The Flourish Cloud:

Clouds to frame flourishes around words

When I first started writing, I was amazed at the beauty that could be achieved with flourishes, especially those that looked like a cloud of flourishes. Paul Antonio, the great teacher of calligraphy, calls them “Compound Ellipses”, which is a reasonable name. Personally, I like to call it “cloud technique” because the name already speaks about the overall visual appeal.

I discovered the work of Doyald Young and couldn’t take my eyes off his wonderful creations of letters and flourishes. Particularly the subtle and striking elegance he was able to convey with his flourishes. There were many other great artists who imitated his work and also caught my eye with their work. 

It looks like a cozy cushion

Often, flourishes will completely surround the letters. When done well, the flourishes almost look like a cushion or cloud surrounding the letters. This provides protection, but at the same time lends a fascinating lightness to the whole piece, which is really visually attractive.

'Celebration' drawn with flourishes around

So surrounding letters with flourishes in this way is what I would call a ‘cloud technique’ because it has this airy feeling and beauty. Much like the ever-changing shapes of clouds in the sky. So when I looked at these pieces, I asked myself: “How can I do this? I tried and failed many times. But I learned a lot by failing.

The perfect fusion

I want to share what I have learnt about these wonderful flourished creations so that you can benefit from them. It should be a kind of fusion of letters and flourishes to be seen as a whole work of art. This “cloud technique” is a testament to the effect that can be achieved when flourishes really complement the letters.

'Creative' flourished with cloud technique

When it becomes magic

Flourishes arranged with this technique embrace the fluidity of clouds, allowing shapes to blend seamlessly, creating dreamlike landscapes that seem to touch the depths of your soul, created with just a few strokes.

Letter D with cloudy flourishes surrounded

The essential ingredients

If you want to create such flourishes, there are a few ingredients you need to know before you get frustrated trying. First of all, if you draw or write this kind of work, you need to know the architecture of the letters and how to create them.

This is not an easy task and requires several years of experience. Then you need to know the basics of flourishes. You may already have experience with simple flourishes.

Word 'Different' flourished all around

Balance is key for a flourish cloud

Look closely at these pieces. What they all have in common is a detailed sense of balance within the flourishes and for the overall shape. To achieve this level of visual control, you have to master the basics of letters and flourishes.

In the end, the master does not have more fancy ideas or is more creative. Instead, they simply know more about the basics and are able to apply them in a fully respectable way.

Are you interested in learning how to flourish? Take a look at the Flourish Online Course.