Friday, October 18, 2013

September Deboxing: Art Snacks Box 6

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Six Months of Art Supplies


As of this month, I've officially subscribed to Art Snacks for six months.  I've received a variety of art supplies at a variety of price points, and have shared my thoughts not only on the products themselves, but also on the service.  For those of you keeping score, I've spent about $120 on my Art Snacks subscription, less than what was spent testing alcohol based markers, and possibly equal to what was spent testing fude pens.  While subscribed to Art Snacks, I enjoyed the novelty of blind-boxed art supplies monthly, and it provided supplies for a monthly review, even during a time when I found reviewing supplies to be difficult (while moving from Savannah to Nashville).

When I started this subscription, I promised that I'd ride it out for six months and report on any improvement.  Some months I number crunched to see if Art Snacks was worth the money, some months I just enjoyed the ride.  I enjoyed having supplies delivered for review on a monthly basis, and it saved me a bit of research.

For those of you curious, here's a link list of my past Art Snacks de-boxings:

Past Art Snacks





This month's Art Snacks poses a little confusion.  I consider an Art Snack to belong to the month it arrived, with a few days of leeway.  I understand that I'm probably a 'month behind' in how I reckon, but I don't really let that bother me.  This month's Art Snack didn't allow for much leeway- while I figured it was September's Art Snack, it was clearly branded for October, with black tissue paper and a Halloween-themed menu card.  It came with a blue raspberry Warhead candy, a favorite from my youth that I now find painfully sour.







Inside this month's Art Snacks were:




 I was pretty excited with this month's Art Snack, as the majority of products included were products I was unfamiliar with (save for the woodless pencil and Higgins ink).   I was eager to start testing.

Unfortunately, life got in the way, and I haven't had a chance to test these supplies until recently. 

The Lineup



Higgins Non-Waterproof Ink


I've had some experience with Higgins Ink in the past, and while there are quite a few comic artists who swear by it for inking pages, I can't stand it.  For those interested, I did a large ink test awhile back, and Higgins Ink was one of those tested.  I really wasn't impressed with the quality of the ink itself, the fact that it isn't water-safe, and the smell made it difficult to work with.

Liquitex Paint Marker (Cadmium Red Medium Hue)




Before pumping paint into the tip.  It has a nice, sharp chisel tip that's inflexible.



After pumping paint into the tip.


On a personal level, I'm not a fan of acrylic paints, and I'm not a fan of paint pens.  I've never produced a piece of art I liked with acrylics, and paint pens tend to be finicky.  As an art supply reviewer, though, I was excited to get my hands on my first acrylic paint pen, as I've seen a variety of them pop up in brick and mortar art supply stores.  

In order for pens like this to work, there's a shaker inside the barrel to keep the paint mixed, and the user must pump paint into the tip.  It's necessary that the paint itself be fairly watery in order for a pen like this not to clog immediately, which means it doesn't exactly feel like acrylic when it's being used.  The paint dries almost immediate.

A pen like this might be useful for adding details, outlining, or even sketching a mural, but the user may have difficulty blending such a pure color into the existing work.

Tombow Monotwin Pen










I thought the Monotwin Pen would be very promising.  The Art Snacks Menu description reads:

"When you are ready to trace the pencil lines on your latest illustration, reach for the Tombow MONOTWIN Oil-Based Twin Marker.  The matte-finished body has a non-slip feel, so your outlining will be accurate every time.  Don't forget to sign your name in the corner- your signature will love this pen, too. "
As a side note, I'm a bit annoyed that 'inking' is referred to as 'outlining' and 'tracing' (!) in this description, but for the most part, I'll let that slide.  What I have a real problem with is that this pen isn't really a very good example of either a technical pen nor an fude pen.  Neither end has any give to the nib, which means if an artist wants variety of line using just this pen, they're going to have to go over an area several times.  For a 'twin' tip pen, there isn't much difference between the two tips.  To add insult to injury, this oil-based pen is not alcohol marker safe.  Not only does the ink smear a bit on initial contact with a Copic Sketch, but it continues to bleed out afterwards.

 Initial application of Copic.


Koh-i-Noor Woodless Colored Pencil




I love sketching with black colored pencils- I can get a variety of tone with a loose hand, and colored pencil doesn't really smear.  This one will be making it into my usually carry.

Grumbacher Academy Multimedia Brush


I unfortunately can't review this product, as it arrived damaged.  I'm currently trying to remedy the bent back bristles.



This brush has a nice, rubberized matte finished body  The bristles are synthetic, and have a bit too much flex for my taste in watercolor brushes.


The ferrule is double crimped, but the brush itself doesn't look like it would hold a lot of water.

Price Breakdown:

MonoTwin: $3.39 each (Tombow USA)
Higgins Non-Waterproof Ink: $2.52 (DickBlick)
Koh-i-Noor Woodless Colored Pencil: $0.57, or $0.51 bulk (DickBlick)
Grumbacher Academy Multimedia Brushes (Size Six, short handle, round): $6.85 (DickBlick)
Liquitex Paint Marker:  $4.19 (DickBlick)

Total: $17.52

I would say this was definitely worth the $20 I pay monthly, since Art Snacks needs to cover shipping and labor costs.

I'm glad to see that Art Snacks has really stepped up their game in providing supplies that are worth approximately $20.  While this month's supplies weren't all up my alley, I was excited by the variety and happy that they've introduced me to supplies I would not have purchased on my own.

I'll probably continue to subscribe to Art Snacks and review my monthly boxes , posting my findings here.