Basic Hand Lettering: Simple Swirls

Who’s ready for some more Basic Hand Lettering? Swirls and FlourishesHands down, one of the top things you all have expressed interest in learning is flourishes and swirls. There are probably about a million different ways to make them, but it all starts with the same simple design. Today, we’re going to look at the most basic, simple swirls and how you can use them in your lettering. Then, once you’re comfortable with them, we’ll look at some variations. Ready?


Here they are…the simplest flourishes you can create. swirls1

All you have to do is create a curving line and add a small spiral to the end. Practice them going in both directions, as shown in the example above. You can make the lines as long or as short as you like, depending on how you’re working them into your design.

Here’s a simple way to combine them into a cute embellishment; just make them a little more vertical and add a heart {or a circle or any other shape you want}.


Although these seem really simple, they’re incredibly useful in creating a fun, embellished design. Take a look at how I used them in this monogram. All I did was write the letter in the center, then surround it with six sets of these simple swirls. I also added another squiggle at the top and bottom, some dots, and a few branches, and suddenly I had a fancy monogram!


Here is another, more elaborate example of using swirls in your design. For this one, you can see pairs of simple swirls all around the outside, along with swirls with a slight variation. Curving both ends to create a sideways “S” like I did at the top and bottom of this design is an easy way to make the same swirl look a little different. I also used them underneath the word “Today” and just above “Greatest” to create a banner effect.


You can also use the same simple swirls within a written word. Imagine the word love with a set of simple swirls, one on each side. Now, instead of keeping them separate, just turn the end of your “e” into the swirl itself.


Do the same thing at the beginning, making the swirl the beginning of your “l”. Now, you have an embellished word!


Here are a few more words done in the same way, with simple swirls as part of the lettering itself. Try these out as well as some of your own favorite words.

swirls5 swirls6 swirls7

Of course, you can always use the swirl below the word as an accent too. The possibilities are endless!


I hope this gives you a starting point for adding your own flourishes and swirls to whatever lettering projects you have up your sleeve! I promise to share more soon…be sure to come back for more of the Basic Hand Lettering Series! You can catch all the earlier lettering posts here in the archives; don’t miss out on the fun.


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