Copperplate Flourished Illustration Tutorial

11 June 2024


This copperplate flourishing and illustration project will make your calligraphy stand out. This tutorial is perfect for intermediate skill levels to create the wow factor!  So, what are you waiting for? Get your pens ready and let's go!


What you will need

How to do it


Step One:

Create your design. The final piece will be A5 size.

Start by designing the layout either on paper or digitally. Arrange the text as you wish and print everything out in an A4 size.

Prepare your pencil, ruler, and the A5 Size thick cardstock and stack together your printed guidelines with the blank sheets.

Step Two:

On the guidelines sheet using the A5 cardstock and the pencil, mark out the rectangle of the A5 size.

Step Three:

Using the ruler and a pencil mark out the margins. For this artwork, the margins are 1.5cm at the top, left, right and 3cm at the bottom.

Step Four:

Mark the x-height for the text lines.

Step Five:

Keep your printed quote close and start sketching your first draft. Keep ascenders and descenders short and simple and use your pencil very lightly - without pressure.

Step Six:

Now have your eraser on hand and start again by adding flourishes. Have fun at this step and experiment with different flourishes by erasing as much as you need until you are happy.

Step Seven:

As there is a bit more space at the top we can add a floral illustration.

Step Eight:

When you are happy with the overall look, use a fineliner pen to draw over your pencil outline.

Step Nine:

Prepare the final A5 paper by ripping off the edges using the ruler. Keep your A5 cardstock paper on top.

Step Ten:

Prepare your light pad and stick your final A5 paper on top of the black ink draft paper with washi tape.


Step Eleven: 

Turn on the light pad and start writing on the final paper. For the text, a Leonardt Principal EF nib is used and the oblique penholder from the set with sapphire ink. Go slowly and use a blank piece of paper as your guard sheet.


Change the nib to Leonardt 30 when doing the floral illustration.

Step Twelve: 

Let everything dry thoroughly and now you have the artwork ready to frame and hang on your wall.


And there you have it, your completed piece. We have used a copperplate calligraphy script for this design but you can use any style whether it's copperplate, italic, textura, brush or even hand lettering! Get creative and see what you come up with!


Thanks to our friends at Manuscript for this project, originally published at: