May 2016 SketchBox Basic Vs ArtSnacks

Thanks to Denise Hillburn (my mother) for the gift of ArtSnacks for the year!  SketchBox Basic subscription purchased by me out of personal funds.  If you would like to help support this blog, and continue posts like this, please consider donating to my Paypal, or contributing to my Patreon.  Future unboxings and reviews will be unlocked to the public at the $15 level each month, but backers have access regardless of funds raised.  If you would like to see me review a SketchBox premium box, please consider gifting a subscription.

Thanks to the generosity of my Patreon backers, I've also purchased a May Premium SketchBox to review.  The SketchBox Basic Vs. SketchBox Premium review is coming up soon, so keep an eye out for it!  This review is the usual SketchBox Basic Vs. ArtSnacks comparative review, similar to the reviews shared over past four months.

Special April Thanks To:

C. Ellis
Andrew Benedict
Wayne Norris
Michael Suriano

Previous SketchBox Vs. ArtSnacks
January- Winner: ArtSnacks
February- Winner:  SketchBox
March- Winner: ArtSnacks
April- Winner: ArtSnacks

SketchBox: $25mo/$240 yr
ArtSnacks: $20mo/$200 yr

May SketchBox Basic Includes:
  • Princeton Art & Brush Co Real Value Brush Selection
    Synthetic Hair- White Taklon
  • FW Acrylic- Pearlescent Ink
  • Pentel ColourBrush

May ArtSnacks Includes:
  • Krink K-90
  • FW Acrylic Ink- Fluorescent Orange
  • Kuretake Brush20
  • General's Cedar Pencil

May ArtSnacks Vs SketchBox Basic- Becca Hillburn

Read the rest of the post under the cut!


This Month's Brands Are:

  • Daler Rowney
  • Kuretake
  • General's
  • Krink
The Card

The Card Reads:

The pencil is mightier than the eraser.
Here's what's on the Menu for May:

Krink K-90 Paint Marker
$12.00 retail
New Product  KRINK has done it again.  Headquartered in New York City, KRINK has developed a unique new paint marker with a "pump action" end and a steel roller-ball tip.  The KRINK K-90 Paint Marker is the first of its kind, so get creative!  To use, gently pump the rubber end of the marker once to propel the paint into the tip of the marker.  Press down lightly and start to draw.  The roller-bball tip will release paint onto your surface.  DO NOT OVER-PUMP MARKER.

General's Cedar Pointe Graphite Pencil- No. 1 Extra Soft
$0.66 retail
Looking for an excellent, soft graphite pencil with a reliable eraser?  We found it for you!  General's Cedar Pointe Graphite Pencil is made with genuine cedar and a buttery graphite core.  It delivers an incredibly smooth drawing experience, and has a cedar wood casing for a comfortable grip.  Manufacturing pencils since 1889, General Pencil is the only pencil factory still operating in the United States- so every detail was considered when making this pencil.

Kuretake Brush20 Long
$7.25 retail
New product Designed for easy transport and storage when you're painting-on-the-go, the Kuretake Brush20 Long is one handy brush.  Kuretake redesigned it to hold 25% more water.  The nylon tip is very durable, and will never lose its shape. Fill up the barrel with water or ink and give it a light squeeze to get the liquid flowing.

FW Neon Acrylic Ink by Daler-Rowney
$7.70 retail
Staff Favorite  FW Newon Acrylic Ink by Daler-Rowney is a special acrylic-based ink that's highly pigmented for creating multiple color layers on top of your art.  Dilute the ink with water to get a high-intensity watercolor effect, or use a dry brush to create a textured stroke.  Let your imagination run wild when  you feill your Kuretake Brush20 Long with this acrylic ink.

Take the ArtSnacks Challenge!
Use all of the products in your box to create an original piece of art.  Snap a picture of your artwork and share it on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram with the hashtag #artsnackschallenge

Like a product?  Order more.

The Price Breakdown:

Kuretake Zig BrushH20 (New product)- Currently unavailable on Amazon, but the listing is there
$5.39 on Marker Supply

Krink K-90 (new product)- $12.00 on Krink online shop  (only place available at time of writing)

Generals CederPoint Soft Pencil
3 Dozen- $24.00 on the General's store  or .66 cents per pencil
12 Pack on Amazon: $5.40

FW Acrylic Ink Fluorescent Orange  $4.59 on DickBlick
Most places seem to only sell this as a set of 6

PlaZa- Set of 6- $35.19 or $5.87 each

Total: $22.64

The Supplies Inside

This neon ink is very intense- and STAYS intense (and fluorescent) even as you water it down.  I know a lot of artists want a neon watercolor (and that's not really feasible) and this acrylic ink is a good solution to that problem.

I'm not really one for traditional wooden pencils, but the Cedar Pointe is ok- it smells nice, has a softer graphite, and the eraser is pretty good.

I've used quite a few of Zig's waterbrushes in the past, and I like them- they perform consistently and tend not to leak.  As recommended, I filled the Brush20 with the fluorescent orange ink (and a little water).

Krink K-90
The largest rollerball I've seen.  When using the Montana Extra fine from my SketchBox Premium (also a roller ball acrylic marker) I had A LOT of issues with spitting and gumming up, I wonder if that's going to be an issue with the K-90 as well?-- Note:  this is not an issue at all.

Supply Overview and Demonstration

May ArtSnacks Overview- Becca Hillburn

My KRINK K-90 came with an information card explaining how to use this unique product.

The card reads:

K-90 Directions

Press rubber-bulb once or twice to adjust ink flow.  Do not over pump!  Over pumping may cause malfunction.  Steel-ball tip writes on most surfaces.  Wipe tip before storing tip side up.

Save 30% off your next Krink purchase.

Offer good for markers through 5/13/2016  Use code: SNACKATTACK
For more information please visit

 And the box also came with an advert for the upcoming travel Collection.

 The Card Reads:


If you haven't already heard, we've launched the 2016 ArtSnacks Travel Collection.

This limited edition collection features 7 full-size premium products, expertly curated for any adventure (products in this box are totally different from last year's Travel Collection)

The cut off date to order is May 25th, 2016

Pre-order yours at

I don't plan on purchasing a box to review, but if you're interested in seeing me review it, you're welcome to gift a subscription, and I'll give it the Nattosoup treatment.  The travel Collection is $79 with free US shipping.  If you're having difficulty doing so, you can also contribute funds towards the travel Collection by donating to the Paypal link in my sidebar, and mentioning that the proceeds should go towards the purchase of the travel Collection.

For a demonstration of these products, please watch the video linked above!

The Krink K-90 is a heavy body acrylic that handles in a unique way.  It reminds me of a grease pen my dad had back when I was a kid.  After speaking to Lee with ArtSnacks, I found out that Krink did indeed repurpose an industry product to perform as an art tool, which I think is really neat.

If you like light, delicate linework, this is NOT the acrylic pen for you, but this unique acrylic marker seems really well suited for gestural work, large scale graffiti, or loose renditions.

Both the FW Acrylic and K-90 acrylic inks are water soluble, an you can achieve interesting effects simply by spraying the still wet ink with a spray bottle of water.

I filled my Kuretake Brush20 with a mixture of the FW Fluorescent  ink and water.  The FW ink becomes even more fluorescent (although less saturated) with the addition of water, so it's really fun to play around with this ink.

ArtSnacks Challenge

Video here

Spritzing the wet Krink K-90 with water causes it to feather out.

Adding FW Acrylic to the butter fly and spritzing it with water to achieve an uncontrolled bleed.

Using FW's Pearlescent ink in white to add iridescent sparkles, and spritzing a few of those with water to encourage bleeding and dispersion.

  Once my ink had dried, I was able to apply another layer of K-90 on top, to clean up my linework a bit.

The finished result is much rougher than I usually work, but I had a blast playing with these materials in a new way.

The Verdict:

I had fun playing around with the Krink K-90's unique heavybody acrylic, and although it's not a product I could often utilize in my work, I can see many artists finding a place for it in their repertoire.   I'm impressed with ArtSnacks continued efforts to bring consumers new and unique products- as a reviewer, I've come to value novelty.  The Kuretake Brush20 did leak often when squeezed, but I may have overfilled it.  In general though, waterbrushes like the Brush20 are versitle tools that I highly recommend to other artists who utilize traditional media.  The most unremarkable inclusion, the General's Cedar Pointe, was completely overlooked in my Challenge illustration.  I feel like with just the addition of a sketchbook, one could take this box on the go and create coherant pieces.

May 2016 SketchBox Basic

The box reads:

Art by Hannah Hill

Made with the March Premium Box
instagram @hannahhill

This Month's SketchBox Basic Brands Are:
  • Daler-Rowney
  • Princeton
  • Pentel

The Card

The Card Reads:

Featured Artist

My name is Josei and I'm a young artist and product design student from the beautiful capital of Germany.  I love drawing since I was able to hold a pen and creating what comes to mind, rather than following just one art style.  Drawing is kind of a therapy for me to overcome daily life and connect with other people.  Art is what keeps me motivated- as Pablo Picasso once said:
"The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off your soul"

Instagram: @Josilix

We're so thankful for the talent that Josei shared with us, if you'd like to get your art featured- email an example of your work to us at

The Card Reads:

Basic Box

This month is all about liquid acrylic!  A truly unique medium that offers almost limitless flexibility.  We included Daler Rowney's FW Pearlescent liquid acrylic.  These free flowing liquid acrylics are water soluble when wet but dry to a water resistant film.  The shimmering pearl effect created y the pigment is startling.  They are permanent and translucent, but work best when put down freely rather than applying successive layers of colors.  Your basic ox this month also includes a 5 pack of Princeton Real Value Brushes.  This Princeton Synthetic Hair White Taklon Set contains five brushes: Round 1, Round 6, Bright 6, Filbert 8, Flat 12.  The broad range of brush types will truly allow you to make the most of your new liquid acrylic.  Finally we included a Pentel Color brush to outline your work or add unique details.  This brush pen contains water based ink which flows easily, dries quickly, and produces transparent watercolor effects.

Have fun exploring your new supplies and remember to tag your art with #SketchBoxMay if you'd like to be included in our monthly contest- the winner gets their art printed on a future box lid!

The Price Breakdown

Princeton Art & Brush Co Real Value Brush Selection
Synthetic Hair- White Taklon
- $9.50 on Princeton Site , $4.89 on DickBlick

FW Acrylic Pearlescent Ink $6.00 on Paper and Ink Arts, $4.59 on DickBlick   

Pentel Arts Color Brush (Black) $8.39 on Pentel store, $6.19 on DickBlick

The Supplies Inside

I love FW's Pearlescent Ink- I use the white pearl ink often.  The lovely purple acrylic ink can be used as is, or diluted for a lovely purple shimmer.

The less impressive cousin of the Pentel Pocket Brush (a staple for comic artists), this waterbased pen remains water soluble even after dry.  Can be used for nice inkwash effects on the go.

Princeton Art & Brush Co Real Value Brush Selection
Synthetic Hair- White Taklon
These stiff synthetic brushes are better suited to heavier acrylics than these light ink types.

High end, using MSRP when available: $19.28
Using common artist store, Dick Blick- $15.67
Cost of Box: $25+$5 shipping

Supply Overview and Demonstration

May 2016 SketchBox Basic Unboxing- Becca Hillburn

I highly recommend you watch the video above for product demonstrations and explanations!

Removing these synthetic brushes from their package was a bit of a chore, and I was unable to pry a large chunk of glue from one of the brushes.  The handles are nicely finished with a matte coating, and the ferrules are well crimped, but these brushes don't hold much water, and are better suited to applying/pushing paint around.

The Pentel Arts Colour Brush works well for drybrush on heavy tooth papers like watercolor paper, and a little water makes for an easy inkwash.

SketchBox Challenge
(NOTE: This is a combined challenge using materials from both SketchBox Basic and SketchBox Premium, and should not be used to judge the value of the individual boxes)

May 2016 SketchBox Basic and SketchBox Premium Challenge- Becca Hillburn


Lineart completed with the Montana Acrylic ballpoint marker from my Premium Box.

Inkwash background applied using the Pentel Arts Colour Brush and a little clean water.  For a demonstration of this technique, please check out the video above!

Jewels were initially painted in with the violet Pearlescent ink from my Basic Box and the seafoam green Pearlescent ink from my Premium Box.

Salamander's body was rendered with watered down Liquitex acylic from their acrylic markers, not included in box.

Further layers were applied to the crystals using opaque acrylic markers from my personal collection.

Orange spots were added with the FW Fluorescent ink from the May ArtSnacks, initially applied with the Kuretake Brush20.

The Premium Box

Later this week, I'll release a post comparing my Basic and Premium Boxes, so for a more in depth review, please keep an eye out for that!  I'm going to go over prices and value then.

May 2016 SketchBox Premium Unboxing- Becca Hillburn

The Verdict

Although I had fun playing with this month's Basic and Premium supplies, I found that I was not inspired to create anything using the supplies from just one box.  Although FW Pearlescent inks are fantastic, I wasn't impressed with the Princeton brushes, and would have preferred one GOOD brush to five mediocre brushes.  I found the Pentel Arts Colour Brush to be a confusing inclusion in a box aimed towards acrylic, and think that including one of the Montana acrylic markers (that were included in the Premium box) would have been a stronger choice.

Winner- ArtSnacks

Item for item, I feel like these two boxes are a tie, but there's a $10 difference to consider.  ArtSnacks is $20 shipped, SketchBox Basic is $30, so for your money, ArtSnacks is a better value.

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