Calligraphy flourishes are basically elegant doodles. With just a few swoops and strokes, they can transform a piece of paper into an experience! Today, I’ll share some flourishing tips with you. Plus, you’ll find my favorite “mix and match” flourishes in a free worksheet.
1. Think in Ovals
Flourishes look best when they are presented as ovals rather than perfect circles. If your flourishes get too circular/loopy, they can seem a bit juvenile! Try to keep any loops fairly “squished” so they resemble ovals instead of perfect circles.
2. Take Frequent Breaks
You’ve probably noticed plenty of calligraphers flourishing on social media. In quick, sure movements, they fill up the paper with lovely strokes. In reality, it’s easiest for many of us to flourish if we go slow and take frequent breaks. Consider any juncture between lines as a great place to pick up your pen and compose yourself to continue flourishing!
3. Start With a Pencil Draft
Sometimes, a certain flourish shape seems like a great idea in theory. But, when you try it out, it doesn’t look nearly as good as you thought it would! That’s why it’s always best to make a pencil draft. Playing around with your flourishing ideas in pencil first will help you to make a cohesive, thoughtfully composed piece.
4. Don’t Make Every Downstroke Thick
When we first learn calligraphy, we try to make every upstroke thin and every downstroke thick. When you’re creating calligraphy flourishes, though, doing that can make a word look clunky. Feel free to skip applying pressure to some downstrokes to preserve a sense of delicateness!
5. Practice Enthusiastically
Many learners think that calligraphy flourishes are off-limits until you’ve reached a super advanced level. I heartily disagree! I hope that you try them out at whatever stage you’re at because they are so much fun. It’s okay if your work isn’t incredibly polished. It will get there with every new flourish that you write!
Here are some projects to take on that will improve your flourishing:
- Schin Loong’s Flourished Swan Envelope Tutorial
- Flourished Calligraphy Medallion Tutorial
- Simple Calligraphy Medallion Tutorial
- Flourished Calligraphy Country or State Art Tutorial
- “Flourish by Number” Bunny
I love filling up a page with calligraphy flourishes, and I often repeat the same types of flourishes with slight size variations. So, for today’s blog post, I made you a calligraphy flourishes worksheet that includes some of my favorite flourish shapes!
In the worksheet, you’ll find several examples of “mix and match” flourishes. In each line, observe the flourish on the left, take a look at instructional version of the flourish beside it, then trace over the gray version on the right. Use the remaining space on the right to practice the flourish as much as you can!
Once you’ve practiced all the flourishes, try the “Hello!” exercise at the bottom of page two. Fill up the rectangle around “Hello!” with some of the flourishes that appear in the worksheet. Remember to draft them out in pencil first!
Then, trace over your pencil lines with a dip pen.
You can finish up by erasing your pencil lines and giving the piece a pop of color.
Remember that your flourishing will improve with practice, so incorporate it into as many of your projects as you can! If you’re still feeling intimidated, check out the Intermediate Modern Calligraphy Online Course for an hour of flourish-focused video instruction and plenty of exercises.
I hope that this article encourages you to try out flourishing. It’s such a fun way to exercise your calligraphy skills and let yourself be playful! Thanks very much for reading, and enjoy the free worksheet!