Without using a pen tablet, what’s a good alternative way in Photoshop or Illustrator to create variable width flair around fonts like a lettering artist would?:


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I don’t have the drawing ability or hardware to draw it by hand (probably the ideal method). I do however have access to similar looking fonts, and would just like to know a way to accomplish similar-looking lines around my letters: variable width wavy underlines and lines w curlyques at the ends, drawn in ‘sparkles’, etc. Can someone point me to a good plugin, or school me on specific pen techniques that would work decently?

On that note, what’s the correct design term for this ‘flair’ around the letters that I’m referring to?

  • There are some downloadable 'construction kits' of fonts with alternative characters, plus ornaments and bits of clip-art that are ready made to create this kind of look, but they are very restricted compared to learning now to draw stuff like this yourself.
    – Westside
    Mar 6, 2017 at 16:25
  • ... letterheadfonts.com....
    – Scott
    Mar 6, 2017 at 18:47

1 Answer 1


You do not actually need a tablet for this at all. You can do this with the pen tool. In fact for the first specimen i wouldn't use the tablet even if i have one, wouldn't even consider it. For the second one i might do the last swoop with a tablet, but might not depends on what i was doing previously.

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