ArtSnacks: November 2018

Unboxing and Speed Paint

What is (and is in) an ArtSnacks box?

ArtSnacks is a monthly subscription box, which I have been receiving for just over two and a half years. The subscription costs $240 annually or $24 monthly. The box contains four or five art supplies, plus a few other goodies, and is delivered once per month. These supplies usually include a drawing utensil and one or more ways to add color. Besides a pencil or fineliner, ArtSnacks boxes usually include markers or colored pencils, and less frequently, watercolor, acrylic paints, and bottled ink. Sometimes ArtSnacks supplies will be branded with the ArtSnacks logo and teal color; branded items have included pencils, a bag, small sketchbooks, and a pencil sharpener. Along with art supplies, subscribers also always receive a piece of candy, a sticker that portrays the company’s logo, and a “menu,” describing the contents.

Swatching the November 2018 ArtSnacks supplies. Copyright EmK Wright

Why Subscribe?

As someone who owns too many art supplies, I continue to purchase ArtSnacks for a few reasons. The ArtSnacks box continues to surprise me with supplies that I have never seen or used before. The box may also include exclusive items, which has included sets of pencils and pens curated for ArtSnacks. The subscription box is also usually a higher value than the amount paid per month, when referencing the retail value of items included within the box. This value does not include the candy and sticker, or “bonus” items which can be included in the box, such as paper samples. Unless ArtSnacks begins to send too many repeat supplies (this has happened only a couple times) or my studio space becomes limited, I’ll happily continue my subscription! There have only been a few boxes that have included supplies I found myself dissatisfied with, and usually they are coupled with other supplies that keep me excited.

ArtSnacks November 2018 "menu" and orange plaid sticker. Copyright EmK Wright

ArtSnacks Box of November 2018

This month, the ArtSnacks subscription box included four art supplies, the candy and sticker, and no extra “bonus items.” The four art supplies were:

1) Liquitex Professional brand acrylic gouache, quoted by ArtSnacks to be a $10.99 retail value. The price of Liquitex’s acylic gouache is one that is reliant on the pigments used in each color of this paint. Buyers can can also find themselves paying $14.99 per 59 mL (2 fl oz) bottle, especially if you’re like me and have your eyes on the fluorescent set of six. Unfortunately, my favorite color made by the brand, Naples Yellow, is not available in this line of gouache, so I have hopes that the color selection will be expanded by Liquitex.

Close up of Liquitex Professional Acrylic Gouache in color Primary Red. Copyright EmK Wright

2) A Galeria series paint brush by Winsor & Newton, with a retail value of $8.49. This brush is a round size of 3. It is made for acrylic paint, short handled, and has synthetic bristles. ArtSnacks claims that it is “developed to provide…shape retention,” a necessity when working with heavier supplies like acrylic paint.

Close up of the bristles on the Winsor and Newton Galeria paintbrush in a round 3. Copyright EmK Wright

3) Sakura brand fineliner style pen, quoted by ArtSnacks to be a $2.79 retail value. This pen is from the Microperm line, and multiple different tip sizes were sent out among ArtSnacks subscribers. I received the small 01 size, which measures out to be a .25 mm. The Microperm has a waterproof ink and is advertised to be usable on non-porous surfaces, including metal, glass, and even diamonds. I loved the size of this pen nib as well as the rich black color of the ink. However, I did find the ink cartridge inside of the pen body to be loose enough to hear and feel when moving the pen from side-to-side.

Close up of Sakura brand Microperm pen in size 01. Can be used on glass and metal. Copyright EmK Wright

4) Cretacolor brand MegaGraphite pencil [no official purchasing site], quoted by ArtSnacks to be a $2.30 retail value. It is true to it’s name at a whopping 10 mm diameter…and only fits in my universal XL pencil sharpener by force. The pencil that I received had a graphite grade of 6B, but other ArtSnacks subscribers received a variety of graphite grades. For me, this pencil is competing with the Faber-Castell Jumbo 9000 series pencils, and held up pretty well. However, I prefer graphite with less sheen, such as the General’s brand Kimberly 9XXB pencil, which is a matte graphite and came in an earlier ArtSnacks box.

Close up of Cretacolor brand MegaGraphite pencil in grade 6B. Copyright EmK Wright

Each “menu” in an ArtSnacks box has a call to action, which is called the ArtSnacks Challenge. It asks subscribers to create a piece of art with the supplies that are included in the box. For this month, I created a drawing of a pomegranate. I sketched with the MegaGraphite pencil, painted with the acrylic gouache—using my Galeria paintbrush, of course—and used the Microperm pen to add texture and shading to the art. I also used an eraser and blending stump to create this artwork, two items that were not included in the November ArtSnacks box.

