Last year, Molly Suber Thorpe wrote a guest tutorial here on the TPK blog. Afterwards, I resolved to send her a gracious thank you card, which I’ve been sitting on doing for five months. Yikes! Today, I made up my mind to create something that’s worthy of the artist who literally wrote the book on modern calligraphy. As I worked, I realized that you might like to make a similar card! Here are my instructions:
1. Gather Your Supplies
Here are the basic supplies that I used for this tutorial. Please feel free to tweak the list to suit what you’ve got on hand!
- Traceable Calligraphy Flourishes Template
- 5″ x 7″ (127 mm x 178 mm) piece of paper or blank card
- Brause EF66 nib in the pen of your choice (I prefer an oblique)
- Sumi or Ziller ink (I used sumi)
- Finetec Arabic Gold watercolor
- Tiny paintbrush (size 000)
When I first set out to write this tutorial, I intended to walk you through every flourish step by step. The more I drew, however, the more I realized that it’s probably just easier if you trace the flourishes! So, simply place your 5″ x 7″ card or paper over the traceable calligraphy flourishes template and put both papers on a light box. Then, use your dip pen and ink to trace over the flourishes that shine up through the paper.
The ink you use is up to you. I ultimately decided sumi would be best for this project because I love its jet black color and matte sheen!
3. Make a Pencil Draft Inside the Border
Once your flourished border has dried, use your pencil to make a draft of an embellished letter. I chose “M” for “Molly”. I recommend using a Janet Style calligraphy letter and adding some flourish to it! It’s okay if you have to erase several times to get the look you want.
4. Trace Over the Pencil Draft
Now, use your dip pen to trace over the pencil draft of your letter.
After you’ve finished tracing over the letter, reinforce your strokes to make the letter bold! This step is necessary to help the letter stand out from the ornate border.
5. Add Gold Dots
When the ink you used to draw the letter has dried, place your 5″ x 7″ paper over the template + a light box again. Then, use a size 000 paintbrush to trace over the middle flourishes with tiny dots of Finetec gold watercolor.
Once you’ve traced over the gold dots, you’re finished with the card!
I have a couple of things to note about this tutorial. First, there’s no need to feel bad about tracing! If you’re trying to improve your calligraphy flourishing skills, tracing a design like this will help you to get used to flourishing motifs and proper hand motions. Second, if you don’t have a light box, I highly recommend investing in one! I use it for tons of projects, including sketchbook pages, envelope art, and illuminated letters.
I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial and that it helps to boost your confidence with flourishing! If you have any questions, of course feel free to ask. And don’t forget to enter this month’s Finetec giveaway! Either Finetec palette will work beautifully for this particular project.
Thanks very much for reading, and enjoy your weekend!