Smart Art DIY Subscription: Creating An Illustration Review + Coupon


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Smart Art February 2019 - Smart Art Close Box Top

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!

Smart Art February 2019 - Smart Art Open Box Top

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

Smart Art February 2019 - All Items Shown Front Top

About Smart Art

The Subscription Box: Smart Art

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

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 Illustrations Review

This month’s project was blending colors together using watercolor brush pens. I’ve recently started exploring watercolor, especially finely detailed botanical paintings and watery landscapes, so I was excited for the project!

Smart Art February 2019 - Smart Art Info Cover Front Top 1

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 February 2019 - Smart Art Info Cover Front Top 2

Page 2! This month’s art history section is about illustrations, which range from commercial art, fine arts, and graphic designs. Below, there’s a list of project pointers that help you out to begin your project.

Smart Art February 2019 - Smart Art Info Cover Front Top 3

This month featured an assortment of markers to help explore the growing medium of markers in art. Right below is a detailed list of the project tools, which include pencils, pens, sketchbook, and a watercolor brush.

Smart Art February 2019 - Smart Art Info Tutorial Back Top

The last page of the booklet shows some basic steps and hints for the month’s project.

Here are the products included for this month:

Smart Art February 2019 - Marabu Graphix Aqua Pen Set 6 Pack Close Box Top Smart Art February 2019 - Marabu Graphix Aqua Pen Set 6 Pack Open Box Top

Marabu Graphix Aqua Pen Set 6 Pack – Retail Value $17.99 (found here for $11.99)

Metropolitan Set: black, gentian, light blue, aqua green, tangerine, light gray

Smart Art February 2019 - Marabu Graphix Fineliner 0.5mm Set 4 Pack Close Top Smart Art February 2019 - Marabu Graphix Fineliner 0.5mm Set 4 Pack Open Top

Marabu Graphix Fineliner 0.5mm Set 4 Pack – Retail Value $6.99 (found here for $5.59)

Skyline Set: ruby red, ultramarine blue, dark green, black

Smart Art February 2019 - Strathmore Visual Mixed Media Journal 5.5” x 8” Close Top Smart Art February 2019 - Strathmore Visual Mixed Media Journal 5.5” x 8” Open Top

Strathmore Visual Mixed Media Journal 5.5” x 8” – Retail Value $10.72

Smart Art February 2019 - General’s Sketch and Wash Pencil Kit #525BP Close Top Smart Art February 2019 - General’s Sketch and Wash Pencil Kit #525BP Open Top

General’s Sketch and Wash Pencil Kit #525BP – Retail Value $3.50

Smart Art February 2019 - Royal Langnickel Zen Watercolor Brush Series 83 Round 2 Brush Tip Front Smart Art February 2019 - Royal Langnickel Zen Watercolor Brush Series 83 Round 2 Brush End Top

Royal Langnickel Zen Watercolor Brush Series 83 Round 2 – Retail Value $2.40

*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 February 2019 - Example Aquapen Top Smart Art February 2019 - Aquapen Brushtip Front Smart Art February 2019 - Aquapen Finetip Top

Here, I tried to show the brush tip size and blending of the aqua pens, which are watercolor pens with vibrant, odorless, and water-soluble colors. They start with a concentrated, dark color, which can be easily blended or diluted for paler hues and shading. I started with a small stroke of the marker, then used the watercolor brush (beautiful, sleek design, and fits perfectly in my hand!) to spread the color. I then used the fine tip end, which is essentially a thick felt-tip pen.

(Note: I have not figured out how to use the end of the brush, which is a scraper for highlighting?!)

Smart Art February 2019 - Example Finepencil Top

Here, I wanted to show the colors of the fineliner pens. These pens are a class of plastic tip or fine fiber pens with a classically long metal tip to prevent blunt ends. This series is water-soluble inks (and they very easily bleed on wet paper) and can be blended if needed (but not recommended, because the thin point is for sketching or accent marks).

I also included a gradient per three pencils given, 2H (sketching), HB (regular #2 standardized), and 2B (sketching + shading), to show the softness and darkness of each lead level. Personally, I do not enjoy using the 2H because of its often scratchy texture and have been taught to use the 2B for sketching, which helps you gain more control when doing pencil drawings.

Smart Art February 2019 - Sketchbook Thickness Top

The sketchbook paper is of a favorite brand of mine—Strathmore makes affordable high-quality paper with a variety of thickness and styles. I was impressed by the thick cardboard covers that protected the paper very well and the thick, heavy watercolor paper. Occasionally in watercolor, you ‘erase’ a color by diluting the pigment already on the paper, which often causes pilling of the paper. I am happy to report this paper does not pill easily (as expected from Strathmore!).

Smart Art February 2019 - Project Pencil Top

For some reason, I have been fascinated in eyes lately! So for this month, I decided to use part of the girl’s face to draw from the aqua pen packaging 😊 I first used a mechanical pencil 0.5mm with 2B lead to sketch.

I then used the aqua pens to color the base skin color yellow, then added green blue accents when needed. Because the fineliner is water-soluble, I waited for the drawing to completely dry before adding the thick black accents and thin lines. I finished by using the light gray as a blending pen to bleed out the black lines. I really enjoyed this last technique, it was so much fun!

Smart Art February 2019 - Project Color Top

Here is my final project! Though it’s quite simple, I love the vibrant colors, there’s something about the slight messiness that makes the eye pop even more!

The Verdict: Smart Art won me over from the beginning with the lovely color set of aqua pens I could use to practice my watercolor with, along with my favorite paper brand! Even if you’re not experienced with watercolor, I think the instructions provided break down steps of blending the pens very well, and the pens are a lot easier to manipulate than real paints.

I estimated a retail value of $45.10, which is pretty close to the original cost of the box at $49.95. I consider a large part of the box’s value as the experience of creating the project, as well as being able to keep supplies you can reuse (especially that beautiful sketchbook!), but that is just my personal opinion!

To Wrap Up:

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

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

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Written by 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.

Posted in Craft Subscription Boxes, Smart Art Reviews, Subscription Box Reviews| Tags: smart art | 4 comments

4 Comments

  1. Excellent review! Love the art you created yourself as well. Speaking of your art, who are you? Are you a professional artist or something along those lines or is it just a hobby? Normally each reviewer has a pic and little bio at the end of the review. I’m not trying to be nosy but I’ve never seen an anonymous review on here before. Just curious! 😄

  2. Wow! You are a wonderful artist and obviously know what you’re doing. Looks like a great box to learn how to create lovely art.

    • Thank you so much! 😀 It’s a bit expensive, but definitely worth it!

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