How to Draw a Scroll

Scrolls are an ancient method for preserving writings. Scrolls predated books as we know them today. The word scroll is French in origin, also called a roll.

Bound books were not invented until the first century A.D., but quickly displaced the scroll as the primary writing medium. Even so, the scroll was used in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia well into the Middle Ages, often for official or legal documents.

In ancient times, scrolls consisted of long sheets of papyrus – a paper-like writing medium made from plants that grew along the Nile River – leather, linen cloth, vellum made from calfskin, or parchment, a writing material made from the skins of sheep or goats. The sheets would be glued together and then rolled around a stick.

Very long scrolls had a stick on each end, and these were rolled together towards the center. An example of a long scroll is the Dead Sea Scroll, discovered in 1947, which is 24 feet in length. Scrolls were often treated with cedar oil to discourage decay.

Today, scrolls are often used to symbolize biblical or medieval times. Academic diplomas are often rolled like scrolls to be presented during graduation ceremonies. These may be sealed shut with a ribbon, with a wax clay seal, or with another modern adhesive.

Interestingly, modern technology has given the word “scroll” a new meaning. Today we “scroll” through information when we use a computer mouse, touchpad, or touchscreen. Computer programs are also helping researchers to restore and read badly damaged ancient scrolls.

It was time-consuming to make and copy a scroll by hand, so unlike books today, few people owned scrolls. But now you can – would you like to draw a scroll? This simple, step-by-step drawing tutorial is here to help. You will be guided in drawing this object using simple lines and shapes. All you will need is a sheet of paper, a pencil, an eraser, and perhaps something with which to color.

If you liked this tutorial, see also the following drawing guides: Impossible Triangle, Rocks, and Feather.

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​Step by Step Instructions for Drawing​​​ a​ ​​​Scroll

How to Draw Scroll

1. ​​Begin by drawing two curved lines. Notice that the lines are closer together in the center, farther apart at the ends. This outlines the basic shape of the scroll.

2. ​Enclose one end of the scroll using an oval to connect the curved lines.

3. ​Enclose a curved rectangular shape within the body of the scroll. This forms the end of the rolled paper. Finish enclosing the scroll using a short, curved line.

4. ​​​​​​Draw an irregular, rounded shape on the top of the scroll. This forms the knot of the bow. Then, enclose a rounded triangular shape extending from the knot, overlapping the scroll. This represents one lobe of the bow.

5.​​ ​​​​Erase guide lines from the bow.

​6.​ ​​On the opposite side of the knot, enclose a teardrop shape by extending a curved line and doubling it back upon itself. Then, enclose the irregular shape of the ribbon around it.

​7. ​Extend a pair of curved lines from the knot and across the scroll, allowing them to diverge as they lengthen. Connect them at the end using a “V” shaped line, forming the ribbon. Extend another, similar pair of lines from behind the first ribbon. Enclose it with a “V” shaped line as well.

​8.​​​ ​​Erase the guide lines from the ribbons.

9.​​ ​​Enclose a curved triangle within the oval at the end of the scroll, indicating the end of the paper that is curled inside. Detail the bow by extending short, curved lines from the knot.

​10. ​​​​​ ​​​​​​​​Color your scroll.

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