Decorative embellishments



30 min

What you need:

For this exercise we recommend the following selection of Faber-Castell products: Pitt Artist Pen in black or any of the 48 colors. Different nips sizes and forms allow special effects and unique results. Enjoy!

It’s time to take your lettering to the next level! Now that you’ve practiced the basic strokes and put them together, first in shapes and then words, let’s expand your repertoire with embellishing!

Tips for beginners

Follow the tips below to keep your flourishing and swashing natural looking, free flowing, and smooth! Here are some examples of horizontal flourishes, ascending flourishes, and descending flourishes.

Yes! Thick lines can cross thin lines, and thin lines can cross thin lines.  No, don’t cross thick, heavy lines. Many letters naturally lend themselves to pretty flourishing. It is visually pleasing when flourishes  “return” to where they began, even if only slightly.

Tips for advanced

  • Give flourishes room to breathe.
  • Return flourishes to where they began, trying to maintain a “sense” of a circular or oval shape in the flourish.
  • Never cross thick flourish lines. Thin flourish lines can be crossed, but do so sparingly!
  • Aim for delicate lines and smooth curls.
  • Try to keep your movements smooth and natural, with lots of arm action—don’t keep your hand planted on the table!
  • Flourishes tend to flow either horizontally (from a letter or word) or vertically.
  • Avoid abrupt endings, sharp corners, and hard angles.
  • Create flourishes that extend from the beginning or end of words.
  • Make sure your words are always readable. Avoid overly flourishing if it compromises readability.

More ideas

Easy peasy lettering
“Doodle”: It’s fun, it’s liberating, and anyone can do it.
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Effectful negative lettering
Negative space is the area around and between the subject of an image!
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Great 3-D Effects
Discover the illusion of depth, as well as width and height.
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Illuminated lettering
The term “illuminated” means “to be filled with light.”
Read more

Excerpt from “Creative Lettering and Beyond,” published by Walter Foster Publishing, a division of Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc. All rights reserved. Walter Foster is a registered trademark. Artwork © Laura Lavender. Visit