The Art of Flourishes + Tutorial:

The art of flourishes with pencil

Beautiful Flourishes enhance the elegance and style of your writing, whether it’s a letter, word, quote, or longer text. Similarly adding flourishes can give an extra touch of flair and transform your writing into a work of art.

Definition of flourishes

For instance they can be utilized as borders, frames, or simply as decoration, adding personality to any project. In addition to that, elegant curving strokes are used with any letter in calligraphy and lettering. Often they are paired with slanted script letters, enhancing the visual appeal and beautify the messaging.

Art of Flourishes - composition

Art of Flourishes - variations

How do flourishes look like?

Usually these decorations are smooth curves that intertwine, sometimes simple and sometimes intricate. Despite the appearance of being chaotic and uncontrolled, however there is a specific method behind the beauty. Most importantly, oval shapes are behind the shapes of flourishes.

Which tool to use?

It depends on the task at hand. As a handwriter, better use the pen you’re writing with. For brush lettering, certainly use a brush pen. If you’re a calligrapher, i suggest a pointed pen with ink. When it comes to general lettering, I always use a pencil. I can erase it at any time and don’t have to worry about shading, which can be quite a challenge if you’re not used to writing calligraphically with thin and thick strokes.

The Art of Flourishes you see often around letters

Combine flourishes with letters to make your message more elegant. Therefore you can use them on one letter, a word, or even longer text, but remember that the more letters you want to decorate, the harder it becomes. Let’s begin by adding a flourish to a simple and single word.

Starting is the hardest

Before you begin, make sure you’ve learned the basics of calligraphy or lettering. Above all it’s crucial because if your letters aren’t shaped properly, adding flourishes won’t improve the overall look.

One formula for flourishes wouldn’t be enough, because you can add them to any combination of letters to create a unique solution. However, there is a system behind them that provides clarity and helps avoid confusion. Or do you want your fancy writing to look like spaghetti? 🙂

Let’s use the word “friend”. Write it in your own handwriting. After that, look at it and try to find places where you can add some flair. Where are those spots? Best places are where your letters connect, exactly at the ends or beginnings of letters that go up or down.

Is there a right amount of flourishes?

The more you add flourishes, the more complex your work becomes. To start, choose a word and decide how many flourishes to incorporate. In conclusion, adding more flourishes, subsequently the task becomes more challenging overall.

tutorial pic Nr. 1

Where exactly do we flourish?

Examine the word “friend” a little closer and identify places where we can add stylish embellishments. Certainly uppercase letters offer great chances for decoration. Moreover there’s the lowercase d with its upward stroke, as well as the lowercase r and n with their descending strokes.


tutorial pic Nr. 2

1. Leave all possible flourish options open. Add a downwards spiral to the capital F.

tutorial pic Nr. 3

2. Use the exit point of the lowercase r to create a nice loop underneath, wrapping around the left side of the uppercase F with an S-curve.

tutorial pic Nr. 4

3. Extend the ascender of the lowercase d and create a smaller spiral above. Build another oval on top of the capital F.

tutorial pic Nr. 5

4. Try the exit stroke of the n to add another spiral that goes to the right and wrappes the last letter d. That’s it!

In conclusion what have you learnt so far?

• flourishes add beauty and emphasis to letters
• they are based on ovals
• it is best to connect your flourishes with letters
• look for entrance and exit strokes, ascenders and descenders for flourishes.

If you want to start learning flourishes properly, check out The Flourish Online Course, where you get a complete Self-Study online course with all ingredients to really understand the concept of the Art of Flourishes.