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How to write an Ampersand in calligraphy

Updated: May 14, 2021

The ampersand represents the word and. It is actually a ligature (two characters combined) an e and t from the Latin word et, meaning “and”.

With many variations, there are two main ways of writing the ampersand: the traditional version (&), and the style that looks more like an E or an et. Once the ampersand was accepted as a single character, it evolved into a more flowing design. Most fonts include an ampersand, but how do you write one in calligraphy?

Introducing the Snowman Method!

In our weekly Instagram Challenges that we call #calligraphywriteoff

Maisie and I tried to make a good-looking ampersand. If you would like to watch, you can see all these challenges on Insta TV (click the image to link to our channel.

Maisie taught me this simple method, and you can see it underneath my attempt here. With two circles penciled in, one on top of the other, there is the framework to create a beautiful '&'!

Start with the tail, cutting across the bottom circle (the snowman's body!)

Follow the loop around the top circle, bringing the line down to form the bottom part and back up. Finish with a flourish why not?! It's simple when you know-how. Now you know this trick, you can play with the size of your circles.

You don't have to draw the pencil circles every time, just have it in mind when you work as just by imagining this will help you to form a balanced and elegant ampersand.

In the challenge, Maisie used a nib, and I used a paintbrush. The formula is the same, you want the thick part of the line to be to the side of the form, not hanging at the bottom.

If this all seems too confusing opt for the version that looks like the letter E and a T or et. For a calligrapher, this is a much easier shape to make. A curly capital E and then extend the flourish at the end to hit at the crossbar of a letter t.

Play around with the shapes and find one that suits the style you are working with, and we hope this has helped you to form beautiful ampersands forevermore.

Join us next time for another #calligraphywriteoff

Kirsten & Maisie

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