November ArtSnacks Vs SketchBox Basic

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 are unlocked to the public at the $15 level each month, but backers have access regardless of funds raised.  Posts like this are only possible through the support of my Backers, so if you enjoy this content, please check it out and consider joining.

This unboxing and overview was brought to you thanks to the generosity of my backers on Patreon, and was sponsored by 7" Kara,Volume 1.  7" Kara is an ongoing children's watercolor comic set in rural Louisiana, and follows the adventures of tiny Lilliputian Kara as she discovers humans, explores the back yard, and befriends a kitten.  Volume 1 is available now in the Natto-shop, just in time for Christmas!

We're nearing the end of our ArtSnacks Vs. SketchBox year of unboxings.  I plan on ending this series in January, but if you enjoy it, and would like to see it continue, there are a few ways you can accomplish that.  You can write to ArtSnacks and SketchBox and let them know how much you value my content, especially my reviews.  You can also join the Patreon community and make your voice heard.

Special October Thanks To My Patreon Backers

Please note:  I have linked backer webcomics/blogs when I have access to them.  If you are a backer who would like to have your project linked, please get in contact with me.

Andrew Benedict
Boss Goose
Heidi Black
Mary Catherine
Virginia Williams
Wayne Norris
Michael Suriano

Previous SketchBox Vs. ArtSnacks
January- Winner: ArtSnacks
February- Winner:  SketchBox
March- Winner: ArtSnacks
April- Winner: ArtSnacks
May- Winner: ArtSnacks
June- Winner: SketchBox
July- Winner:  SketchBox
August- Winner: SketchBox
September- Winner: SketchBox
October- Winner: SketchBox

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


The Brands

The Unboxing

November ArtSnacks V SketchBox Unboxing- Becca Hillburn

The Overview

November ArtSnacks V SketchBox Overview- Becca Hillburn

The Cards

The Card Reads:
Here's what's on the Menu for November:

What kind of shoes does an artist wear?

Plumchester 1.5 Fine Brush Pen
$2.99 retail

New Product  ArtSnacks Exclusive

For the last few months, we've been working on our very own brand of art supplies!  Introducing Plumchester: Creative tools for the modern artist.  Our first product is the Plumchester 1.5 Fine Brush Pen.  The diameter of the firm nib is 1.5 millimeters, and it will spring back to its original shape after use.  The ink in this pen is pigmented, fade-proof, and water-proof when dry.  A soft touch will give you a finer mark, but use a heavy touch for thicker lines.  Plumchester will officially launch in 2017- to stay updated, go to and submit your email address.

Molotow Grafx Aqua Ink Pump Softliner
$14.95 retail

Staff Favorite
The Molotow GRAFX Aqua Ink Pump Softliner features water-based ink and a soft brush tip.  This tool will stay with you for the long term- you can refill the ink, and you can even swap out the tip.  To begin using your MOLOTOW, shake it well; pump the brush softly using the tip of the marker cap until you see ink seeping into the brush tip; scribble until the tip is fully colored- and then you're ready to draw!

Please note:  Ue the cap of this marker to activate the paint into the marker tip.  Take a close look at the marker's body for illustrated directions

Marabu Mixed Media Art Spray
$5.99 retail
New to ArtSnacks

Ready to try something totally different in your next art project?  Marabu Mixed Media Art Spray is a waterbased acrylic that can blend with other colors.  It's ideal for use with stencils or as a surface primer for colorful creations.  You'll get different effects depending on how close you spray and the angle of the sprayer over the paper.

Pentel Arts Sign Pen Brush
$2.99 retail

Depending on how you hold it, the Pentel Arts Sign Pen Brush can give you the most delicate of fine lines, or it can lay down a bold line.  Adjust the pen tip angle and pressure just a little, and see how versatile this tool is- it's great for lettering!  This pen brush also features water-based ink.

Stongehenge Aqua Coldpress Mini Pad


We can see why Stonehenge's new Aqua Coldpress watercolor paper has been getting incredible reviews!  This paper can handle an amazing amount of water without warping or buckling, and it's also great for bblending and lifting color.

