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Work Smarter: The Best Paper for Brush Lettering
Hand lettering is all the rage right now and that is for a very good reason. When you add beautiful script to your projects, not only do they look lovely but you also look like a DIY Queen. What’s not to love about that? Plus, calligraphy and hand lettering is just plain fun.
And the best part is that brush lettering is not actually that hard. (Though it looks that way to people who have never tried it.)
However, you do have to have the right tools. To get better at hand lettering, you need to have two tools. First, you need a paint brush or brush pen. (You can see our favorites below.) And second, you need to have the right paper to practice on. Without smooth, high quality paper, your brush cannot glide over the paper in the way you need it too. Without the right paper, you are doing yourself a great disservice in your hand lettering practice.
So keep reading for our review of the best paper for brush lettering!
First, what is brush lettering?
Brush lettering is a modern way of saying “calligraphy.” More simply, brush lettering is writing in cursive with a paint brush.
Though the concept is simple, to get better at brush lettering you need to learn a few basic stroke patterns. The idea is to change the thickness of your lines in certain patterns in order to create pretty script to use on your handmade cards, art journal spreads, and scrapbook pages.
Many companies produce stamps that use a brush lettering script, which give you the pretty look of hand lettering in a fraction of the time. Our current favorite is this Holiday Stamp Set from Penny Black.
Sometimes you cannot find a stamp that conveys the sentiment you want. And it’s also just really fun to learn to do your own brush lettering. For this reason, more and more people are getting into the art of calligraphy.
How do I learn brush lettering?
There are load of tutorials online that can help you learn brush lettering. In the video below, we show you one of our favorite brush lettering artists.
The key is to learn the basic strokes and then practice them until they are second nature to you.
And that is where we come in.
It is extremely important to use the right paper for brush lettering, especially for beginners. Once you are skilled enough, you can do calligraphy on a brick wall. But until then, it is absolutely essential to practice brush lettering on paper that is as smooth as a baby’s bottom.
Otherwise, your brush will continuously stumble over the tiny bumps on the paper’s surface. This creates crooked lines and hesitation marks. If you are currently learning brush lettering on plain copy paper or watercolor paper, for example, you might feel discouraged at your progress.
The good news is that anyone can create beautiful brush lettered works. You just need to have the right tools for learning. When you use the best paper for brush pens, you will see an immediate improvement in your skill level.
See how she consistently makes the “down strokes” thicker than the “up strokes” in this video? Learning how to make that transition smoothly is one of the most important steps to learning brush lettering.
So….what is the best paper for brush lettering?
As we’ve mentioned, brush lettering beginners need to have the right paper to practice with. You will progress so much more quickly if you remove all the barriers to learning. For hand lettering and calligraphy, this means that you should use paper that is both extremely smooth and has grid lines to guide your hand.
We recommend any of the dot grids notebooks from Rhodia.
Rhodia also makes notebooks with graph paper, traditional lines, and ones that are blank. They all have the same smooth paper, but we think the dot grids are particularly useful for brush lettering. The dots allow you to learn how to evenly space your letters without interfering with the final look of your design. Though they are enhanced a little in this photo, in person the dots are very faint.
Why is Rhodia the best paper for brush pens?
First, we want you to know that Rhodia (or anyone else) didn’t hire us to write this review. If it sounds like a sales pitch, that is completely by accident. We just really think this paper is the best for brush pens.
In the past few years, hand lettering has made a huge comeback. So many people want to learn how to do it. But they get discouraged quickly because they aren’t getting the results they want. The secret is practicing on the right type of paper.
Here is what we think of the Rhodia notebooks.
Ultra smooth surface: This paper surface is so smooth that your brush pen (actually any type of pen) glides easily across it. Your hand feels like it is writing on air, obstructed only by the wind from the fan in your overheated craft room. (Okay, the fan part may only apply to us. It gets hot in there!)
Ideal for All Brush Types: Rhodia paper is ideal for all types of brush pens, including both hard and soft tipped ones. Not only does its smooth surface allow your hand to move freely, but it also protects the tips of your brush. Rough paper can damage your brush or pen, meaning that you your calligraphy will get worse over time, not better. Want to know which brush pens are best for brush lettering? For black ink, we like the Tombow Fude Brush Pen. For colored ink, we prefer the Tombow Brights.
Works with Any Type of Ink: These days, most people use watercolor to practice brush lettering. But once you advance a little, you might want to try out other types of ink. The stronger inks do not work well with poor quality paper, particularly copy paper. They will cause the paper to peel up and get those dreaded little fuzzies.
Dries Fast: Rhodia paper accommodates all types of inks from light to the very thick. Since it absorbs the inks so quickly, there is no time for your ink to bloat and create a mess of your lettering. You also don’t have to worry so much about smearing the ink with your hand, according to both of our left-handed staffers!
While we strongly prefer the Rhodia dot grid notebooks for practicing lettering, we don’t recommend it for finished works. Here is why.
See Through: When held against bright light, the papers are partially see-through. This is not great if you are looking to display your work or upload it to your computer. The best way to fix this is to use a white sheet of paper as a backing when you scan it. Unfortunately, the paper needs to be in a frame if you want to display it in your room. Otherwise, you will see the color and texture of the wall behind it.
Okay, you already know that we are recommending the Rhodia dot grid notebooks.
No other paper on the market is as smooth and as affordable as Rhodia.
Try it and you will definitely fall in love too.