Pomegranate painting created with the November 2018 ArtSnacks box. #ArtSnacksChallenge Copyright EmK Wright

This month, the box was a value of just 57 cents over the $24 price point, but I have seen it much higher. If I were to purchase these items individually, I would probably forgo the pencil and pen, simply because of how many other pencils and black fineliners that I currently own. However, I would recommend the pen to someone looking for a waterproof fineliner. As for the more expensive items, I love the acrylic gauche and plan to purchase more bottles in the future! The paintbrush is a little expensive at almost $9, but if it survives what is sure to be constant use, then I will find it to be worth every penny!

Pomegranate "Idea, Sketch, and Realization" painting created with the November 2018 ArtSnacks box. #ArtSnacksChallenge Copyright EmK Wright

If you’re interested in purchasing ArtSnacks for yourself or a loved one, I recommend it for sure! As an artist with too many art supplies, I still think it’s a great monthly treat. You can click HERE to visit the ArtSnacks website for more information. Please note that I am in no way sponsored by ArtSnacks or the brands found in ArtSnacks boxes.

Vlog: New Moleskine & Kuretake Brush Pens and Markers!

Have you ever discovered a new clothing store, walked in, and said, “Now this is my style?” Everything in the place just screams your name, and you’d turn the store into your closet if you just had the cash to buy it all out? Well, that’s how I feel about art supply stores. I don’t really care to shop for clothes, but paintbrushes, acrylics, pencils—now that’s my style! And that’s exactly what happened when I’ve discovered Jet Pens. I finally put in an order and received a bit of a haul!

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EmK’s Jet Pens Art Supply Haul

The main reason that I purchased these supplies is because I was able to try some Kuretake brand pens and markers via my Art Snacks subscription, and was extremely pleased with those supplies—especially the Kuretake No. 7 Brush Pen that came in my June 2016 Art Snacks box. This haul included 16 Kuretake Zig brand brush pens/markers. I chose to pick up a small set of the Clean Color FB markers, a supply that contains water soluble ink, which makes for a lovely addition to my mixed media art journal pages. The other main part of my haul was a group of  Kuretake black brush pens, which is a curated selection by the Jet Pens website as a “sampler,” i.e. different styles of pens made by the  Kuretake company. They have a few of these “samplers” on the site, but the Kuretake Brush Pen Sampler was the one the that caught my eye. And finally, I also picked up a pen case…because it was green and adorable and I’m just a wee bit ridiculous.

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Jet Pens Kuretake Black Brush Pen Sampler

In the video found in this post (or HERE on YouTube), I swatch out all of the pens and markers, share the secret of what makes my new pens case so awesome, and tell you the difference between each of the black brush pens found in this small collection. I also share with you my preferred technique for using the Clean Color FB markers, and proudly show off a pretty terrible portrait that I attempted to create in my new sketchbook. This video should be especially helpful for those of your curious about Kuretake brand supplies!

Jet Pens doesn’t sell exactly everything I’d like to keep in my closet (or rather, studio), but I’m a sucker for most of the things on the site. The pens, markers, pencils, sketchbooks, ink, and, well, you get the idea! I’ve been frequenting it for about two months, building up a “wishlist,” one of my favorite things about the site. But I also really appreciate that the website has a blog in which the posters create guides, how-to articles, and compare and contrast multiple tools available on the site; I’m all about research, and the Jet Pens blog makes it easy. I had read some of the blog posts before ever looking at the available supplies, and think it’s a pretty great resource for the curious artist. No, I’m not being paid to say this, I’m just strangely passionate about the statistics and facts concerning art supplies.

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Are you a Kuretake or Jet Pens fan? If so, leave me a comment and let me know what pens, markers, or other tools that you love! I’m always trying to find the next great supply!

Live Recap: Violet Desert

This week, my Instagram live stream session was number 5, and to be honest, I cannot believe that I have been live streaming once a week for over a month! Time flies when you’re making art! This hour-long stream consisted on working in my pocket sized Molskine, and was just as productive as last week’s session! I was able to start an art journal spread, add imagery to the pages, and get a pretty awesome dialogue going with this stream’s participants. I continued to work on the spread beyond Instagram’s limit of one hour, but the image below shows the progress from an uninteresting orange background to an art journal spread with some real personality! The image below is a picture of how my spread looked immediately after the live stream.

