One of my favorite quotes around this time of year comes from Shakespeare’s Macbeth. In the play, three witches have just finished brewing a potion. One comments to the other two, “By the pricking of my thumbs/ Something wicked this way comes.” She means, essentially, that Macbeth is on his way, and she knows this because her thumbs are tingling. It’s a wonderful line: eerie, prophetic, and beautiful.
For this free worksheet, I chose to focus on the “By the pricking of my thumbs …” line for a simple reason: it’s almost Halloween! I think that writing this calligraphy is a fun way to get into the spirit while simultaneously practicing your flourishing and trying out some new letterforms.
How to Use the Worksheet
First, click here to download the worksheet for free. Then, print it out on a dip pen-friendly paper like 32# laserjet. Get out your favorite dip pen and nib combination (I used a Brause EF66 oblique pen + nib), and a nice, smooth ink like sumi. Then, when you’ve got a free hour or so, sit down to fill out the worksheet!
Filling out this worksheet will help you to practice new letterforms and calligraphy flourishes. You’ll start by tracing over arrows that show you exactly what direction to push or pull your pen.
Next, you’ll move on to tracing over two versions of the calligraphy that don’t have directional arrows.
Finally, you’ll try writing the calligraphy yourself on blank practice lines!
I hope that you enjoy filling out the worksheet as much as I enjoyed making it! If you feel confident about creating this calligraphy line, consider writing it on the front of a card for instant Halloween stationery. It’s a lovely way to convey holiday greetings!
A Note About Calligraphy Flourishing
Flourishing is an art, and there’s no right or wrong way to do it. You could write this same line from Macbeth with your own strokes and curves for a completely different effect! My top two tips for successful flourishing are to start with a pencil draft and take frequent breaks while writing.
For more information on flourishing, I recommend reading the Calligraphy Flourishing for Beginners + Free Worksheet article. For plenty of structured practice, consider enrolling in the Intermediate Modern Calligraphy Online Course! Thanks very much for reading, and have a wonderful time filling out the worksheet. Happy Halloween!