Back up your work. No, we’re not talking digital: we’re talking hard copy. Illustration boards serve as a hard, flat surface on which to execute drawings. You can either draw directly on the board itself or choose to use the board as a hard backing for a craft that requires matting. Useful for working en plein air, or anywhere without a convenient drawing surface, illustration boards eliminate the need for a clipboard, easel, or table. Sturdier than paper, illustration boards serve as the perfect surface for your next drawing project. Because illustration boards are thicker than a sheet of paper, they’re a great choice for mixed-media drawings, as they won’t warp or wrinkle. Pick up a pack today: 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 drawing 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. The texture has enough grip to absorb wet mediums, such as ink, gouache, acrylic, and watercolor, and is perfect for dry media, like graphite and charcoal. With a 14-ply construction, this heavyweight board won’t bleed, warp, or wrinkle.
3. Strathmore 500 Series Illustration Board
Make trading card-sized illustrations with this lightweight drawing board. Each sheet measures 2.5 by 3.5 inches, and there are five sheets per pack. Perfect for displaying on a miniature easel or for making tradable drawings, these small-sized vellums 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 is no exception. In sizes ranging from 8 by 10 inches to 12 by 16 inches, this art board has an ultra-smooth surface, perfect for everything from markers to felt-tip pens to pencils. Acid-free and rigid, this board stands up to erasing and scraping and keeps your illustrations in archival condition. Available in pad rather than loose-leaf form, you can easily keep your ten sheets organized.
5. Strathmore 500 Series Illustration Board
This artist-quality illustration board is lightweight and durable. Ideal for graphite, colored pencil, charcoal, and mixed media, this board has a textured surface and accepts light washes of wet medium. Each sheet is acid-free and double-sided and resists warping. Measuring 22 by 30 inches, each pack contains 15 vellums. Embossed with the Strathmore seal, this illustration board has a professional feel and high-quality construction.