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“Violet Desert” Art Journal Spread, Work in Progress

 

As you can see, I was able to alter just some of my collage material during the stream. The cliff, seen on the right page, was slightly altered; however, the matte gel medium used to attach the tree on the left page was still in the process of drying by the time the live stream was over. I discussed my process of using this medium in the live stream, and wanted to share this helpful hint with you as well: if your collage material overlaps beyond the page, wait until the excess paper is completely dry before snipping it away. Giving your collage material extra time to dry is the best way to guarantee clean edges when cutting your paper. Gel medium drys quickly on the exterior but can cause paper to be moist beneath the surface even if it looks and feels dry! The sharpest of scissors will not be able to cleanly cut damp paper, so it’s best to wait until you can be sure the paper is dry all the way through.

 

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“Violet Desert” Art Journal Page, Completed

The creation of this spread was completely unplanned, but the color scheme that I chose for this spread ended up including violet—which was quite lucky for me due to the newest art supplies that I purchased earlier this week! One of my newest items is a Golden brand fluid acrylic paint, the color Interference Violet. The interference paints are not like any that I have ever used before! The paint is a very transparent white with incredibly fine speckles of colored metallic pigment. Depending on the light, the paint can appear as an opaque metallic or a gloss varnish filled with tiny pieces of colored shimmer. It’s a little flashy and adds a really unique effect to the page. Note: A little goes a long way!

Violet Desert Art Journal Spread Copyright EmK Wright 2017 www.madebyemk (1)

“Violet Desert” Completed, Closeup of Left

The collage material for this page was chosen during the live stream session, which came from the book Extreme Adventures (2014), a 240 page full color photography book that displays images of unique locations and exotic animals. I found my copy new for about $7 in a discount store, and purchased it specifically for the purpose of using the imagery as collage material. (At the time of writing this, I found it to be available on Amazon.com for about $6 used with free shipping.) I so recommend using inexpensive coffee table books for their imagery. The pages of these books are thick and the imagery is often perfect for collage!

Violet Desert Art Journal Spread Copyright EmK Wright 2017 www.madebyemk.jpeg

“Violet Desert” Completed, Closeup of Right

Hopefully, you were able to join me for this week’s live stream, but if you weren’t, fear not! I will be streaming every Sunday at 8 pm EST, working in my art journal for all to see! I hope that you can join me sometime, and I especially hope that you’ll be making art with me, chatting about how awesome art journaling is, and letting me know if you have any questions about the many art supplies that I seem to be hoarding. Also, feel free to drop me a line by commenting here on the blog with any questions—or just to say hi!

 


 

Disclaimer: I have recently become an Amazon and Get Messy affiliate. Amazon links and Get Messy links are affiliate links. I will receive a small portion of the sale if you use these links to purchase the art supplies or subscribe to the Get Messy community for an annual membership. You support this blog and my ability to continue making art through the use of these links! (And also gain my unending gratitude!!!) The Art Snacks website and all other links included in this post are not affiliate links; they are included for educational purposes and for your convenience.

Live Recap: March Art Snacks & “Embracing New Waters”

I’ve been doing a live stream on Instagram (@emmykait) once a week for a month now, and the experience of sharing my art journaling process has been amazing! Being live on the internet is a totally new experience for me. Although I found it nerve wracking to do my first live session, the art journaling community on Instagram is so friendly and supportive. I don’t believe that I could have picked a better site to do live streaming through! I have met some genuinely talented and kind individuals though Instagram since going public with my profile in April of 2016, and with risk has come reward!

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Setup for Instagram Live Streaming

Yesterday’s Instagram live stream (3/12/2017) consisted of unboxing my March Art Snacks subscription box, and of creating an art journal spread from beginning to almost completion. For this live stream, I was working in my smallest art journal: a pocket size Moleskine brand sketchbook with 111 lb cream colored paper. This month’s Art Snacks box held the following items, as shown in the image below:

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Art Snacks Subscription Box Contents for March 2017

I was very pleased with the contents of this month’s Art Snacks, which was valued by the subscription company at a total of $32.05. After opening and testing these supplies on camera, I used the watercolors and paint brush to coat the top half of my spread; I also drew randomly with the pencil on the pages. After using these these supplies, I decided to try to finish creating the art journal spread using only supplies that I had received in this and other Art Snacks boxes! With the exception of my collage material, my favorite matte medium (Golden brand), and some grey acrylic paint (also Golden brand), I succeed in this personal challenge. The following image is of what the art journal spread looked like by the end of my live stream!

