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How to Draw Laurel Wreaths the Easy Way

Laurel wreaths are (one of) my recent drawing obsessions. Although I’m working my way through an art book, I keep coming back to laurels in my class notes and on the scrap pages in my notebook that I doodle on when a speaker is reviewing, answering questions, or telling stories.

Antlers and floral laurels on a practice page in a spiral-bound bullet journal.

In my doodle notes and bullet journal layouts, I freehand laurels to fit in the space allotted. However, when I’m brainstorming new laurels, like these pages, I generally start by penciling in 6 or 8 evenly spaced, equally sized circles very lightly on my page, then using the lower half of the circle to guide placement and spacing for my laurel wreaths. The pencil marks are easily erased completely after the inked laurels are dry.

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Laurels work great in bullet journals and sketch notes to frame quotes. They are also one of my favorite ways to address an envelope!

Laurels can be tough to freehand, but I have a solution, read on for my simple trick.

Hack for How to Draw Laurel Wreaths

Laurels are a frequent feature in my sketchnotes, graphic recording, and bullet journal layouts. In this post I show you one super easy trick to generate beautiful laurels time after time, with consistently even and balanced branches. This same method works for balancing the antler laurels described above.

In my pen case, I keep this template tucked into a back pocket. If I need to create two identical laurel wreaths or produce a laurel that’s more balanced than my random doodle is likely to be, I whip this template out and lightly trace around it on my paper- with the pencil I keep in my pen case art kit– before inking in the laurel branches on top of it.

A template for drawing floral laurels tucked into my pen case.

MAKE YOUR OWN by tracing a laurel you like, folding the piece of paper in half down the middle of your design, and cutting the shape out. It tucks neatly into my favorite pen case (shop for it here at Amazon). The template holds up to use best if you then transfer the shape to a heavier cardstock-type paper. Or just download, print, and cut out the free PDF template below.

If you’re not sure where to begin, try starting with a simple wreath shape. Then, start adding in your own details and embellishments. You can make your laurels as ornate or as simple as you like. After all, it’s your creation! 

A template for drawing floral laurels

Free Printable Template for Drawing Laurel Wreath Bullet Journal Accents: 

steps to drawing floral laurels in a bullet journal.

I love drawing laurel wreaths because they are so beautiful and classic. I love the way they look and how they can be used to decorate any page whether it’s pretty class notes or a bullet journal. I also love how easy they are to make.

Why we Draw Laurel Wreaths: a Long Tradition

A laurel wreath is a circular crown made of interlocking branches and leaves of the laurel tree. (Fun fact: a laurel tree is a bay laurel, and bay laurel is the source of the “bay leaf” that use used as a spice in cuisines around the world!)

Laurel wreaths have a long and venerable history, dating back to ancient Greece and Rome. In Greek mythology, the goddess Aphrodite and the god Apollo were both associated with the laurel tree. Laurels were also used to crown victors in the original Olympic Games.

In the Roman Empire, laurel wreaths were awarded to military commanders who had achieved a significant victory.

The wreaths were also used as a symbol of status and were often worn by Roman emperors. Laurel wreaths continued to be popular in the Middle Ages and Renaissance and were often used as a symbol of royalty. Today, laurel wreaths are still used as a symbol of victory or achievement. They are a popular motif in art and literature. If you study old bookplates or even 100-year-old graves, you’ll often see laurel wreaths used as part of the design.