I'm a sucker for the fancy section markers (commonly called vignettes or ornaments). For an example, look at the beautiful symbol beneath the {TeX} logo on this site, or this flourish below

example flourish

However, all the solutions I've seen involve the use of a dingbat font. Are there any solutions out there that use TikZ?


Where can I find vignettes to separate sections?

End of paragraph with ornament

  • 1
    I've included flourishes in the past by simply finding a nice vector art flourish and including it as a PDF using \includegraphics. Some more elegant solutions would be nice to see, though.
    – ESultanik
    Mar 30, 2011 at 17:30
  • By coincidence, I was thinking about something like this earlier today. The main difficulty (as I can see) is in tapering the lines appropriately. There was a question about that recently .. Mar 30, 2011 at 17:46
  • TikZ is generally more geared towards technical illustrations, not so much towards decorative illustrations. Including an external vector graphic (e.g. created with inkscape) is probably easier.
    – Caramdir
    Mar 30, 2011 at 21:07
  • @Andrew This one tex.stackexchange.com/questions/14283/… ?
    – Caramdir
    Mar 30, 2011 at 21:08

2 Answers 2


I guess that you're looking for something a little like this:


The code to produce that is:


\begin{tikzpicture}[line width=2pt]
\pen (0,0);
\useasboundingbox (-3,-1) rectangle (3,2);
\calligraphy (0,0) .. controls +(100:1) and +(90:1) .. ++(-2,.5) ++(0,0) .. controls +(-90:2) and +(90:2) .. ++(4,0) ++(0,0) .. controls +(-90:2) and +(90:2) .. ++(-4,.5) ++(0,0) .. controls +(-90:2) and +(90:2) .. ++(4,0);

Of course, the code in calligraphy.sty is a bit longer. It's not (yet) on CTAN, you can get it from our "From Answers to Packages" package at http://bazaar.launchpad.net/+branch/tex-sx/files. Download the file calligraphy.dtx and run pdflatex on it to produce the style file and the documentation (the latter is a bit rudimentary at the moment).

  • Would you mind posting a picture of the output here?
    – Hooked
    May 19, 2011 at 19:44
  • 1
    @Hooked: Err ... I did. The picture in my answer is generated by the code that I wrote. May 19, 2011 at 20:30
  • @Stacey I realize that, but for future users looking at this question, the value of your answer is increased tremendously by a quick glance at the output. This is especially true when you are using non-standard packages (whose immediate location may or may not be valid years from now!).
    – Hooked
    May 19, 2011 at 21:51
  • @Hooked what do you mean by output? What the code produces is in the picture. The actual code used to produce this is available here
    – Seamus
    May 19, 2011 at 23:13
  • @Stacey @Seamus I'm sorry for all the confusion, I realized that the picture never loaded from the server (nor will it now). Chrome didn't leave a broken image marker so I never realized a picture was supposed to be there. I'm not sure why this is but I'll trust you both that you are seeing an image here! I've tried clearing the cache but to no avail - I still see a blank spot after "...for something a little like this:". SE hosting problem perhaps?
    – Hooked
    May 19, 2011 at 23:24

In my experience the tikz devs are very helpful and accommodating. Start by creating the basic shape you want with tikz, it should be able to do it, then ask the devs to help you with the taper etc. Effectively what you want is a calligraphy style line that changes thickness depending on the angle from max to min given some initial pen angle. If you don't ask them maybe I will; it would be a great effect!

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