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“Embracing New Waters” Work In Progress

Even though Instagram only allows it’s users to stream live for an hour, it’s possible to go live again immediately. When my live stream automatically ended, I was tearing my collage material, about to affix it to the spread.  I came back online for a few minutes, though, as I was in the process of adding the collage elements and wanted the live broadcast to end with my journal spread being close to finished. Although I absolutely loved the results of my journal spread as created during the live stream, I didn’t deem it finished. I prefer to alter any collage material that I use, and also wanted to add some black lines to the page. The image below is of the spread after I altered the collage material and added more details to the pages. I would now consider it finished! It is titled “Embracing New Waters.” Aside from the Golden brand paint, all art supplies pictured have come from Art Snacks!

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“Embracing New Water” Completed, Surrounded by Art Supplies Used

As you can see in the images above and below, I added a lot of detail to the swimmer pictured in my collage material. I added outlines around the body in white and black. I then mixed the Terra Rosa watercolor with some of the gray acrylic paint to create wild wavy hair, using the red and black markers to detail. The boldest addition to this spread is the thick black lines radiating from the image of the girl, highlighted with white watercolor paint, which was not diluted, but rather straight from the tube. The inspiration for these expressive lines comes from a tutorial by the talented Julia Thomas via the Get Messy blog!

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“Embracing New Waters” Completed, Closeup of Center

This spread came together in about an hour and a half; I could not have completed it so quickly were it in a larger journal. I also like to use this Moleskine for live sessions as it can comfortably fit within the view of the camera without loosing much detail onscreen. I have used my larger altered book journals during past live streams, and will probably continue to do so on occasion, but find this Moleskine becoming my go-to for art journaling during these hour long stream sessions! Thankfully, I have amazingly supportive parents that watch a lot of my live streams, so I get frequent feedback on what works and what doesn’t. (What I mean to say is that my parents think I’m cool—but they’re also pretty cool, so I’ll take the complement.)

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“Embracing New Waters” Completed, Closeup of Left Side

Hopefully, you were able to join me for this week’s live stream, but if you weren’t, fear not! I will be streaming every Sunday at 8 pm EST, working in my art journal for all to see! I hope that you can join me sometime, and I especially hope that you’ll be making art with me, chatting about how awesome art journaling is, and letting me know if you have any questions about the many art supplies that I seem to be hoarding. Also, feel free to drop me a line by commenting here on the blog with any questions—or just to say hi!

If you’d like to read more about Art Snacks, check out my blog posts for the unboxing of the following months from 2016: May, June, August, and October. All you have to do is click the month mentioned, and you’ll be there!


 

Disclaimer: I have recently become an Amazon and Get Messy affiliate. Amazon links and Get Messy links are affiliate links. I will receive a small portion of the sale if you use these links to purchase the art supplies or subscribe to the Get Messy community for an annual membership. You support this blog and my ability to continue making art through the use of these links! (And also gain my unending gratitude!!!) The Art Snacks website and all other links included in this post are not affiliate links; they are included for educational purposes and for your convenience.

Instagram Takeover!

This week is pretty cool for me, as I’m taking over the Get Messy Art Journal official Instagram, @getmessyartjournal. Until January 8th, I’ll be curating the Instagram with photos of my own art, re-posts of Insta photos that use the hashtag #getmessyartjournal, and be responding to questions and comments on any of the photos that I post! I’m still going to be active at @emmykait, my everyday Instagram home, but I’ve been hoarding photos of my art journal spreads specifically for the Get Messy takeover! Here’s a little taste of the photos I’ll be posting on the ‘gram:

This honor was bestowed upon me as a Get Messy Creative Team Member (which I totally posted about HERE), and I was so lucky to be the first to takeover in 2017 and I got to post the 1,000th Instagram photo for Get Messy! I know it’s not like I won a world series, but seeing as how my sports knowledge starts and ends with the fact that “World Series” is a sportsball term, this is way cooler to me!  I quit my 9 to 5 at the end of 2015 in order to pursue my passion of creating, and it seems like that choice was made with perfect timing! Working with Get Messy this year is a dream come true, and starting it off with this takeover is just the icing on the cake! I hope you come visit me there this week!!

