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.
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Summer vacation is right around the corner, and with that is supplemental learning via games, books, and art. Our family loves arts and crafts and produces an array of entries for our local county fair. One category is colored pencil drawings, so we were ecstatic to be provided with a new set that is of a much higher quality than Crayola. While we didn't produce fair-worthy artwork in our initial go-around, we had a lot of fun trying out our new supplies. Read below to find out what we thought of June's box.
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, this month however, a shipping sticker was placed over the cover, which then ripped when I tried gently removing it. Whoops! Anyways, there's information on how to enter their monthly contest on the included info card.
What's Inside the Box
Each month we receive a content list of all this month's featured products - along with a short summary of each item and listed retail prices. Also included is a QR code for the SketchBox school where you can learn how to use the materials, try different techniques, and even create your own piece of artwork.
This month's artist card was created by Kamryn Tulare. Kamryn uses bright colors to depict beautiful portraits and extremely raw emotions. Her Instagram account is really powerful! I suggest you check it out.
Each month we also receive a sticker that coordinates with the theme of the month. This time our custom sticker features a mini bottle of color pencil blender. While it wasn't my favorite item in the box, the sticker was really cute!
Derwent Chromaflow Colored Pencil 12 Piece Set - Retail Value $24.99
I am in love with this set of Derwent Chromaflow colored pencils. With a custom-curated set, I wasn't able to find the exact same package to purchase, but absolutely love the beautifully chosen pigments and colors. Writing and coloring extremely smoothly, these are not Crayola pencils and have the ability to shade and blend beyond belief! Easy to sharpen and hold on to, my kids and I enjoyed testing these out, and can't wait to take on bigger projects in the coming months.
Holbein Colored Pencils Juane Brilliant and Pink - Retail Value $6.52
To add to our collection, we also received two Holbein colored pencils in a beige color and pink. I appreciated this inclusion, as our original set did not include these colors. Featuring a soft core that is perfect for blending and layering, these were easy to use, and very versitile.
Holbein Meltz Colored Pencil Blender - Retail Value $6.29
I'm not 100% sure what I was thinking this color pencil blender would do when applied to pencils, but I honestly was hoping for a bit more. Used to blend colors and create gradients, this liquid apparently can give a painted look to colored pencils. As an amateur, I have never used this particular material, but was excited to give it a try. I dipped the brush into the blender and tried pulling the color from the pencils without a ton of luck. Sure, I had a bit of a pastel look in the non-colored part of the artwork but didn't really "blend" as I had hoped. The bottle did mention depending on the paper used, it may not work as well, but considering this was curated as a kit, I was hoping for more significant results. Does anyone have tips or tricks to make this work better?
Princeton Snap! Round Brush Size 2 - Retail Value $3.40
I love to watercolor, and this Princeton Snap! round brush is everything I look for in a brush. The brush itself is small and smooths and blends colors perfectly. I did try it with the Meltz blender and had okay luck. I was hoping for more exaggeration, but since I am not very familiar with this exact method, I need to play with it a bit more.
SketchBox Signature Cold Press Pad - Retail Value $12.99
Each month we receive some sort of paper pad, and this month happens to be a mixed media pad perfect for both wet and dry mediums. At 140 LB, this thick cotton paper is perfect for colored pencils with the addition of the pencil blender. The edges don't curl, and we received 15 sheets. I tend to prefer smaller paper as it makes for great postcards, so this is perfect.
Bright and cheery, this month's color palette screamed summer!
SketchBox June Project
This month I was inspired by a 7th grade student that has been creating some beautiful, life-like mushroom sketches. Because I'm not particularly good at realism, I decided to try my hand at a bright cartoon version and had a lot of fun doing it.
To start this month's drawing, I sketched out my mushroom, butterfly, and foliage. I decided to start coloring the butterfly first, in case I absolutely hated it and wanted to scrap it. Deciding it was okay, I continued by blending the included colors into the mushroom cap and stem, finally finishing with the foliage. Outlining in the included black pencil, I opted for a cartoon look, and enjoyed the relaxing process.
Because I was a bit intimidated by the color pencil blender, I didn't try it on my initial sketch. Here I quickly adding some bright circles and a paisley design to one of the cards and added the blender. Using a very generous amount on the tip of the brush, I didn't see a lot of blending happening. Sure, there is a small amount that gives a slight pastel look, but I was hoping for more. Maybe with more layers I would get a more dramatic look?
This month Hank and Charlie wanted to get in on the action and asked to try out the new colored pencils. Being inspired by their classroom butterflies, they both opted to create their own butterflies, along with some flowers, caterpillars, and a really neat colorful circle. Fun for everyone, this is a great subscription box for adults and kids alike!
I really enjoyed this month of SketchBox because it really amped up a traditional medium into something that was new and enthralling. These fancy colored pencils felt almost like a mix of colored pencils and pastels, and were easy to use and fun. I love supplies that are a breeze to clean up, and geared toward my entire family, so this curation was perfect. Paired with the blender, brush, and pad of paper, we had a fun-filled afternoon, with ideas brewing for our fair creations! What were your thoughts about this month's curation?
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Because most of this month’s products were custom sizes or custom made for SketchBox, it was really hard to determine an accurate retail value. The included contents card had a $58.13 value, which is almost $20 over the cost of the box. Being that I really liked those colored pencils and the paper, I really enjoyed this month’s theme. I felt this was a really good value, and a really neat way to try items I may not have discovered otherwise.
To Wrap Up
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? According to SketchBox's website, the cutoff to purchase the June box was May 21st, but you can still subscribe to get next month's box.
ACTIVE DEAL: Save $5 off your first box!
What do you think of SketchBox?