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Smart Art Subscription Box Review + Coupon – December 2018

Nicole Sim
ByNicole SimFeb 10, 2019 | 2 comments

Smart Art December 2018 - Closed Box Top

Smart Art
5 overall rating
2 Ratings | 2 Reviews

Smart Art is a fine arts subscription service that sends a curated box of supplies for a new project theme and featured artist every month. I enjoy doing art projects in my free time, so I'm excited for this subscription!

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

Smart Art December 2018 - Box Opened Front

About Smart Art

The Subscription Box: Smart Art

The Cost: $49.95 per month with free shipping (save with longer commitments!)

Coupons? Yes!

  • Use code COLORJOY to save $5 off your first box!
  • Use code MSA20 to save 20% off your first box!

The Products: Art supplies are provided to create a unique project

Ships to: U.S. only

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

Smart Art December 2018 Flipbook Review

This month's project was creating a flipbook! It's been a while since I've drawn one (usually they were tiny doodles on sticky-note packs), so this month was a nice throwback.

Smart Art December 2018 - Info Cover Top

This is a booklet that Smart Art sends every month. It includes information about the featured project and artist, a list of descriptions of the included supplies, and project steps and illustrations. Subscribers can upload a picture of their finished projects to Smart Art’s Facebook page for a chance to win a free box, which is really cool!

Smart Art December 2018 - Info Author Top

Page 2! This month's art feature section introduces the history behind flipbook animation. Below, there are project pointers to keep in mind while completing.

Smart Art December 2018 - Info Products Top

This month featured Faber-Castell products, so there was a detailed account of their PITT artist pens and benefits of India ink. Right below is a detailed list of the project tools, which include pencils, pens, an eraser, and a mini spiral sketchbook.

Smart Art December 2018 - Info Tutorial Top

The last page includes some basic steps to follow to complete the month’s project.

Here are the products included for this month*

Smart Art December 2018 - Faber Castell PITT Artist Brush Pens All Products Part 1 Top Smart Art December 2018 - Faber Castell PITT Artist Brush Pens Top Smart Art December 2018 - Faber Castell PITT Artist Brush Pens Closup Top

Faber Castell PITT Artist Brush Pens (set of 6 ‘basic’ colors) – Retail Value $19.95 (107 cadmium yellow, 109 dark chrome yellow, 110 pthalo blue, 127 pink carmine, 136 purple violet, 167 permanent green olive)

Smart Art December 2018 - Faber Castell Graphite Pencil Top

Faber Castell Graphite Pencil (set of 6) – Retail Value $12.95 (6 pencils in grade hardness HB, B, 2B, 4B, 6B, 8B)

Smart Art December 2018 - Faber Castell PITT Artist Fineliner Black All Products Part 2 Top

Faber Castell PITT Artist Fineliner Black – Retail Value $3.60

Faber Castell Dust-Free Eraser (Green) – Retail Value $1.60

Borden & Riley Mini Spiral Sketchbook 2.5”x3.5” – Retail Value $5.10

*Please note that the values listed here are listed prices. Most of the supplies can be found for less at most online discount art supply stores.

Smart Art December 2018 - Test All Products Top

Here, I tried to show the thickness variations of the pencils (which came pre-sharpened!). 2H is the hardest and lightest, HB is your standard #2 wooden pencil, and 6B is the softest and darkest (among the given 6). The eraser works well, is soft, and does not 'poop' a lot. The eraser waste tends to gather in a single strand = easy cleanup! The fineliner pen (point size F) was a standard, black outlining pen. The brush pens (point size B) were pigmented and had slightly bendy brush tips.

Smart Art December 2018 - Test Pitt Blending Top Smart Art December 2018 - Test Pitt Onwater Top

Before really using the brush pens, I looked up different methods and found many use them on marker paper (similar texture to the cover pages found in binder flaps) or use water to blend them. India inks are very pigmented, permanent, and are waterproof when dry, so you must work with them quickly to blend while the ink is drying. I tried blending (using my finger or a brush) and drawing into a wet spot. They were not as successful as I hoped, but you can use them like paint if you make a pool of the ink in a container and mix them with water.

Smart Art December 2018 - Test Pitt Color Top

Here I experimented with layering the pen colors. Because the ink dries so quickly and is very permanent, it does not bleed when you overlap with a different color. You can also create nice layers to deepen the colors.

Smart Art December 2018 - Test Pitt Tip Top

This shows the big range of brush tip width you can use with the PITT artist pen.

Smart Art December 2018 - Test Pencils Top

Here I layered the pencils-- you can see the difference in boldness of color from 2H to 6B. As you go down the hardness scale, it becomes easier to layer because the lead is so soft.

I planned a flipbook animation inspired by the transition of an infected person's eyes in the movie Birdbox, turning from wide open eyes, with white eye area and dilated pupils, to a muddy, red version with black veins from the iris. I started with a light pencil sketch using a B pencil. (Note: slightly disturbing picture after this one)

Smart Art December 2018 - Project Pencil Top

I then used the black fineliner to outline the eyes and used a small brush to create a tiny pink-red gradient, using the brush pen ink in 127 carmine. I used 167 olive for the eye color. Instead of water, I used alcohol to test whether the pigment would move and bleed, which I wanted, and it did very well!

Smart Art December 2018 - Project Color Top

Here is the last page of the flipbook! I have to say, the extremely thick pages of the sketchbook made it difficult to quickly flip through, but I appreciated the nice texture and bleeding I created, without pilling of the paper.

The Verdict: This was my first Smart Art box, and I think I’m a big fan! Though I’m not used to using such vibrant colors (as the PITT pens included), I had a fun time making the flipbook. The value this month was close, but a little low at $43.20 in a $50 box, even for a fine arts subscription box which tends to run low. I do think the experience and curation add to the value of the box, but that can be subjective.

To Wrap Up:

Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No, you will receive the February box. You must sign up by the last day of the month to get the following month’s curation! Sign up for February’s box here.

Coupon – Use code MSA20 to save 20% off your first box

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!

What did you think of Smart Art’s December project? What would you have created a flipbook of?

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Use Coupon Code ENJOYART5
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This is a box for aspiring artists. Each month subscribers receive a new box featuring a different artist that highlights their time period, 8-11 trial/full sized art supplies, a suggested project and a detailed pamphlet introducing a new art medium.
Nicole Sim
Nicole Sim
Nicole is an avid lover of all things food, skincare, and fashion! Her hobbies include gardening, attending her art studio, and traveling. She fell in love with subscription boxes after her first Ipsy because of the surprise ad variety of products to receive.

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These products must be really impressive because my kids just begged me to get a subscription box and agreed to all sorts of things in order to earn it. Thank you for the review!

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What a great review. Thank you! And “eraser poop”? Lol. That’s a new one for me.

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