• Flourished Calligraphy Cornucopia Tutorial

    Today, we’re going to use our pointed pens to make something seasonal and special: a calligraphy cornucopia! This motif reflects the abundance and beauty of autumn and the Thanksgiving holiday.

    Flourished Calligraphy Cornucopia Tutorial

    Here in the US, cornucopias are associated with Thanksgiving because of the abundance that they represent. The horn-shaped baskets often hold harvest-related goods like wheat, fruits, and vegetables, which gracefully spill out of the cornucopia. For today’s tutorial, I decided to show you how to make a calligraphy cornucopia, which you can use to enhance envelopes, place cards, sketchbook pages, and more!

    1. Gather Your Supplies

    Before you get started, you’ll need to gather a few supplies:

    Supplies for Envelope Art | TPK
    This white mechanical pencil is from the TPK Supplies Shop, and the chocolate-colored envelope is from Cards & Pockets (affiliate link).

    2. Make a Calligraphy Cornucopia Draft

    I almost always start my projects with a pencil draft because they’re great insurance against mess-ups. To make this draft, start by using your white pencil to draw a fairly tight oval with a stem just to the right of the center of your envelope. The oval should be about 1.25″ (3.2 cm) in diameter.

    Pumpkin | The Postman's Knock

    Now, add curved lines and a curly vine to your circle as shown below.

    Congratulations! You’ve drawn a pumpkin.

    Now, draw a triangular collection of small circles to the right of your pumpkin to signify a grape bunch. Then, draw two leaves at the top of the bunch.


    Next, draw the cornucopia behind your pumpkin and grapes. To do that, start by making a semi-circle to the upper right of the fruits. Then, connect a long triangle to the semi-circle. The long triangle should curl at the end and reach upwards.

    Drawing a Calligraphy Cornucopia

    Now, make seven or so curved lines that hug the contours of the cornucopia. Then, draw three curved branches with leaves behind the pumpkin.

    Drawing a Calligraphy Cornucopia

    Once you’ve drawn the branches, make a series of flourishes (i.e. curly lines) to fill out the space.

    Drawing a Calligraphy Cornucopia

    Continue to draw branches and flourishes until you’re satisfied with the draft.

    Drawing a Calligraphy Cornucopia
    I added leaves to some of my flourishes, then I finished up with a few dots. Dots always add a festive feel to flourishes!

    3. Add White Ink

    Now, get out your white ink and Arabic gold watercolor and prepare both of them for use with water. (Not sure how to do that? Read the articles How to Use Bleed Proof White Calligraphy Ink and How to Write Gold Calligraphy With Finetec Watercolors. They’ll bring you up to speed!)

    Inks for Envelope Art
    It’s important to moisten your watercolor pan and your ink before use. Otherwise, your strokes will be translucent.

    Set your gold watercolor aside for now. Then, dip your nib in the white ink and trace over the pumpkin and the grapes with nice, smooth downstrokes.

    Adding White Ink to the Calligraphy Cornucopia
    I used a Brause EF66 nib and an oblique pen for this project.

    Now, use a light touch to add thin, curved lines to the pumpkin. Try to focus the lines along the top and the bottom of the pumpkin, and apply them sparingly to the middle. It’s also a good idea to add little dots to the left side of each grape to represent highlights.

    Adding White Ink to the Calligraphy Cornucopia
    Adding thin, curved lines to each section of the pumpkin helps to give your illustration some contour and dimension.

    Continue to draw over your draft lines until you’ve added white ink to everything but the dots and the cornucopia.

    Adding White Ink to the Calligraphy Cornucopia
    Remember to make thin upstrokes and thick downstrokes! Beautiful flourishes depend on stroke contrast.

    4. Add Gold Watercolor

    Now, use your gold watercolor and a dip pen to fill in the cornucopia with “phone cord” flourishes that face alternating directions. Try not to let the sections of flourishes touch. Maintaining clear segments will result in a clean, professional look. Once you’re finished filling in the calligraphy cornucopia, draw over the little dots with gold as well.

    Adding Gold
    If you’re not sure how to use your pointed pen with gold watercolor, read this article.

    5. Add the Finishing Touches

    Finish up by writing your recipient’s address on the left. I’d use a pretty calligraphy style like the Janet, which complements the cornucopia’s elegance. Making your own guidelines and slant lines will help you to produce polished calligraphy.

    Adding Finishing Touches to the Cornucopia Envelope

    When you’ve finished the address, add another flourish to fill in the space underneath the recipient’s zip code. Then, add more dots of gold to give the piece some cohesiveness. Wait for the inks to dry (overnight is safest, but I was okay with thirty minutes here in Colorado), then gently erase your pencil draft lines with a black eraser. Finally, add a postage stamps to the top of the envelope that feature autumn colors! To ensure safe passage in the mail, consider waterproofing the paper.

    Flourished Calligraphy Cornucopia Tutorial
    You can find tips for sourcing vintage stamps and making pretty postage collages in this article.

    6. Enjoy Your Calligraphy Cornucopia

    Once you’ve finished your calligraphy cornucopia, take a second to enjoy it! The combination of gold and white inks is just stunning, and I love the abundant look of the calligraphy flourishes — perfect for Thanksgiving.

    Flourished Calligraphy Cornucopia Tutorial

    Regardless of your dip pen skill level, I encourage you to give this tutorial a try! I suspect that you’ll surprise yourself — and I promise that your chances of success rise exponentially if you take the time to make a draft. Thanks so much for reading, and happy holidays!


    Lindsey's Signature | The Postman's Knock