Choosing the Right Canvas:

Paper Recommendations for Beginners

Isn’t it overwhelming to see such beautiful works everywhere and then feel confused as a beginner about where to start, how to select, and what to buy? It is normal to feel that way initially. While there are tons of artists with supply list suggestions, today we have recommendations tailored to the Indian stationery market.

Let us talk about which paper to choose initially for learning and practicing calligraphy. Starting from the basics, our very first recommendation is classmate notebooks for pointed pen calligraphy. Yes, you read that right—basic single-line notebooks have the right quality of paper, and the bonus is that the x-height of the single lines is perfect for beginners. As a beginner, it is suggested to practice on a larger x-height, and classmate notebooks provide that height between lines. There is no fuss about drawing guidelines.

The second recommendation is A4 size printing paper. You might have always heard of JK Excel Bond; well, that is an OG recommendation, but there might be areas where this brand is not available locally, and online charges can be a little heavy on the pocket. In that case, the solid recommendation is to go for any 100gsm paper. Just make sure that the paper is from a reputable brand and do a touch comparison while buying—one can literally feel the difference between lower and higher gsm paper. If you cannot feel that, then do the light sensitivity check, where you must place lower and higher gsm paper in front of a light source and check how much light is passing through. More light means less GSM.

The third recommendation is about what not to buy. I made the mistake, as a beginner, of using the basic drawing book available in the market, commonly used in schools. It does work well, but the drawback is that it can fray your nibs. This paper is a little harsh for our delicate brush pen tips, which leads to quick damage to nibs. So, the takeaway here is that just because your pen is working nicely on a certain paper does not mean it is good. Do check the paper’s gentleness.

These are a few recommendations for beginners in calligraphy. Stay tuned for the next article, where we will cover paper recommendations for commission work. Feel free to write to us if you want a specific topic to be covered.

Enal Jain (Calligrapher – Mumbai)

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