Here you can download a hand-traced vector pattern of a calligraphy bird, originally created with off-hand flourishing technique.

The original author of the off-hand flourished bird (that we relied upon while creating this  vector pattern) was Clinton H. Clark (1864 - 1937), one of the most skillful penmen in the United States ever. This flourished bird was published on the cover page of his scrapbook which, unfortunately, lacked the data about its purpose or year of origin.

Since we have created our vector by hand tracing of outlines of the original flourish, our version is slightly simplified – some tiny details and extremely fine strokes have been omitted, while some fine strokes have been executed a bit bolder than on Mr. Clark’s flourish. Off-hand flourishing (this technique is also called off-hand calligraphic flourishing, decorative flourishing, pictorial flourishing, or pictorial calligraphy) means quick execution of decorative curved lines, loops and spirals by free movement of the whole arm, using a pointed pen. The first examples of pictorial flourishing made by sequenced pen strokes were made by European calligraphers. Their images were meticulously planned and carefully executed, which resulted in a rather formal appearance. American penmen of the 19th century raised off-hand flourishing to an entirely new level, performing flourishing by quick and playful movements without any preliminary drawing. They developed this technique as a showcase of their extraordinary skills, because this kind of flourishing is quite difficult and requires a lot of practice and a well-trained hand.


Vectorized off-hand bird calligraphy flourish
Free vector categories
Available file formats

This calligraphic design of a bird is available as usually in Autodesk (dwg) format, Encapsulated PostScript (eps) format and Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) format.

In America, the drawing of bird-themed flourishes reached its peak in the last quarter of the 19th century, when the need for skilled scribers increased, so penmanship teachers - writing masters - began to advertise their services and compete for students. Penmen chose to create bird flourishes to advertise their skills because, due to their shape, birds represented (and still do) the perfect subjects motif to create graceful, harmonious and highly sophisticated flourishes to catch the eye of audiences. In addition, this was to prove their high skills and vast experience - even though the making of a bird flourish took them only 5 - 6 minutes, mastering this technique required long years of practice and probably thousands of repeated attempts until they could reach the level when it all seemed quite effortless.

Nowadays calligraphic design is mainly employed in digital graphic design, i.e.,  for designing of invitation cards, thank-you notes, diplomas, certificates and the like, and also in website design and digital art. By the way, drawings like this are often popular themes in tattoo art.


Download DWG 2D CAD file format
Download EPS vector file format
Download SVG vector file format

Submitted by Ceh Jan


Vector tags

Vector collectionsDesign elementsGeometricStencilsRound designsRectangular designsFramesSquare designsHistoryHumanBook decorationsArchitectural patternsGrotesques & creaturesFrieze patternsMammalsSilhouettesLeaves & treesBirdsScrollsSymbolsFurnitureTessellation patternsFlowersObjectsCorner designsInsectsFamous peopleSignsTiles and mosaicsLions & catsLattice patternsPalmette (Anthemion)HeraldicMathematical patternsRenaissanceWomenStained glass patternsArch-shaped designsShieldsRibbonsMoulding profiles