipse Tool selected and set-up as described earlier, place the cursor over the exact centre of the page (where your two guides cross), press and hold the Ctrl key and drag out circle.

Pressing and holding the Ctrl key forces the circle to be drawn from the centre.  Even on its own, the first circle looks great!

Now comes the fun part because now you get to draw draw six more circles and they've got to be placed exactly right - and this is how you do that.

The Second Circle

The Genesis Pattern, as mentioned earlier, is seven circles with one being in the centre and the other six arranged around it so that every one of the six circles passes through the exact centre of the middle circle.

With the Guide Lines still visible place your cursor where the vertical Guide Line passes through the top of the first circle.

Press and hold the Ctrl key and draw the circle until it passes through the exact centre of the first circle. Release the mouse button or lift your pen off of the tablet and your second circle is drawn.

It's easier to get the circle exactly where it needs to be if you zoom in so that the starting point and the centre of the first circle are visible on-screen.

This is how things look after the second circle is drawn.   It can be done one above the other as it is here or the second circle can be added to the left of right of the first circle.  It's two circles of the same size that's drawn drawn so that the centre of one circle lies on the diameter of the other.

These two circles are known as the Vesica Pescia and it has a long history in mysticism and religion.

The exact centre of the bounding box is where the the vertical guide and the first circle intersect.

Third Circle

Now for the third circle - and it's drawn from where the vertical guide and the bottom of the first circle intersect.

Place your cursor where the vertical line intersects the bottom of the initial circle, press and hold the Ctrl key and drag oug the circle until it touches the centre of the first circle.

It's easier to get the circle exactly where it needs to be if you zoom in so that the starting point and the centre of the first circle are visible on-screen.

Only four more to go and All of the starting points are easy to find.

Next Four Circles

Finished the Genesis Pattern is simple once you know where to start drawing the final four circles.

Be aware that the centre vertical guide was removed and four new guides were added.

The centre guide was removed because it caused some jumping about as the circle came close with Snap to Guides turned on in the View Menu.

The four new guides were added to provide a easy and convenient starting point for each of the new circles.  

Genesis Pattern - What's Next?

Add Color

This Genesis Pattern has one additional circle added - the thick outer circle.  It was drawn from the centre of the pattern with the CTRL key held down.

It is also 2 pixels thicker than the stroke width of the other circles.

Doesn't this look like a reasonable good start to a Mandala?

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