Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Bonus Box! ArtSnacks Inktober Collection

The ArtSnacks Inktober Collection is special box, and not included with the yearly subscription.  This box was purchased out of pocket as a Thank you to my Patrons on Patreon.  If you are interested in more specialty boxes like the ArtSnacks Inktober Collection, head on over to my Patreon for information on how to join the community.

You can find it here: http://www.artsnacks.co/inktober/

$99.00

Promises:
  • 7 expertly curated, full-size, premium inky art supplies for the complete InkTober experience
  • An exclusive, limited edition sketchbook designed specifically for the ArtSnacks Inktober Collect
  • An official InkTober Calendar for the "31 Days, 31 Drawings" Inktober Challenge
  • An illustrated print by the InkTober creator, Jake Parker

The Hype

From about May until October, ArtSnacks regularly sent out emails hyping their upcoming Inktober collections.  There were promises of exclusives and brand new products.  Hype was also strong on Twitter and Instagram, and I must admit, I fell hard.  I realize that as someone who reviews art supplies, I am hard to impress, so I really looked forward to some surprises in the Inktober Collection.

The Unboxing

ArtSnacks Inktober Collection Unboxing- Becca Hillburn














If you watch the unboxing video, you'll hear some undisguised disappointment in my voice as I realize there isn't much new under the sun in this box.  Although the Denik sketchbook is new to me, and exclusive to this ArtSnacks, I'm immediately disappointed by the paper inside- it's like a slick cardstock.  And everything else is old hat- spoon nibs, sumi ink, Pentel Pocket Brush, Multiliner SP- there's just nothing inside to impress an experienced inker, let alone someone who reviews art supplies.


The Card Reads:




Inktober
Collection
Here's what's on the menu for the ArtSnacks Inktober Collection:

Limited Edition
Custom Inktober+Denik Sketchbook
$18.00 retail value

#124 stark white pages ready to be inked.  Artsnacks collaborated with notebook company, Denik to create a limited edition sketchbook that is unique to this Collection.  This 7"x9" spiral sketchbook is the perfect place to keep your practice doodles or your finished pieces.

Kuretake Zig Cartoonist Sumi Ink
$8.50 retail

60 milliliters of intense liquid pigments.  "Sumi" is the Japanese word for black ink painting, so naturally we put it in the ArtSnacks Inktober Collection.  Allow 5-10 minutes for inked drawing to fully dry to a matte finish.  This Sumi ink will not lift or smear when erasing post-inking.  To avoid smudging and bleeding while adding color, use alcohol-based markers around your Sumi ink creation.

Kuretake Zig Cartoonist Pen Nibs
Set of 3, $3.99 retail

Three beautifully engineered Japanese metal nibs for your inking pleasure.  Used for lettering or comic book drawing, these pen nibs produce a variety of lines.  Try experimenting by adding pressure to the nib to create a thicker stroke.  To clean, gently pull nib out of nib holder and use soap and water.  WARNING:  Pen nibs are sharp.  Please be careful while handling your new pen nibs!

Kuretake Zig Cartoonist Nib Holder
$5.00 retail

The wooden wand for your new pen.  We chose this model because of its modern style and comfortable design.  Mount the blunt end of the pen nib into the nib holder ring.  Make sure the pen nib is tight in place to avoid spilling or breakage.  Watch this video on how to properly assemble your dip pen: http://artsn.ax/2aSdoDB

Princeton Kolinsky Sable Short Handle Brush
$29.95 retail

The Mercedes-Benze of paint brushes.  No nylon, synthetics, or plastic here- just wood, metal, and Kolinsky sable hair.   Prized for maintaining their fine shape and superior stroke control, the amount of pigments or liquids this brush can hold is staggering.  Dip your brush into the Sumi ink to experience this first-hand!

Copic Multiliner SP
$9.95 retail

A futuristic pen with waterproof and refillable archival ink.  Its aluminum body gives it a more sleek, industrial look- fitting, since it's designed to last a lifetime.  Copic pens are great for quick drawing as well as more timely masterpieces.

