Brush Lettering: Flourishes & Ornamentation


Lesson Info

Overview of Flourish Parts, Styles & Functions

Functions of flourishes. So, again, you know, I mentioned this a little bit in the intro about the different things that you can d'oh. So we have, you know, we can create shapes out of flourishes. We can add structure to your lay out there's. A lot of flair, of course. I mean, that's really kind of the most common thing we use forces for, right, it's, just to create a little bit of extra player, but he's thinking about some of these other things and think beyond just making it look pretty there's more weaken d'oh. So I want to talk a little bit about an overview of flourish styles and function so here's, some examples of some flourishes and what we can do with them. So, you know, getting into some shapes like this word stylish, you know, having the same flourish, you know, top in the bottom, you know, there and what's kind of interesting is that since you know both of those letters have that same flourish just reversed on top, they kind of create this interesting shape of kind of an ov...

al from there. So you can see there's some interesting stuff happening with some of these other flourishes, this is another thing I really like to talk about with. flourishes is that it doesn't have to be this grandiose expressive flourish you can do small simple things that just take the letter just gives it a little bit of extra something especially when you have were letters that don't really lend themselves very well to flourishes and there's a few of them you know there's limited so certain letters have limited options so say for example with this tea right here crossing into that you makes it look kind of interesting you know here's kind of an interesting ending stroke here that kind of whips up around the top and this adds again this kind of adds a little bit of structure because we could put a word and fit it lot right in between that little section there or even this nice space that's been left behind flourishes can absolutely collide kind of cross into each other and do some other things they don't have to necessarily be these separate elements so don't be afraid of of collisions just make them intentional make them work for you the's air kind of some fun ones they're down a little bit different you notice that you know at the end of the's flourish is they actually kind of go from this little skinny stroke into this tapered kind of interesting little almost like wave like motion and you know we have some different things here a lot of times people think of flourishes is being the's round swooping elements but we can also dio some interesting stuff where we like reverse directions and do something different there you know so with that h in that word laughter you know it it does something a little bit interesting instead of just being a plain simple loop it's just give you guys some ideas of different stuff here you know this espresso and romano a couple of other ones you know they kind of loop into each other and add detail within detail and so we have a lot of really interesting different things happening with those again this is another example of using flourishes in such a way that they're not over the top you know they're really simple so in clever allusions you noticed that that l right there it just simply has this little nice wave that goes underneath that max is somewhat of an underlying again doesn't have to be this big loopy swee'pea thing flourishes for lower case were great off of the end of a letter a swell in this sleight of hand again there's just some really simple subtle stuff going on with these particular flourishes this is intense there is a lot happening here and you know honestly with something like this you could actually turn I would imagine if he had the right flourishes you could in turn turn this whole entire layout into one big gigantic cacophony of flourishes if you like you never know he always have to give it a try you'd be surprised what can work oh so these air seymour just ideas that simple flourishes that tea and smooth just you know suddenly just no crossing over into the h a little wave in that l that's kind of been more of an unusual style I think most people refer to it flourishes and thinking of them as being loops and particular styles but getting into just kind of a subtle wave or even just alternating some of your letter form you know typically that g right there in failing is an unusual g we call that a two storey g it's kind of like two different pieces to it typically we have a one story gee that looks kind of like in a with you know the bottom part and now it's a little bit more unusual and it gives us a little bit more opportunities to do some really different stuff with it all right so this is a nice page full of swash is and what I'd like to show about this is that I think but you know there's a lot going on here but it works really well together and so this becomes an important note when you're working with flourishes is that you really have to kind of get everything out there like all of all of the words that you're working with and then the cladding of flourishes is the secondary part you know the way that we read words is we read the shape of words we don't read them letter by letter we look at what's called word shape and so you know this right here you know doesn't interfere with it too much flourishes need to be a sparingly a couple of other interesting examples how that e crosses over and creates the crossbar of a that's an interesting idea of a flourish with that are right there it just this crossing over with a little of the eyes sitting right in the middle again some of these air just really simplistic you know just just you know just a little bit of extra something something to make him and make it more interesting this is one of my favorites and this is something that I want all of you guys to consider when you're working with flourishes you see this e x excellent eh where has just a couple little swooshes and squashes there that's what I would call you know like embellishments and ornamentation so it's not attached to the letters but it still has that same feeling of a flourish it just has a different way of showing it and so it's kind of almost in the category of like a decorated kappa decorated inish well I think that's a really interesting way to do it a dozen year is another interesting idea of adding in decoration and ornamentation two flourishes in this why right here you can see I've got little curls and little dots inside of there you know and then of course like this bottom part of this folklore you know that would be what I would call an embellishment or ornamentation that looks like a flourish and it kind of brings everything together is a hole lots of different this's just you know this is just the plethora of alternates and washes and some interesting stuff that she khun d'oh kind of an interesting way of what you how you can turn squashes into you know composition element you know they don't just need to be something that is simp glee attached to the letters it actually creates space in a structure to work within again another example of using ornamentation with washes is you can see these kind of look like little flames little leaves that are coming out of the top this is another thing to consider

Be sure to check out our other Brush Lettering classes on Brush Lettering Basics and Putting Together a Final Piece.  

Lend grace and beauty to your words. Flourishes are an opportunity to loosen your grip and add a bit of personal style to your brush lettering. Join type designer Laura Worthington for this class, and you'll learn:

  • Different styles of flourishes per letter
  • Ligatures as flourishes and how to letter flourishes
  • Adding in ornamentation (similar to flourishes, but not attached to the letters)
Enhance your brush lettering practice, and draw extra attention to your work!  



  • I am watching the Brush Lettering courses live. I did quite a bit of lettering years ago and have wanted to start again. It was serendipitous that Laura's classes were being re-broadcast now. I have them playing while I'm at work so I'm not fully focused but I stop and look when something catches my attention. I really like Laura's straightforward, uncomplicated method of teaching. She doesn't hem and haw, her voice is friendly, she speaks and moves confidently and I really just enjoyed listening to the course even when I couldn't watch. I did watch enough to catch some important examples and tips. I would definitely recommend Laura's brush lettering courses for beginners, and I think those with some experience will also get some tips and motivation from the courses.
  • I think the last time someone said something positive about any piece of "art" I produced, including my handwriting which was a school subject in the 1950's, was about 1962. It has been pretty much downhill from there. Since retiring I have made a commitment to practice these "worthless" skills since I have ignored them my whole life. Watching these classes on Brush Lettering is giving me hope I can actually do this and Laura seems to be an extremely patient instructor who actually loves her work. I've ordered the brushed and paper and such and I'll be purchasing the series of classes as soon as the supplies arrive. I love it, look for me to post my work in the student session when I get an acceptable product completed.
  • love Laura and the class! Learning so much! Perfect for me to write my own word then scan it into Illustrator and go from there! Excellent!