Monday, 26 March 2012

Paper For Calligraphy

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What type of paper should I use for writing in calligraphy?

Paper is very important when producing good quality calligraphy work.

Try to familiarize yourself with the different types of paper available and how they behave with different inks and calligraphy nibs.


Types Of Paper And Quality

Here are some basic types of paper you may come across:

Rough Surfaced Or Textured Paper

This type of paper is good for producing certain effects but overall, is not the best paper to use for calligraphy.  It can impede the flow of ink and can be difficult to guide the nib smoothly and easily over the surface, producing unpleasing results.

Waxy Or Slippery Paper

This paper feels waxy and very smooth to the touch.  Using this paper can cause smudges on the paper because the ink does not dry quickly.  The ink builds up on the surface of the paper causing an undesirable blobby effect. 

Blotting Type Paper

Some paper has a ‘blotting’ effect.  The ink is absorbed like blotting paper and the ink bleeds and spreads in the patches of the paper surface.

Greasy Surfaced Paper

This paper resists the ink on the paper

What Is The Best Calligraphy Paper

The type of paper for calligraphy work needs to be smooth but not greasy or waxy, even good cartridge paper will look good and make the ink run smoothly and evenly across the paper.  The ink needs to dry quickly and not bleed into the paper.  Consider the different weight and surface qualities of paper for your calligraphy work.

What About Surface Grades Of Paper

Paper is graded in ‘hot pressed’, ‘cold pressed’ or ‘rough’.  This means the paper has been processed in certain ways, which may make it porous.  Test the paper to see if it is suitable for calligraphy ink.  If the nib drags or catches too much, then the paper is not suitable for use.

What Is The Correct Paper Side

Some papers have a watermark on it.  If you hold the paper to the light, you will see it.  If the watermark reads correctly, then this is the correct side to use.

Using Coloured Calligraphy Paper

You can buy good quality calligraphy paper from any good art or craft shop and they are normally inexpensive.  They usually come in different colours and shades and they can really set off your calligraphy work.  You can even use painted backgrounds and washes, such as watercolour paint to prepare the paper for your calligraphy work, but you will need to consider buying heavier paper with a smooth quality such as watercolour paper and prepare it for using with watercolour washes.