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Smart Art Subscription Box Review + Coupon – February 2017


Smart Art is a fine arts subscription service that sends a new project every month and all the supplies needed to complete it. My husband and I are both artists, and we have been having a blast with our Smart Art subscription!


This box was sent to us at no cost to review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes).


The Subscription Box: Smart Art

The Cost: $49.99 per month with free shipping

COUPON: Use code MSA20 to save 20% off your first box

The Products: A fine arts project, complete with instructions and supplies

Ships to: U.S. only

Good to know: It’s a different project in a different media every month, using different techniques!

Check out all of our Smart Art reviews and the Craft Subscription Box Directory!

Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!


This month’s project was to create a Chinese brush painting! This is the booklet that Smart Art sends every month. It includes art history related to the project, a list of the included supplies, project pointers, and instructions. The instructions are printed on the back of the booklet. They are pretty clear and easy to follow, but they still allow for as much creativity as you like.

Subscribers can upload a picture of their finished project to Smart Art’s Facebook page for a chance to win a free box! That’s really cool! On the other hand, our projects usually take forever, so we always seem to miss the boat on this contest.


This is the inside of the booklet. On the left are the art history and project pointers, and on the right there’s some info on Buddha Board, plus the supply list. I loved getting Buddha Board this month! Even though it is not part of the project, it is still very awesome to have. You paint on it and the painting disappears. It’s all about being zen and letting go.



Here are the supplies that were included for this month’s project.

Mini Buddha Board – Value $15.19

Chinese Calligraphy Brushes 3-piece Set – Value $19.88

Calligraphy Drawing Pens 3-piece Set – Total Value $1.74

Tom Norton Walnut Drawing Ink – Value $9.99

Hanshi Calligraphy Paper – Value $5.95

Please note that most of the values listed here are list prices. Almost all of them can be found for less at most online discount art supply stores.


I started by pulling out a VERY THIN piece of calligraphy paper and using the large calligraphy brush to make the basic body and head shape of the dragon with the walnut ink.


My next step was to use the small and medium brushes to fill in some detail on the head and tail, plus spikes along the spine. The brushes took some getting used to. They are made of weasel hair! They are also very stiff to start out.


I then painted the feet and layered some color on different areas.


I then used the calligraphy pens to draw in some fine details on the face and scales on the body, as well as other finer details.


This is my completed dragon! My last step was to paint in the suggestions of some clouds and then go over them with some abstract shapes to define the clouds with my pens. In the end I was fairly happy with my dragon, except…




… the paper tore anywhere it got too wet. That’s OK, I have nearly 100 extra sheets of paper to try again!

Verdict: My husband and I are both huge fans of Smart Art! I was skeptical about my ability to do this project, as I’m not very good with calligraphy in general. I also kind of expected the paper to tear on at least my first try because I’m a little heavy-handed. I am actually surprised it turned out as good as it did. It was a fun project nonetheless. The value of everything totals around $53, which is on the high side for this subscription and for fine arts subscriptions in general. The project selection, the instruction, and the material sourcing also add a lot of additional value for me. We love Smart Art!

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Written by Anna Rodriguez

Anna Rodriguez

Anna has been a fan of subscription boxes since joining Birchbox in 2013, but didn’t become a true addict until discovering subscriptions she could share with her children. Her favorites include Kiwi Crate and Fab Kids.

Posted in Craft Subscription Boxes, Smart Art Reviews, Subscription Box Reviews| Tags: smart art | 3 comments

Comments (3)

  1. I would LOVE this particular box! I’ve been wanting a Buddha Board, and the project looks fun!

  2. I think it turned out great Anna!

    • Thanks Shawn!

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