The answer to the question of what is the best paper for calligraphy it’s not easy to answer. It has taken us a while to try out different types of paper with different types of writing utensils, from pens to bamboo calamus, to arrive at a rough answer.
We believe, from our experience, that it depends on whether it is to practice calligraphy or to deliver a final project or a final work to a client, and we will recommend calligraphy papers to you according to these needs below.
The Best Calligraphy Paper For Practice
In terms of purpose, we refer to whether it’s a paper for practicing calligraphy and making sketches or whether it’s for a final job to be delivered to a client.
If the purpose is to practice, we only need a good paper that is 90 gr/m2 and that is absorbent, whatever the tool we’re using: pen and ink, marker pen, brush and ink…
It is thick enough to absorb the right ink without the ink running too much to the sides or becoming transparent to the next page. Also, if you use metal pens, it won’t break and, if you have to erase, it won’t crack. We recommend the Canson XL Series Mix Media Paper Pad.
- Use for: Sketching, drawing, light washes of ink and watercolor, collage, journaling, and more
- Erases well and blends easily
- Micro perforated, true size sheets
- 60 sheets of 98 pound/160 gram
- Acid free 7 x 10 inch paper
On the other hand, we must say that our favorite notebook for calligraphy and the one we consider the best paper to practice calligraphy is the Rhodia notebook or dotted A4 size.
Why do we think it’s the best calligraphy paper for practice? Mainly because it is made of dotted vellum paper.
Vellum paper is similar to parchment paper, a kind of imitation, it is very compact, has a smooth surface that makes any pen or quill glide through it perfectly and, moreover, it absorbs ink very well, without smearing and without being transparent. So it’s a good paper with a smooth, glossy finish.
If you look closely, it also comes with dots, which is perfect for practicing calligraphy and having a marked reference until you get used to doing it without guides.
- A5 in size
- Paper within the notebook is made from Clairefontaine 80 g superfine Vellum
- 80 detachable micro-perforated sheets
- Ultra rigid backing to make it easier to take notes when on the go
- Wirebound spine which is on the top of the pad
If the purpose is to deliver a final work to a client, from an invitation card to a wedding menu, we recommend that you continue reading the following section.
The Best Calligraphy Paper For Final Projects
Whether it’s calligraphy paper for final projects, for commissions or for final work to be delivered to a client, things change a bit and you have to choose higher quality and, of course, more expensive paper.
There are papers with different textures and roughness that give special nuances. In addition, they have weight and body, which increases their final value. We are going to talk about four calligraphy papers that we have used for final works: laid paper, elephant hide paper, glossy paper, and vellum paper.
This does not mean that they are the only ones or the best, we simply want to talk about our experience and about papers that have worked for us.
The laid paper also called the listed paper, is a good quality paper and is recommended for calligraphy. The main characteristic of this paper is that it has slight transversal marks on its surface that become visible, even in the light. It often has a watermark with the name of the manufacturer that is visible in the light and tells you which is the right and left side of the paper. Its color tends to be cream.
We have written on laid paper using different brushes and markers so that we can see how it looks. We tried with a Pentel brush marker and noticed how the transversal lines make the line have more personality, although some people may think this is an imperfection.
In this image, we can better see the nuance we are talking about, how the ink impregnates the paper and its vertical lines come out, creating textures.
Elephant Hide Paper
Don’t worry – the elephant hide paper is not made from the skin elephants, but it is an imitation and simulates very well a skin parchment. It is a paper that offers great resistance to tearing and rubbing, as well as to folding. This makes it a perfect paper for diplomas, menu cards or any calligraphy work that is a final project to be presented.
For us, it was a real surprise to find it in a stationery store and we found it to be a good smooth surface to work on with a bamboo calyx and that it slides well, without absorbing too much ink.
This type of paper it’s considered a really good and premium paper and the only inconvenient is that the price is a bit higher than other types.
Now it’s the turn of satin paper, or glossy papers, another of our favorites for final works, especially if we work with wooden tools, like a carved bamboo calamus, but also if we want to work with colorful decorated backgrounds.
In particular, we work with Clairefontaine’s 200 g glossy Digital Color Printing Coated paper, which is often used for color laser printing of flyers and posters, but we’ve discovered that it has an exciting application for calligraphy.
Vellum paper is used a lot in wedding invitations, menus and to give away any kind of calligraphic phrase. Unfortunately, we cannot show you any work of our own made on vellum paper, so we show you the work of other calligraphers and amanuensis.
Conclusion – The Best Calligraphy Paper
For us, the best paper for calligraphy, both to practice and to present a paper or a final project, is vellum.
It is a good absorbent paper that does not modify the line, it is one of the highest quality, with a more solid presentation and the one that works best, regardless of the type of tool you use, whether it is a pen, brush or marker, as well as any type of quality ink. We recommend it 100%.
We hope that our advice when choosing the best calligraphy paper will help you and if you have any questions, suggestions, comments, criticisms or if you want to share your experience with us, we are waiting for you with open arms. Thanks for reading and see you soon