ArtSnacks is a monthly art supply subscription service that curates products to help inspire you to create. ArtSnacks is the brainchild of siblings Lee and Sarah Rubenstein, founders of eatsleepdraw.com, a user-submitted art site.
There are two subscription tiers for ArtSnacks: $24 or $39 for the Plus box.
This is a review of the $39 Plus box.
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.)
The Subscription Box: ArtSnacks
The Cost: $24.00 a month, with savings on 6- and 12-month subscriptions OR buy the Plus box for $39.00 a month. International boxes cost $34 for the base box or $39 for the Plus.
The Products: 4-5 full-size premium art products in the base box OR 5-6 full-size premium supplies plus a full-size work surface in the Plus box.
Ships to: The US and worldwide for free!
ArtSnacks Plus August 2020 Review
Shall we peek inside?
A very cute ArtSnacks sticker arrived. I always love these little pretzel pencils.
As well as our little snack!
Here is the menu for July. These are also the items that should arrive in the base box.
And here is the card showcasing what additional items arrived in our Plus box.
GOLDEN OPEN Slow-Drying Acrylics in 'Pyrrole Red' - Retail Value $8.65
FYI: You might receive a different color.
I am slowly but surely transitioning from acrylics to exclusively oils right now (Gamblin is my oil paint of choice!) and one of the reasons for this switch is that acrylics just dry so fast! You can add mediums that slow them down, but I wanted to skip that and just move towards a slow drying sort of practice. I picked up acrylics back in college because I couldn't afford oil paints and my chaotic apartment would have been a bad mix for constantly wet paint. I wish I had a set of these slow-drying acrylics back then! This paint has such an extended drying time that you can use it outside, even in hot weather, and still have a workable surface for hours depending on how thick you lay it down. This is fantastic for someone who wants that extra time to blend and mix colors but with less of a price tag and no sacrificing of pigment.
I received a pure red shade.
Derwent Inktense Colored Pencil in 'Teal Green' - Retail Value $2.99
I love a colored pencil that only gets bolder when mixed with water! And this teal green is a dream. Seriously. It looks rather demure when you sketch with it, but add water and WOW the color morphs into something so gorgeous and pigmented. I like to sketch or color with this pencil as normal (you might find yourself sharpening more often than with a harder pencil) then use a wet brush to turn it into more of a watercolor look. The nice thing about these pencils (other than the color payoff!) is that once they dry, they are permanent, meaning you can layer them without disturbing the work below.
Here is the pencil dry...
And here is the same patch wet!
KINGART™ Finesse Kolinsky Sable Synthetic Blend Brush, Filbert Size 6 - Retail Value $12.99
Much like makeup brushes, I am a paintbrush hoarder. They just spark joy, you know? This is a very nice Filbert with a firmer handle. The curves of the head make it ideal for maneuvering around curves on sketches or in paint with very little effort! It is also small enough for detail work, but big enough to cover ground pretty quickly if needed.
Kuretake ZIG Hikkei Fude Pen - Retail Value $2.99
I have a few of these pens and I love them because the tip is the perfect mix of firm but flexible. You can really push it to the limit in terms of linework and calligraphy. The ink is also waterproof, which is perfect for wet and dry mixed media pieces.
Derwent HB Graphic Pencil - Retail Value $1.79
Pencils are so often overlooked in my collection for the bolder and flashier supplies I have. I really need to buckle down and play with pencils more. They have such a natural and classic look in my sketchbook. This is an HB pencil that is great for quick sketches (I have been enjoying Zoom figure drawing sessions!) and allows you a wide range of line width and shade and shadow.
Classic for a reason.
Fredrix Pro Series 8"x10" Belgian Linen Board - Retail Value $14.28
I always kind of dread when I get a super nice piece of canvas in this subscription because my instinct is to clutch it tightly and save it for some amazing project. For this reason, I have loads of canvas boards. Something about canvas feels more high-stakes than paper. I don't really know why. This one is made of 100% Belgian linen (SEE! It even sounds precious) and it has such a nice texture for acrylic and oil paints.
Golden OPEN Acrylic Gel (Gloss), 2 fl oz - Listed Value $4.24
Golden makes a ton of different and fun mediums for mixing with acrylic paints. This is a gel with a gloss finish that extends the drying time of paints, adds body, and gives dry paint a nice sheen. It looks a little white in the tube, but generally doesn't change the color of paints. Simply mix it in with your acrylics and go! Because ArtSnacks sent us such a slow-drying acrylic paint this month, I don't see the need for this in this month's project, but it is always nice to have on hand.
Art Alternatives Plastic Painting Knives, Set of 5 - Retail Value $3.49
Much like paintbrushes, one can never have too many palette knives! I tend to use metal ones (mostly because I can be a snob and I like the little metal sounds they make when I mix paint) but this set of plastic knives is endlessly useful without the price of my metal and wood knives. You can use these knives to mix paint or use them to actually paint with! Applying paint directly with a knife is really striking.
This month's project gave me a lot of pause, mostly because of the colors I received. While ArtSnacks sends different colors to subscribers, I was a little miffed by receiving red and green. Off the top of my head, the first thing I could think of was an apple, or Christmas, or maybe a holly bush? I hate red and green together! I took a few days to ponder what to do and decided that it would be fun to maybe just lean into the colors. They are complementary after all! I have also been reading through a book on the paper cutout works of Matisse and decided to just keep it simple and let the colors speak for themselves.
These images are from The Cut-outs of Henri Matisse by John Elderfield.
Matisse started using paper cutouts in his work while recovering from an operation hat nearly killed him. He saw them as a way to keep creating pieces that were less demanding than oil painting. His cut-outs are always joyful and spontaneous and I have loved them for a long time!
This is exactly the sort of thing I normally fill my mixed media sketchbooks up with and I actually LOVE the red and green together.
Verdict: ArtSnacks proved, once again, that branching out of your comfort zone is a good thing. Even if you are using the items inside in sketches or paintings that are purely for your own joy and experimentation, you would be hard-pressed to not appreciate the items inside each month. Literally this red and green combo had me CRINGING. But once I decided to just roll with it, I loved the process. I actually want to play around with more pieces that explore colors opposite one another on the color wheel. Everything in here was high quality and just generally wonderful. I honestly am getting to the point where I would be so sad without my art subscription boxes! I know I will appreciate them even more in the winter when I go into angsty, stuck-inside artist mode.
FYI, if you need help or inspiration, try the ArtSnacks online community. OR leave me a message and I will try to help or spark your imagination!
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No, you will receive the September box if you subscribe.
Value Breakdown: This box costs $39 with free shipping, meaning each of the 7 items has an average cost of $5.57.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What did you create with the August ArtSnacks items?