SketchBox Subscription Box Review + Coupon – January 2021
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.
The Subscription Box: SketchBox
The Cost: $35 + $5 U.S. 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 U.S. for $5, Canada for $10, International for $15
My SketchBox January 2021 Review
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, Alex Garant. I actually am low-key obsessed with Alex, so seeing her as this month’s featured artist is so exciting!
There was also a super cute SketchBox box sticker. This month, it is in the shape of a little yellow tub of paint.
Holbein Acrylic Ink in ‘Naphthol Red’, 30 mL – Retail Value $11.50
This month, our box is all about acrylic paint/ink, and this absolutely stunning red is a great product to start with. It is a bold, true, fire engine crimson and it is also nearly opaque when used straight out of the bottle. I think sending these thinner inks was a great choice because they can feel a little less intimidating compared to a tube of thick acrylic paint that you have to thin down on your own. You can use this as-is, mix it, or thin it down with water for more of a sheer wash.
Here is that red, swatched straight out of the bottle with a dry brush.
Speedball Calligraphy Ink in ‘Indigo Blue’ – Retail Value $2.49
Our second ink is a very pretty blue, though I wouldn’t personally call it indigo. It feels like a true blue rather than something leaning towards purple to me. It was thin like the red ink, and arrived in a cute little pot.
Straight from the pot with a dry brush.
Speedball Calligraphy Ink in ‘Primrose Yellow’ – Retail Value $2.49
Along with our blue came a charming bright yellow. All three of these colors form a set of primary shades you can use to mix and create whatever color you want! If you have some white laying around, even better because you can create tints.
Also swatched straight from the pot with a dry brush.
Caran d’Ache Grafwood 4H Pencil – Retail Value $3.50
I also had a very, very hard pencil in my box. This lead is really nice for doing light sketches before you lay down ink. Because the lead is so hard, the marks are light and they don’t smear that easily.
This line stays pretty light, regardless of pressure.
Dynasty Dagger Brush, 3/8 – Retail Value $11.70
Dagger-style brushes are my absolute favorite. I rarely use anything else these days. Designed to mimic a sign-painters brush, these have so much flex and the angle allows you to create wide washes and lines or you can use the tip for detail work. Perfection.
Staedtler Pigment Liner 0.1 mm – Retail Value $4.65
This was one tiny little nib! You can use this for sketching and detailing or, my favorite, for drawing strands of hair on portraits or animals. Because this tip is so tiny, you need to be careful with the amount of pressure you use, or it can be damaged. As someone who has a heavy hand, I always have to be super mindful of how hard I am pressing.
Sketchbox Custom Magnanu 1404 ITALIA Cotton Paper, 4×6
Our paper this month was 100% cotton and weighty enough to stand up to wet media, like the inks included this month. It has a slightly warm, creamy tint to it that looks really beautiful under sheer watercolors.
Sketchbox Signature Plastic Palette
Also included was a 6 well plastic palette. I tend to go a little crazy with paint mixing, so I often find I need at least 12 wells to feel like I am really having a great time. But this smaller option is great for my travel kit.
We talked a little earlier about primary colors, so I decided to make a little color wheel with our included inks: red, yellow, and blue.
And here is what it looks like when you mix these primaries together. You end up with secondary colors, orange, green, and purple.
I recently bought myself a really cool book that I think a lot of you would also like. I have never been someone who was any good at keeping a journal, but I have always wanted to track memories somehow, and honestly color is much more enticing to me than words.
Literally, you just put a color a day inside. Or three a day. Or two a week. It is totally up to you. No pressure.
Here is a shot of a recent page.
I spent a lot of my time in school painting large-scale abstract paintings to simply play with paint and have some escape from the more rigid technical classes that required more concentration, and, were honestly less fun. It is always a good idea to have a grasp on art fundamentals, but I think sometimes those “rules” make people feel like they aren’t good enough to make art if they aren’t technical artists. Sometimes you just want to immerse yourself in colors and let the paint do whatever IT wants to do, and that is exactly what my project this month is all about:
While I was painting this, I had a loose vision of what my childhood home must look like from up in the air. I translated those memories into a sort of faux-topography with the paint. You totally don’t need to paint anything specific though. Just go with what feels right! And if you don’t feel like an “artist” know that if you can make marks on paper, you are capable of creating art! Which makes you, like, totally an artist. Promise.
Here is my finished mini-painting. It isn’t exactly centered, but I didn’t measure my tape. These look really great framed in simple black frames or cut down as postcards that you can send to friends, or your mom so she can put it on her fridge and brag about you to her friends.
And here are my new additions to my book from the paints in this month’s box.
The Verdict: This month’s SketchBox took me to a comfort zone within myself that I haven’t leaned into in a long time. I absolutely love a more abstract painting expression, and the inks included this month were perfect for expressing that love of freedom and color. This is such a fun box for anyone interested in color theory or mixing paints, too. The materials and tools were high quality (as they always are) and sparked my imagination in a way that felt really great.
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No. At the time of publication, you’ll likely receive the March 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.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What do you think of SketchBox?