Acanthus leaves for a calligraphy border

Acanthus leaves can be challenging to illustrate on a calligraphy commission, but they’re so beautiful and they really add to a piece!

I’ve been emailing about these today, in discussions about a poem in calligraphy to celebrate someone’s life. I wanted to show how fabulous a more detailed acanthus leaf can look on a navy blue paper, and I’ve spent the afternoon experimenting with a couple of different techniques.

These photographs are of unfinished work. I wanted to show a little of my calligraphy process, and sketching lettering roughly in pencil is crucial for layouts and flourishing. You can still see the pencil lines behind my lettering – it’s because the white ink I use needs 24 hours or so to dry before I can erase the lines. Of course, you’ll never see pencil lines in a finished calligraphy commission!

If I were to use these acanthus leaves in a calligraphy poem, I’d love to firm up the circles so the pattern is more regular. I’d also add gold – perhaps gold leaf detail as dots in and amongst the leaves. But overall, I have loved illustrating these and I’m really happy with the result. I hope you like them too!

Acanthus leaves can be added to any calligraphy commission, and in any colour. See my prices for calligraphy poems here, along with more design examples and a whole rainbow of different colours I’ve used in commissions for other customers!