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SketchBox Subscription Box Review + Coupon – October 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 October 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, Lil Chan, plus information about her.

There was also a super cute SketchBox box sticker. This month, it features a grey scale design.


Sketchbox Custom Ink Stick – Listed Value $6.00

Ok, this is cool. I have never played with anything quite like it! This very dense little brick is solid ink! You combine it yourself with water and create exactly the strength you want. It performs a lot like a watercolor.


Kuretake ZIG Bokuchi Suzuri – Listed Value $6.20

This tray is how you combine the water and ink. Simply add a little water (there are guiding lines inside the tray to help!) and then rub the solid ink block against the textured surface.


Princeton Bamboo Brush Round 2/0 – Retail Value $2.90

Also included this month was the perfect brush for our sumi-e ink. This is very much a calligraphy brush and while I personally prefer something with firmer bristles (I am a control freak) this is kind of a dream for loose watercolors.


Speedball Scarlet Red Calligraphy Ink, 0.4 oz – Retail Value $2.30

2019 Megan hated the color red. I found it aggressive and garish and just kind of dreadful. 2020 Megan has been embracing it! Seriously, lipsticks, accessories, paint, and more. This red is one of those heart-stopping red-reds that are so vibrant and bright that they can overwhelm your palette if not used thoughtfully. I absolutely loved playing with this in combination with the demure sumi-e ink. It is quite the contrast! You can use this ink straight out of the pot or water it down with watercolor for more transparency.

Even when watered down this ink is super vibrant!


Edding Soft White Pastel Pen – Retail Value $3.00

This transparent white pen is great for adding in highlights or correcting details on your work. Because the ink is transparent, you can create some really cool effects. If you need opaque, simply layer the white paint!


Faber Castel Pitt Art Pens in M and Brush Tip – Retail Value $4.38 ($2.19 each)

I go through black pens pretty fast in my practice because I love to outline my work. So extra pens like this always get put to good use in my studio. This pair contains a nice solid M top along with a more flexible brush tip.

Here is a sample of both.


Higgins India Ink Softliner Brush Pen – Listed Value $10.82

I love, love love working with India ink. It has this rough and organic quality to it that keeps me from getting my outlines too “perfect” if you know what I mean. The downside is that it usually arrives in a pot and is super messy and a total nightmare if you knock it over. None of those risks here since the ink is contained in a refillable pen.

Love it.


Custom Size Hahnemuhle Sumi-e Paper Pad – Listed Value $10.50

The paper this month was a little thin for my taste and although it was designed to be used with our sumi-e ink, I found it just became wrinkly when used with wetter mediums. It did flatten out a little when dry and I loved the soft fuzzy effect of the paper itself, but I am too hard on my works for delicate paper.

You can see the fuzziness of this paper really well in this shot.

I have a client who is looking for some boho botanical surface patterns, and the India ink pen was perfect for freely sketching out ideas.



The Verdict: This month’s SketchBox was pretty perfect for an Inktober delivery! Though I didn’t participate regularly this time (womp womp) these new supplies are really cool. I especially love the unpredictability of the solid sumi-e ink and though I find the brush a little ‘loose’ for what I normally reach for, it’s a great way to just sketch out cool designs. The red ink was so attention-grabbing and wonderful quality. I look forward to playing with it more. Of course, I always love more black pens and the white paint pen is really versatile too.

To Wrap Up:

Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No. Order by November 20 @ 5 pm PST for the December 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 8 items has an average cost of $5.

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


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 | 3 comments

Comments (3)

  1. Wow that red is gorgeous! I love what you created

  2. These flowers are so cool, Megan! The hard black lines with the red gives it almost that stained glass effect. I’ve been adding ink to my work more recently, I always get itchy for some when I see everyone doing Inktober.

    • Thanks so much Caroline! I also have been really enjoying ink. I always make a plan to actually participate in Inktober but then I always forget a few days, feel like I get behind, and give up. Maybe next year for both of us? 😅

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