2011-07-16

The art of flourish in calligraphy

The art of flourish can be defined as embellishments of letters or as a stand alone ornaments. A letter can be flourished by an extension of a stroke or at its endings with serifs.

You can practice the flourishes by learning the basic strokes first, and then their combinations.

The simple strokes:

1/ the straight

2/ the curve: drawn clockwise (cw) or counterclockwise (ccw)

3/ the S curve (drawn cw-then-ccw or ccw-then-cw) with or without a curve between the 2 endings.

4/ the spiral, defined as curve that keep going around: drawn cw or ccw, from outside-to-inside or from inside-to-outside. The spiral can be round or oval. Generally it's recommended for a spiral not to have more than 2 or 3 turns, otherwise it's visually boring.
5/ the loop, is a curve crossing itself: can be outside or inside loop. The inside loop can have a cusp or not.

The combinations:

A combination is made of simple strokes joined together.

1/ Spiral exit. A simple spiral can be a curve drawn from outside to inside, then ends up at the center of it. But a spiral can also end outside the curve with an exit: when arriving at the center of the spiral, the stroke gets directly out of it by crossing the curves. This path is called « spiral exit » or "spiral tail", which can be a nonreversing or a reversing curve. And finally, the exit can end with or without a loop.

Examples of sequences:
a – out-in ccw spiral / nonreversing exit
b – out-in cw spiral / reversing exit / ccw outside loop

2/ Repeating chains of loops and curves in different orientations:

Examples:
a – outside ccw loop / cw loop / … diminishing.../ ending with a cw curve
b – outside ccw loop / cw loop / cw curve / cw loop / ccw loop / cw loop / cw curve / cw loop / ccw loop / ...

3/ Non-repeating chains.
Here you can make lots of improvisations.

Examples:
a – ccw outside loop / out-in cw spiral
b – ccw loop / cw loop / ccw spiral
c - ccw loop / cw loop / ccw loop / cw spiral

4/ Combination of sereval strokes.

One last word:

Calligraphy Art version 1.4 will integrate a lesson about flourish, including exercises and many models of letter embellishments and ornaments.

Check out a copy of Calligraphy Art as soon as possible and start your training.