Over the years I’ve had a few enquiries about the best paper for general practice and for commissioned pieces. Also if there is anything out there in the land of photocopy paper that is superior to practice on and also print my downloadable workbook. So lets dive right in!

Lets talk about practice paper.

I find that if you are practicing and gaining technical experience that you want a good allrounder that’s smooth, won’t bleed through to the other side / less absorbent and won’t put paper fibres into your brush pens or nibs if you decide to also use it for calligraphy / pointed pen.

For warmups and general practice, I regularly purchase HP Color Choice 120gsm A4 Paper. Its a bright white, silky smooth and a really nice weight to work with. Also great if you are using a light box and need to see through it. And out of all the copy papers, I find it’s kinder to brush pens.

Bleed proof paper is also great for smoothness, bright whites and thin enough for guide sheet underneath for practice. Reeves Bleedproof Marker Pads are fantastic for markers, pens & pencils.

If you are a calligrapher, after something superior, has 50 pages, already ruled with guides and slanted grid, look no further than The Calligrapher Practice Pad by Brisbane peeps Fox and Fallow. This one will certainly make you feel special! (…have you noticed how much I love paper yet?!)

Rhodia Paper Pads are also great for practice, come in a range of sizes and you can get them in lined, grid, dot or blank. Pads come perforated so you can easily tear them out if you want to scan them to vectorise your work or pop it in a frame. They are super portable and great for travel and available at Officeworks. Highly advise in Checking your nearest store online for stock availability before going.

As the demand for calligraphy specific papers have risen, Rhodia have teamed up with social media brand icon Paul Antonio Scribe (Calligrapher, Gilder & Heraldic Artist) to produce Rhodia Touch 60 sheet PAScribe Pad. Superior luxurious quality and usually available at High end bookstores in Austraia like Dymocks or online pen shops.

I’ve also been enjoying Claire Fontaine’s (sister company to Rhodia) A5 blank clothbound notebook from Officeworks. Lovely smoothness and no bleed. You can get notebooks in lined, blank and they come in a range of beautiful covers.

If you are wanting something that is smooth, water resistant and has a barrier to prevent ink penetration: then Canson XL Range 70 sheet Pad Marker
is perfect for your needs.

A vellum transparent paper is great if you are wanting to rework over the top of words or flourishes until you develop your preferred aesthetic for projects with pencil or pens, I highly recommend purchasing this by the metre and cutting into A3 & A4 for various applications. A few years back I purchased 20 Metres of Canson smooth tracing paper. Its cheaper than buying it in pads and is lovely quality. Great way to get how you want your project to look before completing the final on a higher quality paper. You can also purchase by the pad at Art Shed Brisbane. It’s super handy to have on hand for the kid school projects and also for tracing sewing patterns. I know some people love using baking paper which is way more cost effective, I’m personally not a fan of the waxy coating and prefer working with more of a matt finish.

But how about paper for a special projects?

Similar to Canson is Strathmore’s Visual Journal Bristol Smooth 270gsm It comes in a 9×12 inch or 5.5×8 inch and is exceptional quality for traditional, specialty pen and ink techniques, Robust enough to withstand blending water based pens such as Tombow with a watercolour brush + water. And the best news? Its available in West End through Art Shed Brisbane.

I hope this helps and thanks for reading!