Calligraphy is described by ancient Greeks as the art of beautiful handwriting. It forms the execution of the design of the lettering with the help of a brush, a broad tipped instrument, or other similar instruments used in writing. In calligraphy or the visual art of writing, the letterings are also supposed to be expressive, happy & skillful when put down on paper or something similar.
In present times calligraphy is used regularly as invitations for weddings, any events, in creating important documents, logo designs, & new font design, etc.
Calligraphy Tools: The calligrapher’s main instruments are basically only two, the pen & the brush. The round, flat, or pointed nibs of the calligrapher’s pen help him write whereas multi-nibbed pens or steel brushes help in creating a decorative aura.
Writing inks used by the calligrapher is usually water-based & watery in nature when compared to highly viscous inks used in printing. In calligraphy in enabling to achieve cleaner lines of the written letters, specialty papers with a smooth texture & high ink absorption are preferred.
Regularly used calligraphy pens & brushes are:
- Fountain Pen
- Ink Brush
- Dip Pen
Types of Calligraphy in Creating that Distinctive Lettering:
Many experts believe that in principle, only four different categories of calligraphy exist. They are namely Western Calligraphy, Southern Asian Calligraphy, Eastern Asian Calligraphy, & Islamic Calligraphy. Each of these types can be chronicled as:
· Western Calligraphy: The most popular style of calligraphy & evolving even today due to its strict rules & geometric patterns in lettering. In Western Calligraphy, the most accepted western lettering is in the Latin script, which experienced several remodeling over time with changes in ruling dynasties. Normally the tools required in Western Calligraphy begin with a round-nipped or a flat-balled nib pen, water-based ink, brush, high-quality parchment or paper, & a knife to take out wrong letterings & designs.
· South Asian Calligraphy: This style of calligraphy originated from the regions of Tibet, Nepal & India. This style has been greatly influenced by Buddhism & the ways of preaching the Dalai Lama. The letterings of South Asian Calligraphy are supposed to be the oldest lettering practice ever to come upon. Among the three regions, Indian calligraphy has been the most influential & historically has used several unusual ways to coexist such as through copper, burnt mud, smoke-treated palm leaves, etc.
· Eastern Asian Calligraphy: This type of lettering originated from the regions of China, Korea & Japan. Calligraphy techniques & appearances varied in this region with each changing dynasty. Manuscripts of the Eastern Asian Calligraphy are considered much shorter in comparison to manuscripts of the western region. The people of these regions value their calligraphy & take immense efforts in keeping the Eastern Asian Calligraphic techniques well protected.
· Islamic Calligraphy: This style of calligraphy is easily visible in all forms of Islamic art. Its geometric patterns of lettering can easily be found on mosque walls. Islamic calligraphy has progressed in line with the developments in Islamic religion & the Arabic language. Muslims regard calligraphy as the most graceful artistic expression & consider it the means of connecting to the spiritual world. Islamic calligraphy rose during the Ottoman Era & has remained the same. However, lately, some traditional lettering’s have been altered, leading to contemporary Arabic calligraphy.
Calligraphy, as explained earlier, in the art of beautiful handwriting. But this beautiful handwriting has to be put on good quality paper for it to be viewed & take on a larger meaning. The right paper gives you the best results in calligraphy. For good calligraphy results, the correct paper should be used along with the right inks.
The Right Paper for Calligraphy:
When you write on paper, sometimes you find the ink feathering or bleeding on the letters. This is due to bad paper choices. Some characteristics have to be considered when selecting the right calligraphy paper. They are:
Thickness: Thickness very important while selecting the paper for calligraphy. A thin paper would absorb excess ink & bleed out on the reverse side. The correct thick paper will absorb the ink properly without bleeding or feathering the letter. Check the thickness or weight of the paper in grams before opting to buy.
Smoothness: The paper smoothness denotes the surface evenness of the paper & is critical for calligraphy in creating sharp & smooth lettering. Rough surfaced paper can sometimes harm your main calligraphy tools like the nibs & brush pens.
Finish: There are papers with different finishes available in the market, such as matte, gloss, high gloss, etc. This is due to the surface treatment given to the paper resulting in the finished layer affecting the absorbency & the smoothness of the paper. Matte papers are usually absorbent, while glossy papers tend to be highly non-absorbent. Depending on the type of job, choose the right paper for your calligraphy along with proper ink.
Acid-Free Paper: This helps in preserving documents & even artworks for a long period without the paper yellowing or looking old. Acid-free papers have neutral PH & do not change over time due to no change in their PH balance.
Size: This will depend on your job & the size of the paper required for practice & actual creation. Check whether the available rim size & weight are suitable for your requirement before deciding.
Suggested Quality of Paper for Calligraphy.
Bleed Proof Paper: This paper has a smooth texture and is easy on the pen & the ink, making it the ideal paper to work through tough lettering’s & designs.
Premium Ink Jet Paper: A paper convenient to use for practice & quite affordable. Might feather or bleed slightly but ok since it is practice.
Clairefontaine Triomphe Paper: This paper made in France is the ideal dream paper to produce your calligraphy work. This paper even absorbs a higher percentage of ink & does not bleed at all. It has such a smooth texture, which helps in keeping the lettering lines pleasant & clean.
Hot Press Watercolour paper: Very expensive for your everyday use but otherwise very good paper which creates letterings with perfect alignment, structure with clean lines. Meant for professional jobs only & not for practice.
The Best Paper for Calligraphy Practice:
- HP Smooth Choice LaserJet Paper
- Rhodia 80 Sheet. Dot pad
- Cannon Tracing Paper Pad
- Strathmore Tracing Paper
- Cannon Series XL Marker Pad
The Best Paper for Calligraphy Projects:
- Accent White Cardstock Paper
- Fabriano Mix media pad
- Strathmore Mix Media Pad
- Strathmore Marker Pad
Please note that printer paper is usually not recommended for calligraphy as it usually varies a lot in thickness & smoothness.
Where to Buy Calligraphy Tools & Paper:These are available on online platforms like Amazon or local stationery stores or Calligraphy specialized outlets like Calligrafile.