Rangoli means rows of colours, that all of us must be aware by now. Rangoli also invariably refers to designs without dots. However, kolam in Tamil Nadu usually refers to rangoli with dots. Since I am from Tamil Nadu I would like to draw designs with dots and without dots - four rangolis below that are without dots. It goes without saying that all designs that are drawn without dots can be drawn with dots and the same is true for the reverse case too. Theoretically it should be possible. It is easy for smaller patterns and it gets more and more difficult as the size of the rangoli increases. It also depends on the intricacy of the pattern. It is easier for less intricate patterns. For the more difficult ones one has to combine free hand designs to a dot template decided by us.

The first rangoli above has a simple free hand design at the centre extended on four sides. Four floral patterns are drawn, inclined at 45 degrees. This I feel will give a better appearance than when they are drawn perpendicular/parallel to the base. Fill with bright pink colours and that makes it very beautiful- can be drawn with dots. We have to adopt a 5 by 5 dot template. It has been posted in rangoli for Akshaya Tritiya.The second rangoli above is a very simple free hand design. As usual a simple pattern at the centre decorated with simple motifs on four sides and with very small flowers with four petals mounted on leaves or petals inclined to the base. This design can be drawn with a five dot template. It has been posted in rangoli with 5 dots .

The third one is an easy design that can be drawn in double quick time. Four lines intersecting at right angles are drawn around these simple patterns are drawn as shown. The design is then decorated with flower petal patterns on four sides. This design can also be drawn with dots. The dot pattern required in 7 by 7. A simple rangoli and hence posted under simple rangoli with dots.

The fourth rangoli above has a cenyral flower with four pink petals. Four butterflies are shown flying toward or on the flower. All drawn free hand. A beautiful design showing the beauty of nature. This rangoli can be drawn with dots. It has been posted in designs with 6 dots . Hence it is a 6 dot design and the dot template is 6 by 6. The video of the rangoli is given above. Please compare the designs with dots and free hand versions

Conclusion: Almost all (I say almost because I cannot with certainty say - all) rangolis with dots can be drawn free hand and those without dots can be converted into designs with dots. We have to spend some time to decide on the dot template required to convert a free hand design into one with dots. So far as the ones with dots are concerned, only flow of rangoli powder among the fingers matters to convert into a free hand design. Easier said than done. It may be difficult to get the exact symmetry in complicated dot designs when we try free hand.

1. Should we draw free hand rangoli or with dot patterns

Free hand rangoli designs are more suitable for curved patterns of different types , floral designs, petal designs and birds and so on. Rangoli with dots are usually more suitable for geometric patterns like triangles, squares, rectangles and rhombuses. Of these triangles and rhombuses, parallelograms are used quite a lot.

The bigger the dot pattern the more complicated the design becomes. So one needs practice to draw bigger designs without making mistakes because one mistake and the whole design can go wrong and we may have to redo part or a big part of the rangoli design. However as stated above, all smaller designs can be drawn free hand and with dots with some degree of similarity.

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