Psalm 100 in Martin Luther’s handwriting

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Every day for the past week I’ve been writing Psalm 100 by hand. I hope to continue this project for at least a year. Some days I do a straight-forward writing. Other days I do something a little more creative.

I wasn’t expecting much when I set Psalm 100 in Martin Luther’s handwriting font, and traced it with a pencil. But the results are pretty cool.

Martin Luther handwriting

So far in this project, I’ve 100% just wrote the chapter on paper using my own handwriting. Today I wanted to see what happens when first I set the text in some fun script on a computer.

The script fonts weren’t really clicking for me at the moment. But then I remembered the Martin Luther font!

A couple years ago I bought the “Martin Luther Handwriting Font” from Harald Geisler’s Kickstarter. I set Psalm 100 in this font with the intention of printing this on some vellum or tracing paper.

Setting the text on the computer was really nice, because I was able to fit the square format exactly. I made the first line of each verse a bit bigger to help fill in the space. Once I was done on the computer, it was time to print this out, and trace it!

Tracing handwriting without tracing paper

I didn’t have any tracing paper in my house. Instead, I changed the color of the text to a light cyan, printed it, and wrote right on top of the light cyan ink.

This color is used in comic strips. Cartoonists will first sketch in light cyan, and then draw ink over their sketch. When the work gets scanned, you can easily remove the light cyan in Photoshop.

Cyan type to trace Martin Luther handwriting of Psalm 100
Yeah, you can barely see the text in this light cyan. But that’s the point.

Martin Luther’s handwriting style

Luther has a VERY loose handwriting style, so it’s not completely legible. Thankfully, I’ve copied this Psalm seven or eight times already, making it familiar enough to my brain. When a particular word was illegible, I could recall how this chapter in Psalm goes, and thus interpret Luther’s loose handwriting.

Halfway through tracing this, I got the hang of how his handwriting flows. Since Luther’s handwriting is pretty illegible, I could just go the quick sloppy route. I didn’t need to be concerned with nailing every letter 100% perfectly.

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In a close-up of the writing, you can see some of the light blue lines underneath my pencil.

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Photographing the tracing

Once I was done writing tracing, it was time to photograph and share on social media (Twitter and Instagram)

I wanted to shoot this on top of some old wood. Martin Luther lived back in 15th-16th century, so aged wood would be a nice touch. Our front door has some nice beat-up aged wood. I was going to tape the paper up on the door, but our door already has a screw on the front! I just pushed the paper over the screw. (Granted, I don’t think screws existed back then, but close enough).

As the screw punctured a hole in the paper , I couldn’t help to think of nails going through Christ’s hands. I also like how this calls to mind Luther nailing the 95 theses to the door. In this case, it’s Psalm 100 being nailed to my door.

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The late afternoon light just happened to be shining through the clouds onto my front door, so I was able to capture some nice direct lighting. If I was really going for the historic feel, I should have ripped the edges of the paper—and not use a 20th century 8.5×11 standard size. 😉

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