If you or your kids have developed an interest in calligraphy, you probably will need to learn how to identify a high quality paper. Most people, however, have no idea where to start, not to mention that they barely know that there is a specific type of paper that is used in calligraphy.
When shopping for a calligraphy paper, you will find tons of calligraphy papers that come in different weights, varieties, surfaces, and colors. The wide variety sometimes can make it hard to choose the best one. Buying a crappy paper, however, is not ideal because it will leave you with shoddy work and damaged pens. This is why you need to know what to look out for when purchasing one.
To begin with, we will look at why using the right paper for calligraphy matters. Afterwards, we will look at a calligraphy paper buying guide and wrap the article up with a review of 3 tops calligraphy papers. In the event that you are in the market for good quality calligraphy paper, read on.
Why Do You Need The Right Calligraphy Paper?
The right paper gives you an easier time during calligraphy. The surface on a high-quality paper is smooth for your pen to easily glide over to deliver clean strokes. Compared to regular paper, a great calligraphy paper also has more resistance, which keeps your pen in one position moving to your specific lettering for the perfect writing.
Since calligraphy paper is soft, your pen glides easily, thus adding to the life of the brush pens because the tips will not fray. Regular copy paper wears out the nibs of brush pens when the coarse fibers of the paper get caught on the fibers of the nib. This often destroys the tip of the pen, which leads to fraying. The right paper protects your pens, thus saving you the money that you would have otherwise used to replace them because they are not cheap.
Another key reason why using the right type of paper is important is because it prevents bleeding. The ink does not feather out. It only pools at the end of every stroke where it settles until it dries. This is unlike regular paper that can bleed onto consecutive pages.
Good examples of calligraphy papers include bleed-proof marker papers, premium inkjet papers, and hot press watercolor papers. A bleed proof marker paper is best for drafts and rough designs. Being affordable makes it the best for practice even though it does not give the best calligraphy results. Premium inkjet paper can be used for calligraphy practice although it bleeds a little. It is also affordable. The hot press watercolor smooth paper is very expensive for regular use. It is, however, the best because it has nicely done edges and gridlines for guidance.
How to Choose the Right Calligraphy Paper
Here are a few tips on what to look out for when looking to purchase the right calligraphy paper.
Sizing refers to a process of treating paper surfaces that prevents ink from being absorbed into the paper fibers. Calligraphy requires sharp clean strokes and as such, a paper that will not become messy is best for all your calligraphy projects.
The most commonly used and recommended paper surface for calligraphy is smooth. This is because a smooth surface allows for neat strokes and easy gliding of your calligraphy marker. Some papers with a little roughness are also great for calligraphy due to their great ability to hold ink.
Neutral pH or acid-free paper
Regular paper usually deteriorates and begins to yellow over time. The best paper for calligraphy, however, should be able to last for long without becoming brittle. The best paper for calligraphy is one with a neutral pH or is acid-free. This ensures that it will last for a long time even when exposed to light.
Calligraphy papers generally come in different sizes. Lighter papers like 70 and 90lbs are best for small calligraphy projects that only require simple drawing or lettering. For bigger and more detailed calligraphy jobs, a heavier paper will do better. This is because more weight provides a more rigid paper surface.
Regular or ‘rag’ paper
Even with the regular papers available, there is a different type of paper known as the ‘rag’ paper. It is made using natural fibers like linen and cotton and has a gelatin size. It has a neutral pH, which means that it will last for long without becoming brittle or yellowing. Rag papers are also excellent for calligraphy.
Papers You Should Avoid For a Calligraphy Project
You can do calligraphy on pretty much any kind of paper. However, your choice of paper will determine how clean your work will be. This is because of the differentiating features that make each paper unique for specific writing needs. Papers you should avoid for a calligraphy project include:
Card stock: card stock is undeniably beautiful and widely available. You have a large color choice to choose from and the paper looks smooth enough to produce the perfect calligraphy designs. However, it bleeds and sometimes so much that your project will be nothing short of a mess.
Regular paper for pens: regular paper is not as thick as a calligraphy paper, which means that it might not be able to absorb ink as well. It is also very light and becomes brittle easily, thus making it unsuitable for serious calligraphy work that requires to be stored.
Office bond: bond paper is a good option to be used by beginners for practice. But it also tends to bleed a lot, which is not a good feature of calligraphy papers.
Pastel paper: this paper can be mistaken for a good calligraphy paper at first but it bleeds after a while. It leaves heavy ink coverage on parts where you move your hand slower. The end result can be a complete mess.
U.S. Art Supply 9″ x 12″ Premium Calligraphic Practice Paper Pad
Ideal for calligraphy practice, this pack comes with a paper pad measuring 9 by 12 inches and a pad of 50 sheets for your calligraphy needs. Notably, this calligraphy paper features an easy to use ruler and slanted gridlines for easy user experience. Calligraphy beginners would definitely appreciate this little bonus.
