General Categories > Flourishing

Where to begin in flourishing?

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Despoina:
Hello everyone!

I am finally starting to have more consistency in my copperplate letterforms and I feel like it's time to start adding flourishes. Where should I begin? I have seen some flourishing workbooks for beginners, and some workshops also. Is it possible to learn flourishing only from workbooks?
Also, everything I have seen focuses on flourishing every letter. What about quotes? Is there a "tip" for those?

Thank you in advance!

Erica McPhee:
This is the ultimate calligraphy question is it not?  ;D I am working on a book on How to Flourish. But it wont be ready until (hopefully) the end of the year. But I can offer some tips in the meantime.

Flourishing is a lot like calligraphy in that just as each letter is made up of strokes, the flourishes are made up of repeatable strokes. Unlike a lot of lettering though, flourishing must be done with some speed and with your hand not resting on the table. You can however, rest your arm just below the elbow on the table to give some stability while you learn. This is the difference between finger movement, muscle movement (with your arm used for foundation), and whole arm movement (not touching the table and the motion comes from the shoulder).

I would recommend finding 2 or 3 flourishes that you admire, study them, and practice making them until you feel comfortable. Then start to incorporate them into your work. You will not want to flourish every letter. Typically, you would look for open white space in your piece or what you are lettering and then incorporate a flourish. This is most often at the end of a line or an ascender or descender.

There are a few good online classes for learning to flourish (notably Suzanne Cunningham or Schin Loong). The classes focus on teaching you various flourishes and how to incorporate them into your layout. I have not yet seen a class where the teacher specifically shows you the physics of flourishing. However, this is something I spend a great deal of time on in my book.

In terms of quotes or poems, the flourishes will be part of the overall composition or design. Again, you look for white spaces and where you can best add the flourish. Start small and then add on. Be sure it creates a cohesive composition. I caution against just throwing some flourishes in here or there. They should be a natural extension or embellishment of your letters.

Does that help?

Erica McPhee:
P.S. This was done 7 years ago but is a general idea of how to get started. Flourish Your ps,ds, &gs.

Despoina:
@Erica McPhee Thank you so much, that was very helpful! And what a great control you have on that video  :o
I checked on Suzanne's and Schin's classes, and Suzanne has one coming on October! I will try to participate on that. It will be a good start I think, to learn the basics (and something more :D) before diving in the workbooks. I will definitely have yours in mind also. Please do inform us when it will be available! :-* All the very best on that!  :-*

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