Hopefully, Library Hand was a bit of a challenge for you. (Read the 4th post in the series all about Library Hand here.) Sure, it looks simple, but it can be difficult to actually put the components of Library Hand into practice.
In this final installment, I’m going to share two reader submissions, make a few suggestions and introduce you to the wonderful world of swashes and flourishes.
The first sample comes to us from reader Stephanie and she did an excellent job. I only have one suggestion here and this is actually the most common tweak practitioners may need to make in their own writing: angle!
Click to enlarge.
Hopefully you can see my red lines; do you see the variation? We have straight up and down, leaning to the right and a few characters that lean to the left. Take note of the angle you are writing at and make sure it is consistent throughout.
This next submission comes from Sandra of Life Imitates Doodles. An excellent submission – see her original post here. The suggestion I have here is to slow down in the print form. Printing will likely take this user a little longer than cursive as I’m guessing that might come more natural to her.
If you still have something for me to look at, please just leave a comment with a link to your sample and I’ll take a look!
Now, on to the fun stuff. Swashes and flourishes! (Click on any image to enlarge it; then you can use it for practice.)
Most use the terms interchangeably, but the main difference is that a swash is an embellishment on a letter (like an exaggerated serif) while a flourish can be totally separate from a letter or word.
Let’s take the letter N to start with. You’ll see I take it through the basic letterform, add a swash and then add a flourish. You can do the same!
The J got a flourish up top:
We are not limited to just letters. You can embellish shapes too and use them in your letter writing or journaling.
One of my most-used flourishes is extremely simple to learn. This is a great place to start.
You can tweak the ‘bubbles’ in the simple flourish to get this effect:
And then you can take this flourish and use it! I almost always turn it on its side and shimmy it up against my addresses on outgoing mail.
Another easy flourish comes from the curlique:
There are no rules in swashes or flourishes. There are more traditional designs, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be more modern ones! Take a look at my ‘flourish girl’ and my ‘flourish fish.’
One quick note to help you get the most out of swashes and flourishes: use the right tools! A flex nib or calligraphy tip works wonders. In the samples above, I used a Kaweco Sport with a Medium nib (purple ink) and I used a Kaweco Calligraphy Sport with a 1.1 nib (blue ink). You can see subtle differences in the line work.
Finally, stay aware of the angle you hold your writing utensil at. Try changing it to create different effects.
Thanks to everyone for reading (and participating) in this 6 part series. I’ve really enjoyed writing it and I hope it’s been useful!
Meet the Writer: Cole Imperi is a business owner and a proponent of the handwritten word. When not at Doth Brands, a Branding & Identity firm catering to the health, wellness & deathcare professions where Cole works as Owner and Creative Director, you might find her on her yoga mat teaching yoga or behind a laptop writing for Simplicity Embellished, a letter-writing and lifestyle blog.
Editor’s Note: This is Article #6 in a series of 6 on the topic of penmanship & calligraphy by Cole Imperi. Read the others here:
Article #1 “Where to Start”
Article #2″Where it all Started & Where it is Today”
Article #3 “A Look at Several Calligraphic Styles”
Article #4 “Library Hand + Call for Submissions”
Article #5 “Tips & Resources”