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.
This is a review of the $35/month Premium box. SketchBox also offers a $25/month Basic box.
ACTIVE DEAL: Get 50% off your first box of a 3, 6, 12 month subscription
Crafting is one of my passions, and though I am not a professional artist, there is nothing more satisfying than learning new techniques and trying out new art supplies that I otherwise wouldn't have discovered had it not been for a subscription like SketchBox. While I have gone out to hobby stores to buy specific supplies, I have to admit that I find receiving a handpicked kit of fun and unique items way more exciting than picking something out myself, this month especially! See what I received this January below.
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the editorial guidelines to learn more about how we review boxes.)
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.
What's Inside the Box
Each month, SketchBox includes a detailed list of each product included and why it was chosen. Also featured is a link to SketchBox School, which is the perfect place to go if you are a beginner like me, or if you just need a little inspiration. I really enjoy the videos they create as they go through each product individually and show exactly how they can be used. I loved the flower sketch they created this month.... I am definitely going to create one of my own!
Also included is a card with a drawing by the month's featured artist. For January we received a piece done by Cara Rosalie Olsen. Her floral watercolors are absolutely magnificent. I read she is launching a "Botanical Watercoloring for Beginners" book this Spring and you can bet I will be ordering it. She is insanely talented!
Each month they also send a sticker that fits the theme of each box. This month we received a cute little sticker of a watercolor powder bottle. Unique and fun - perfect for my pencil box.
SketchBox Signature Watercolor Powders - Retail Value $19.96
I have very limited experience with watercolor powder but am finding it to be an interesting concept. I like the fact that it can be used with different varieties of wet media and that a little of this substance can go a long way - but have found it to be extra messy. One wrong squeeze and you have a rainbow-colored countertop in no time! Whoops! Besides what was more user error than typical, these were brilliantly pigmented colors and a lot of fun to use in creating abstract work. I can't wait to keep playing with these to try out a few new techniques I learned through the SketchBox School link.
Custom TCW Color Sparx Watercolor Powder in Bougainvillea - Retail Value $6.00
My first experience with this type of product was from the November SketchBox as we received this brand of powder in the color wisteria. Mixed with water it can be used as a watercolor, or if you really want to watch magic happen, sprinkle it onto a wet surface for a blooming effect. Not only does this turn into a fantastic pinky/magenta color, but it also takes on a metallic shine! One of my favorite items in the box, I have many plans for this fun inclusion.
Rembrandt Watercolor in Titanium White 10mL - Retail Value $9.95
Honestly, I wasn't that excited to receive a tube of titanium white watercolor with all the fun powders, but it turned out to be a wonderful addition after I started playing around. Easy to squeeze out (and a lot less messy than the powders) this neutral color helped create a variety of tints. Rembrandt is a brand I am not very familiar with (except in the toothpaste department🤣) but I thoroughly enjoyed using this and may look into ordering a few more colors.
SketchBox Signature Filbert Brush #4 - Retail Value $5.95
Diving into this month's box, I am noticing quite a few custom items which makes it a little harder to find to re-order. This Filbert #4 brush is a SketchBox Signature one made from synthetic hair. The size and shape are very versatile for creating fine lines or filling in larger areas. I found the handle to be easy to hold onto and quite comfortable. This is probably my favorite sized brush and I found it comparable to a lot of my brand-named brushes.
Copic Multi-liner in Lavender - Retail Value $3.80
Hooray for Copic multi-liner pens! With a .5mm nub, this lavender pen is perfect for outlining work, sketching, or just plain writing with. The way the ink flows from this pen is perfection, and I love the color. I tend to prefer black multi-liner pens, but this was a really fun way to incorporate a little more color. Now to resist the urge to use it for making my grocery lists will be the hard part...
Custom Magnani 1404 Portofino Cotton Pad - Retail Value $13.48
The last item we received this month was a pad of hotpress paper. Featuring 15 sheets of 4" X 6" cotton paper, this pad is ideal for watercolor, gouache, ink, and acrylic. I used a significant amount of water and did not have trouble with curling or seeping. I find this size perfect for postcards and lunch box notes and tend to prefer them more than larger sizes.
As you can see from the swatches, the powder really has some pigment. I should have diluted them a bit further so you could see the beautiful colors they created, but you can see that by reading below.
SketchBox January Project
Ms. Cara had me all googly-eyed over her beautiful lavender flower painting, so I decided to try and create my own based off of the art included this month. I sure can't wait to get my hands on her beginner book because as you will find out - I have a lot to learn!!!
I notice with a lot of watercolor artistry; they do not sketch out their design before painting. I need these outlines, so I went ahead and sketched out my base with a regular #2 pencil. Using the grape watercolor powder, I gently colored in the petals on my flowers, adding a little more color as it dried. As you can see in the photo, different lighting definitely produced different results. Once it dried, it turned more of a grape color, which I was happy about. After the petals dried, I went through and added green and yellow mixing the other powders, sometimes adding a bit of the titanium white. Using the Copic Multi-liner, I added a few strokes to the petals for a bit more depth. Finally setting to dry.
Trying out a different technique, I wet my paper and squeezed the watercolor powder right onto the paper in no planned fashion. The way it bloomed was awe-striking, and I just can't get over that metallic sheen. I can't wait to send that as a postcard to my mom! If you look hard enough at some of them, it's almost like you can see a scene unfolding - maybe a bicyclist in a sunrise? Fun!
It seems SketchBox knows my heart is in watercolor and I am loving it! This month was super fun, as I received more of the fun watercolor powders that I had a sneak peek of in the past. While I enjoyed diluting them in water and using them with a brush, the blooming effect of sprinkling the powder on the wet paper was really fun for me. I have a slew of thank-you cards I need to write, and I'm thinking a few of these little abstract doo dads are perfect for that. I can't wait to see what next month's theme will be!
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To Wrap Up
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? Yes, order now to receive the January box while stocks last.
ACTIVE DEAL: Get 50% off your first box of a 3, 6, 12 month subscription
Value Breakdown: Because this month we received a lot of custom created items, it was hard to calculate a retail value. Using the suggested values on this month's card I came up with a value of $59.33 which is almost a $20 savings. Like I have said before, I am a pretty frugal gal and am always on the lookout for a bargain, but the thoughtful curation, video tutorials, and overall box quality is right on par, making it worth that price to me, especially with the savings. What do you think they will have in store for February?
What do you think of SketchBox?