Penmenship isn't dead: the vibrant art of well-crafted written forms
September 14, 2015 9:11 PM   Subscribe

Typography design and illustration is still an active artform, and you can get an idea of the skills at play by looking at two rather different young penmen: Seb Lester (previously) and Jake Weidmann. While both started as self-taught artists, Seb designs fonts and draws free-hand typographic art pieces with no formal education in type design, while Jake mentored under calligrapher to the White House, Rick Muffler, and is the youngest of the 14 Master Penmen (one of the few programs where inductees must craft their own certificates). As an introduction to the craft and these artists, here's more of Seb Lester and his craft, and an interview with Master Penman Jake Weidmann, with displays of his works.

Seb Lester is more of a modern artist, and his YouTube channel is full of impressively hand-drawn logos for famous companies and brands, along with beautiful calligraphy.

On the other hand, Jake Weidmann takes the craft to another level (Facebook gallery), often returning to classic forms but including some more modern style.

If you're looking to learn, the International Association of Master Penmen's website is a fantastic place to start. While the Master Penmen certification program is no longer active, you can take a page from their book and study Business penmanship, Ornamental and Spencerian script, Engrosser's script, Engrossing and Illumination, Offhand Flourishing and Text lettering.
posted by filthy light thief (7 comments total) 49 users marked this as a favorite
 
Also previously: Futura vs. Verdana it ain't - on A.N. Palmer's The Palmer Method of Business Writing; and Gems of 19th and early 20th century penmanship.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:18 PM on September 14, 2015


Jake demoed the Apple Pencil after they announcement last week. I met him at a trade show earlier this year where he was doing demonstrations on a new writing paper, and I t's been interesting to see him start to pop up in more places since then.

Calligraphy and hand lettering is trending pretty strong right now. I love it, even though I haven't gotten into actually doing it myself.
posted by jimw at 10:34 PM on September 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Wow. Weidmann can draw his ass off, in addition to his amazing lettering skills.
posted by egypturnash at 11:07 PM on September 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


On a slightly ominous note, the first video I watched said Weidmann was one of twelve master penmen in the world. Next one said he was one of eleven. I don't dare watch another.

Dude has talent...but he seems to misunderstand the inherent compliment in "you make it look easy".
posted by maxwelton at 1:01 AM on September 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wow. Weidmann can draw his ass off, in addition to his amazing lettering skills.

And he can sculpt/carve quite well, as seen in the Facebook gallery of his Master Penmen certificate, which includes a massive, carved frame. And earlier in his career, he crafted his own nibs, which were impressive enough that other calligraphers and penfolk bought some from him.


On a slightly ominous note, the first video I watched said Weidmann was one of twelve master penmen in the world. Next one said he was one of eleven. I don't dare watch another.

As noted in the OP, I'm pretty sure there are 14 Master Penmen in the world, but that number will decrease over time as the program is closed and some of the Masters look pretty old.


If you'd like to dive right into the world of penmanship, the next Spencerian Saga is coming up in October in Geneva-On-The-Lake in northeastern Ohio; the same location where renowned penman Platt Rogers Spencer lived, worked and taught.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:08 AM on September 15, 2015


My handwriting is dreadful and I've often searched for an app that lets me improve it by tracing over letters on the screen with a stylus, but if such an app exists, I've never found it. Anyone know of anything on Android?
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 8:04 AM on September 15, 2015


Spectacular post FLT. Thanks a bunch!
posted by cleroy at 5:48 PM on September 15, 2015


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