Sketchbox Subscription Box Review + Coupon – 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.
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.
The Subscription Box: Sketchbox
The Cost: $35 + $5 U.S. shipping = $40 per month, with savings on longer length subscriptions.
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.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
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.
You also get a card with a drawing by a featured artist, plus information about them.
And a sticker!
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!
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?
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.
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.
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!
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?