General Categories > Flourishing

Constructing Flourishes on Lettering

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Erica McPhee:
@Cyril Jayant  has asked for a few examples of how to use some flourishes and so I was practicing today and did these examples. These are slightly different from the ones @Ken Fraser posted here .

I like to keep my shades on downward strokes rather than fill them in as I almost always mess them up if I try to add them after.

A few pointers:

* Let the direction of the letter dictate the flourish you use.
* Keep the shapes of the flourish as oval as you can.
* Use whole arm movement.
* Decide if you want to do an over loop or under loop before starting.
* Trace the shape of the flourish above the paper before putting nib to paper.
* Develop a happy medium between speed and intention.
* Use a primary shade, secondary, and even tertiary shade to add balance and interest.
* End your flourish with intention, don’t just let it fly off the pen.
I did the Darby one first, white ink on black and included one on white paper without lines so you can see the flourish better. On this version, the main flourish comes down and to the right. On the Cyril, the flourish comes down and to the left.

These were done with a Zebra G.

@Erica McPhee:

While I’m still very much challenged just by writing with a pointed pen, I do enjoy playing with various flourish patterns as a break from my drills and basic script practice. Hoping this play may help get me closer to some nice flourishes when the time comes that the handwriting gets to be more natural.  So far with flourishing I’ve only attempted, without any proper instruction, simply duplicating the shapes of ones that appeal to me.  I like the tips and the fun shapes you’ve shared – they make sense even at my rudimentary level, so thanks!

Erica McPhee:
@Zivio I’m so glad you find the information helpful. These are fairly complex flourishes as well (in my mind). Duplicating what you see is the best way to make progress rather than trying to come up with a unique flourish on your own. The majority of good flourishing I see is made up of the same strokes over and over in a consistent pattern.  :)

Cyril Jayant:
@Erica McPhee
Thank you Erica !!

This is fantastic and it is very helpful  for me and of course I have to work very harder to get to this level. But I am doing well. I am on to the daily routine to keep to more drills and practice.
I have here some of my writings from my crappy folder.

@Cyril Jayant   Thank you for sharing examples of your practice --  it is not “crappy!”  Today it really inspired me to remember that everyone must dedicate time and effort to their practice.  As a beginner, I have often become frustrated by my lack of progress.  It is especially difficult when seeing beautiful writing on this forum and “perfect” exemplars in instruction books to feel like maybe I am somehow just not “cut out” for this.

I have seen many of your previous posts where you have mentioned hard work, long process or slow progress.  But then you have such a GREAT ATTITUDE about not giving up and being enthusiastic even after falling down!  Your positivity is admirable and just what I needed today to keep up the good fight.   

I sincerely appreciate your contributions to this forum!

With gratitude and thanks,


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