Neutral pH: this paper has a neutral pH, which means that it can last long without yellowing or becoming brittle. As such, if you are working on a project that might require to be framed and exposed to light, this paper can last for a very long time.
Precise grid: this basic grid feature enables you to create perfect writings and drawings. It also has a slant that is best for italic calligraphy. This can make calligraphy very easy even for a beginner. Your final piece will definitely look neat with the help of these little perks.
- Comes with a grid for easy use
- Pack includes two pads
- Long lasting
- Paper does not hold ink well
- Incorrect slant
Final verdict: notwithstanding the little problem that this paper does not hold ink well, a beginner would appreciate the gridlines on the paper for an easier time. Moreover, the 50 sheets are bound to give you a lot of space to practice on.
- Acid Free, Neutral pH, Natural White Sheets, Ideal for Calligraphic Letter Writing
- Practicing Calligraphic Writing is made simple and easy with our Precise Grid
- Each Sheet Features a Printed Practice Rule and Slanted Grid
- Pack of 2 Pads
Strathmore (405-11) STR-405-11 50 Sheet Tape Bound Calligraphy Pad
This Strathmore paper is so thin you cannot imagine that it will work for any calligraphy project. But it does! It does not bleed and the surface is very smooth such that the pen glides over very easily. It can be used by both beginners and experts alike when you need to create a perfect heartfelt piece.
Pad of 50 sheets: the pack contains a pad of 50 sheets that can be used for various calligraphy projects. They are tape bound measuring 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches.
Smooth surface: this all-natural white paper is soft to allow the pen to glide easily over the surface, thus allowing you to make smooth strokes.
Made in US: this paper pad is manufactured in US. In almost all cases, goods manufactured in US are of the highest quality!
- Good quality paper
- Does not bleed through
- Has 50 sheets for maximum practice
- Smooth for easy ink flow
- Very affordable
- Some users have complained that the binding is not strong enough
Final verdict: if you are looking for an inexpensive high-quality paper for your calligraphy projects, this should be among your top considerations. Not only does it provide a smooth surface to write on but it also is of amazing quality and value.
- Strathmore 400 Series Calligraphy Pad- Unit: pad of 50This natural white paper...
- Tape bound8 1/2" x 11", 50 sheets per pad 405 Warehouse group number: 2394
- This item is manufactured in United States
- Product Dimension: 8.0"L x 0.38"W x 11.0"H
Studio Series Calligraphy Paper Pad
This paper is perfect for beginners. Not only does it make it easier to write using gridlines but it also has different types of lettering that you can practice. How cool is that! You have plenty of styles and 50 sheets of space to practice on.
Strong construction: this paper pad features a strong durable construction to handle repeated use. It is also held together by high-quality tape pad holds. Removing a sheet from the pad once you have finished with it is also very easy because it comes out clean with no curls.
Heavyweight paper: this Studio Series 140gsm calligraphy paper is premium and thick for clean strokes. Furthermore, it does not bleed, implying that you can be sure of clean work. As such, if you are practicing some detailed heavy work, this is an ideal paper choice for you. It works well with brushes, markers, fountain pens, reed pens, and dip pens among others.
Slant grid: to guide your practice, this paper has a light gray slant grid. The lines are visible enough for you when practicing but do not disrupt the final appearance of your calligraphy project.
Smooth surface: this paper has a smooth surface that is ideal for use with most brushes and pens. Similarly, it is ideal for a variety of calligraphy styles like italic, brush lettering, Spencerian, and lettering.
- Heavyweight paper
- Does not bleed through
- Great for different types of styles
- The paper features a slanted grid
- Pad has 50 sheets to give you a lot of calligraphy practice
- Quite expensive
Final verdict: this paper gives you a premium quality paper to help you build your confidence and skill. With its grid practice pad and styles, you can master letters and styles easily and fast.
- Peter Pauper Press
- Publisher: Peter Pauper Press
- Edition no. 0 (12/01/2014)
- Perfect Paperback: 50 pages
As seen from our review, the calligraphy paper you use really matters when it comes to producing great looking calligraphy projects. The perfect combination of ink and paper is what brings out a successful project. You can use different types of papers but the key to the perfect calligraphy job is in getting the ideal paper. A good calligraphy paper is heavyweight, kind to your pen, and does not bleed through. This way, it allows you to produce clean work. I am confident that this review has given you more insight into calligraphy papers and how to choose the best one. You can further develop your craft with any of the three reviewed calligraphy papers. Always remember that working with a crappy paper will leave you with a crappy calligraphy piece!