Learn how to flourish:

How to learn flourishing

Flourishes in calligraphy involve mastering the art of graceful and decorative curves, possibly paired with letters. It can feel overwhelming to learn how to flourish, especially when you are just starting out. From my experience, I can tell you a few things that can help and perhaps calm you down and relax you before it all feels too much to learn.

Consistency is key

Practice regularly to develop a consistent and steady hand. This will help your flourishes flow naturally and elegantly. I am not talking about massive hours, I mean regular practice, which can include shorter periods of time.

It’s true, it takes time to learn flourishes or lettering/calligraphy because you want to learn it to write beautiful words with even more beautiful flourishes, right? But you know what? Anyone can learn it, it doesn’t take any special skill, or let’s say you need patience in a sense that you don’t learn it from one day to the next.

The good thing is that if you like drawing or writing, I mean the “doing” itself, and it gives you a kind of freedom to do it, then you have all the possibilities to become very good at that craft if you just keep practising. Ultimately, it is a matter of time, and in the meantime, you can just enjoy the process without having to focus your efforts on a specific outcome.

Let’s get into the details of a good approach to learning how to flourish.

Use the right tools

To be honest, a pencil is all you need for flourishes. If you are just starting out with lettering or calligraphy, you can still use a pencil or a good quality nib, brush pen or Apple Pencil for the iPad. Plain paper is fine. The pencil is still the easiest tool to use because you don’t have to worry about shading.

Use guidelines

Use guidelines to maintain consistent spacing and alignment in your letters. Guidelines help ensure that your flourishes blend seamlessly with your lettering.

A mechanical pencil

Learn the basics

This is a big one. We’re not talking about “mastering the basics”, because that’s another story entirely. Being aware and knowing the basics is huge, even if you are not yet able to put them together on paper. As you know, it takes time, and if you try, you will get there eventually. 

Rules drawn with flourishes

Joining an online or in-person workshop is always a great way to start. If you don’t feel ready for a workshop, search for free resources about letters and flourishes. Practicing the oval shape is essential, it plays a crucial role in calligraphy. Even professionals keep working on it.

Letters first

If you have already started learning calligraphy or lettering, you know the importance of the oval form and may have started learning letters in one or more styles. This helps immensely and I recommend that you start learning letters before you learn how to flourish.

Letters drawn with flourishes

Flourishing techniques

You can watch different flourishes and styles of experienced calligraphers to understand how they incorporate flourishes.

Once you can combine your basic shapes with letters, try to create balanced and harmonious compositions by understanding the rhythm and proportions of your lettering.

Experiment with flourish styles

Try different flourish styles to see what works for you. Some may prefer delicate and intricate flourishes, while others may prefer bold or dynamic flourishes.

Leter K with flourishes

Watch the masters

Analyse the work of skilled calligraphers and lettering artists known for their flourishes. Look for their use of space, flow and intricacy.

Be persistent

Don’t get discouraged if your hand doesn’t do what you tell it to do. The hand will obey, but with some delay. If you keep trying.

Create your own projects

In your private area you will have many opportunities to create personal projects such as greeting cards for any occasion. If you lack opportunities, you can join various online challenges where you can also meet like-minded people who are willing to learn like you.

For example, @theflourishclub on IG has a monthly challenge that you can join. The best way to learn is by doing! And the most important thing you need to be aware of is the argument we started this post with. It helps immensely if you like every bit of the process! 🙂