• Floral Lace Illustration Tutorial

    The dip pen is well-known as an indispensable calligraphy tool … but it shines equally as bright when it comes to drawing! In this floral lace illustration tutorial, I’ll show you how to use your pen to make a stunning motif that’s equally at home on mail art or in sketchbooks.

    Floral Illustrated Lace Motif
    Follow the steps outlined in today’s tutorial, and you’ll be making your own gorgeous floral lace illustration in no time!

    Last weekend, I created an intricate and artistic botanical letter. Readers were intimidated to try making one themselves … until they saw the process broken down step-by-step! I’m proud to say that there are now TPK-inspired botanical letters blooming all over Instagram! If you break virtually anything down, it’s never as difficult as it seems. That’s precisely the case with today’s floral lace illustration tutorial! I’ll talk you through exactly how to make it, and pretty soon, no piece of paper will be safe from your impressive lace-drawing skills.

    1. Gather Your Supplies

    You can make your floral lace illustration on any paper surface that you choose. Today, I have decided to make some lacy envelope art — in colors that reflect the holiday season!

    Supplies for the floral lace illustration

    Here’s my exact supply list:

    2. Make a Draft

    If you learn one thing from the TPK blog, let it be this: a good draft always leads to stellar results! That’s why it’s best to put considerable effort into planning your floral lace illustration! To make your draft on a dark paper, you’ll need a white mechanical pencil.

    A. Draw Small Flowers

    Begin by drawing a small open circle in the vertical center of the envelope, 2.25″ (57 mm) from the left edge. Surround that open circle with five almond-shaped petals to make a flower. Then, draw five closed circles on a curve to the left of the flower, as shown below:

    Making a draft
    If you were to connect the solid circles around the middle flower, they would make a “C”.

    Next, draw four petals around one of your solid circles.

    Making a draft
    These new petals should be a bit smaller than the ones that you drew for the flower in the middle!

    Fill in the negative space between those petals with four smaller petals. Once you’ve done that, add a small line to the center of each petal.

    Transform the other four solid circles into flowers as well. Then, connect all of the flowers together with lines.

    Making a draft
    Each flower should connect to the flower beside it with a short line.

    Draw over the lines that you just made with tiny connected circles in horizontal rows of two or three.

    Making a draft
    These tiny circles represent lace stitches!

    B. Make Larger Botanical Elements

    Now, draw two large, curved leaves that connect to the flower that extends furthest to the left. Then, draw two curved lines. Finish up by making two more smaller curved leaves.

    Making a draft
    The petals and curved lines here should mirror each other!

    Now, draw flowers (with four pointy and slightly curved petals) on the ends of both of your curved lines.

    Making a draft

    Add a mustache-like shape to the end of one of your petals. Then, draw a small five-petaled flower between two of the petals of your large flower.

    Making a draft
    Remember that this is a mirrored pattern! Anything that you draw on the top, you’ll draw on the bottom as well.

    C. Draw Banners

    Next, draw a simple curved rectangle directly on top of the petal that’s furthest to the right. Once you’ve done that, draw a banner that sits on top of the rectangle and loops around.

    Making a draft
    Don’t forget to flip the envelope around and draw the same thing on the bottom flower!

    Now, draw another curved banner-like shape coming off of the banner that you just drew. This new banner should also curl up at the bottom!

    Working on the draft!
    Again, repeat this step on the bottom of your illustration as well!

    D. Connect Everything

    Lace would fall apart without its connecting stitches, so use your pencil to draw lines that connect all of the elements! It doesn’t really matter where you draw your lines as long as they’re consistent and symmetrical.

    Almost finished with the draft!
    You can make connector lines like mine, or you can experiment with your own connection pattern! Be sure to add some tiny rectangles to the bottoms of the petals on your large flowers.

    You’ll finish up your draft by drawing circle clusters over the connector lines that you just made.

    Making a draft
    Your draft is now ready for ink!

    3. Add Ink

    When I create illustrations, I normally opt to use the Nikko G nib because it’s got a medium flex to it. For this illustration, however, a nib with a ton of flexibility is good! You’ve got to have the capability to draw thick, dramatic strokes as well as almost-can’t-see-them thin strokes. That’s why I like to use the flexible Brause EF66 to draw lace! First, you’ll want to trace over all your draft lines (not your tiny circles) with confident, thick downstrokes.

    Adding Ink to the floral lace illustration
    I’m using an oblique pen to draw because it keeps my hand out of the way! You could just as easily use a straight pen. If you plan to use Bleed Proof White to complete this tutorial, don’t forget to dilute it (as per this article)!

    Once you’ve drawn over your lines with bold downstrokes, move on to your circle clusters. Apply very little pressure to your pen in order to create nice, delicate circles!

    You’ll finish up this step by filling in your large flowers with faint and uneven horizontal lines. Fill in your banners with a bit thicker vertical lines! Then, use a combination of circles and lines to fill up your leaves. Finally, fill in that very first flower you drew with delicate crisscrosses!

    4. Calligraph an Address

    If — like me — you’ve opted to incorporate your floral lace illustration into envelope art, you can use one of the Address Guidelines Template from Marvelous Mail to draw calligraphy guidelines!

    Drawing envelope guidelines
    The address I plan to write on this envelope has four lines, so I chose to use the Address Guidelines Template 2 from Marvelous Mail.

    Then, use the calligraphy style of your choice and white ink to write the recipient’s address.

    Calligraphy on the Floral Lace Illustration Mail Art
    I chose to use Janet Style calligraphy for this envelope art. Its elegance pairs perfectly with the floral lace! To ensure neat calligraphy, I used slant lines.

    5. Erase + Enjoy!

    Once your white ink has had some time to dry (at least 30 minutes), use a good eraser to get rid of all of your pencil lines. Your floral lace illustration is now finished and ready to delight!

    Floral Lace Illustration
    This mail art is destined for artist Phyllis Macaluso, who could whip up an envelope like this one in her sleep. Check out her Instagram for some amazing snail mail inspiration!

    I hope that this tutorial prompts you to try your hand at making your own eye-catching floral lace illustration! I promise: once you get started, you’ll realize it’s not nearly as involved as it looks. 🙂 If you have any questions or something to share, please feel free to contribute to the comments! It’s always a pleasure to hear from you.

    Thanks very much for reading, and have a fantastic and creative weekend!


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