Whether you’re flipping through the Pottery Barn catalog, browsing on Pinterest, or walking around your local arts and crafts store, you’re bound to see ampersand art. Ampersands have rocketed to popularity the past couple of years, ostensibly for two reasons: 1. They are beautiful, curvy letterforms, and 2. “&/And” represents togetherness, which makes ampersand art a meaningful piece of décor in a family home.
Today, I’ve got a quick tutorial for you that unifies ampersands with calligraphy to render ampersand art with a beautiful, personal touch! To start, you’ll need a piece of drawing paper that has been cut to 5″ x 7″ (127 mm x 178 mm). It’s important to use 70 lb. drawing paper or higher for this tutorial so your calligraphy ink doesn’t bleed!
Next, you’ll want to print off the ampersand art template, which you can download by clicking here. The template includes two different ampersands; that way, you can choose the one you like the best and use it.
I prefer the ampersand of the Constantia Bold font, so I used a light box and a pencil to trace that ampersand onto my 5″ x 7″ piece of paper. If you don’t have a light box, a well-lit window will work just as well! You can see how I use a window to trace graphics in the Easy Watercolor Art tutorial.
To get started, you’ll first choose a word that means something to you and the person or people who are included in your “&”. Then, choose a calligraphy or lettering style, and write the word you chose, starting where it says “START HERE” in the photo below. For a nice, fluid look, allow your lettering to follow the curve of the ampersand! I’m using Kaitlin Style calligraphy because I like its informality, but you could use any of the Learn for a Latté styles you like — including Hand-Lettering!
Continue to choose words, phrases, or titles that mean something to you and your “&” person or people, and snake up the ampersand outline.
Feel free to rotate the ampersand as you are writing in order to achieve a proper angle!
As you get to areas where your calligraphy will intersect calligraph you’ve already written, feel free to divide up words! You can see below that I have divided San/ Diego and New/ York in the photo below.
Once you’ve gone around your ampersand once with meaningful words/phrases, you’ll want to go back and fill in the empty spaces with more words.
The goal here is to fill up all the space in the ampersand outline so the piece is immediately identifiable as an ampersand once it’s finished!
You can see in the photo below that I still have some space there in the middle of the ampersand; if your ampersand also looks like this, feel free to add more words.
Filling in that negative space with more calligraphy makes a big difference! You can also add a few dots to spaces that are looking a little empty.
Once your calligraphy ink has dried, erase the pencil guidelines.
When the pencil outlines have been erased, you’ll be rewarded with a lovely piece of ampersand art that’s more meaningful than anything you could purchase in a store!
This ampersand art looks gorgeous in a frame, and serves as a reminder of the activities, memories, and special places you share with your “&” people! For that reason, I’m touting it as an awesome Valentine’s Day gift for anyone you want to show love and appreciation to, from your significant other to your parents! If you don’t want to frame the piece, you could always use this ampersand art concept on a card or gift tag.
I hope that you enjoyed today’s ampersand art tutorial; it’s short and sweet, which is perfect for mid-week! If you have any questions about how to create this artwork, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments! I’m always glad to answer. 🙂 In the meantime, enjoy the rest of your week, and we’ll reconvene on Friday!