Staff Favorites
Pentel Pocket Brush Pen
$19.99 retail

An inky pen for your on-the-go doodles.  Thin and delicate or thick and bold:  If there's a line you want, this pen will give it to you.  It has a nylon brush tip, and offers a smooth and powerful line but can also give you fun expressive lines too.  It's also a life-long favorite in Jake Parker's tool box.

ArtSnacks Exclusive Offer
How to Ink Class with Jake Parker, from the Society of Visual Storytelling
Individual Class $25.00 value

The Society of Visual Storytelling (svslearn.com) is an online catalog of art classes for mastering techniques and learning new skills.  The "How to Ink Class" is taught by the InkTober founder, Jake Parker!  Get access to this class for free through this link: redacted



31 Days
31 Drawings
Your Challenge:  Create a drawing everyday for 31 days, using only the supplies in your ArtSnacks Inktober Collection.  For inspiration, use the theme that is in the corresponding day on the calendar.

When your daily drawing is complete, post a photo of it on your social media channels using hashtags: #artsnacks #inktober


Editors Note:  You can use whatever inking supplies you wish for your Inktober, as well as whatever challenges or themes work for you.  This is not the only way to officially do Inktober, although I do recommend using the #inktober hashtag.



Hello!

Here we are at the beginning of another Inktober.  A month of inky pages, dirty hands, and fired up imaginations await us.  Its a month that's all at once hard, refreshing, tedious, and relaxing.  Whether you've done it several times or it's your first, Inktober always pushes you to level up your skill, and forces you to think outside the box.

It's a challenge designed to form positive drawing habits, and break you out of creative slumps.  It creates a fertile ground for ideas to sprout and techniques to grow.  It's a challenge that keeps you ont the path to mastering your craft.  I guarantee that the artist who finishes Inktober is a better, wiser, and happier artist than the one who started it.

Have fun this month.  May your pen stay wet, your fingers stay inking, and the spark of imagination stay bright in your soul!

Your friend,
Jake Parker
Utah, October 2016

Editors Notes:

Even on the cards, the hype is strong.

Let me clarify a few things-

If you have the time, you should allow ink to dry for at least 1 hour and up to and beyond 24 hours for best results.  This will prevent ghosting (lifting up of pigments).  Sumi ink, even the Kuretake Sumi Ink 60, is not always waterproof or even water resistant, and you will get some smearing with this ink, regardless of how long you wait.  Five to ten minutes is not long enough for ink to cure, especially on coated papers like the Denik paper included with this box.

The Kuretake Zig Cartoonist Pen nibs are Saji nibs, and are a type of spoon nib.  Many companies make Spoon nibs, and you can check out some of my prior posts for more information.  Spoon nibs have very delicate lines, and very little flex, so if you're interested in a flexible nib that handles like a brush, you should check out G nibs as well.  Adding pressure to a spoon nib may result in the nib 'nipping' the paper, which happened frequently when using these Saji nibs on the Denik paper.  And let's be clear- saji nibs are typically used for manga, which tends to lean towards the use of tone rather than lineweight to indicate shadow.

For demonstrations and more information on the materials included in this box, I strongly recommend you watch the Overview video included in the post below.  Information that should have been included in this box (how to prepare your brush for first use, how to clean the oil off your nibs for first use) has been left out, and I try to cover that in the Overview to ensure that your first use is a smooth one.

And while Kolinksy Sable is considered the end all be all for brushes (for watercolor or inks), Princeton is not a company that has garnered much trust from me over the years.  Typically Winsor and Newton series 7 was considered the Mercedes-Benz of brushes, but even they have had some issues with quality over the years.  Whenever purchasing a natural hair brush, try to do so in person- look for brushes that come to a point either in package or after wetting the tip, and avoid brushes with stray hairs.   Compared to other Kolinsky sable brushes from other brands in similar sizes, this Princeton brush doesn't hold a monumental amount of paint or pigments, and has a rather small 'belly' compared to other Kolinsky sable brushes.

The card neglects to mention that the Copic Multiliner SP (a .3 in this instance) is alcohol marker proof once fully dry, features both replacable ink cartridges AND nibs, and is hard to find open stock in most stores.  You are more likely to find the disposable Copic Multiliner, or even the Sakura Micron, both of which are also waterproof, pigment ink, archival, and alcohol marker proof.

