View Full Version : What is Illustration Board??

05-30-2001, 09:14 AM
Hi All,

I am confused as to what is meant by illustration board? An artist told me he uses acrylics on illustration board and likes the results very much.

Is this called anything else? I can't find any illustration board at two art store I frequent. Is this also called poster board?
I'm guessing the surface is smooth.

Thanks for your help.

05-30-2001, 06:01 PM
And just a tip on hot vs. cold press...

Cold Press is usually more absorbant and soft and generally has a "tooth". Hot Press board is generally more smooth. Depending on the technique you wish to use on the board choose the surface you prefer.

Also, all illustration board comes in differing thicknesses. Again depending on your media (watercolor, acrylic, etc. consider the thickness you'll need. Some ill. boards are mounted on heavier cardboard and some are the same throughout.

Architectural rendering is generally done on the much heavier boards (though not always.)

One other thing. Many illustration boards are not archival, that is, not 100% rag or acid free. If you want the best board possible, get one made up of 100% rag ( = 100% cotton content).

For practice, you can use any type. For example, some pencil artists like the rougher, grainer look of cold press board, while others like the smooth, very blended effects they can achieve on hot press.

Buy a couple of different kinds and test them out. Strathmore also makes exceptional illustration board.

Or...you can purchase a 100% rag 4-ply museum board which is very much like cold press board.

Have fun experimenting!


L. Diane Johnson (http://www.LDianeJohnson.com/) NAPA, PSA
2001/2002 Plein Air Workshops (http://www.LDianeJohnson.com/workshops/)

05-31-2001, 12:33 AM
illustration board is similar to postre board in some respects, you are right. However it has a harder, more durable surface on which to work with. hot press is very smooth were as cold press has a bit of a tooth to it, not so much as say canvas but it makes a huge difference if you are drawing on it. It comes in many thicknesses but cab be easly cut to size with an Exacto blade. It can be very hard to come by. Cresent Cardboard Company is the main producers of illustration board (cresant board) if that helps any. Good luck

05-31-2001, 12:47 AM
Thank you, RedBrick. I see where Cheap Joe's sells both the hot and cold press boards in 22x30 inch size.

I'll order some and see how it does with acrylics. I was very impressed with how the teacher's work turned out using this.


Keith Russell
06-17-2001, 12:59 PM

I have been painting on illustration board almost exclusively (except for a six-month stint of experimenting with Masonite a couple years ago) since 1984.

I now use a single-thickness 100 percent rag (acid-free, archival) illustration board by Bainbridge. I buy only the 32 x 40 inch size, which I use for about 1/4 of my work.

The rest I cut into halves, or fourths--the other two sizes in which I work.

I use only the hot press (very smooth) surface, adding texture by rendering it myself, only when and where I want it.

I have never painted on canvas; I never liked the 'give' or the texture of canvas. I have three drafting tables and a large easel, and often transfer paintings from the tables to the easel and back again, as I work.

Hope this helps,