Elevate Your Lettering with Florals and Flourishes

lettering May 28, 2020

I’m so excited to teach you how to incorporate simple, balanced florals and flourishes to your lettering in this easy tutorial! I have found the act of adding flourishes to my lettering compositions to be an easy and very fun way to elevate my artwork. 

Hello! I'm Maria. If you decide give this tutorial a try, share it on Instagram, tag me @harmanink and use the hashtag  #harmaninktutorials so I can see your beautiful creations and share them on my stories!

Step 1: Choose your text or lettering

First, find the phrase you’re going to be designing around today. This can be something you’ve hand lettered or typed using your favorite font. Both totally work! It’s also important to note that while I’m creating this digitally using Procreate, you can definitely do this the good old fashion way with a pencil and paper, just make sure to sketch your guidelines lightly so you can remove them from the final product. If you’re using procreate, make sure you do each step on its own layer. That will make removing your guides and changing the colors later much easier!


Step 2: Draw your guidelines

Draw your guidelines for the shape you want your flourishes and florals to create. There are times where I’ve used the entire art board as my guide and others where I’ve limited the area to barely beyond the lettering- there’s no wrong answer here! Do whatever makes the most sense with your lettering.

I’m using a circle that has a significant amount of space evenly around the lettering.

Step 3: Start your flourishes 

When adding flourishes around your lettering, it’s important to remember a few things:
First, you don’t want your words to get lost in the design, so make sure to letter with a much higher contrast than the designs around it.  A few ways to easily differentiate decoration from your lettering is by using a brush with a heavier line weight or by using a more eye catching color for your lettering, up to you!

I changed the brush I was using for my flourishes and florals to be much thinner and more distressed. My favorite brush for flourishing is the Dry Ink brush in the Inking folder that comes standard with Procreate.
The second thing you want to remember is that symmetry goes a long way in creating a harmonious design, so I mirrored the flourish on bottom with a similar but not identical flourish on top.


Step 4: Add side flourishes

I then applied that same idea when filling in the flourishes on the sides. When drawing a flourish on the lower left side, I created one that mirrors with line weight and style on the top right. Same with the top left and bottom right sides. It’s totally fine to deviate from mirroring as closely if it makes sense with your lettering.


Step 5: Fill in smaller flourishes

Now that you have your main flourishes filling in nicely, you can go in with smaller flourishes that help to fill in the negative space in the circle. Remember though - don’t fill things in too tightly, you’ll need some space to add your florals.


Step 6: Add the florals

Now it's time for my favorite part - the florals! Using the same principle of mirroring above, find the spaces where you could easily place a flower or two. Try to create a flower on the opposite side of the design of your first flower to balance out this new element. Repeat to your heart’s content!

If you are new to drawing florals, I recommend looking at some references, whether in real life or photographs, to practice drawing different types and perspectives.

Step 7: Add smaller details to fill in your shape  

Once I’ve added all the florals, I like to add a few more flourishes to really fill in the design. When doing these final flourish touches I keep them very, very light and simple. You don’t want the design to feel too heavy or busy, just nicely rounded out and filled in.


Step 8: Double check your shape 

Remove your guide and make sure that your design fills in the lines enough that the shape you’re making is clear. If not, replace your guide and add a few more flourishes or florals to fill in the necessary gaps.

Step 9: Finalize 

Now add your final touches! I like to add a shadow to my lettering to really make it stand out, and a little bit of dimension on a layer on top of each letter. For this design I added some dots and light lines. I also went through and added color to my flowers, and varied the colors of my flourishes, keeping line weight and symmetry in mind still.


Hello, I’m Maria and I’m the human behind HarmanInk. I’m a graphic designer by day and a self taught hand letterer, hobbyist photographer, beginner illustrator, and flower enthusiast by night. When not lettering on my iPad, I’m usually hanging out with my husband and Whippet puppy Tullie, reading, cooking, or enjoying Utah’s nature!