Schreibmeisterbuch is a nice chewy German word that means Writing Master’s Book.
My friend Claudia collects them. These books date from the 1700’s and were used to teach penmanship. Some are printed and some are manuscripts. They are filled with examples of beautiful script,
and playful doodles.
Here is lettering from another of Claudia’s books, from a different part of her library. The delicacy and rhythm of the line contrasts with the solidity and singularity of the rose.
Here the lines become the flight path of insects.
All of these images inspired me to fool around with my own fountain pen again.
With a pen I have to pay attention and let go at the same time. If I am too tight the line has no life or joy. If I am not paying attention the line has no purpose. In every drawing I can see where I erred in both of those directions, but that leads me to draw again.
When I am drawing I think with my hand as well as my mind. A pencil line feels different than an ink line. (For more on that subject please go to this older post: Pencils, Pens and Brushes).
Today I type more than write. But there is joy to be found in real ink.
In his blog The Technium, Kevin Kelly writes that old technologies never die. They continue to exist in some form somewhere on earth.
The old technologies are often slower but still fulfill their original purpose, often in a more pleasing way than the more modern iterations. Care for a boat ride, a balloon ride or a trip on United Flight 3411? It depends on why you are going.
I like that I can use the new and the old.
I can draw pencils with a fountain pen and scan the drawing, or take pictures from a schreibmeisterbuch with my phone and send them to you. Please raise your monocle and take a closer look at your screen!