Goulet Guests: Spotlight on Jake Weidmann, Artist & Master Penman

At the 2017 DC Pen Show, I had the honor of sitting down and interviewing Jake Weidmann, artist and Master Penman. He’s someone I’ve looked up to personally for several years, since I first discovered his TedX talk called Why Write? Penmanship for the 21st Century. His artistic talent is undeniable, he clearly has a gift for calligraphy, drawing, carving, sculpting, painting, and engraving. His signature is incorporating classic themes and lines from calligraphy into his art, especially animals and nature.

At age 26, Jake became the youngest certified Master Penman in history, a designation given to a very select few talented individuals across the world by the International Association of Master Penman, Engrossers, and Teachers of Handwriting. To receive such a designation, you much go through years of rigorous practice and training, mentorship, and a final test of creating your own ornate certificate, which is then presented to the artist upon acceptance as a Master Penman. This whole process was completely foreign to me until I read up on Jake, and it’s inspired me to attempt to improve my own handwriting.

It would be quite accurate to say that I am a “fanboy” of Jake’s. I completely geeked out when I finally got to meet him in person, which was about 45 minutes before I sat down with him to do this interview! My Christmas gift this past year was a signed print of his “Craftsmanship” piece, which speaks to me as a craftsman, woodworker, and builder of things (including my business).
I was already well aware of his talents and some of his background, but what impressed me the most was his warmth and humility. Jake could very well be justified as an eccentric genius, as clearly his craftsmanship is at a level few could ever attain if they tried. But he’s not eccentric at all, he’s kind, curious, optimistic, and simply a pleasant person to know. To know that there’s not only an amazing talent here but that there’s a genuinely good person behind it all is refreshing and inspiring to me, and I hope to you, too.

 

Sitting down like this with Jake was a gift for me, an item crossed off my bucket list. I genuinely enjoyed chatting with him and I’m thrilled to be able to share it with you. In an age where the future of handwriting is uncertain, Jake is an inspiration and a hope for this beautiful art to continue to flourish. I strongly encourage you to check out all of Jake’s work on his website, Instagram account, and Facebook.
Write On,
Brian Goulet
2017-10-27T16:52:09+00:00 September 1st, 2017|Goulet Guests|14 Comments
  • Tom Johnson

    This is a fantastic video, I just loved hearing all about Jake and his amazing talents and accomplishments. His website is breathtaking. Brian, Jake – thank you so much for doing this video interview.

    Over the past 4 years I have improved my penmanship (just the cursive writing i was taught some 60 years ago) quite a bit by practicing here and there. Concentrating on the letters that I’m not satisfied with, working on them until my muscle memory kicks in to make them better. I find it helpful to concentrate on forming each letter well and don’t worry about speed at all. Jake’s thoughts on using fountain pens is one of the best parts of this interview. Smooth and effortless – that is a fountain pen’s magic for me.

    Again, guys, thanks so much for doing this interview and posting it on this Q&A.

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      So glad you enjoyed it, Tom! It was definitely one of my favorite Goulet Guests interviews. I love Jake’s work.

  • Uniotter

    Wow, that was a great interview! I thought you’d be hard-pressed to better the one with Ryder Carroll, but this one was at least as inspiring and touching. I love his work ethic, and the quote about finding a million ways to entertain ourselves but not enough to improve ourselves (paraphrasing from memory here) is one that will stay with me. Thank you to Jake for sharing all of that, and Brian for making someone known to me whom I never had heard about. Nice job, both of you! (Now to go practice my penmanship. *LOL*)

  • peter hofmann

    Loved it! Thank you Brian for doing this interview, it was so inspiring to hear from Jake and all the medium he is interested in. In the meantime I will just concentrate on improving my handwritting.

  • Thudthwacker

    I confess to some curiosity as to what happens if you present your certificate to the Association and they *don’t* accept you. Do they keep it? Burn it? Return it with lots of markup done in indelible red ink?

    (Note: I’m mostly kidding. I doubt anyone is invited to present a certificate who the Association doesn’t know for sure is qualified, and anyone who *is* qualified would certainly turn in a suitable certificate. I’m a programmer; I have a need to explore corner cases.)

    • Kathy

      I wondered the same thing….can you imagine working on one of these certificates for weeks, and having it returned marked up in red ink????

  • Kathy

    Absolutely fascinating interview, Brian. I did not know about Jake before this, but am a real fangirl now. Wow. His talent is unlimited. I’m always impressed by good penmanship, but this is so much more. Thanks for sharing this with us!

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      Isn’t his work just breathtaking?

  • David L.

    As with Kathy, I did not know about Jake until now. His work is amazing! I cannot stop looking at the photos provided. I guess I need to go deeper than Gothic and Copperplate with my handwriting!

    This was an amazing interview, and I believe it will be next to impossible to top it. Great work, Jake! I’d love to see more!

  • Larina

    Wow, what an opportunity! I’m a big fan, and it’s wonderful to see my favourite pen site do something together with my favourite calligrapher. 😀 Thanks for sharing this great interview.

  • Katherine Smith

    This is such an inspiring video, and Jake is an amazing artist and human being. His drawings of birds and animals are breathtaking!

  • Robin Mosenfelder

    wish the sound was better, hard to hear.

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      Sorry, Robin. It was not our usual location so we had to improvise. We’ll try better next time.

  • Andrew Camacho

    Jake is a modern Leonardo da Vinci. Thanks for the interview and all that you do to further our efforts in the fountain pen world.