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SketchBox Subscription Box Review + Coupon – May 2020

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 May 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. I see watercolor pans!!

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 indeed watercolor themed, which makes me quite happy!

There was also a branded sticker.

 

Daniel Smith Watercolor Half Pan in ‘Cascade Green’ – Retail Value $9.75 (found here on sale for $6.29)

Daniel Smith Watercolor Half Pan in ‘Hansa Yellow Light’ – Retail Value $9.75 (found here on sale for $6.29)

Daniel Smith Watercolor Half Pan in ‘Ultramarine Blue’ – Retail Value $9.75 (found here on sale for $6.29)

Daniel Smith is my go-to for watercolors. Though they are also sold wet and in a more traditional tube, I tend to buy these half pans because they are more affordable and come dry, which is less messy. They rehydrate with water beautifully. Included this month was a lovely trio which is perfect for landscape work.

One of the reasons I keep coming back to Daniel Smith is the beautiful and unpredictable effects you get from his formulas. This is really apparent in the blue and green above. The blue dried with an almost ice-like effect and the green shade breaks just beautifully on the edges with hints of blue, tan, and even pink.

 

Faber-Castell Watercolor Brush Pen in ‘Warm Grey III’ – Retail Value $5.99

I can’t say I often really reach for watercolor pens but this light grey is undeniably useful for making light sketches before you go in with paint or creating shadow effects. It is double-ended too!

Truly a versatile sort of grey.

 

Ecoline Watercolor Brush Pen in ‘Reddish Brown’ – Retail Value $3.99

Again, I am not a huge watercolor pen or marker user, but I am SO impressed with this one. Literally, it melts into pure watercolor bliss when you wet it with a brush. It even combines with more traditional watercolors effortlessly, leaving no real hint of being a marker behind. This shade is called ‘Reddish Brown’ but it was pinker than the name suggests.

The color is so rich!

 

Princeton Aqua Elite Size 2 Round Brush – Listed Value $12.75

I tend to buy larger brushes more often than smaller ones, so getting this little one in the box is really helpful to my collection. The tip is detail-oriented and on the firmer side, creating a bold line. I really like the feel of the matte-finished handle, too.

 

Neopiko Line 3 -.3 mm Pen in Black – Retail Value $3.50

I am always happy to see Japanese pens in this box and this one is just great! It even has a little black cat on it! Most importantly, the ink is archival and water-proof, meaning you can sketch under your watercolor pieces without the fear of it bleeding when you paint on top.

I always find it hilarious that while I am so sick of black eyeliner coming in boxes, I can never have enough black pens.

 

Fredrix Watercolor Canvas Board – Listed Value $6.50

Our last item is a smaller watercolor canvas board. This is a newer sort of surface for me, meant to feel like painting on canvas, but with watercolor. I can’t say I like this texture, but it was certainly different than paper and if you are looking for more structure behind your watercolor projects, this would be a great option to try.

Who are we diving into this month? Georgia O’Keefe:

The book I will be sharing today is Georgia O’Keeffe at Home by Alicia Inez Guzman (I bought mine used here!). I actually didn’t like O’Keeffe much at all in school, but I also hated watercolors and you see how that has panned out. I find that I end up liking many artists a whole lot more if I learn more about their personal lives. O’Keeffe is especially interesting because she is considered the Mother of Modern Art, but she also started out working in much more traditional mediums and themes. She was even a commercial illustrator. She found herself growing a little restless from simply trying to copy from real life, and her works started to change under the mentorship of Arthur Wesley Dow who created his art based more on how he felt and personally viewed the subject rather than what it physically looked like. He believed art should be based in self-expression, color, and composition, rather than replication.

This book is about her later life and home in New Mexico, a place she found endlessly beautiful inspiring and a sentiment she and I can agree on.

 

Over the years I have grown to appreciate O’Keeffe more and more for her unabashed use of color and the organic style of her lines. Her work truly looks like her opinion of her subject, and the feelings she associates with it, rather than a realistic rendition.

 

While I don’t have the desert in my backyard (yet) I do have a home full of houseplants and I knew the colors in this box would be great for exploring that sort of theme in an O’Keeffe-inspired way.

This exercise was much more about the hidden vibrant colors on the undersides of leaves than following a particular pattern or any sort of realism. As always, I find watercolors probably the closest thing I can come to meditation. They are so unpredictable and soothing.

 

Any watercolor is always filled with happy little accidents like bleeding, pooling, weird drying patterns, and other surprises. This is my favorite part.

Even the leftover dredges from these paints are gorgeous.

Georgia lived a long life and passed away in 1986 in her beloved New Mexico at the age of 98.

The conclusion of this book had a quote I really, really loved:

With all her wide range in content and artistic language, Georgie O’Keeffe’s evolution has been marked by a fundamental consistency. She has been herself from the first.

The Verdict: SketchBox is always an adventure in art history for me. I already loved watercolors and the trio they sent was just beautiful. And the fact that they were already from my fave brand? Perfection. I also have a newfound appreciation for watercolor pens and plan on adding more to my collection. The brush and black pen were also welcome tools, and if I wasn’t crazy about the canvas board I am still happy to have tried it out. This is a subscription I can’t recommend enough for anyone, “artist” or not. Spoiler alert: You are!

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 8 items has an average cost of $5.00.

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 | 7 comments

Comments (7)

  1. I love this box but wished they offered a more tailored box for that price. I do love the contents though!

  2. I’ve been getting into watercolor during quarantine with 0 art background so paint recommendations are definitely helpful! I’ve been using mostly the Winsor & Newton professional so far but I’ll keep it in mind for when I run out of primary colors. Love your plant inspired paintings, the colors are beautiful!

    • Thank you Caroline! I am glad you are loving watercolors. I tend to supplement my Daniel Smith collection with W&N and also love them! The DS colors I would recommend for ANYONE are: Moonglow (a grey lavender that has weird breaks of blue and pink!), Lunar Blue (also interesting drydown. Great for shadows), Terre Verte (a great green for landscapes that isn’t too “foresty”), and Green Gold (a borderline obnoxious chartreuse that I LOVE). There is also a line of gemstone pigments (Primatek) that are insane. Happy painting!! <3

  3. I appreciate your ability to find the beauty in the simple and mundane. I’ve never considered what dried-up watercolor dredges look like, but now I will.

    I used to draw, but haven’t in years. These reviews always make me think I should take it back up again.

    • Do it, Carrie!! Let all the sketches out! 🙂

  4. Beautiful review and sharing not only your art, but part of your book that speaks to you. It is very true to Georgia O’Keefe. We have a beautiful photograph of hers…sexual, but of nature, which I hope you understand what I’m trying to say.

    Anyways, my son is an aeronautical, assembly, and mechanical engineer from Lehigh, while his g/f is a chemical engineer from Lehigh. His artwork from childhood, until today, is truly breathtaking, and was represented and sold since his childhood. You are obviously like him, naturally talented. I hope you pursue your natural talent.

    • Totally get what you are saying H! Love that your son is both artistic and also science-inclined. Its a magical combination. I have an art degree but school kind of ruined all of it for me for a few years. I now am on my own terms, which is really freeing. Thank you for the kind words and for reading my review. 🙂

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