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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February is upon us, and we are still in the throws of freezing cold weather here in Minnesota, so I am all about the indoor activities. Finally catching up on the never ending pile of laundry, I had a little bit of downtime when this month's SketchBox arrived on my doorstep. Taking my time to leisurely work my way through the box, I honestly was a little bummed at what we received, but ended up actually finding my now second favorite medium! Read below to see what I discovered!
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 a portrait created by @artsy_kristy. And those watercolor florals are exactly my style!!! 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 Bryce Widom. Inspired by his childhood in remote Alaska, his work is beautiful and inspiring! More of his work can be found on his Instagram (@brycewidom) or brycewidom.com.
This month's sticker features the insanely messy "Chunky Charcoal" and "Holbein Soft Pastel." As you can see on the sticker, the charcoal created powder inside this month's box, adding a bit of realism to this cute sticker.
Faber-Castell Charcoal Set - Retail Value $15.70
If you read my introduction, you know that I was a little disappointed when I discovered this month's theme of charcoal. I love artwork created with charcoal, but I do not like to use it myself. I find it too messy and I have never created anything with it that turned out. That being said, this Faber Castell kit turned out to be a lifesaver. Including 7 pieces of mediums and tools, I was finally able to create a charcoal piece I actually like! The charcoal pencil was my favorite, but I also used the white pencil, blending tool, and both charcoal sticks. Though it was still messy as heck, I set my area up well so I could have a fast and easy clean up.
Chunky Charcoal - Retail Value $4.59
This guy was part of why I was sighing when I opened the box. This chunky charcoal was stored in a plastic box that opened up a tiny bit to empty the charcoal dust on the other contents of the box. While not a super huge deal, it did remind me why this medium is a pain, though I did use it in this month's project.
Holbein Soft Pastel - Retail Value $5.05
Included with this month's set was this Holbein soft pastel in Blue Grey 3. Coming in a tiny plastic container, I had a heck of a time opening this up, actually breaking the pastel in half in the process. With a soft and vivid bluish tone, I used this a tiny bit in this month's artwork, but did focus more on the charcoal. One step at a time for me folks!
Pitt Artist Brush Pen - Retail Value $4.10
I love PitT Artist Brush pens, and even though I already have it in white, I was happy to receive another one. Working perfect to create highlights on artworks of all mediums, this pen is awesome. While I didn't use it a whole lot this month, you can bet I will be using it to add details to my next watercolor painting!
Prismacolor Colored Pencil - Retail Value $2.20
Though a white pastel pencil was included in the Faber-Castell kit, we also received a Prismacolor Colored Pencil. With a sharp tip and bright white tone, this pencil created lovely highlights on the toned paper, and really added a lot of detail to the artwork I created this month.
Faber-Castell Trio Sharpener - Retail Value $7.20
Also included was this nice Faber-Castell Trio Sharpener. With 3 areas to sharpen, this contains the charcoal dust and fragments beautifully to help contain the mess. This particular sharpener worked on all of the included tools, and helped me keep my pencils and charcoal sharp for the details in this month's project. I was very happy to receive this as it made clean up a breeze.
Fabriano Toned Paper Pad - Retail Value $9.99
The last item we received was a pad of sea-toned paper. This midtone paper has a slight texture and works for a variety of dry mediums. With 15 pages of 4" X 6" paper included, this 85lb paper ended up being perfect for this month's project. Though I typically use white or black paper, this sea blue was a fun twist, and added a neat dimension to my project without any extra effort.
Look at that deep, rich charcoal and the contrast with the blue and white! What a fun color combo!
SketchBox February Project
So... charcoal. Blah! When I initially opened this box and saw the mess I thought my downtime day just got a lot less fun, until I found an online tutorial. Typically I don't follow tutorials because they take too long, I'm not experienced enough, and I don't have half to he supplies needed. But for the cat tutorial I found, I had everything I needed, and it was only 7 minutes long. Starting out using the Faber-Castel charcoal pencil, I sketched the eyes, nose, and some spots of the cat. Utilizing the chunky charcoal and one of the charcoal sticks in the kit, I darkened the spots and blended them out using the blender tool. Highlighting the sea toned paper in white, I used a mixture of the pastel pencil included in the kit, and the colored pencil. Using the included sharpener almost constantly, I was able to keep sharp points for small details. Following the tutorial, I was able to create a charcoal cat that looks an awful lot like my dad's cat "Stinket" that passed away last year. I generally don't like realistic pictures because I have a hard time with the small details, but this was really fun and didn't take all that long. Though my hands were messy when it was over, it cleaned up relatively easy, and I am already finding myself looking up more charcoal tutorials. Who knew?!
SketchBox is such a fun and creative subscription. I always look forward to seeing just what the theme might be, and always love the items they pack into their kits. The fact that we receive high quality supplies that coordinate and work well together, without me having to sift through a million different brands and supplies is life changing. Through this box I discovered I don't hate charcoal after all, and am really excited to work on another piece. I already can't wait to see what I discover next month!
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
Because most of this month’s products were custom sizes or custom made for SketchBox, it was hard to determine an accurate retail value. BUT, now you can purchase some individual products from the Sketch Shop, making it easier to buy more of the items you love! The included contents card had a $48.83 value, which is almost $10 over the cost of the box. Being that I turned out to love every product and this month's theme, I felt it was a decent value, and a 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 February box was January 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?