Calligraphy paper is essential, especially in pointed pen. Not all nib tines and types of paper are meant for each other. Usually, I go for smooth paper because they’re the easiest to handle. No more worrying if your nibs will snag on the paper, or if you’ll damage your nib. You’ll practice more comfortably, too.
My favorite brand of calligraphy paper is Rhodia, and I have every kind (uni-blank, lined, dot pad, and notepad)! The blank pages help me create free-flowing pieces when I want everything to look spontaneous. It’s blank for a reason—there are no restrictions, and you can create whatever you want! The lined, dot pad, and notepad variants help me practice consistency with the height and width of my strokes.
When I first started pointed pen calligraphy, I did Copperplate drills but immediately deviated from the script. I wanted to make mine more modern, and so I shied away from learning it. These printed Rhodia pads are my BFFs.
I also have plain notebooks I found in a bazaar in school one day that felt like Calligrapads but weren’t as smooth. I bought one, tried it out, and after discovering they could hold ink and watercolor, I bought four more! If you’ve noticed, this is the square cream notebook I use on most of my Instagram posts. P.S. The Calligrapads are awesome!
When it comes to black paper, I love using Urban Paper Noir by Grandluxe. My second go-to is the black Calligrapads (above). I’ve written with FineTec and metallics for both, and they just do the job right!
For watercolor paper, I’ve tried Canson, Berkley, Strathmore, and Daler Rowney. The latter two are what I use for testing out layouts, colors, and possible lettering techniques. I just do it on the better quality watercolor paper when I give watercolor gift cards to my family and friends or when I want to hang up a work. Usually, I go for 180/gsm-300/gsm paper. They’re not too expensive, and I mostly use watercolor for lettering than drawing. (I heard that Arches Cold Press watercolor paper is the bomb for pros, though!)
As with all art materials, experimenting and trying them out on your own is the best way to go. Rhodia, Canson, and Arches have fantastic reviews, and they can most certainly work for you. But you will have your taste and preference, and you should be comfy with the tools you use!
What are some calligraphy paper brands you use for art? Care to share? 🙂
P.S. I’ve continued posting about my favorite writing tools and made it a mini-series. See my previous posts: If you’d like to find out which nibs I like, click here. If you want to know which books helped me learn more about the craft, click here.