What is the best paper to use for brush calligraphy?
In this post, I discuss my favorite types of paper to use and include links for you to see the paper being used (“action” shots).
When using brush pens, I find it best to use paper that is smooth and non-textured. Paper that is rough or textured (such as Kraft paper) threatens the tips of your brush pen and you risk fraying them.
For practice purposes, my go-to papers include: Rhodia notepads, regular printer paper, or legal pads. Graph paper or other lined paper also works.
The key is to find smooth and non-textured paper.
For final products, I use thick cardstock. The cardstock paper is heavier, but still smooth, and it is thin and flexible enough for me to cut into the desired size using my paper cutter at home.
Rhodia dot pads are hands down my favorite paper to use. The paper is just so smooth! It cannot be beat. You can find me using the Rhodia notepads in (literally) almost every post of mine. Also great are the Rhodia grid pads.
See the Rhodia pads “in action” in these posts:
PROS: They feel like writing on butter! Ok, not literally, but the point is that they are SO SMOOTH! The lines and dots help me to write straight without a light pad or slider writer. I use these notepads very often in my blog tutorials and videos, and most of my Instagram posts.
CONS: These notepads are on the expensive end. They run upwards of $6 to $9, depending on size. I don’t use Rhodia notepads for final products because the paper is flimsy and I prefer final pieces to be free of any lines or dots.
Regular printer paper
Regular printer paper can be found at any office supply store, or even stores like Target and Walmart. I use this type of paper for quick sketches, which sometimes can turn into final drafts! You can see printer paper being used in this quote, this coffee post, and this hustle post.
PROS: cheaper option than the Rhodia notepads. The lack of lines gives you freedom to create lines of different sizes and layouts, which enable you to be more creative and practice with different writing sizes.
CONS: The lack of lines forces you to draw them yourself or utilize a light pad or slide writer to write straight. Printer paper is too flimsy and not good enough quality for final pieces.
Legal pads are great practice because they are lined! I have a few legal pads lying around the house for an easy practice session. Check out how brush calligraphy looks on legal pads in this pangram post, this cheers post, and this alphabet post.
PROS: Very easy to use, relatively inexpensive. The line sizes are my favorite for writing with Tombow dual brush pens!
CONS: Not the most attractive looking paper, especially that awful yellow that screams “office!” Otherwise, the only other downfall is that you do not want to use this paper for final projects.
I also love these notepads that I bought at a local art store. You can find these notebooks being used in this Merlot Monday post, this coffee and calligraphy post, and in this toffeenut coffee post.
Told you I loved coffee and wine! 🙂
Cardstock is the best paper I have found for final pieces. As the world of paper in general is so vast, it can be difficult finding the right kind of cardstock. I have seen artists prefer at least 65- to 110 lb cardstock. You can see cardstock being used in this dream post, this sunshine post, and this Mother’s Day post.
Note. Be cautious using Epsilon cardstock. I found that the color of my Tombow pens change drastically when using Epsilon versus regular cardstock.
PROS: Easy to find at craft stores and relatively inexpensive. A wide variety of colors are available.
CONS: Sometimes, it is difficult to pick one among the many options. Cardstock is not usually lined, so you need to measure and cut to desired size.
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It’s your turn! Tell me in a comment below:
What is your favorite paper to use?
What is your least favorite paper to use?
Do you have a preference for certain types of paper, depending on your current project?
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11 thoughts on “My favorite paper to use for brush calligraphy”
I totally agree with all of your recommendations. I use regular printer paper for my brush pens, most of the time. Because it’s the convenience that I love about brush pens, and so I naturally choose the most convenient paper to go with them! But Rhodia pads are HANDS DOWN my favourite paper to write on. They are so silky smooth!
My least favourite paper to write on is probably any kind of textured paper. I use watercolour paper a lot (for watercolour, duh). And if I want to add brush calligraphy to it.. well, let’s just say I have to learn to embrace the “naturally messy” look.
Great post, as always, Sharisse!
Hi Stephanie! Yes, textured paper is tough to write on, but I like the idea of embracing the “naturally messy” look! 🙂
great post… I use whatever paper I can get my hands on. I did take your advice and did buy a Rhodia dot pad now I just need to find the time to sit and write!
Yay, Jossie! I’m excited for you! Enjoy the dot pad!
Hi, I was wondering whether cartridge paper would be a good surface to write on? I’d love to create the calligraphy in my sketchbook for my college project. I’m slowly getting into calligraphy and researching first before going on a crazy shopping spree!
Also I just wanted to know what type of colours/inks/pens show up well on black card? I tried with watercolours but it was a complete fail!
Hi Aisha! I have no experience with cartridge paper. Is it smooth? Does it have texture? You want something that will be smooth and not porous, so that your pen ink doesn’t bleed onto the page (and look fuzzy or messy). Give it a try with a few basic strokes before trying out a whole piece. Otherwise, you can’t go wrong with the Rhodia pads. Other suggestions are laser printer paper or marker paper.
Black cards: You’ll have to go with metallic ink or white. I haven’t done much lately with either and don’t have much experience with brush pens that are metallic or white. Nut you can try metallic Sharpies, gelly rolls, or Finetec watercolors (using a paint brush). There are also white gelly rolls and a Molotow paint marker I have heard people using.
Maybe you’re using a transparent watercolor? You could try and get opaque watercolors, it will show better on black papers. Or get a white gouache and mix it with your transparent watercolors to give it that opaque properties.
is calligraphy paper appropriate for bruhs lettering?
Definitely! Brush lettering really requires just a smooth surface.
Question on paper. Do you have a good recommendation for black paper / notepad similar to the Rhodia ones? Appreciate your response. Thanks and regards.
Hi Corrinne! No – not yet. But oh, how I would LOVE that! So far, I’ve just been using Recollections cardstock in black. I’ll keep searching for something like the Rhodia paper! ❤