Paper for Calligraphy. Everything you need to know.

Papers for calligraphy

Paper is one of the three most important things to choose when doing calligraphy.

What papers can I use for calligraphy? Generally, the paper has to be thicker than normal printing paper and it needs to be smooth and should not have to much texture to it. It also needs to absorb the Ink well. I always recommend either Aquarelle paper, that has very little or no texture or photo printing paper (not the Glossy kind). They are cheap and great for practice purposes.

Common Problems, when using wrong paper

When using the wrong paper some undesirable things can happen.

For example, the ink can bleed on the paper, because it isn’t absorbed right. Or the paper could dissolve a little and fragments or hairs from the paper could get stuck on the nib of the pen.

If the paper is to thin it could even rip or curl up or if it has too much texture the ink may not distribute evenly and the lines may not be as sharp as they should be.

As you see, a lot can go wrong when choosing the wrong kind of paper.

Paper for practice purposes

Papers I am practicing on usually tend to be a little cheaper and are not always meant to be shown to customers.

These papers are simply meant for practice and layout sketching. Some of the recommendations, however, can be used for final works as well.

Papers for markers

This paper is usually surprisingly thin but it will be able to easily absorb the ink.

Most of the time I use the marker paper from Copic just because it is easy to come by but you can use any decent marker paper you like.

There are also Sketchbook specifically for markers these are great as well for doing calligraphy. Depending on the thickness of the paper you can use it for your final works too.

If the paper is to thin you could also glue it to a thicker paper or illustration board.

This is one of my marker papers I use. This is the Marker pad from Copic and as you can see I use it quite often.

Printer paper

Print paper is my favorite paper to use for practicing.

It is comparably cheap and you can get in huge bulks. I wouldn’t recommend using print paper for final works though.

In my experience, the best kind of print papers are laserjet papers matt or multipurpose matt paper. But feel free to experiment with different kind print papers.

Higher quality Paper for Pojects

These papers are mostly thicker and look a little more professional than other papers.

They tend to be a little more expensive and therefore I wouldn´t really use them for practicing.

Aquarell or Watercolor Paper

This paper is a little complicated.

Not all Watercolor papers are good for calligraphy, so you will have to test them. There are a few things, that will help you to choose a potential good watercolor paper though.

For one, don’t use a paper, that has a strong texture at least in the beginning. Some texture can have a great effect but in the beginning, you may want to get a watercolor paper that is as smooth as possible.

Another thing is in my experience hot pressed paper tends to absorb the ink in a better way and it won’t catch fibers as much as other watercolor paper.

This sentence was written on water color paper with quite some texture.

Drawing Paper

This one is similar to watercolor paper. But generally, any Drawing paper that works for markers will also work for calligraphy.

Again be careful with the amount of texture the paper might have. Other than that just try and see how well it works.

Calligraphy Paper

And finally, you can use standard calligraphy paper.

It comes in many different forms, weights and even colors but they generally all work. Unsurprisingly because they are meant for calligraphy.

I never had any problems with using any of these, however, depending on your project you may want to look closely before buying them.

Some are for example not pure white but a little tinted and others may have a fizzled out edge, which can look very nice. But might not be the right choice for every project.

In the end, you can really get creative here.

Just try different papers and see what works and what doesn’t because you honestly can’t always tell if it works until you actually tried it.

You now know what you should watch out for and you know the signs that a paper doesn´t work for calligraphy. Now it is up to you. Choose your papers and have fun drawing some calligraphy!