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SketchBox Subscription Box Review + Coupon – June 2020

sketchbox june 2020 art supply subscription box review

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.

About SketchBox

The Subscription Box: SketchBox

The Cost: $35 + $5 U.S. shipping, with savings on longer length subscriptions.

COUPON: Use code SKETCH5 to 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 June 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. There is also a link to SketchBox School, a video they release each month showing you how to use your items and demonstrations, too! If you are new to art, these are really great, and even if you aren’t, they are filled with helpful knowledge and smart tidbits.

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 is graphite themed.

There was also a little SketchBox box sticker.

 

Cretacolor 9 Piece Graphite Set – Listed Value $15.95 (found here on sale for $11.45)

I have to admit that I often overlook basics like graphite and charcoal in favor of really colorful supplies. Seeing this little kit takes me right back to school! Inside there are 3 different leaded graphite pencils in different gradations (2B, 4B, and HB), 3 graphite sticks (2B, 4B, 6B), a woodless graphite pencil (4B), a protective metal cap for the pencil, and a leather polishing cloth.

Here are the pencils and the woodless pencil. It is hard to tell they have different hardnesses just from images. Some of this is more of a tactile sort of feedback you can only feel when using the pencil yourself.

And here are the sticks. These make flat shading larger areas a breeze!

 

Derivan Liquid Pencil in Rewettable Blue, 12 ml – Listed Value $4.95 (Buy a set of 12 shades here for $31.49)

Derivan Liquid Pencil in Rewettable Yellow, 12 ml – Listed Value $4.95 (Buy a set of 12 shades here for $31.49)

I have never, ever seen or used this product before! How exciting! Anything that can combine the look of graphite with the application of watercolor is already a must-have in my book. Included was a pair in yellow and blue. Both are rewettable, meaning you can continue to change them with a wet brush long after they have dried. They were both also erasable, though the soft blue and yellow pigment did seem to stick around. I absolutely love the graphite sort of sheen that these have and the under-layer of color. I think the blue especially will be incredible to use for shadows.

I am also loving how moody these are.

 

Alvin B2 Lead Holder – Retail Value $6.95 (found here for $6.27)

I kind of feel like a fancy architect with this lead holder. The colors will be random but I received a bright and cheerful yellow barrel. Inside there is a long stick of 2mm lead that is held securely by a vice-like jaw. You can lower the lead by holding down the rear button. You can completely drop all of the lead back inside to keep it safe too! This is a really great little thing for those of us who like to keep a sketching pencil on hand but find our tips always get chipped.

It writes and feels very similar to a familiar 2B pencil.

 

KingArt Gold Dagger 1/8 Brush – Retail Value $7.99

I was very excited about this brush from the moment I pulled it out of the box. This excitement stems from the incredibly unique dagger-like tip. Designed with sign-painting brushes as the main inspiration, this brush easily loads up with paint and depending on the pressure or angle you use, it can create super bold or delicate strokes. This is the smallest 1/8th size offered but they range all the way up to 1/2 inch. I plan on buying a few more of these!!

 

Lyra Graphite Crayon 2B – Retail Value $1.70

This is pure nostalgia for me because we used these all the way back in my school art classes since they are affordable but make a big impact. They also do some interesting things when combined with water. I like to personally use them to cover large areas of shading very quickly, though they are also great for expressive linework.

Hello, old friend.

 

Windsor & Newton Medium Putty Eraser – Retail Value $2.39

Most of the time, my work is mainly in pen, ink, or paint, and I rarely erase anything. For the rarer times when I use a pencil to under sketch though, a putty eraser like this is really handy. You can twist and pinch it into all sorts of interesting and useful shapes, allowing you to go in for detailed highlighting or erasure of something that just isn’t quite right!

 

Hahnemuhle 3×4 Bamboo Paper Pad – Listed Value $4.00

Finally, our last item is a small pad of bamboo paper. It’s quite a nice texture for the materials this month because it has enough tooth to show off their textures, but not so much that you can’t get into detail work.

