Flourishes are one of my favorite things to play around with when lettering script because the possibilities are basically endless. Whether you’re looking to add a simple swirl to the end of your letter or want to go all out and flourish #allthethings, I’m here to take out some of the overwhelm (and let’s be real - mystery), and share not only my fave go-to flourishes, but also my tips and tricks for actually making them look fabulous.
If you’re totally new to hand lettering, I suggest checking out this post first, and pinning this bad boy for a later date. That being said, this post is aimed and beginners and pros alike, so don’t feel like flourishing is completely out of reach!
Now, let’s get out flourish on.
(P.S. You can always jump right to the good stuff and download the Flourish on Fleek worksheet in the Letter Love Library . It’s free, and flourished, and fan-fucking-tastic).
Descenders, or letters with parts that go down (they descend, get it?!), are the easiest to flourish.
Ascenders, or letters with parts that go up (aka they ascend - sense a theme?!), might seem a little unnatural at first, but they can be really fun to play with once you get the hang of it.
While ascenders and descenders naturally lend themselves to flourishes because they already have bits sticking out screaming, “Flourish me! Flourish me!” that doesn’t mean you’re limited to just those set letters. Not even close.
The first way to add some flourish to those regular-Joe-Schmo letters is with underline flourishes.
Lead in and exit stroke flourishes
You can also add some flourish at the beginning or end of a word. I save these flourishes for when I’m going all out flourish crazy, as they tend to look unbalanced otherwise.
Keep those flourishes on fleek
Now that you’ve got some ideas to get the flourish wheels turning in your head, here are my fave tips and tricks for making sure those flourishes look good every time:
- Less is more. I’m all for a letter covered in flourishes, but know that even in designs completely surrounded by flourishes, I was strategic about which letter was flourished and where they went. It can be a fine line between beautiful and overload, so if in doubt, err on the side of your eraser.
- Keep the same shape. This is a good rule of thumb for all of your letters, but especially important in flourishes. If you’re favoring rounder loops, stick with round. If you things are looking more teardrop, go with those. Even if it’s the slightest change, it can make a big difference to the overall piece.
- Go in OR out. This is another subtle change that makes a big difference. End all of your flourishes either going in towards the word, or out away from it. It helps your eye hold onto the flow and not get overwhelmed with all your flourishy goodness.
- Stay steady. Almost all of my flourishes are done in pencil first, and then inked in pen, because I know that (1) my hand is lighter and steadier with a pencil and (2) I like to flourish quick + natural and then correct, correct, correct. If you can rock it in one go, then by all means, grab that marker, but don’t feel like you have to!
Flourishes can seem really intimidating at first, but once you get comfortable with them, there's no stopping you! Grab a pencil and start looping those loops (and click the button below to download the free worksheets if you need a lil something extra!)...