Inside the Box

Denik Notebook

On the Denik site, their larger Sketchbooks are $14.95: http://denik.com/sketchbooks/
Smaller hardcovers with an elastic band and bookmark are $18
http://denik.com/fabric-classics/
Otherwhise, there's nothing really comparable on the site.

Kuretake Saji-Pen for Manga (x3 nibs)
$7.99 on Amazon
$3.18 on Blick
$4.00 on Jetpens

Kuretake Nib Holder
$3.99 on Blick
$5.00 on Jetpens

Princeton Kolinsky Sable 7050R
$15.39 on Blick
$17.97 on WetPaint
$14.98 on Artist and Craftsman Supply

Copic Multiliner SP .3
$8.23 on DickBlick
$7.99 on Jerrys' Artarama
5.85 (euros) on CultPens

Pentel Arts Pocket Brush (with two refills)
$12.60 on Amazon
$19.99 on Pentel Site
$13.99 on DickBlick
$17.99 at Michaels
$12.60 at Walmart

Kuretake Sumi Ink 60
$8.50 on Jetpens
$10.77 on Amazon
$6.25 on Paper and Ink Arts


Totals:
MSRP: $95.38
Lowest Retail Value: $63.94

Plus a $25 How to Ink Class with Jake Parker

Cost of Box: $99



The Overview



I highly recommend you watch this overview, as I demonstrate how to prepare the materials inside, how many of these are used, and I show cheaper alternatives when applicable.  If you are putting together a collection of inking supplies, this is a must watch.





Inktober Collection Tutorials And Demonstrations

These tutorials were not sponsored by ArtSnacks, and were created as bonus content for my Patrons. If you enjoyed these videos, found them helpful, or are using them to educate others, please consider visiting my Patreon for information on how you can join my community of art nerds, and help fund future content.  Tutorials like these are not possible without outside support.


Nib Exposure- Inking Tutorial with ArtSnacks Inktober


Brush Inking Tips with the ArtSnacks Inktober Box


Faux InkWash-ArtSnacks Inktober Tutorial


Inking Your Character to Life with a Brush- Inktober Tutorial


Inking Your Character to Life with a Brush Part 2


Cartoony Inking with a Size 4 Brush


Nib Exposure- Inking Tutorial with ArtSnacks Inktober
Inking with a Manga Nib:  Kuretake Saji Nib Timelapse


Copic Multiliner Demo Inking Tools


Inktober Saji Nib Timelapse-Naomi


Inktober Timelapse G Nib- Naomi


Size Matters!  Brush Demonstration





Shots from Inktober Tutorials


















As the month progresses, more inking and Inktober tutorials and demonstrations will be available on my YouTube channel, so please keep an eye out!  Patrons get exclusive early access to all Inktober tutorial and demonstration videos, so if that sounds interesting, head on over and join the community!

The Verdict

I found this box massively underwhelming.  Not because the items inside the box weren't good items- they are.  They are good basic items that most inkers are already familiar with.  They are good, basic items that add up to an underwhelming box given the amounts of hype ArtSnacks put into promoting this box, the lavish promises that were made, and the fact that there's still a $30 discrepancy between what I paid and what I received. 

This box promised to have something for inkers of all abilities, but instead seemed to focus solidly on beginners, leaving the competent scratching their heads.  There was so much room, budget wise, to really include some exciting goodies!

Potential Box Additions:
  • Variety of paper samples including cold press watercolor paper (for drybrush), Bristol, and mixed media papers
  • Walnut ink
  • Colored inks
  • Crowquills
  • A wider variety of nibs including fixed width like A, B, or C, mapping, or G
  • Inexpensive fountain pens like the Preppy
  • Fude pens like the Fudebiyori or the Pilot Mikase

If I had known the box would be so anemic, I would not have purchased it.


Resources and Outside Links
Difference Between G-Pen, Maru, Saji/Tama Nib Demo-Comic/Manga Fountain Pen Nib Tutorial
Copic Multiner SP vs. Sakura Pigma Micron
How to Change Nibs and Ink Cartridges on Copic Multiliner SP Pens
Pentel Brush Pen Review & How to Use Brush Pen
Review:  Kuretake Zig Cartoonist Sumi Ink 60