There was no better way to kick off the day than to host the talented Tamer Ghoneim, an artist, instructor, and entrepreneur who's perhaps best known for his blackletter calligraphy. His journey into art started because he loved sharing his creative process with other artists, so in this session he did just that by showing us how to make flourished blackletter capitals in Procreate.

Make sure to follow along with these freebies!

Set the Canvas

Pick a square canvas for this composition and color it black. Tap in the layers at the top right and tap on the background color. Slide it into the black area. On a new layer, add a grid to help line everything up. Pick the Grid Guide Brush and create a quick grid in the background. To make sure the brightness isn’t too overpowering, reduce the opacity down to 12% or 15% to see the grid faintly.

Pro tip: Add a new layer before getting started otherwise the grid will be a permanent part of your design. Layers also help make adjustments and tweak anything later. Working with layers enhances flexibility without having to erase any of your work.

Pick the Brush

Put the background color as black and add a layer on top of the grid to begin the design. Grab a brush from the Bewitched Set, as they are fun to play with causing random effects.

Zoom in to the canvas and quickly test the brush size. Put it at a 45-degree angle and choose the pressure-sensitive version. Turn the grid off and draw faintly. Notice the 3D effects emerging.

Draw the Design

Pick the white color and turn the grid back on. Start with a bigger brush whose size is at 80% and draw an ‘A’. Draw the letter ‘A’, with traditional angles. See the reference image below.

Play around and try different ideas. Start with the stroke that you wouldn't expect to start with for the letter. To get a fading effect, start with low pressure and build a line, then apply more pressure and leave it at soft pressure before ending the letter. This gives a nice scratchy rough look.

Move the orientation of the letter to wherever you want. Draw the initial stroke and then build from there. Draw a curve down and on a new layer move to a 90-degree brush to draw a straight vertical line.

Start from the top and then draw a straight line down to the curve at 90 degrees.

Start another layer and build the top of the A. Using pressure and the directional line, draw the top of a house. Switch back to the 45-degree brush, starting at the corner and drawing a line up that follows the 45-degree angle. Apply low pressure and then high pressure, and then the low pressure to fade out.

Pro tip: You can also make it super pointy at the top or do a curve.

Once again, apply low pressure, build the pressure a little bit in between and then loosen the pressure at the end to make a line from top to bottom.

Pro tip: Add faint gaps in between so that the brightness over the texture does not overpower the composition.  

Add Elements

With the basic shape of an A, add elements. You can also rotate the canvas and the angle of the brush will stay consistent with the pen. Add a thin to wide line flourish by pulling one of the corners and then drawing on the outside. Draw a curved line.

Separate the layers and move the whole layer. Fill in the inside of the A for the crossbar with a  flourish.

Build an Outline

Create a layer, add the grid and pick the Detailed Brush from the pack. Draw smoky and large outlines, for a more detailed look. Trace the outlines in places where you wish to add a cool effect and vary the pressure, then let it trail off. Add this to different parts of the image to create another interesting visual element to the picture. Give it a smoky look.

Add more pressure to get a bigger spot and then lighten out and make them different lengths. It starts to get more interesting as you build up effects. The grid lines help to keep the lines straight. These can later be turned off.

Make it look a little bit gothic. Fill in the entire photo but make sure to always keep the layers separate. This gives it flexibility later.

Add Special Effects

Under the settings, tap on canvas and then crop and resize, making the canvas size bigger. Add another layer for the flourishes. Pick the brush which looks like a magic spell with light streaks.

Turn the grid off and build for a flutter. Pick a corner and build a flourish based on that point and swoop it around. Draw circles over like the infinity sign.

Similarly, add more curved lines, using the same method as before and drawing them flying from the letter.

Playing around with a bunch of different ideas gives your design accents and some flourishes. Build the detail lines and the flourishing to create a different look. Put your flourishes in a group to give it a 3D look and mask the layer. 

Add Shading

Picking a black brush color draw over the layer mask. White will reveal it. Vary the opacity of the black brush. Draw over the line. Add the mask again and put a shadow behind it. Make the line look like it’s going behind the letter.

Give it a 3D effect by adding these curvy lines and flourishes.

Duplicate and grab all the layers together, then flatten them. 

Add Color

Stick with neon blue and fill the layer with blue color. Do a clipping mask, which is just going to apply it to the layer underneath it. Merge them.

Apply purple color in the flourishes. Add green in the main letter, then add a Glitching Effect. Use the forests to create a grunge look with an Ink Spray Brush from the pack. Add another layer and choose an orange color for this.

Create ink blots around the canvas just by dragging it around and then reducing the opacity.

Choose a neon yellow and color the flourishes. Add it as a dust spray and put it on the layer behind so it doesn't pop as much.

Add a mask and take it off of the clipping mask. Using the Soft Brush, spray along and hide the bits with the black pen. Reduce the opacity of the brush and add blackness to it.

With the initial letter, you could also use the Bloom Effect and colorize it.

Congratulations, you have successfully made a beautiful flourished blackletter capital in Procreate.