Calligraphy flourishing is something that mystifies most people. It’s tough to figure out how not to overdo it (or underdo it!), and even harder to make flourishes that are tasteful and natural-looking. In today’s short tutorial, I’ll show you my technique for making flourishes that look polished every time.
1. Write Your Calligraphy — But Omit Some Strokes
First, write your calligraphy. As you write, be conscientious about not making descenders (strokes that dip down, like the loop on a “y”) for any of your letters. If you have letters with crosses, like “A”s or “t”s, refrain from crossing them just yet.
2. Make a Pencil Draft of Your Flourishes
There are plenty of talented calligraphers out there who can whip up random flourishes on a piece like this. Me? I can’t do that. I’m all about planning, and I want to see what it’s going to look like first! If you’re like me, then a pencil is going to be your secret calligraphy flourishing weapon.
Use your pencil to experiment with different flourishing patterns until the piece feels right. (If a certain flourish doesn’t look good, erase it!) Draw in the descenders and crosses that you skipped in step 1, and play with using them to fill in space. You can even connect some letters with your flourishes! For example, I connected the cross on the “x” and the descender of the “f” in the pencil draft above.
3. Use a Dip Pen to Trace Over Your Pencil Draft
Rotate your paper any way you need to in order to trace over the flourishes that you just made with your pencil. I’d start with the top flourish and work your way down in order to avoid smudging.
Continue to trace until you’re finished. Then, wait for your ink to dry, and erase any visible pencil lines.
Once you’ve erased your pencil lines, you’re finished! And that’s all there is to it … I didn’t describe this post as “simple” for nothing. 🙂
A Surprise Free Printable
Have you ever heard the phrase “I only open my mouth to exchange feet”? I grew up seeing it on a plaque on my great-grandmother’s wall. It was so appropriate for her! From childhood onward, she had a reputation of saying exactly what was on her mind without thinking about it. Nine times out of ten, whatever she blurted offended someone!
If you’re not a native English speaker, the phrase “I put my foot in my mouth” means you said something you shouldn’t have — like asking a woman when she’s due only to find out that she’s not pregnant! I have a bit of Great-Grandma Jean in me because I’m constantly putting my foot in my mouth. If you can relate, I made a simple 5″ x 7″ (127 mm x 178 mm) free printable out of today’s flourished calligraphy, which you can find by clicking here. Display it in a place that will make you happy!
1. Don’t Worry About Calligraphy Flourishing and Envelope Delivery
Sometimes, people worry that flourishes will confuse the automated machines at the post office. I promise that this isn’t a concern as long as you make sure your zip code is crystal clear. My advice: get creative with your flourishes, but go easy on them around the zip code!
2. Strive for Balance in Your Calligraphy Flourishes
The most appealing flourishes tend to maintain a balance. If you put a flourish at the top, put one at the bottom. Try to give your flourishes a sort of rhythm. For example, the top and bottom flourishes on the envelope below almost come together to make a loopy circle!
3. Flourishes Don’t Have to Connect to Letters
Don’t feel pressure to connect your flourishes directly to letters. Instead, you should feel free to write calligraphy as you normally would, then use flourishes to fill in the space around the calligraphy. (I’d still draw flourish pencil drafts, though!)
I know that this was a simple tutorial, but I still hope that you found it to be beneficial! As I mentioned, there are lots of ways to flourish — this is only one of the many techniques that you can use. It always works for me, so I wanted to share it with you!
Thanks very much for reading TPK, and have a wonderful weekend!