From Latin Florere, and French Floriss which means Flower comes the middle english word Florishen, and then our modern time as Flourish. 


Verb:    To flower, blossom, thrive, prosper, or to make bold sweeping movements

Noun:   An embellishment or ornamentation, or a dramatic or stylish gesture

Fascinating Facts:

Humans have an innate desire to add flourishing to their lives. This is true not only true in Calligraphy, but as a general rule. Once someone has made something useful, functional, or according to what was necessary, they usual put forth the effort to make it attractive, even beautiful.  

Let's learn about Calligraphy Flourishes:

The earliest flourishes of Roman Cursive may have been out of comfort rather than decoration since it feels more natural for the writer to extend certain strokes along with the natural movement of the arm. 

You can see intentional flourishing in writings dating back to the 7th century. In documents used by Royal Roman Charters flourishing was intended as ornamentation as well as to guard against forgeries, and to make it difficult for the uninitiated to read. 

Semi-refined sketch of hand lettering, "flourish, to blossom"

Semi-refined sketch of hand lettering, "flourish, to blossom"

The intentional flourishing we commonly think of today did not emerge in formal book manuscripts until the 13th century. 

If you find these facts interesting, you may want to check out this book: 

Calligraphic Flourishing, A New Approach to an Ancient Art by Bill Hildebrandt

Pretty Words:

Nations are destroyed or flourish in proportion as their poetry, painting, and music are destroyed or flourish.

William Blake

Many a genius has been slow of growth. Oaks that flourish for a thousand years do not spring up into beauty like a reed.

George Henry Lewes

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.

Maya Angelou

Notes on Technique:

For this word I decided to demonstrate basic hand lettering techniques. I will take you through my process, complete with pictures. 

First of all, I start out with a sketch. Since I knew I wanted the word "flourish" to be on a consistent slant, I slid a slanted guide sheet underneath the dot grid pad I was using. This insures consistency right of the bat. I start out with rough sketching and continue to erase and refine. Once I have the layout close to what I want, I write some notes and move on to the light box. 

Demonstration of using a lightbox

Demonstration of using a lightbox

I do not use a traditional light box. I have a glass top drafting table and a clamp light that I attach to the bottom of the desk to create my own "light desk." This works out great for me because it gives me a smoothe surface to write on, and is very versatile. Below is a shot of my sketch with a blank piece of sketch paper above it, and the light from underneath showing through. As you can see, it works pretty well. 

I now create a refined sketch with only the lines I want to appear in ink later. Once I have a sketch I am happy with I get to inking! This is the scariest part for me every time. This is the point of no return. If I mess it up now, I will have to back track pretty far. So I just try to relax and enjoy the process. The inking is when you really get to see your lettering come to life, so just try to enjoy the process.  

Behind the scenes shot of the inking process

Behind the scenes shot of the inking process

And then, pretty soon... BAM. You have a nice little piece of hand lettered art!


Here are my favorite lettering tool, and the ones used to produce the artwork for this post. 

-Staedtler Lead Holder

-Staedtler 2mm HB Carbon Lead

-General's Tri Tip Eraser

-Pigma Micron Pens, Various Sizes

Be A Part Of Our Next Post

Next week's word will be Ampersand

If you would like your art to be featured, you can post it with the hashtag #AWellWrittenWord and tag our social media accounts, or send us an email. You can create the word or an actual Ampersand symbol for next week's post! Links for Instagram, Facebook, and Email are at the bottom of the page.

If you have a word you would like me to consider, please leave it in a comment on this blog! 

If you liked this article, you should check out the older posts in this series! And don't forget to click the heart!