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SketchBox Subscription Box Review + Coupon – September 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/month Basic box.

About SketchBox

The Subscription Box: SketchBox

The Cost: $35 + $5 US shipping. Save with longer 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 US for $5, Canada for $10, International for $15

My SketchBox September 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, Jade Henning-Cantrell, plus information about her.

There was also a super cute SketchBox box sticker. This month, it has legs!

 

Faber- Castell 9000 6-Set Drawing Pencils – Retail Value $13.30

Pencils are classic for a reason! Though I don’t work in them super often, I do like to have a nice selection on hand for the live model sessions I have been partaking in over Zoom since my normal classes were canceled back in April. I usually take charcoal to those in-person classes but pencils are a nice substitute for a smaller scale session at my desk. This set has 6 different hardnesses to choose from which give a lot of versatility to your practice.

Here they are lined up from hardest to softest!

 

Kuretake ZIG Oblique Calligraphy Pen 1.0 Sepia – Listed Value $2.50

This pen has a really unique angled tip that makes it ideal for calligraphy. I am not a calligrapher but I think this tip is also really perfect for expressive line marks and textures. I like that it was included in a brown shade instead of black too.

You can see the versatility of the tip shape here.

 

Uni Emott Pens in ‘Saxe Blue’, ‘Beige’, and ‘Turquoise’ – Retail Value $6.87 ($2.29 each)

I am amassing quite a collection of these Emott pens but I like them so much I don’t really mind! This set includes a blue, turquoise, and natural tan-beige color. The tips are rigid enough for a consistent line, but feel flexible enough to let you feel the paper. The smaller nib is ideal for detail work in sketches or for just everyday desk writing if you want to add a little color.

Beige, Saxe Blue, and Turquoise.

 

Derwent Kneadable Artist Eraser in a Box – Retail Value $3.75

Nothing reminds me more of college more than a kneadable eraser! I went through so many of these in my studio classes. They are ideal for cleaning up pencil sketches as well as graphite and charcoal. This eraser arrived with a protective case to keep it clean when you aren’t dirtying it up on purpose!

 

Copic Multiliner Pen 0.05 mm in ‘Wine’ – Listed Value $3.80

The tip on this pen is SO SMALL! I gravitate towards bold pens but something about how tiny and delicate this one was and the unique color made me really excited to use it right away. This ink is waterproof and permanent, meaning it is ideal for layering under watercolors too!

This is one tiny tip!

 

SketchBox Signature Art Supply Case – Retail Value $9.99

While I don’t always love swag in subscription boxes, this pen case is an exception. It is perfect for traveling with my fave pens, marker, pencils, and brushes! I usually just dump them into a ziplock or beauty bag that they might fit into, but the structured sides of this case offer a lot more protection. The zipper design is cool too because it is longer to form a snap loop!

 

Custom Size 4 x 6 Borden & Riley Boris Layout Paper for Markers – Listed Value $7.95

I didn’t love this paper because it reminded me so much of tracing paper. I end up transferring so much of my work to digital files and a sheer paper is just not ideal for that sort of thing. I do think I might just use this for tracing paper though because one of the pros here is that markers don’t bleed on this paper at all!

I have been experiencing a little bit of a creative block this month (the worst!) and picking up a pen has been a struggle. I decided to try out these pens for some super easy sketches of two of my pets while I was crashed on the couch one night.

 

I think Birdie turned out pretty well!

The pens this month made small detail work like fur a breeze.

I also did a quick (and much more comical) sketch of Charlie.

The Verdict: I found this month’s SketchBox a challenge because I am just not feeling at peak creativity over the last few weeks. This is 100% a ‘me’ issue though, and the box was still really great. Sketchbox always sends high-quality items and I have to admit I even loved the branded case! I really loved the pencil kit and I am always thrilled with pens, especially thoughtfully selected ones as was the case this month.

To Wrap Up:

Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No. Order by October 20 @ 5pm PST for the November 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 after shipping, each of the 7 items has an average cost of $5.71.

