Digitizing Calligraphy: From Sketch to Vector

, Calligrapher + Designer

Student Projects View all projects →

Ian Barnard

Ian Barnard


Rebecca Sinnen

Rebecca Sinnen


Maria Agra

Maria Agra


Class Project

Create a flourished, vectorized calligraphic logotype

About the Class

In recent years calligraphers have felt an increased demand for two unique skills: modern flourishes that are elegant (without looking like they came out of the eighteenth century) and digitized calligraphy that can be used in print and online in the form of logotypes, advertising, title treatments, printed stationery, and beyond. In this course you will learn my favorite techniques for both skills as you are guided through all the steps of creating your own flourished, calligraphic logotype.

Learning natural, purposeful flourishing techniques is important for any calligrapher or lettering artist, but especially for those who combine script with graphic design, as it is in high demand for calligraphy’s application in logo design, book covers, magazine title treatments, and just about all other forms of hand-drawn script.

What You'll Learn

  • Sketching. We’ll start with sketching, covering the basic rules of drawing script letters, and examining opportunities to add flourishes. You will learn to recognize the difference between purposeful flourishes — those that enhance a design — and extraneous ones — those that distract and impede legibility.
  • Adding Flourishes. With a polished sketch in hand, you will then calligraph the design, with emphasis on learning special techniques for calligraphing flourishes.
  • Ink It. With the help of a lightbox we’ll ink our polished sketch using traditional calligraphy supplies: a pointed pen and black ink.
  • Digitizing. Then the computer fun starts! We will bring our design into the computer and polish it further in Photoshop, then vectorize it in Illustrator. I’ll teach you some special techniques for making sure your final logotype retains the integrity of the stroke contrast, including the charming imperfections of the fine hairlines, that it had as ink on paper.

What You'll Make
In this class you will design a word or very short phrase in a flourished calligraphic style to be used as a logotype (or any other sort of type treatment). We'll then walk through the digitizing and vectorizing process.


Check out Molly Suber Thorpe's new how-to guide: Modern Calligraphy: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started in Script Calligraphy (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013)

Looking for the Calligraphy I class? It's Molly Jacques' Introduction to the Art of Modern Calligraphy

More Information

This is an intermediate level class because very basic knowledge of Photoshop and Illustrator is recommended. I cover all the techniques in these two programs in depth and don't presume you have any specific skills already, however if you do, you may catch on more quickly. Knowing at least the basics of pointed pen script calligraphy will be helpful in this course, but you do not have to know how to do it in order to enjoy it. When it comes to calligraphing our sketches, there is an option to do this step in felt pen. The rest of the digitizing techniques can be applied to calligraphic script lettering with fine hairlines done with felt tip pen. Download Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator for free at adobe.com

Level: Intermediate

School: Design

Related Subjects: Logo Design, Typography, Lettering, Hand Lettering, Calligraphy

At a Glance

  • 14 Video Lessons (1h 49m)
  • 2.4K Students
  • 100% Positive Reviews (87)
  • Self-Paced Online Class

About the Teacher

Molly Suber Thorpe

Molly Suber Thorpe

Calligrapher + Designer

Molly Suber Thorpe is the award-winning designer and calligrapher behind Plurabelle Calligraphy & Design Studio. Her custom stationery designs, branding work, and decorative type t...

100% Positive Reviews

Samantha Wilson

Samantha Wilson

Calligrapher & Artist

Great class learning the few basics you need in photoshop to clean up your scanned images. Just what I needed!

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