I just completed my FIRST drawing with "Strathmore Bristol Vellum" paper, and I AM SO GLAD I DID!!! I have used Bristol Smooth for the past 60 portraits.
Although "Bristol SMOOTH" is still MUCH better than the thinner papers I first started drawing with, the downside was, I noticed that I could NOT get the same special effects (specifically, when I use a nail and scratch the paper for hair, and white whiskers, BEFORE applying graphite). The SMOOTH just did not "scratch" well. But now I CAN again using the "Bristol VELLUM". The Vellum handles blending SO much better than Smooth too! I will probably never go back to Smooth again?!?
TRUST ME...give Bristol Vellum a try and you will be hooked! I just finished drawing my identical twin daughters this weekend. I drew the first on Smooth, and then got some Vellum for Christmas from one of my daughters, and drew the second on that. WOW!!! You will see the difference in the hair lines! Too bad I could not get good crisp in focus photos of them with my new camera!
After drawing a few on Vellum now, I have come to realize that I cannot get the black areas quite as dark as I could with smooth?