If you were like me when I started hand lettering, you might need help knowing what paper to use with brush pens. When I was learning hand lettering as a beginner, I had no idea that paper made a difference. Once I had been using my brand new brush pens on regular paper, I noticed that they were totally frayed after only a couple of weeks. I had no idea paper made this much of an effect on my brush pens! However, all brush pens will eventually fray with enough use, but they will last a lot longer if you use smooth paper. Here I have for you the best paper for hand lettering beginners that will make your lettering look smoother and keep your brush pens lasting longer. This way, you won’t have to ruin your new pens as I did!
#1 Paper for Hand Lettering Beginners: HP Premium 32 Paper
The first paper I recommend for hand lettering beginners is HP Premium 32 paper. This paper comes in a huge pack for a great price, making it probably the best paper to practice with. I don’t feel so bad about making mistakes when the paper didn’t cost that much, and learning hand lettering requires making a lot of mistakes. This paper is smooth, and it’s also pretty thick, so there isn’t much bleed through. When I print my hand lettering worksheets, this is always the paper I use because it’s the right size for my printer, and I can practice directly on the paper with my brush pens. One downside is that these are single sheets of paper. So, if you prefer a book to keep all of your lettering pieces together, this may not be the best option for you.
#2 Paper for Hand Lettering Beginners: Bristol Smooth Paper
Another downside of the HP paper I mentioned above is that it’s difficult to get good blends because the ink sinks into the paper instead of sitting on top to allow blending. This brings me to the second type of paper I recommend, which is Bristol Smooth paper. I like the brand Strathmore the best for this, but several other brands have this type of paper. It’s really thick paper, so it won’t bleed through. You can also blend nicely since the ink sits on top of the paper before drying. The best part is that it’s super smooth, so you don’t have to worry about your brush pens fraying. I think this paper is great quality if you were going to make a quote to frame, a gift for someone, or selling a piece. This paper for hand lettering beginners is a must-have in your collection. What’s your favorite paper to blend on?
#3 Paper for Hand Lettering Beginners: Marker Paper
The third type of paper I recommend is Marker paper. Several different brands have this type of paper, and I haven’t noticed much of a difference between them. This paper is incredibly thin, so it may not be the best for a final piece. However, I like how smooth this paper is, and I like that it doesn’t bleed through. You can also do simple blends on this paper. Marker paper is my favorite to practice with, and I also like using it in my YouTube videos. I think it’s even smoother than the HP Premium 32 paper!
#4 Paper for Hand Lettering Beginners: Rhodia Notepads
The fourth type of paper for hand lettering beginners that won’t fray your brush pens is Rhodia Notepads. If you are looking for a notebook instead of separate sheets of paper, this is the answer. I love using the notepads! The paper is so smooth, and you have so many different notebook options. They have graph paper, dot paper, or blank paper and even 20 different sizes so you can choose the best size for you. I get these on Amazon, and you can catch them on sale at Michaels.
#5 Paper for Hand Lettering Beginners: Tracing Paper
I think every hand-letterer should have tracing paper in their collection. There are many different brands, and I don’t have a favorite, but I’m currently using Canson. If you are working on getting the layout just right for a quote, tracing paper can help by reworking your quote directly on top without needing to erase it. You can do this as many times as you want by simply laying on more tracing paper. I also like tracing paper to be able to practice hand lettering. It’s smooth enough for brush pens, so you can use it over any paper. Lately, I’ve been loving using it with my book, Hand Lettering for Beginners.
The paper for hand lettering beginners that I’ve mentioned is easily found in the United States. If you can’t find these specific brands or types of paper in your country, I would recommend finding the smoothest paper you can. If that’s not accessible to you, you can practice faux calligraphy instead because any paper works well with faux calligraphy.
Here’s the thing about paper and hand lettering, you essentially have to use what you have. If you’re not hand lettering because you’re afraid of using the wrong paper, that’s not going to get you anywhere. The worst that will happen if you end up using rough paper is that your brush pens will fray a little sooner. But brush pens will eventually fray even if you are using smooth paper. Using smooth paper is what helps to make our brush pens last longer. So all in all, having nice paper helps but it should not keep you from embarking on your hand lettering journey. Remember, the way you create right now is exactly where you need to be!