Flourishes and Vectors:

Flourishes from sketch to vector

Visualise your flourishes with Vectors

Flourishes and vectors are not naturally related, because beautiful curves is an analog work. Vectors are digital handles in software. Bringing these two elements together, can be a powerful connection.

Decorative flourishes and ornamental designs are captivating embellishments. They elevate the aesthetics of typography, logos, and an array of visual projects. However, the potential of hand-drawn flourishes often becomes constrained when further applications are considered. Diverse printing sizes, digital utilization, and the incorporation of color palettes can’t be adjusted afterwards. 

Impeccable sharpness

In contrast, vectorized flourishes offer a remarkable solution maintaining impeccable sharpness, regardless of size they provide the flexibility to refine intricate details and elevate artistic quality. The benefits of vectorization for your flourishes are abundant.

Fine flourishes from sketch to vector

Below, we’ll explore several methods for effectively vectorizing your flourishes, unlocking their full potential and expanding their utility.

You’ll need vector graphic software like (Adobe Illustrator, Affinity, Inkscape or Vectornator (Procreate))

Advantages of Flourishes and Vectors

• Impeccable sharpness
• Scalable to any size without loss of quality
• Every detail can be optimised
• Any single element can be extracted for another use.
• Any modification possible for other purposes (colour/form)


How to create vector flourishes

1. Sketch out a rough idea of what you want your flourish to look like, moreover to give a clear vision and direction for your design.

2. Do your refined sketch (T-Sketch)

3. Open your vector graphics software and create a new document. Set the canvas size to match the project you’re working on. Import your sketch and lock it on a seperate layer so that you can focus just on your flourishes.

4.1. Shape your creation with the Pen tool, envelop your flourishes (and letters) with vectors, strategically minimizing the placement of anchor points. Identify angles and the utmost outer points to serve as anchor points. It enhances your command over vectors when modifications, adjustments, or reconfigurations are necessary.

Capital T with vector handles

Consider the thickness of strokes

The essence of flourishes frequently resides in their elegant and flowing lines, subsequently you have the liberty to smoothen corners, refine curves, and meticulously tweak shapes until they seamlessly align with your initial sketch.

Employ the Pen tool for cases where your flourishes and letters possess considerable thickness. This avoids the potential exhaustiveness of surrounding exceedingly thin strokes, ensuring a smoother process for further adjustments.

Vector handles on bigger letter shapes

4.2. Use the Pen tool with the Width tool to accelerate your process, because you don’t need to surround every form setting anchor points. You just follow the form of your letter or flourish with one stroke and anchor points. Other positions of your anchor points should be the same, using rectangles and extreme outer points.

Vectors, Pen tool and Width tool

After tracing all the necessary letters and flourishes, it’s time to refine and enhance the curves for a polished result. The moment you’ve meticulously positioned all elements, basically you can introduce thicker strokes using the width tool. Double-click on the desired sections while utilizing the width tool, it opens a window where you can input precise width values.

Alternatively, you can employ an intuitive approach: click on the stroke, hold, and effortlessly stretch the boundaries to your preferred width, guided by your visual sense.

Width tool in Illustrator

Width tool is versatile

A remarkable aspect of the width tool lies in its versatility, because you have the freedom to adjust the broader sections along the stroke until the next width tool point is reached. You still can modify the width at any point, whereas the vectors remain unaffected by the width tool points. If you ever need to remove a width tool point, a simple double-click followed by selecting “delete” accomplishes the task.

This width tool offers unparalleled convenience as it empowers you to make adjustments without sacrificing any elements. Personally, I find immense value in this tool due to its capacity to grant me unparalleled flexibility in maneuvering my flourishes. Although it’s worth noting that the tool can occasionally exhibit minor glitches :).

Subtle strokes are ideal to handle with the width tool

Tip: After crafting an exquisite letter or flourish shape, at this point leverage the software’s capabilities to duplicate or mirror these creations. It saves time and establishes a foundation for generating additional elements within your design, even if they aren’t employed in an entirely identical manner. 

Using a pixel based software

4.3. If vectors are unnecessary for your purpose, and you simply aim to preserve or print your work, capturing a photograph suffices. I suggest employing Photoshop to refine your work. Within this software, you are able to adjust your photograph, enhance contrast, and introduce additional light to optimize it for printing preparations.

5. Fine tuning: Experiment with different stroke weights and colors to achieve the desired visual effect. Continuously adjust and refine your design, furthermore zoom in to work on intricate details and make sure everything looks balanced and aesthetically pleasing.

6. Save and Export: If you’re satisfied with your vector flourish, save your work in the native file format of your software (.eps or .ai for Adobe Illustrator). You can also export your design in various formats like SVG, EPS, or PDF, depending on your project’s requirements.

Another tip:

Combine Vectors and flourishes to level up your work

Creating intricate vector flourishes takes practice, nonetheless start experimenting with different shapes, styles, and techniques to develop your own unique designs. Remember that vector flourishes can vary greatly in style, from simple and elegant to complex and ornate. Practice to develop your skills to finally find your personal creative approach.

For any questions regarding vectors and flourishes, let me know!

Are you generally interested in the Flourish Club. Look in this article what the club is all about.