Author Topic: Trying to learn flourishing  (Read 1588 times)

Offline Ngaire_W

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Trying to learn flourishing
« on: March 21, 2021, 12:47:10 PM »
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 :)

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Trying to learn flourishing
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2021, 10:36:03 PM »
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
Truly, Erica
Lettering/Design Artist, Homeopath, Photographer, Mom, Wife
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Offline Ngaire_W

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Re: Trying to learn flourishing
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2021, 05:00:53 AM »
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.

Offline Ngaire_W

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Re: Trying to learn flourishing
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2021, 05:04:36 AM »
These were also written without a plan :o Maybe I'll try again sketching it out in pencil first, just to see the difference.

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Trying to learn flourishing
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2021, 02:41:43 PM »
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!
Truly, Erica
Lettering/Design Artist, Homeopath, Photographer, Mom, Wife
Dasherie Magazine | Paperwhite Studio | Instagram | Facebook

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Trying to learn flourishing
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2021, 02:43:38 PM »
Nice crooked lines I drew there.  :P
Truly, Erica
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Offline Ngaire_W

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Re: Trying to learn flourishing
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2021, 04:22:55 PM »
Erica, that is so lovely of you to draw some examples for me, thank you kindly! Have been trying to find a guide to 'take off' points for Italic flourishing, haven't yet found anything comprehensive. You are right, I should draw lines and not be lazy!!! I'll keep practising :)

Offline Ngaire_W

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Re: Trying to learn flourishing
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2021, 04:26:33 PM »
I ordered 'Calligraphic Flourishing' by William Hildebrandt recently so hopefully that will shed more light on typical 'take off' points and construction.

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Trying to learn flourishing
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2021, 12:43:32 PM »
Yes! That is the book where the concept comes from. Excellent book!  ;D
Truly, Erica
Lettering/Design Artist, Homeopath, Photographer, Mom, Wife
Dasherie Magazine | Paperwhite Studio | Instagram | Facebook

Offline K-2

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Re: Trying to learn flourishing
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2021, 04:04:05 PM »
A good start on Italics, @Ngaire_W!  Thank you for sharing!

If I may add a note to the excellent guidance and examples provided by @Erica McPhee -- Italic hands (both historic and modern) tend toward elegant minimalism.  The corsiva forms occupy a developmental stage on the way to Copperplate, which might make it tempting to try flourishing Italics in a way that you might be used to seeing in pointed-pen work.  However, as @Erica McPhee points out, most Italic flourishes merely extend the natural line of the letter itself, or add what we call a "swash" (which tends to project to the left of a straight-stemmed letterform).  Adding more complexity than that often spoils that elegant line.  Another way to think about flourishing Italics is to add weight to a line by placing a "diamond" at the midpoint.  Here's a quick little example of that - flourished as much as I'd ever flourish Italics, and still comparatively quite austere.  (sorry it's a bit messy - I dashed it off with a 2.5mm broad edge fountain pen made my Flourish Forum's own @darrin1200 - but it gives you the idea)

Features:
modern letterforms, based on late Renaissance Italics
x-height = 12.5mm; nib 2.5mm. (x-height is 5 times nib width)
diamonds add weight at the midline
flourishes on the q, k, and f extend the exit stroke
swash on the k projects to the left of the straight-stemmed letter

One more comment on Italics in general.  I noticed that the letters in your example look a bit "skinny" -- Like with other broad edge hands, getting the x-height to nib-width proportion really helps the look of the letterforms, emphasizing the distinction between the broad and thin portions of the forms.  For Italics, the x-height is classically either five or six times the nib-width.  So YES - absolutely use guidelines and measure them (or use one of the handy guideline generators, such as http://lanquach.com/); it will make your practice so much more productive as you solidify a feel for the proportions that will then help you sense where to flourish and where to hold off.

--yours, K

Offline Ngaire_W

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Re: Trying to learn flourishing
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2021, 05:16:16 PM »
Gorgeous example @K-2 , thank you for sharing, that's really sweet of you!
Yes, you are totally correct, I did draw these letters way bigger than they should be for this pen width. I just wanted to see how it went, just for the sake of it :/ One learning for me, if you are going to purposefully use a much larger x-height than typically needed for your nib, you really gotta have a smooth hand!! I've been practising regular italic minuscules over and over for a long time now and just wanted to break free and try something different!

Offline Ngaire_W

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Re: Trying to learn flourishing
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2021, 05:17:54 PM »
Yes! That is the book where the concept comes from. Excellent book!  ;D

Oh excellent! Now I can't wait even more until it arrives!!  :D

Offline InkyFingers

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Re: Trying to learn flourishing
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2021, 12:24:30 AM »
Thank you for reviving the italics in me  ;D

https://archive.org/details/gri_33125009318649/page/n45/mode/2up
https://archive.org/details/gri_33125008713881/page/n7/mode/2up

Palatino and Tagliente were my favorite teachers.  There Merchantile version is very flourished.

Have fun!

Offline Ngaire_W

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Re: Trying to learn flourishing
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2021, 05:26:56 AM »
Gorgeous @InkyFingers! I had seen examples of Tagliente before but not Palatino, thank you for sharing! It's hard to believe they did all of that with a broad-edge nib isn't it?

Offline Ngaire_W

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Re: Trying to learn flourishing
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2021, 05:31:11 AM »
So here's v2. This time I ruled lines (yes!) and sketched the letters before starting. Not a fan of the flourish on the 'A'. Like the 'F' although the flourish makes it looks more like an 'E'. Aye aye aye!
« Last Edit: March 24, 2021, 05:33:44 AM by Ngaire_W »