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Trying to learn flourishing

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Ngaire_W:
As the title says, trying to learn how to flourish with a broad edged pen, specially Italic. One of my first attempts... not really happy with it but I wanted to post something!!

Would love tips and feedback so I can get better :)

Erica McPhee:
Hi! Flourishing is an advanced technique, but we all need to start somewhere in order to learn and make progress. When writing Italic, you put together a series of strokes in order to form the letters. The same is true for flourishing. Each flourish is a stroke that should mirror the letters.

The flourish should enhance the letter, not distract from it and should work as part of the overall composition. Take a look at the work of John Stevens . He is a master calligrapher and has some flawless examples of Italic flourishing.

You may want to avoid or somehow soften the transition into a flourish (like in the B). The sharpness in the change of direction interrupts the graceful curves of the Italic and the flourish. You have the right idea, though, in your H where the flourish is a natural extension of the letter. It's also good to see you working on composition.

Keep studying. Find flourishes that you like and try to make them. Keep practicing!  ;D

Ngaire_W:
Thanks Erica! :) I agree on the B. It's hard to know where to stick to a continuation of curves vs changing direction sharply (for example on the top of the A, I like it). Maybe I will get a feel for that as I go on! Am thinking of doing John Stevens' upcoming Italic class actually.

Ngaire_W:
These were also written without a plan :o Maybe I'll try again sketching it out in pencil first, just to see the difference.

Erica McPhee:
If you take John’s class, be prepared to be overwhelmed. There were many very seasoned calligraphers in there who felt challenged. But it is certainly learning from the best!  :D

I put together a little cheat sheet to demonstrate what I am talking about. Please forgive me as I am way out of practice and haven’t done Italic in some time.

The first is a drawing showing the “take-off” points for a flourish. Those are the natural starting points and keep the flow of the letter cohesive.
The second is to show the “flow” of Italic. It has a real rhythm to it. It is written with consistent strokes. And I suggest drawing a few guidelines when working on a composition. Nothing fancy, just something to keep you straight. Lastly, there are a few of the strokes to practice that you can elongate into flourishes.

Hope it helps!  :)
Hope it helps!

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