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Both bristol and illustration boards are rated by the number of layers or "ply" of the board, however the two are not equivalent. Illustration board tends to be thicker and heavier, especially the professional quality boards, reflecting the handling that a finished illustration or mechanical may receive before it is finally approved and used for reproduction. The heaviest bristol, usually a 5-ply board, is roughly equivalent to a medium weight or 14-ply illustration board.


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