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!

ArtSnacks Unboxing: June 2016

ArtSnacks is a company which ships a small box containing 4 to 5 different art supplies and 1 piece of candy to your home each month. The box also includes a Menu, which explains what each art supply is, and a sticker with the Art Snacks logo; any other items are entirely promotional.

It’s finally June, which is crazy because 2016 is already half gone. The good news, however, is that my ArtSnacks box is here and I’m thrilled about it! I’m sure you’re curious to see what goodies were hiding inside, and so was I. So curious, in fact, that I postponed my mini-getaway just so that I could open it. Below you will find a photo of the contents in this month’s ArtSnacks! Of course, I’d be a monster if I’d done that away from my camera, so I set up my desk and filmed it, too.

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This month, the box included 5 art supplies. The first item was by the brand AD, a new supply called the Spectra Marker, which is alcohol based and came in ultramarine. The next item was a specialty softcover sketchbook, which was produced specifically for ArtSnacks by the company Denik; it contains 34 thin pages (68 front/back) in a sturdy binding of four sewn signatures. This box also contained a water based brush marker by the company Caran d’Ache, and is a new product called the Fibralo. Next in line is the Kuretake No. 7 brush pen in black, which luckily came with a bonus refill, as I couldn’t read the packaging if I had too! Finally was General’s Layout pencil, self described as “Extra Black,” and a supposed favorite among animators. Here is the “menu” for more information:

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June ArtSnacks Menu

June’s ArtSnacks did not include any other items besides the supplies, menu, and sticker. ArtSnacks values the 5 art supplies at a total of $20.15. Given the chance (and the cash), I would personally purchase 4/5 supplies, not having much use for the sketchbook. The sketchbook is valued at $5, which I find to be incredibly reasonable for the special design, so I’m still happy to receive it. With the exception of the sketchbook, you can see a detail photograph below of each supply in use.

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June ArtSnacks Supply Detail

Click the video below (or go here) to see my unboxing of June’s ArtSnacks—and stick around to the second half in order to see my application of each supply for my version of the ArtSnacks Challenge!

Below is the finished art journal spread that is featured in my June ArtSnacks video. This spread was created using multiple different supplies, including the contents of June’s ArtSnacks box.

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“Pink Elephant” Art Journal Spread

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“Pink Elephant” Art Journal Spread: Details

If you subscribe to ArtSnacks (or any other artsy/craftsy monthly subscription box), tell me about it in the comments: I’d love to hear your input!

Note: This ArtSnacks subscription is out-of-pocket for my household. I am not affiliated with ArtSnacks nor any of the brands shown in this video or discussed in the blog post. I have received no payment or gifts to participate in this ArtSnacks unboxing. Yet. That being said, if you work for any of these companies, please feel free to get a hold of me and send me free stuff. Seriously, though, I’ll take what I can get.

Art Supply Haul 2: Unboxed, Tested, & Art Journaling

In this post, I’ll be sharing a video in which you can watch the unboxing of four different art supplies and see them at work. I will also be using these new art supplies in order to work on one of my art journal pages. (If you’d like to skip the unboxing and testing of theses supplies in order to go directly to the art journaling section of this video, that part begins at 10:57. You can click the time stamp in this paragraph to skip to that portion of the video on YouTube, or you can fast forward the video on this page.)

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Art Supply Haul 2 Items: Graphite and Colored Pencils, Pencil Sharpener, & India Ink

New Supplies (seen above):
5 Pack Jumbo Pencils 9000 Series by Faber-Castell (5/10 ★s)
24 Pack Premier Colored Pencils by Prismacolor (7/10 ★s)
Triple Hole Pencil Sharpener by Faber-Castell (4/10 ★s)
12 Pack Bombay India Ink by Dr. Ph. Martin (10/10 ★s)

As seems to be the theme for my latest art supply videos, these items were purchased using a gift card that I received for my birthday. Unlike the Art Snacks box or the Uni-Posca paint pens, these art supplies were of my own choosing. Purchasing $50 worth of supplies required much deliberation, hence why it’s been a month since the gift card was given to me; my indecisiveness, however, was crushed by the thrill that can only come with online shopping. I ended up spending slightly over the card’s amount, but the excess was for the sharpener: it’s silly to have pencils if you can’t use them! (Or so I told myself, splurging on a $7 name brand sharpener.)

So, without further ado, here is the video you’ve skipped through the text to get to..

Final Thoughts: The pencils were an awesome size, and exactly what pencils should be, but the graphite was shinier and lighter in color than I’d like, which isn’t exactly artist quality in my opinion…and are pretty expensive for pencils. The Prismacolor colored pencils have amazing pigmentation, but are going to dwindle to nothing soon because the lead is so soft; that being said, I knew this would be the case upon purchase. Thirdly, the pencil sharpener sharpens all the pencils I personally own, including other brands; unfortunately, it opens up on a thin plastic hinge (that I see snapping in the near future), and it leaks shaving everywhere when opened. Finally, Dr. Ph. Martin’s India inks are expensive, but I was lucky and found the 12 set on Amazon for $12 less than for what the official website sells this 12 pack. At a little over $3 per bottle, it’s almost half the price of purchasing each color individually. In my opinion, these Bombay inks were worth every penny!!

Related Posts: Art Supply Haul 1: Unboxed & Tested and Art Supply Haul 1: Challenge

Art Supply Haul 1: Unboxed & Tested

In this post I’ll be sharing with you a quick video where you can watch me unbox each item and catch a glimpse of five different art supplies at work, as well as what pieces of collage material come in a very stuffed package. I will also be challenging myself to create an art journal page using these items, so make sure to come back tomorrow for that video! But before we get to that, let me explain why art supplies are the fuel for creative fire.

First of all, you’ve caught me…I don’t actually need any new art supplies. But, while making art is my passion, buying art supplies provides me the instant gratification that cannot come with literally watching paint dry. Its easy to become discouraged by a bad sketch or a slip of the paintbrush, but fresh pens and new paint is where the potential for greatness hides! Even ‘cheap’ acrylics and office supplies can transform a plain piece of paper into the blueprints for a masterpiece. Regardless, even if they don’t produce greatness, trying new supplies is always a fun experience.

Art Haul #1 Used

Purchased Supplies (seen above):
• Vintage Style Collage Material, 63 piece pack (Tim Holtz brand)
• Honeycomb Stencil, 1 piece (Tim Holtz brand)
• Metallic Silver Gellyroll Pens, 3 piece .4mm tips (Sakura brand)
• Brush Tip Wink of Stella Marker, silver (ZIG brand)
• Ink Sprays, 2 pack w/ 2 oz purple & 2 oz turquoise (Dylusions brand)
• Micron Pen Set, 3 piece w/ .45mm & .35mm & .25mm tips (Sakura brand)

Well, I haven’t splurged in a while (on  art supplies, that is) and  decided to go to the store just to see if there were any deals worth exploiting. I was able to get 2 items on sale, 1 item on clearance, and—with the help of my husband and a coupon code—get 2 of my last 3 items each at 40% off retail price! I’ll be honest by saying that all of my shopping excursions don’t usually end up looking so thrifty, but I wasn’t willing to spend as much as I might during a more impulsive trip. It also helped that the store was only open for another half hour, strictly limiting how many products I could handle and covet.

So, without further ado, here is the video you’ve skipped through the text to get to…