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Sketchbox Subscription Box Review + Coupon – October 2017

sketchbox for october 2017

Sketchbox is a monthly subscription box for art supplies. Each month, they’ll send you 4-6 full-size tools plus a piece of art to inspire you. The items included are for 2D media, such as pens, markers, pencils, paints, etc.

open sketchbox for october 2017

Sketchbox runs an ongoing contest to put a subscriber’s artwork on the lid of their box each month. There’s information on how to enter their monthly contest on the info card!

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

This is a review of the $35/month Premium box. Sketchbox also offers a $25.00/month Basic box.

items in sketchbox for october 2017

The Subscription Box: Sketchbox

The Cost: $35 + $5 U.S. shipping = $40 per month, with savings on longer length subscriptions.

COUPON: Use code SKETCH5 to save $5 off your first box!

The Products: A selection of hand-picked art supplies, plus an art print to inspire

Ships to: U.S. for $5, Canada for $10, International for $15

Good to Know: They donate a portion of sales to provide art supplies to schools in need.

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

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

list of items in sketchbox for october 2017

Their info card includes a list of the products and why they were chosen for the box. It looks like this month’s goodies are geared towards Inktober, an annual drawing-a-day challenge that’s been picking up on social media.

art card in sketchbox for october 2017 featured artist card from sketchbox for october 2017

You also get a card with a drawing by a featured artist, plus information about them.

sketchbox sticker

And a sticker!

bottle of ink bottle of ink bottle of ink

Windsor & Newton Drawing Ink, 0.47 fl oz – Retail Value $5.39

I’ve never actually drawn with real ink before, so I was stoked to see this in the box! The info card mentions that this black India ink is a staff favorite, and I’ve read about other artists and illustrators who recommend it, too. (I recognized the dapper spider on the package from a few blog posts I read—he’s pretty unmistakable!) While I can’t say I’m very adept at plain ink yet (it’s just slightly harder for my novice hand to control than markers and brush pens), I feel super sophisticated playing around with this smooth, black ink. I’m starting to get a handle on how it works with the brush (which we’ll get to in a second), as well as different ways I can play with opacity. Very cool!

inking brush inking brush tip inking brush tip

Princeton Mini Detailer Liner Size 1 – Retail Price $10.35

Of course, using ink requires having something to pick it up. Enter this brush, which has a point with a similar feeling as a thin felt-tip pen, but with slightly less control. The handle has a velvety plastic coating on it that makes it easy and comfortable to grip. It works beautifully with the ink (I love watching the ink creep up the bristles of the brush), though I’m super worried about messing up the perfectly tiny tip! Any pointers on how to keep the points of your brushes… pointy?

sepia pen set sepia pen set sepia pen tip sepia pen tip sepia pen tip sepia pen tip sepia pen set

COPIC Multiliner Sepia Set – Retail Value $15.99, Listed Value $15.96 (Found here for $11.99)

The only non-black materials in the box this month are these sepia-toned felt-tip pens from COPIC. I’ve used this brand a ton before and really like their product, though I was surprised that some of the wider-tipped pens in this set ended up being drier than some of the thinner ones (which meant the thinner tips ended up making wider lines). For my purposes, that’s not such a big deal—just an observation. It’s interesting playing around with sepia tones in my doodles… I like how the lighter color adds dimension to a drawing without adding too much shadowy weight (like more black would), if that makes sense.

brush pen brush pen brush pen tip

FIRST LOOK Zebra Double-Ended Brush Pen – Retail Value $4.50, Listed Value $4.95

This subscription partnered with Zebra in order to give subscribers a sneak peek at this new product. I love two-in-one tools, especially since I like drawing on the go (a.k.a. at coffee shops) and dislike lugging all kinds of tools with me when I do so. This pen is lightweight and a comfortable width to hold. For my purposes, I didn’t really see much of a difference between the fine and medium ends. (There is one, to be clear, but it’s pretty subtle to my amateur eyes.) That being said, I loved the points on each end and the stiffness of each tip. I felt like both gave me a lot of control. Plus the ink came out beautifully opaque and dried super fast.

brush pen set brush pen set brush pen set brush pen set

Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen Set – Listed Value $6.98 (Found here for $4.59)

These were my favorite items in the box. This set of two pens is meant for lettering—the looser brush tip can be used to create sweeping, swooping, Pinterest-worthy lines, while the harder tip can be used for precision work. The harder tip felt very much like the Zebra pen to me, albeit finer, which meant it was nice for smaller doodles and drawings, as well as tiny details that a wider tip might flub up. The brush pen, however, was a dream to work with. The tip itself is very similar to that of the other pen, meaning it’s still pretty fine. But the looseness of the tip made it perfect for playing with different widths. I liked that the pen was still stiff enough to offer me the control I like (some longer, looser brush tips end up getting a bit wily). It responded super well to any pressure I put on it, and the flow of ink felt consistent, strong, and smooth.