I don’t have an art book to reference this month, and I think that is because most of the books I have are on painters and focused on their paintings rather than their sketches. The advantage of these materials is that there is no real mess because you don’t need water. Though I did end up using the liquid pencil; it was a lot less messy than I usually get with my paints. I ended up using these on a lazy Sunday afternoon on the couch. Tucker was asleep in his favorite chair when I started this sketch and then Birdie ended up on the top of the chair looking out the window.

 

It was fun to work from the pencils through to the sticks and the giant graphite crayon. I waited to use the liquid pencils until the end, to add shading and just a hint of color.

It’s certainly not my usual style, but I like to experiment, and limiting materials always creates some sort of interesting end result!

You can also use graphite for quick and incredibly expressive sketches. I worked this out on my drafting table from a photograph in about 5 minutes. As someone who loves lots of emotional lines, these very quick graphite studies are going to be something I tackle more often.

The Verdict: SketchBox continues to be one of the boxes I can’t wait to get my hands on each and every month. There are always such treasures inside! As I WFH and have extra time saved from not commuting, art has become an ever growing practice in my life once more, and this subscription always sends along supplies I probably wouldn’t have even considered buying on my own, but that I end up loving. It has helped create such a well-rounded supply in my studio. This month was all about graphite, and it felt great to get back to the basics.

To Wrap Up:

Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No. Order by June 20 @ 5pm PST for the July box! Also, SketchBox is currently fully operational during COVID-19.

COUPON: Use code SKETCH5 to save $5 off your first box!

Value Breakdown: Since this box costs $40.00 after shipping, each of the 7 items has an average cost of $5.71. I considered the Liquid Pencil tubes together in this estimation.

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

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

What do you think of SketchBox?

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Written by Megan Kirkland

Megan Kirkland

I love natural/vegan beauty products, Korean skincare, unique jewelry, and weird candies from far away places. When I am not waiting for my next exciting box you can find me painting or taking photographs of interesting people. I never leave home without pug hair somewhere on my shirt and a bold lipstick on my smile.

Posted in SketchBox Reviews, Subscription Box Reviews| Tags: sketchbox | 12 comments

Comments (12)

  1. I love the subscription, I really do. I’ve had the premium box subscription for the past 3 months. Going on 4. But the one thing I would really love, is if I didn’t have to contact every single month on the where abouts of my box. Ya know, a week. Cool. Fine. And I do understand the coronavirus currently. However, it hasn’t been a one time thing. It’s been an every month thing. Even on the extra box I purchased for the fifth anniversary. I know shipping isn’t really sketchboxs fault. It’s just starting to seem like it’s an extra chore for the month to worry where, when and if I’m gonna get my box. But like I said, products are great.. when and if they arrive.

  2. Megan, you can tell how much you love this box due to the detailed descriptions in your review. Even though I am not an artist, I really enjoy reading your sketch box reviews! This looked like a great month.

  3. I still doesn’t understand the liquid pencil

  4. Love your sketches! Especially the pets on the chair. <3

  5. Can you explain again how to get the lead in the mechanical pencil to drop? I have tried everything and have had no luck!

    • Hey Kate! Hold down the button on the end of the pencil, and the tip should open up like a claw and let the lead slide out! If that doesn’t seem to be working, you can pull off the back cap and slide the lead out that way too, then hold the “jaws” open while you slide the lead in. Hope this helps!

      • I must have a defective pencil then as I tried both and neither worked. I can hear the something in the pencil but it will not come out either end. Maybe it is broken because when I twist the knob I cannot see the screw mechanism turn.

      • Hmm, there isn’t anything that you would need to twist. Just press down on the end. That spring compresses (no spinning or twisting) and opens the claw tip to release the lead. If that isn’t working I would totally reach out to Sketchbox!

  6. great review! loved the drawings

    • Thank you Enid! 🙂

  7. I have GOT to get this box! I love seeing your art each month, Megan!

    • Do it, do it!! It’s in my top 5!

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