Fountain pen enthusiasts know just how essential paper is for writing. It can mean the difference between smoothly moving your pen across the page or dealing with unwanted skipping, feathering, and roughness. Paper type is just as important when it comes to using brush pens. Not only do you need smooth paper to keep your brush pens from fraying, but you also need to pay attention to the paper’s weight to ensure that it can handle the ink from your art tools.
Here, we’ll discuss what GSM paper is best for brush pens and which papers you can try.
What is GSM?
Before jumping into what paper weight is best for use with brush pens, let’s start by defining what GSM actually is.
GSM, also known as grammage, stands for “grams per square meter.” It is a unit of measurement used to measure the weight or heaviness of paper products. Paper weight matters because not all printing, writing, or artwork applications are the same. Therefore, different types of paper will be required to get the desired effect.
The easiest way to understand GSM is to think about it in terms of weight and thickness. The higher the GSM, the thicker and heavier it will be. For example, 80 gsm paper is much thinner and lighter than 350 gsm paper.
One good reference point for paper thickness is simple office copy paper. These sheets are usually quite thin and flimsy, and they range from 70-90 gsm.
Common GSM Weights and Their Uses
These are some of the common GSM weights used for paper production today:
- 40 gsm: Tracing paper
- 40-50 gsm: Newsprint
- 70-90 gsm: Sketching or practice paper. These sheets are usually thick enough for pencils, pastels, and charcoal, but usually too thin for ink for most markers, which can bleed through. There are, of course, some exceptions.
- 100-130 gsm: Drawing paper that is suitable for artwork using most media.
- 180-260 gsm: Heavy-weight drawing, bristol, and multi-media papers. Paper in this weight range is very similar to light poster board or card stock.
- 300 gsm: Paper used for painting rather than drawing.
What GSM Paper Is Best For Brush Pens?
Generally, papers above 100 gsm are good for brush pen work.
For best results with your brush pens, you can try the Rhodia Calligraphy Pad, which contains smooth 130 gsm paper with long fibers that make it highly resistant and suitable for ink drawings. Another great option with a higher grammage (270 gsm) is Strathmore Bristol Paper, which is great for blending since it allows ink to sit on the surface a little while longer.
When working with brush pens, GSM is one of the most important things to consider. However, do note that you can get different results based on other paper qualities like texture and absorbency, so GSM is not the be-all and end-all of how well paper can handle brush pen ink. For instance, Tomoe River paper is well-known for its thinness at just 52 gsm, but it can handle fountain pen inks, brush pen inks, and sometimes even light watercoloring.
The Bottom Line
Ideally, testing out different types of paper would be best since you’ll get to see firsthand how they perform with your brush pens. But if you don’t have that option, we have some great recommendations on what paper you should use for your brush pens.
Written by EndlessPens Blogger Ramona Kabigting