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A paper product that’s prized by many artists, bristol board is an ultra-durable, versatile material that takes well to almost all media. An uncoated, smooth, machine-finished paper board, it gets its name from the city in England where it was first produced. It’s a great multipurpose material, commonly used for technical drawings, illustrations, watercolors, comic-book art, oil pastels, and charcoal compositions. It is stiff enough that it doesn’t require mounting, and both sides are workable. All in all, a good thing to keep on hand. Browse our selection of the best options below.
1. Strathmore 500 Series Bristol
You can depend on Strathmore to produce high-quality, well-priced products, and this option is no exception. This top-tear, tape-bound pad measures 11 by 14 inches and includes 15 sheets. The acid-free, two-ply board is durable and of archival quality.
2. Canson XL Series Bristol Pad
Another well-known artist’s brand, Canson offers this bright-white bristol board in a variety of sizes ranging from 7 by 10 inches to 19 by 24 inches. The board comes in a pad of 25 sheets. Acid-free and substantial, this 100-pound/260 gram material will not pill or tear.
3. Kaba Flair Bristol Paper Pad
This 20-page Bristol paper pad has a spiral-bound spine and perforated pages for easy removal. Each acid-free page is of archival quality and has a smooth finish and good weight of 250 grams. Another 11-by-14- inch pick, this product achieves a good balance between quality and price, making it a good choice for students.
4. Koh-I-Noor Bristol Smooth Paper
This ultra-smooth, bright-white bristol paper comes in a 35-page pad. Featuring a hidden spiral-bound spine, it has a sleek black hardcover construction that does well in travel. The pages have a unique “in and out” design that lets you remove them without tearing and then fit them back into the wire loops, so you can work on your creations outside the pad and then return them for safekeeping.
5. Bee Paper Black Bristol Paper Pack
The only black bristol paper on our list, this option is a perfect choice for oil pastels, white charcoal, and colored pencils. With 10 acid-free sheets measuring 20 by 26 inches, this option is also the largest on the list. Thanks to the black tone, you can either use these 220-pound sheets as a backing board for drawings or make art directly on the surface.