• Simple Calligraphy Flourishing Tutorial

    In this quick tutorial, I’ll show you my method for creating flourishes that look elegant and effortless! All you need to remember is that a pencil draft is your best friend. If you like the phrase that I flourished, you’re welcome to download it as a free printable! You can find the download link in…

    Simple Calligraphy Flourishing Tutorial | The Postman's Knock

    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.

    Simple Calligraphy Flourishing Tutorial | The Postman's Knock
    Notice that I included a straight descender on the “p” here. That was a choice I made knowing that I had plenty of other flourishing opportunities! Whether you omit the descender on a “p” or choose to make it straight like this one is up to you.

    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.

    Simple Calligraphy Flourishing Tutorial | The Postman's Knock
    Be sure to draw a pencil draft that’s much lighter than this one! I made my draft dark so you can see it in this photo, but the lighter your draft, the easier it will be to erase later.

    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.

    Simple Calligraphy Flourishing Tutorial | The Postman's Knock
    Feel free to rotate your paper however you need to in order to achieve the best writing position! I rotate my paper a lot as I trace over pencil flourishes.

    Continue to trace until you’re finished. Then, wait for your ink to dry, and erase any visible pencil lines.

    Simple Calligraphy Flourishing Tutorial | The Postman's Knock
    This flourished piece features Janet Style calligraphy and iron gall ink. I love flourishing with iron gall because it’s a thin ink that easily makes hairline strokes.

    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!

    Simple Calligraphy Flourishing Tutorial | The Postman's Knock
    I inherited this plaque from my great-grandmother … sometimes I can relate to it all too well!

    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!

    Flourishing Tips

    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!

    Flourished Envelope | The Postman's Knock
    This embellished Janet Style envelope still has a legible address and zip code, which are important for getting it to its destination. For more tips on making mailable envelopes, check out this article.

    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!

    Simple Calligraphy Flourishing Tutorial | The Postman's Knock
    I made pencil drafts of these flourishes before tracing over them. I’m telling you: pencil drafts are the key to polished and elegant calligraphy flourishing!

    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!)

    Circular DIY Christmas Card Tutorial | The Postman's Knock
    This Flourish Formal style envelope features a flourished holiday tree that fills in the negative space very nicely!

    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!


    Lindsey's Signature | The Postman's Knock