4 Simple Flourishing Tricks to Take Your Calligraphy to the Next Level

Over the long weekend, Telisa and myself started a calligraphy session on IG called “Fun Flourishing Live”. From this experience I’d like to share 4 Simple Flourishing Tricks to Take Your Calligraphy to the Next Level!

First of all, I have to say thank you to those of you who joined us during the live session! I never know how useful or interesting it is for anyone.

Flourishing can be intimidating for some people. There are many elements to consider, so it creates a lot of pressure doing it live! Because of all the decisions that are going through my head, it is difficult for me to explain verbally my decisions on the spot!

But getting a chance to do these sessions gave me a better grasp of the various elements that I had to consider while working on the pieces! So I decided to put together this short post to help you in your flourishing game!

4 Simple Flourishing Tricks to Take Your Calligraphy to the Next Level

First of all, here is a sample piece I came up with on the second day, a Winnie the Pooh quote that says, “Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart”.

Flourishing Tricks for Calligraphy 01

1. Keep the angle of the ovals consistent

You may think all these flourishes are just a bunch of random loops. But there is a science and geometry behind all these loops.

If you keep studying it, the best looking flourishes are made up of ovals, and they usually end up on two angles.

One is along the angle of the script (i.e. if you’re doing copperplate, then it’s along the 55 degree slant line), and the other is along the horizontal line.

Flourishing Tricks for Calligraphy 02


As you can see here, the top loop and bottom two loops lie along the horizontal axis. While the little loop lies along the 55 degree slant line.

If your writing is not on a 55 degree slant line, that’s not a problem, pick a slant angle that is the most comfortable for you, and stick with it!

This applies both to your letters and your ovals, they should lie along this slant angle!

Keep at it and you’ll notice a significant difference in your work, both in consistency and gracefulness!


2. Sometimes less is more

When you’re first taught to flourish, people usually tell you to look at the negative, or blank space. You can find them within a word or between words.

But just because there is a space, you don’t necessarily need to fill it!

Flourishes look wonderful! But when there are too many lines, your piece can get messy really fast!

Flourishing Tricks for Calligraphy 03


As in the example above, there is a big blank space where the black dotted circle is. I tried at one point to pull one of the strokes down, but it felt too forced, so I left that area alone.

Not sure if you added too much? One thing you can do is to take a step back from your work and squint your eyes! If you’re seeing a hot spot (where too many lines are crossing each other), then you may want to take away a few loops.


3.  Balance those flourishes

Another thing you may want to consider is to have balancing flourishes. This applies both to a word and a piece of writing.

If you have a bigger flourish on the left side, then you may want to consider adding a bigger one on the right side. If you have one on top, it’s possible to add one on the bottom (but once again as mentioned above, this is not necessary especially if there are no descender loops, but you can consider it only if you want to).

Flourishing Tricks for Calligraphy 04


So as in this example, you can see the two purple dotted circles, and the bottom two purple dotted circles, I decided to balance them out in such a way.


4.  Choose 2-3 flourishes and repeat

To keep your piece looking composed and consistent, you may want to pick 2-3 flourishes and repeat them throughout the piece.

For those of you who have no idea why your piece is looking a bit messy…

I used to have that problem! I wanted to add as many flourishes and all their variations into one piece just because I learned them and I CAN!! Flourish to the left here, flourish to the right there, flourish flourish everywhere!

But going back to point 2, sometimes less is more!

So I tried to pick 2-3 flourishes, and you know what? I ended up loving the effect! My work ended up looking way more put together and elegant!

Flourishing Tricks for Calligraphy 05

As indicated with the gold dotted circles, you can see them there are a lot of similar repeating elements!

This is especially true if you’re doing longer pieces. When you have a repeating element throughout the piece, the whole piece ends up looking more intentional, like you’d put some serious  thoughts into it!


And to give you a bonus tip, if you’re intimidated to try out flourishes…

5. Befriend your pencil and eraser

My pencil is my best friend, and my eraser is my BFF!

Do not underestimate the power of these two simple tools!  I do my warm ups, drills, practice and even flourishing in pencils!

So get your hands on that simple but mighty pencil and start working with it! Plus there’s no fear of making mistakes, because there is always the almighty Eraser to come to the rescue when you need it!!

So those are the flourishing tips for today, and I hope they can help take your calligraphy to another level!


Would you actually want me to do a live session on flourishing to hear me explain what I’m doing? If you do, leave me a comment down below!


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