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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July is probably my favorite month of the year. Not only is it my birthday month, but because gardening is one of my passions, our yard is buzzing with bees. Using nature as my inspiration, I was able to create some of the flowers in my garden using this month's SketchBox products, having a lot of fun while doing it. This month's supplies were of my favorite medium but had a little twist to them - read below to find out what I received.
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. This month the artwork featured portraits done by Jian Jiao. Included in the box is information regarding how to enter the monthly contest on the info card. Check it out if you are interested!
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 Nikoli Shaver. Nikoli is part of the SketchBox team and creates art focusing on portrait and florals. If you check out his Instagram page, you'll find some really cool anatomy pieces that are quite inspiring!
We also receive a sticker that coordinates with the theme of the month. This time our custom sticker features the pans of graphite paint we received and is really cute!
Kuretake GANSAI TAMBI Graphite Pans - Retail Value $16.65
It is a well-known fact that I love watercolors, and while I have quite the collection, I do not have many graphite versions. We received 5 pans including Graphite Yellow, Graphite Red, Graphite Violet, and Graphite Brown. Listed on the card was also Graphite Green, but we were sent 2 yellows by mistake. The colors themselves offer deep, calming colors with a matte texture and graphite finish. Blending beautifully, the color palette worked well together and were colors I would typically use. They flowed smoothly on the paper and were able to be used highly pigmented as well as very light. Drying quickly, they are easy to clean up and store.
SketchBox Signature Flat Shader Brush Size 4 - Retail Value $9
As a sucker for brushes, I am always happy to see a good quality brush in this subscription. This size 4 flat shader brush offers clean lines and works well for details and florals. Blending the graphite colors together seamlessly, this brush may be small, but it sure is mighty. Comfortable to use and versatile, I find myself reaching for this particular size more often than not.
Art Graf Water-Soluble Graphite Set 2B and 6B - Retail Value $5.56
As an amateur artist, I don't have a lot of experience with graphite pencils, but do use them to sketch. Very pigmented and high quality, the lead flows on the paper much easier than a traditional #2 and can be used to darken areas easily.
Sakura Micron Brush Pen Dark Grey - Retail Value $3.13
Having a little experience with Micron Pens, I haven't tried the brush pen yet, and I now see that I have been missing out! Waterproof and easy to hang onto, this brush pen writes and sketches beautifully. It paired nicely with the other items in the box and will be an asset in other works to come!
Rembrandt Cold Press Water Colour Paper Pad - Retail Value $12.95
Last but not least, we also received 10 sheets of cold press watercolor paper. Being 100% cotton, this paper is very absorbent and has a very fine texture which allows for crisp details. In my artwork, I found it very stable, and it didn't bend or buckle even after getting pretty soggy. Plus, 4" X 6" is the perfect post card size!
Smokey and dark, I would usually associate these colors more with autumn, but find them extraordinarily versitile and beautiful.
SketchBox July Project
Like I mentioned above, I was inspired this month by the flowers blooming in my garden and decided to try creating them with this month's products.
To start this month's painting, I decided to skip the use of the graphite pencil and just go for it with the size 4 flat brush. Using varying consistencies of the graphite pans, I made little hydrangea blossoms in violet and red. The brown stems came next, followed by the yellow for the foliage. I was quite surprised at just how green the yellow looked, which turned out to be for my benefit. Once dry, I went through and added more petals, followed by small details to make the flowers come to life. Again, using the flat brush, I added some splatter because it's just too fun not to!
The second project I created I ended up turning into an anniversary card for my husband. Today marks our 15th wedding anniversary, and since I haven't gotten to the store lately, I thought I'd just make one myself. Taping down the cold pressed paper with painters' tape, I used the wet-on-wet technique to create my background. Because the colors melded so well together, I tested them all out and let it dry. Once dry, I used the graphite pencils to sketch out a peony. Outlining with the brush pen, I traced the pencil and added more paint. Filling in foliage with the yellow pan, I added leaves and set to dry. Using white and gold gel pens I received in previous boxes, I added a few more details. Ta Da!
How pretty would a set of postcards be in these magnificent colors?!
I really enjoyed this month of SketchBox because of course it included my favorite medium! Taking me to depths of watercolors that I haven't explored very far, I am really loving the look of the graphite pans and am excited to incorporate them into more of my artwork. I found this specific kit to be curated perfectly, being fun to use, and easy to clean up. Believe you and me, there will be a set of post cards coming from this in the near future!
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Because most of this month’s products were custom sizes or custom made for SketchBox, it used to really hard to determine an accurate retail value. BUT, now you can purchase individual products from the Sketch Shop, making it easier to buy more of the items you love! The included contents card had a $47.29 value, which is more than $10 over the cost of the box. Being that I really liked those graphite pans and that brush, 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 July box was June 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?