Links!

Instagram Update & InkTober Art Haul

Miss me? No? Because you have a life and don’t rely on this six month old blog for the majority of your entertainment? Fair enough. However, if that were in fact the case, I may have disappointed you with a lack of posting. Well, good news! I’ve got some pictures and a video to occupy your mind and delight your eyes. Hurrah!

So where have I been? Mostly, on Instagram. If you have an account on this social media giant, feel free to follow me or watch the hashtag #madebyemk, with which I tag 99% of my posts. If you haven’t yet clicked the link (or don’t plan to, because life is already hard enough) here’s a small preview of what you are missing…

Have I tempted you to check it out? If not, here is another great reason: IT’S INKTOBER, and I’m participating! Inktober is a drawing challenge, created by Jake Parker, in which artists dedicate themselves to drawing one image everyday of October. The creator releases a prompt list, but not all artists follow it; the point is to draw each day, and it doesn’t matter what, as long as it’s in ink. Anyone can participate in Inktober; the only thing you need is a piece of paper and a pen. If you’re a pen junkie like me, you may use this month as excuse to buy art supplies, and I have some suggestions. This Inktober, I’m using black Faber-Castell PITT pens and grey Faber-Castell brush tipped PITT pens in an Art-Plus Moleskine. The video below explains everything you need to know, including a quick review of the pens and notebook that I’m using for this month’s awesome drawing challenge. (You can also see this video HERE.)

The PITT pens I’ll be using are black and gray, and I purchased a set of each for this drawing challenge. The grey pack comes as a set of soft brush tips, including cold greys and warm grays, providing a huge range for shading and coloring. The first photo below is an example of the colors included. I strongly recommend some grays for shading, and the Faber-Castell PITT pens are all made with India ink, so they look pretty great with most drawing pens out there. The second photo below portrays a close up of each of the pen nibs from the black set. Most PITT pen users are comfortable with the smaller nibbed pens, but this set also included 3 larger tips that I had never used before. Both of these sets run about $25 USD, which isn’t a huge savings if you were to break the 8 pack down, so I don’t recommend purchasing the wallet sets if you only plan on using small nibs,  (XS, S, F, and M) as it’s worth it to purchase those pens individually.

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Pens Included In: PITT Pen Soft Brush 8 Pack of Assorted Greys

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Pens included In: PITT Pen 8 Pack of Black Assorted Tip Size

If you are participating in Inktober, please leave a comment below with a link we can all check out to your blog or Instagram. I’m so excited to see what creativity transpires over the next month! I’ll be updating with my drawings all October as I join in the fun!!

April Art Challenge

As I had mentioned in a previous post, I am participating in Roxanne Coble‘s April Art Challenge, which is a thirty day challenge consisting of prompts for drawing and making art in general. I recently purchased a watercolor Moleskine sketchbook without any plans for it, but was sure a need would arise. With my discovery of the thirty day challenge, I decided to grab my new Molskine and jump right in!

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Large Watercolor Moleskine w/ NeoColor II Crayons

I’ve found my niche with watercolor, being a fan of NeoColor II water soluble crayons for several years, but have never sought out watercolor paper before now. The majority of my watercolor art happens layered on gesso or acrylic paint, so I’m genuinely excited to color my drawings in this book! This Moleskine is technically the “large” watercolor sketchbook, measuring at 8 1/4″ x 5″. Honestly, I would tend to disagree with that assessment, but I use books about twice the size (or larger) for my average art journal.

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April Art Challenge, Day 1: Bones

I partitioned most pages to fit four sketching dates per spread. This format allowed for me to pre-title each date, acting as a reminder of the  prompts for the following days. Some dates I’m thrilled about, including the prompts of: “crystals,” “something with wings,” “teeth,” “skeleton key,” and “villain.” That being said, when it comes to “song lyrics,” and “historical figure,” I’m still at a loss. But, it is called a challenge, after all…hopefully I’m challenged and not just stumped when the time comes.

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April Art Challenge, Days 2-5

Feel fee to join me in this challenge, I promise it isn’t too late! You don’t need a sketchbook or fancy pens; printer paper and a pencil will do just fine. Roxanne is welcoming people to post their drawings on social media using the hashtag #aprilartchallenge. You can also tag her on Instagram by using @bybun. Let me know if you decide to do this challenge by leaving me a comment. You can also leave a link below to your Instagram post or Facebook post, so that we can all take a peek at your inspired sketches.