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 | 15 comments

Comments (15)

  1. Megan, you could tell you are an artist because of the way you presented the pencils, pens and other materials. Great job on the cat, doggie and showing us how the kit works. Thank you.

  2. You are so talented! I wish I could sit down and have a lazy night and pop out a sketch of my little dog!!!

    My lazy nights on the couch are emptying a huge bowl of buttered popcorn!

    • Thank you Margie! I feel like the colder it gets the more I sketch. Although… maybe popcorn would enhance the sketches! Now I want popcorn.

  3. It’s really a shame that these art boxes are sent to people who can’t use the tools and art supplies to produce something wonderful and inspiring. If I saw a better drawing and the supplies used to make something creative I might have gotten this box.

    • WOW. Absolutely no excuse for that kind of nastiness. Your comment should be removed and you banned from the site.

      • I agree with you

        That comment was awful!

        I like to doodle and I would hate for anyone to insult my creativity. Very mean comment. I know a lot of people might not like my artwork, yet it makes me happy. The above comment is awful!

        Megan: I like your drawings. Thank you for reviewing this box. I think i might get it

      • Hi Susan! Thanks so much for the kind comment. I had 4 years of art school with a few particularly critical professors, so my skin is pretty tough! I just wouldn’t want anyone else to not jump into art because they might be worried about what the internet might say about it, especially since there are so many amazing artists (especially on Instagram) that it can be so easy to compare yourself to. Create what makes YOU smile! Art is for the people! Doodle on! 🎨

      • I don’t usually post here, but wow. What a miserable comment.

        It was brave and generous of the writer to share her creative struggle in this review. Who among us has not faced moments of anxiety or doubt or hopelessness this year? And what kind of artist doesn’t wrestle with creative block from time to time? Not a very good one, I suspect.

        The write-up was honest, interesting, and engaging. I appreciated that, rather than just a description of stuff in a box, I got a glimpse of Megan’s process, which, for an artist, is so much more than tools and output, but also an awareness of her own state of mind.

        Megan: Thank you for sharing your observations, your work, and your vulnerability. I loved the review and will be treating myself to a Sketchbox subscription. 🙂

    • Hi Ale! Welcome to MSA! I could go into a long discussion about how deciding how you feel about someone’s entire body of work or skill level is really hard to do from two quick sketches, but I suspect that’s probably not why you are here. Sketchbox is a sketch-focused box that sends lots of really fun pens, paints, pencils, and more for daily practice or masterpieces. With this month being Inktober, I decided to keep it pretty sketchy! If you are interested in art supplies, I certainly hope the sketches of my pets won’t deter you from what is actually a truly awesome box. Of course, art is totally subjective! Most of us like different things. While I have a pretty thick skin at this point from a particularly critical art professor that made me cry at least once a week in college, a lot of people (especially people new to art) can be really nervous about posting their work online and sometimes comments like this might deter someone from exploring their own art practice. We try to keep it really positive here at MSA and encourage people to have fun with their boxes. If I can help you with anything else, let me know!

      • I love your reviews of this box and seeing your work. It’s inspired me to finally get back into sketching, which I dearly miss.
        Actually, I just love your reviews. You’ve been getting a lot of flack in the comments lately. I’ve been reading MSA since 2012 and I’ve never seen anything like the nasty posts that are popping up lately. You don’t deserve that negativity. Please keep being your wonderful, bubbly self.

    • BUHAH! ALE! Let’s see you make something amazing and inspiring when trying out specific supplies, some that might not be your typical medium. Obvs she was sketching (and a good sketch at that) to try out the items in the box.
      2020 doesn’t have time for your dumb sub box commentary.

  4. I wasn’t too jazzed on the pencil case either until I realized it popped open into a much more useable case on the go. It’s nice not having to dig around for pens and pencils all of the time.

    • Right? I love how it protects my brushes too. 🙂

  5. That sketch of Charlie is hilarious! I do love the Copic fine liners for their tiny nibs, I wish Copic wasn’t so expensive. 😢

    • I feel like I will have “made it” when I can just buy all the Copic markers I want without a second thought. I don’t need a fancy car, just a billion expensive markers. 😂

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