I did a lot of playing around with this month’s box contents, but this is probably the best (most successful) demonstration of the most products at once. I just finished the new Stranger Things, so I put my Sepia Set, Zebra brush pen, and Tombow set to work drawing, what else, but Steve Harrington. (I LOVE Steve Harrington.)

The Verdict: This was my faaaavorite Sketchbox, as the items I got were all right up my alley in terms of the drawing I like to do. Brush pens are so much fun to work with, and this box showed off all of the varieties and nuances that are available in brush pens right now. I’m still just an amateur, and even Inktober was a tough challenge (fitting in time to draw every day, especially when you’ve got lots of other work and responsibilities going on, is super hard sometimes!). But getting such quality tools motivates me to do more. It’s kind of the artist version of getting a cool pair of leggings to motivate you to go to the gym, haha! I’ve never been disappointed in Sketchbox, but this box satisfied my needs and interests really well. What a great surprise!

To Wrap Up:

Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No. Boxes ship by the 25th of the month, so order now to get the upcoming box!

COUPON: Use code SKETCH5 to save $5 off your first box!

Value Breakdown: For $40.00, I got about $43.21 worth of products. That means I spent approximately the following on each item:

  • Ink – $4.99
  • Brush – $9.58
  • COPIC Sepia Set – $14.80
  • Zebra Pen – $4.17
  • Tombow Set – $6.46

What do you think of Sketchbox?


How do subscribers rate SketchBox?

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Written by Anna Reilly

Anna Reilly

Anna loves collecting little treasures, be they pop-culture finds, handmade mementos, or new potions to put in her makeup bag. Beauty boxes got her interested in the subscription world, but now she’s swooning for all things kawaii!

Posted in SketchBox Reviews, Subscription Box Reviews| Tags: sketchbox | 10 comments

Comments (10)

  1. I went back and looked at 5 or 6 of your reviews and I honestly like your artwork but the value of the items in this box and the curation is really poor. It is in no way a good value for what your paying. I could easily go to an art store and find higher quality items cheaper. Personally I oil paint quite often using the Bob Ross wet on wet painting method and usually just sketch basic ideas of what I want to put on canvas, but I still have a high quality art kit I keep on hand, with brush pens, watercolor pencil, fine point markers, vine charcoal, and ink for times I don’t want to do a full painting and just play. I think you would be better off going to an art supply store and if you feel intimidated by that the staff are usually super helpful to help you navigate your choices and your budget. This box I feel misses the mark.

  2. I have to say how disappointed l am with Sketchbox.

    Like some other artists, l felt there wasn’t enough value for the price. I signed up for a 3 month Premium membership, and when l cancelled my subscription, they sent me another box and charged me another $115 for a 3 month subscription!!!

    I was very upset about this, and the unhelpful Customer Service was pretty much: ‘Too bad. You cancelled 3 days too late according to our policy. You have to purchase the box we sent you (which hasn’t arrived yet) and you can’t return it. We’ll refund you for 2 boxes only.’

    Buyer be VERY aware: Once sketchbox has your credit card details they don’t want to lose your business and will make you jump through hoops to return any money. For a box with mediocre art supplies in it, it’s not worth the hassle!

  3. Thank you Brandi!!! All is updated 🙂

  4. You really captured the Farrah Fawcett shampoo’s dazzling effects in Steve’s hair ;D

  5. I only recently got around to watching Stranger things, but I really like Steve Harrington, too!

    I’m a little confused on the pricing. There are two options, $25 and $35? The price says $25+$5 = 40 a month, which I assume is a typo.

    This review says it is of the premium ($35) – but the cost breakdown currently is for the basic $25+$5. Shouldn’t the breakdown be out of $40?

    Someday I hope to find a good art subscription box that has a bit more value to the price. The selection of items looks good though, those are all the sorts of supplies I would buy.

    • Hi Jenai! You’re right – the cost of the premium box (which is what’s in this review) is $35 + $5 shipping. Sorry for the typo/confusion, and thank you for catching it! I went ahead and updated everything so we should be smooth sailing 🙂

  6. Steve’s awesome!

  7. You are a fantastic artist, Anna!

  8. Don’t know how I went from hating Steve last year to loving him this year!

  9. “The Cost: $25 + $5 U.S. shipping = $40 per month, with savings on longer length subscriptions.”

    May want to double check your math there!

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