SketchBox is a monthly subscription box for art supplies. Each month, they'll send you 4-9 art supplies (often full kits) 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, with savings on longer length subscriptions.
ACTIVE DEAL: Save $5 off your first box!
The Products: A selection of hand-picked art supplies, plus an art print to inspire
Ships to: The U.S. for $5, Canada for $10, International for $15
My SketchBox March 2020 Review
Before we jump in, I have to mention that this box was my choice for MSA Team's 2020 Resolution Subscription Box round-up! Is this the only resolution I have kept so far? I will never tell.
Their info card includes a list of the products and why they were chosen for the box. This box contains colored pencils galore, so count me in!
You also get a card with a drawing by this month's featured artist, Nikoli Shaver, plus information about them. It looks like this month's artist used the same supplies to create this art as we received in the box.
There was also a rather large logo sticker.
SketchBox Exclusive Chameleon Double-Ended Colored Pencil Set, set of 5 - Listed Value $15.00
I feel like colored pencils can be so hit or miss. Basically, the quality has to be good for me to even bother with them. I lean towards more bold mediums like ink and paint, but over the last few years watercolors have carved out a space in my heart for "lighter" mediums. In terms of color and quality, these are gorgeous. The shades chosen by the SketchBox team are dreamy. Each is double-ended making transitions between similar colors a breeze.
Here are some swatches of these dual-ended pencils. So pretty!
Exclusive Tombow Irojiten Colored Pencils, set of 3 - Listed Value $2.39 each
This trio is also gorgeous: yolk yellow, russet brown, and silver grey. What makes these even more special is that these three shades have never been released in the US before. Each is beautifully pigmented and so smooth! They are also each quite unique shades, while still complementing the set above.
I love these so much!
Cretacolors Megacolor Pencils in English Red and Ochre Light - Retail Value $3.49 each (Buy here for $1.46 each)
I adore chubby pens, markers, and pencils and these are perfection. The colors are also stunning: a bold English red and a light ochre that makes me feel some feelings!
How vibrant and dreamy are these?!
I am so grateful for this included pencil sharpener because I don't own one. This is a dual-port sort of deal, with room for your shavings to boot! Between these two size sharpeners, all of the pencils included this month are covered.
In school, I used to resort to paper pencils for blending, but this is a massive upgrade. these oil-wax pencils are designed to blend colored pencils, smoothing their texture and adding more vibrance.
The left side of these blues has been blended with one of these blender sticks, while the right has not.
Our paper this month is a set of 20 square tiles, all perfectly textured for colored pencils. Basically, there is enough texture here to keep things interesting without compromising the tips of your pencils or their vibrancy.
Tombow Mono Sand and Rubber Eraser - Retail Value $2.49
Finally, our last item is a double-ended ruler. One side is your traditional rubber, while the more gritty side is sand textured. Use the sandy side first to start erasing pigment, then swap to the rubber side to clean up.
I knew this color would be particularly challenging to erase, and while this eraser didn't lift up all of the color, it did a great job! The leftovers would easily be covered with most color corrections.
If you read my last SketchBox review, you know I have been working my way through my giant collection of art books and I am specifically working through some of my American folk and crafts artists. I am currently reading my way through this one:
Hand-in-Hand: Ceramics, Mosaics, Tapestries, and Wood Carvings by the California Mid-Century Designers Evelyn and Jerome Ackerman by Devin Chavkin and Lisa Thackaberry
My grandmother is what I would like to call an "accidental" art collector. She somehow manages to just end up with works of art that are usually worth something to her as well as a gallery. She owns an Ackerman mosaic back from when she and my grandfather first built their house. Back then, you could just call up a designer and they would bring loads of furniture and decor to your house, set it up, and hope you would buy it. My grandparent's living room is nearly 100% mid-century style for this reason. This always baffled me growing up because I would never classify that as being their style, but that room is like a pristine time capsule. I knew she had done some research on the Ackermans and when I saw this book at a used bookstore I grabbed it up for both of us! Side note: the foreword of this book is by Jonathan Adler, and the inspiration in his work is easy to see! The light humor, bright colors, and never-too-serious aspects of the Ackerman's style live on.
The Ackermans were a husband and wife team from California who designed textiles, mosaics, ceramics, and other house goods that quickly became very popular with lovers of California mid-century modern design. Most of their designs were sketched out in pencil and were over-the-top colorful.
I adore the Ackerman's odd little horses with their chubby bodies and little legs. I decided to sketch out my own version inspired by theirs as a fun exercise. The limitations of the square paper were a bit of a struggle, but still super fun.
I also love their highly-stylized flowers, so that was my second exercise. As someone who typically doesn't work in such a stylized fashion, these sorts of experiments were challenging and incredibly enjoyable.
In 2012 Evelyn Ackerman passed away at the age of 88. Jerome lived to 99, and just recently passed away in 2019.
With roots in the Bauhaus and European and East Coast modernism, the modernist aesthetic came into its own in California. Moving away from the austere, hard-edged look of its precursors, California modernism was organic, naturalistic, textural, warm, and colorful. It reflected a revival of crafts and the adaptation of industrial innovations to artistic use. Pioneers in this movement, Jerome and Evelyn Ackerman were an integral part of the creative energy of the period.
If you want to learn more about the Ackermans, they have a beautifully maintained website with more info, inspiration, and purchasable design pieces.
The Verdict: My sketchbook and canvases have been a major source of solace for me over the last month. High-quality and unique art products have allowed me to escape a lot of stress and worry, and this box has enriched this escape. While I am spending a lot more of my time at home (well, all of it..) I am also exploring lots of different artists and mediums. The amazing items I have collected from all of my previous SketchBoxes and now these new ones are being put to use daily. SketchBox, is it even possible to love you more? I guess we will find out next month!
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No. Order by April 19 @ 4pm PST for the April box! Also, SketchBox is currently fully operational during COVID-19.
ACTIVE DEAL: Save $5 off your first box!
Value Breakdown: Since this box costs $40.00 after shipping, each of the 7 items has an approximate cost of $5.71.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What do you think of SketchBox?