Back up your work. No, we’re not talking digital: we’re talking analog. Illustration boards offer a hard, flat surface to draw on when there isn’t a table or drawing board at hand. Sturdier than paper, they’re a great choice for mixed-media work, as they won’t warp or wrinkle. Illustration boards are available in a range of weights, colors, and finishes; browse our roundup of the best options below.
1. Crescent Creative Products Illustration Board
This three-board pack comes in sizes ranging from 5 by 7 inches to 11 by 14 inches. The cold-press surface has just the right amount of texture to hold colored pencil, oil pastel, and graphite, and the acid-free composition makes for a fade-free finish. Great for plein air painting, this material does double duty as both support and surface.
2. Sax All Media 14-Ply Illustration Board
Thicker than the option above, this board measures 15 by 20 inches and comes in a pack of 10. Its surface can handle wet mediums, such as ink, gouache, acrylic, and watercolor while also accommodating dry media like graphite and charcoal. Boasting 14-ply construction, this heavyweight board won’t warp, or wrinkle.
3. Strathmore 500 Series Illustration Board
Make trading card-sized illustrations with this lightweight drawing board with a toothy finish. Each board measures 2.5 by 3.5 inches, and there are five boards per pack. Perfect for displaying on a miniature easel or for making tradable drawings, the boards are ideal for a variety of dry mediums.
4. Canson Plein Air Illustration Board Pad Set
Canson is a dependable brand for high-quality art products, and this vellum illustration board is no exception. In sizes ranging from 8 by 10 inches to 12 by 16 inches, it has an ultra-smooth surface, perfect for everything from markers to felt-tip pens to pencils. Acid-free and rigid, it will stand up to vigorous erasing and scraping while keeping your illustrations safe from yellowing.
5. Strathmore 500 Series Illustration Board
From the renowned paper company Strathmore, this professional-quality illustration board is lightweight and durable. Ideal for graphite, colored pencil, charcoal, and mixed media, it will also accept light washes of wet media without warping. Each pack contains fifteen 22-by-30 inch sheets of acid-free, double-sided board embossed with the Strathmore seal.