Thoughts on Writing

For the Modern Penman

Plans for 2019

January 14th, 2019 by D. T. Grimes

For the last decade, I’ve watched January 1st come and go with apathy. I’m not the kind of person that likes to make bold claims and promises about what I can accomplish in the next calendar year. That being said, our studio is finally growing to a point where we can put some real muscle behind certain efforts. I’m excited to talk a little bit about what may be in store for Masgrimes, but first I’d like to say “Thank you” to each of you who have been so supportive of this journey. I wouldn’t be where I am today without people like you.

If you’ve been following along for some time, you might know that over the last five years I’ve gone from being a complete novice to teaching around the world. Five years isn’t a lot of time in the grand scheme of things. I know plenty of calligraphers who have been in the industry for 20+ years, and that has me thinking: If I want to continue to grow, produce, and innovate, what are the foundations upon which I should be building? In 15 years, what do I want to look back on and be proud of?

I’m a firm believer that clear direction instigates productive growth. In the spirit of that, here are five big things I’m hoping to accomplish, or at least make progress on, in 2019.

Masgrimes Dreaming In Script - Engrosser's Script

Improving course offerings

At the point of writing this, we are in the home stretch of our first time through the Dreaming In Script – Engrosser’s Script. What started off as a twelve-week outline has become something much, much bigger. I’m excited to get a chance to go through and edit large sections of the course while finding the best ways to optimize it. The Second Edition of this course will come sometime this year, alongside another launch campaign and a slew of examples from the first students to complete it.

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Working From A Historical Specimen

September 27th, 2018 by D. T. Grimes

Over the past few years, I’ve spent a lot of time accumulating images in a digital archive so that I can reference them when I work on designs of my own. Occasionally, I find myself staring at a historical specimen that seems like it could have been something I’d done myself. Whether it’s the sentiment, the execution, or something about the style or tastes of the artist, I try to listen to those moments of inspiration and my hand naturally gravitates to the pen.

Masgrimes Swipe File

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Splitting Tines with Michael Gebhart

April 16th, 2018 by D. T. Grimes

Over the last year, my interest has shifted towards a more rounded and historical approach to penmanship and script lettering as it was done by the penmen of the past. During this transition, I’ve felt myself endeared to a style of penmanship that had eluded my intrigue for some time: Business Penmanship.

Amidst this refocusing, I’ve found myself drawn to those with a distinctly technical, yet philosophical approach to their writing. One figure that stands at the forefront of that list is a gentleman named Michael Gebhart, a penman since 2015 living in Nashville, TN.

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Splitting Tines With Nina Tran

November 15th, 2017 by D. T. Grimes

A few years ago, I stumbled upon a woman named Nina Tran on Instagram who was spearheading a hashtag initiative called ‘Handlettered ABCs’. Without asking, I jumped in and started broadcasting corresponding majuscule lessons each morning after she had concluded her minuscules on Periscope. As the following weeks passed, I quickly learned how sincere, genuine, and talented my new friend really was.

During my first visit to teach in LA, Nina and I finally got to meet in person. It was then that I learned Nina was much much more than just a community leader — she’s an artist and dreamer. I’m so excited to be able to conduct this interview and help to shed a bit more light on the other facets of Nina that make her rise to her prominent place in the Copperplate world all the more impressive. You can find more information about Nina on her website,, and follow her incredible progress on Instagram.

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Splitting Tines with James Fazz Farrell

January 24th, 2017 by D. T. Grimes

Mr. James Fazz Farrell is a calligraphy artist and teacher of Spencerian and Roundhand from Buckinghamshire, England. His work was first called to my attention in 2015, by a student who had begun to study online with James through video calls on Skype. Those of you who have taken workshops or lessons with me know the high regard in which I hold James and his outstanding writing ability, and it is my most sincere honor to be able to share this interview with all of you so that we might better know the man behind the pen. You can find James and his work on his site, at, or on Instagram at

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Splitting Tines with Edward Curran

December 19th, 2016 by D. T. Grimes

Edward Curran is a calligrapher and up-and-coming pen maker from Bedfordshire, England whom I had the incredibly fortunate opportunity to become friends with during the IAMPETH Conference in the summer of 2015. Edward is an Irishman, through and through, and our friendship stems from our mutual affection for the pen as well as his incredible patience with this thing I do where I adopt the accent of anyone I meet (Thanks for putting up with me, Ed!). You can find out more about Edward and his work on his site, at, or on Instagram at

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Splitting Tines with Joan Quirós

October 25th, 2016 by D. T. Grimes

Mr. Joan Quirós is a graphic designer who specializes in custom lettering and calligraphy, and currently lives and works in Valencia, Spain. Over the last three years, I’ve kept a vigilant eye on Joan’s work as he grew into the formidable calligrapher that he is today. Luckily, he agreed to speak with me about his journey so that I may share it with you as an entry in the Splitting Tines interview series. You can find Joan and his work on his site, at, or on Instagram at

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