• Making Fabulous Calligraphy Flourishes (Includes Free Worksheet)

    If you’re a bit flummoxed when it comes to calligraphy flourishes, this article has what you need: a free worksheet! You’ll also find several tips on how to make lovely, organic-looking strokes that will enhance any piece.

    Making Fabulous Calligraphy Flourishes (Includes Free Worksheet)

    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.

    Lee's Envelope
    While flourishes themselves should be looped, you can add the occasional small circle here or there to give your piece some “bling”. These flourishes are reinforced with gold, which is a technique I teach in the Intermediate Modern Calligraphy Online Course.

    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!

    Handmade Stationery Set Tutorial
    Calligraphy flourishing makes this handmade stationery stand out!

    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.

    Flourished Calligraphy Country or State Art Tutorial
    This flourished country artwork benefits from an initial pencil draft.

    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!

    Intermediate Course Worksheet
    Notice that the flourishes on the “C” and the “t”/”s” remain crisp and thin. This helps to give the word a light, delicate look. (This photo is of the Intermediate Modern Calligraphy Online Course worksheet.)

    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!

    20 "Real Life" Calligraphy Practice Projects
    This swan was created by following Schin Loong’s fabulous tutorial!

    Here are some projects to take on that will improve your flourishing:

    Free Calligraphy Flourishes Worksheet

    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!

    Free Calligraphy Flourishes Worksheet

    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!

    Free Calligraphy Flourishes Worksheet
    Be sure to print out this worksheet on a dip pen-friendly paper like 32# laserjet!

    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!

    Calligraphy Flourishes "Hello"

    Then, trace over your pencil lines with a dip pen.

    Calligraphy Flourishes "Hello"

    You can finish up by erasing your pencil lines and giving the piece a pop of color.

    Calligraphy Flourishes "Hello"


    Have Fun!

    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.

    Scribblers Envelope
    I love to practice my calligraphy flourishing on mail art. This fun piece features turquoise ink.

    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!


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