Find Your People at IAMPETH

Jun 13, 2024
Spencerian from The Compendium of Real Penworks

In a world where digital communication dominates, the beauty and elegance of handwritten text can often be overlooked. Yet, for those who appreciate the artistry of the pen, the International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers, and Teachers of Handwriting (IAMPETH) stands as a beacon of tradition, skill, and community of like-minded enthusiasts.

If you have a love for the written word and a desire to immerse yourself in the world of calligraphy, joining IAMPETH is a step worth considering. Whether you are a hobbyist seeking to expand your exposure, a professional calligrapher looking for community and inspiration, or a teacher aiming to pass on the art, IAMPETH offers a supportive and enriching environment. 

But, let's also get real for a moment, if your friends and family glaze over when you "drone on" about nibs and inks and the effect of x-height ratios on a script, you will find your people at IAMPETH. We talk your language. We understand. And we will drone on with you!


From the IAMPETH collection of artworks. If this makes your heart skip a beat, you would think you've died and gone to heaven when you see the Archive Room.


What is IAMPETH?

IAMPETH, a completely volunteer-run non-profit organization, is one of the oldest and most prestigious groups in the world dedicated to handwriting and calligraphy arts. Established in 1949, it has grown into a global community of penmen, artists, and enthusiasts new and experienced who share a passion for the hand written word. The organization's mission is to preserve, promote, and educate others about the rich history and techniques of penmanship and calligraphy. 

IAMPETH Resources

IAMPETH's official website,, is a treasure trove of resources for anyone interested in calligraphy and handwriting. Here’s a glimpse of what you can find:

  • Historical Archives: The site gives us all access to appreciate some of the vast collection of historical documents and manuals from renowned penmen of the past that IAMPETH has purchased over the years. The physical archive is slowly being scanned by dedicated volunteers to provide invaluable insights into the evolution of penmanship and serve as a source of inspiration for modern calligraphers.

  • Member Directory: IAMPETH members are listed in a directory that includes professional calligraphers, engrossers, and teachers. This directory is visible only to members and allows calligraphers from all over the globe to connect and build a community of like-minded artists.

  • Annual Conference: One of the highlights of the IAMPETH community is the annual conference. This event brings together members from around the world to participate in workshops, lectures, and hands-on sessions with esteemed penmen. It’s a week-long opportunity to learn, network, and celebrate the art of calligraphy. Those of us who attend regularly have come to think of it as our "Calligraphy Summer Camp." 


The annual conference kicks off and ends with a dinner together. We are a diverse group of all ages, races, genders, and skill levels. 


Membership Benefits

While there are perks to becoming a member of IAMPETH (such as access to the member directory, a beautifully published quarterly journal, and eligibility to scholarships and certifications), what I cherish most about IAMPETH is the community of deep friendships I've developed over the years of being a member. And, as an added bonus, I get satisfaction out of knowing my nominal yearly member fee is supporting the mission to preserve and promote this artform that has become so rewarding to me personally.

The Art of Penmanship

Penmanship, once a crucial skill for communication and record-keeping, has now become an art form cherished by a dedicated community. Some of the more known styles include Spencerian, Copperplate, and Italic. However, there is a vast world of so many other beautiful styles, each with its own unique flair and historical significance.

IAMPETH Certification

For those looking to gain formal recognition of their skills in the field of penmanship, the IAMPETH Certificate Program is a valuable and structured pathway. It underscores the organization's commitment to maintaining high standards and fostering continuous learning within the calligraphy communityā€‹. Certificates are currently offered in six areas ranging from Engrosser's Script to Illumination. Candidates submit their specimens according to strict guidelines and are then blind judged by a committee of experts in that skill. The pinnacle of the Certificate Program is Master Penman level. 

Preparation and Training

Aside from the week-long menu of one day classes offered during the annual conference, IAMPETH does not provide any guided educational opportunities (there are certainly resources on the website for self-guided study). Students interested in furthering their skills and considering the goal of certification must seek their own training.

To further your calligraphy arts training, is an online calligraphy arts school giving global access to quality instruction. Classes are offered in a variety of calligraphy styles and other related skills such as engraving, painting, gilding, design, and even art business.  Hosted by Kestrel Montes (hey, that's me), classes are taught by vetted, experienced artists. I use my background as an instructional coach and my Master's in Educational Leadership to ensure classes are designed and paced for optimal learning.

Whether you are a beginner eager to dive into this vast artform or a professional ready to take your skills to the next level, classes offer global access to the best calligraphy instructors, the instructional benefit of rewatching recorded lessons, and a close up view of the instructor's paper to ensure detailed understanding. 

Some teachers and students gathered for a spontaneous picture at IAMPETH 2022 Atlanta. Do you see any familiar faces?

Cover image: graphic demonstrating the slant of Spencerian Script from The Compendium of Real Penworks


Hop over to, our online calligraphy school, for all sorts of great resources! You'll find everything from printable guide sheets to digital backgrounds and more!

Grab 'em now!