January 2, 2011

Reader Question:

I'm following your comics tools blog lately and I want to know if there is a post on Paper/Bristol Board.
I want to buy bristol board at Blue Line Pro but I'm not sure if I should take 2ply or 3ply. It's a 10$ difference. I'm from germany and we don't distinguish by ply we only do by weight.

Could you give me advice?

Thank you so far


Bristol is a fast-dying form of commercial grade paper that is still used by many cartoonists and illustrators, although not nearly as much as it used to be, the result of which has been a steep and ever worsening decline in variety and quality, as it's no longer profitable for mills to manufacture for anything less than astronomical prices.

Bristol is made by laminating thin sheets together with glue, creating thicker sheets, as opposed to producing a thicker sheet from the get-go. This is what the ply of bristol refers to; 1 ply is a single sheet thickness, 2 ply is two sheets glued together, and so on.

I see no particular reason to get more than 2 ply bristol. Because of the gluing process, thicker bristol isn't less prone to buckling than thicker bristol, unlike with other kinds of paper, although is is more resistant to denting. Which would matter if you were using your art as a car door. In my experience all it does is add weight to your portfolio.


jannick said...

Wow, thank you!

matt said...

No problem, sorry it took so long to get to.

Peter Bangs said...

The only reason to go with Bristol board is if you're thinking of approaching one of the big US publishers. Otherwise I'd say experiment with types of paper and see what works best for what you want to do. Hot pressed watercolour paper worked well for me and currently I'm working in cheap moleskine copies.

westival said...

I wouldn't say that's the only reason Peter, there's plenty of good bristol out there with all sorts of functions. Strathmore's series 400 & 500 are still great for most things. It's the 300 seires that's really suffered in quality. However, I don't understand why one would want to go with Blue-Line Pro. In my experience that stuff was poor quality and just had gimmicky lines all over it. But maybe that's what you were talking about.

I agree also with the hotpress watercolor paper recommendation That stuff's really versatile and not too slick, or too heavy. I found it pretty costly, but it would be my choice, especially if I planned to do any traditional toning or coloring.

Greg H said...

Bristol Board itself is becoming very difficult to source after decades of ubiquity. I gave up trying to get it down under and switched to 185gsm Ivory Board - and even that I was forced to purchase by the ream.

The point of this comment is to let readers know there are alternatives, be prepared to open up your wallet and do some investigating. Let me save you the trouble of experimenting with Canson Bristol Board: they're crap.