An Interview with Master Penman Jake Weidmann


Dave recently interviewed Master Penman Jake Weidmann to get some insight into what makes this amazing artist tick. And if you have never seen any of Jake’s work stop reading, go to his site, and then come back to read the interview. Enjoy!


What is a “Master Penman”?
“A Master Penman is a vintage title given to those who have honed the art of calligraphy and is proficient in each of its major disciplines. Me and 12 others who have been given this title follow in the footsteps of the world’s greatest ornamental penman. In the process of becoming a master through IAMPETH (International Association of Master Penman, Engrossers and Teachers of Handwriting) I executed my own certificate on calfskin vellum and carved my own frame for it after being mentored by the calligrapher of the White House and having my work under a microscope of the other masters. The entire process of being introduced to calligraphy and mastering it took five years.”


When did you become aware of the uniqueness of your gifting as an artist?
 “I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. It was in the first grade when my teacher, Mrs. Kay, called my talent out by entering my portrait of a parrot in the school-wide art contest. I realized I had a gift in the eyes of others. My small drawing went on to win the school’s art competition. It was then that I began identifying myself as an artist.”

When did you think, “I think I can sell my art and actually make a living?”
“When I was in college, getting my degree in psychology, I started getting a lot of requests for different art projects on the side of my school work. I never attended art school, and wasn’t admitted into the art program at my school and was seen, “unfit for the program.”  Art requests grew in size and frequency, until one day, I was asked by a professor at BIOLA to carve his family’s crest into a trophy set of Yukon moose antlers. It was a commission that extended far beyond my skill that at the time, but I rose and met the challenge and acquired the skill necessary to fulfill his request.  It was in those moments I was carving these antlers on the deck of my dorm that this was something I could do for the rest of my life – and make money at it. My art career bloomed unexpectedly out of dreaming, doing, constantly testing and growing my skill set. To my greatest surprise, these side gigs would later grow into my full-time profession. “


What gave you the guts to follow your art?
“Choosing to step full-time into art and try to make a living was a daunting task, especially with a mound of school loans for a degree in something else entirely. I knew that what God had given to me in art wasn’t to be kept to myself, but to be explored and shared. And so in faith, I followed that calling on my life. The favor in my art has taken me to places I couldn’t have dreamed possible.”

How often do you throw away and start over?

“The tools, materials and context of my work demand the utmost of my skill and attention. With hours of practice in between final pieces, I hardly find myself starting over. Mistakes are made, but part of my practice is knowing how to fix anything that might go wrong.”


Are you a perfectionist in every way ? Is there an area of your life that it doesn’t apply?
“I cannot say no. In general, I am your typical “messy creative.” I become so enthralled and focused on my work that I neglect the conditions of my living/working environment. In its final form, my art is a thing of order and beauty, but chaos is left in my creative wake.”

What about you drives your wife crazy?
“Read the last answer again. My wife is the one standing in the havoc of my creative wake.”


What do you want people to know about Jake Weidman?
“As an artist, I want people to know that I’m not just a one-tune band, but that I have a wide range of talents and interests. It’s one thing I’ve been ironically criticized for. The art world spins on the axis of artists who execute one type of art and do it well, over and over and over again. I never want to be that kind of artist. I will always put my hands to multiple crafts. Having numerous artistic outlets keeps me loving my work, and honestly, keeps me sane.
As a person, art isn’t my entire life. I have many interests outside of it. For instance, my wife calls me a gym rat. I love to work out and do all-natural body building.”

What do you carry with you when you leave the house?
“I never leave the house without my sketch pad and pen. I always have a million different projects floating around my head that I’m constantly sketching them out and uncovering my next big idea. “

Can you do a pocket dump?
“Pen nibs, Saddleback leather wallet, fountain pen, pocket knife, chapstick, receipt from Woodcraft.”