Smart Art DIY Subscription: Working With Pastels Review + Coupon

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Smart Art Flipbook January 2019 - 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 Flipbook January 2019 - Open Box Top

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 Flipbook January 2019 - All Contents 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 January 2019 Review

This month’s project was using pastels and metallic colors. I think the last time I’ve used pastels was in elementary school, and even those were oil pastels, so I’m a bit rusty!

Smart Art Flipbook January 2019 - 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 Flipbook January 2019 - Info Author Top

Page 2! This month’s art feature section introduces the history behind Edgar Degas, an impressionist artist known for his ballet dancers art. Below, there are project pointers to keep in mind while completing, such as blending pastel colors together.

Smart Art Flipbook January 2019 - Info Products Top

This month featured metallic colors and soft pastels, so there was a detailed account of the production of pastes and their use. Right below is a detailed list of the project tools, which include pencils, pastels, an eraser sharpener duo, and black paper.

Smart Art Flipbook January 2019 - 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 Flipbook January 2019 - Derwent Metallic Colored Pencils Top

Derwent Metallic Colored Pencils Pack of 6 – Retail Value $13.40 (Yellow 86, Red 87, Pink 88, Purple 89, Blue 90, Green 91)

Smart Art Flipbook January 2019 - Royal Langnickel Small Tin Pastel Pencil Top Smart Art Flipbook January 2019 - Royal Langnickel Small Tin Pastel Pencil Back

Royal Langnickel Small Tin Pastel Pencil Set – Retail Value $7.07

Smart Art Flipbook January 2019 - Derwent Pencil Sharpener With Eraser Top

Derwent Pencil Sharpener with Eraser, Dual 2 in 1 – Retail Value $7.59

Smart Art Flipbook January 2019 - Fabriano Black Black Pad Top Smart Art Flipbook January 2019 - Fabriano Black Black Pad Top

Fabriano Black Black Pad 8”x8” – Retail Value $7.22

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.


Here is the test paper. On the top, there are the metallic color pencils.

Smart Art Flipbook January 2019 - Derwent Metallic Colored Pencils End Top Smart Art Flipbook January 2019 - Derwent Metallic Colored Pencils Point Top

They are medium hardness, a bit crumbly, and don’t blend very smoothly. (Note: I’m very new to metallics; I was always taught to never use the metallic colors included in a color pencil kit, instead to use other colors to replicate how light bounces off a shiny surface.)

Smart Art Flipbook January 2019 - Royal Langnickel Small Tin Pastel Pencil Open Top

In the middle are the five pastel pencils in orange, pink, blue, purple, and green, as well as the graphite pencil they included. These pencils are soft, a bit crumbly, and have a hard consistency that slightly hinders their ability to blend.

Smart Art Flipbook January 2019 - Royal Langnickel Small Tin Soft Pastel In Stick Form Top

Below are the soft pastels in stick form, in green, red, blue, yellow, black, and white. (I used a bit of light to make the black show). These blend well. The top circle blend was with my finger, and the second was with a scrap of paper, which I use to blend charcoal. (You can use a q-tip as well, or a piece of tissue.) The tin of the pastels is very padded to keep the pastels from crumbling into each other. There’s a layer of foam on top of the products, as well as a 2 layer foam to keep the soft pastels safe.

For this month’s project, I wanted to learn more about blending the pastels. They definitely popped out a lot more on black paper. I first started with drawing colored blobs using soft pastels, then shaded darker portions of the clouds. I then used a soft white pastel to accentuate the tops of the clouds, then using a metallic pencil to make the colors pop more.

Smart Art Flipbook January 2019 - Project Top

Here is my final project! I wasn’t as proud of this one, but I’m happy to experience more in the pastel art world. 😊

The Verdict: I really enjoy the variety of topics and material themes Smart Art provides throughout the curation experience. I’m happy to try new and revisit old materials for art projects, and I was able to do so thanks to the pastels they provided!

The retail value was low this month, even including the experience you get while creating your project. There is a prolonged benefit of the curation since we can keep the items to reuse and create more projects. I estimated a value of $35.28 for a $50 box. I hope next month we get a few more products to increase the value!

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!

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

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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 | 2 comments


  1. That’s really nice your project and those metallic pencils look so inviting…I have never tried those before but I have lots of other color pencils! thank you!

  2. So pretty-Love the colors! Sort of dreamy, I think.

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