*Answer: Sketchers

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

Inside The Box

The Price Breakdown:

Marabu Art Spray (Acrylic Art Spray)
$5.99 retail,
$4.79 on DickBlick, but my color (Red Orange) isn't listed

Molotow Grafx Aqua Ink Pump Softliner
$14.94 retail
6, 95 euros on the Molotow site
$8.99 on Art Primo
$79.54 with Prime, set of 6 markers on Amazon

Pentel Touch Sign Pen
$2.99 retail
$2.85 on Amazon  (many options available, including sets)
$2.69 on DickBlick

Plumchester P1.5 Liner Pen
$2.99 retail, ArtSnacks Exclusive Brand that launches in 2017
Comparable Products:
Sakura Pigma Brush: $2.59 on DickBlick
Prismacolor Illustration Marker Brush: $2.39 on DickBlick
Copic Multiliner Brush: $2.79 on DickBlick
Pitt Pen: $2.05 on DickBlick

Legion Stonehenge Aqua Coldpress
7"x10" 140lb Block- $21.50 at Hyatt's
MSRP Total: $26.92
Lowest Retail Total: $19.46
ArtSnacks: $20 month shipped


Comparison Shot:  Plumchester top, Micron bottom

Water test for the Molotow Aqua Pump Softliner.

Water-fastness demonstration for the Pentel Touch.  These pens are VERY water soluble.

Testing out the Legion Aqua paper and Plumchester pen with watercolor.

My Thoughts:
The Plumchester handles just like the Sakura Pigma Micron it resembles- a fiber nib with no flex.  Over exerting it quickly leaves you with a mushy nib that's good for nothing.  The Legion watercolor paper is fine- it FEELS like 140lb watercolor paper, but sample size is so tiny, I can't really speak to as to whether or not it will buckle.  Legion produces several watercolor papers, including Yupo and Bockingford. 

Stongehenge Aqua, the paper sample I received in this November ArtSnacks, is available in hotpress, cold press, with deckled edges, and on blocks.  The paper IS 100% cotton rag, which should make it ideal for blends and wet into wet if working in a larger size.

I've been excited about Molotow's watercolor and waterbased markers for awhile.  In general, they're priced a bit out of my grasp, so I haven't made the investment (which would be a bit steep for review purposes), but I was really excited to see the Aqua Pump Softliner included in the November ArtSnacks.  This line of watercolor markers (softliners?) only has 12 colors available, and each marker is not only refillable, but has replaceable nibs, which is good, as the fiber nib it comes with is going to break down fast.

Marabu is a German company that specializes in inks, specifically screenprinting inks.  The Mixed Media spray included in this month's Artsnacks subscription box is acrylic based and features a shaker ball to help mix that media up.

The Challenge

November ArtSnacks Challenge- Mixed Media Alien

Creating and applying a simple mask using tracing paper


Malibu Mixed Media (acrylic) spray

Water sprayed onto Mixed Media spray while spray is wet.

Dripping wet mixed media spray in some areas to intensify and build up color.

The water sprays encouraged blooming, which was the intended effect.

Applying first layer of Pentel Touch,and using a waterbrush to dilute and move the ink.

Drawing in flowers with the Plumchester brush pen.

SketchBox Basic

The Brands

Derwent (distributed in the US by Mead)

The Overview

See the ArtSnacks Overview section for the Overview video.

The Cards

The Card Reads:

SketchBox November Featured Artist
Sarah Jayne Reed

Hi!  I'm an artist and art educator residing in Central Ohio.  I hold a Masters of Art with a Minor in Art History, though when it comes to much of my art, including colored pencil, I'm self-taught.  Growing up with creative parents, I was drawing from the time I could hold a pencil.  These days, the juggling process of having a full time career and attempting to pursue my art can be a struggle, but I try to make time each day to create.  I am fascinated with color theory and am drawn to colored pencil and oil paints because of their layering capability, allowing colors to interact.  I often choose subject matter that is visually appealing or meaningful to me.  Family members, Boston Terriers, mythical creatures, crystals, and nature elements are often cornerstones in my artwork.  I like my work to have a happy, fond, or nostalgic tone.
instagram: @oppositeofordinarystudios

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

SketchBox November Basic Box

Tombow Recycled Colored Pencil Set
Retail Price: $14.99
This month is all about blended colored pencil!
Beautifully crafted from cedar wood, these pencils are constructed using fingerjoint technology, which reduces waste during the manufacturing process and saves natural resources.  The dense, wax-based cores in these artist-grade colored pencils are ideal for creating precise, detailed illustrations and sharp lines.  A high pigment content assures brilliant, saturated colors, which also blend and layer well making it the perfect choice for this month's box!

2x Koh-i-noor Tri-tone pencils
Retail price $2.50 each
These innovative colored pencils add a depth and subtlety to your piece.  Each lead is a combination of three colors meant to compliment each other.  A truly unique approach to colored pencils.

Derwent Burnisher
Retail Price: $1.99 each
The burnisher i a hard, colorless pencil that creates a polished finish on top of existing layers of colors.

Derwent Blender
Retail Price: $1.99 each
The blender is a soft, colorless pencil used to blend colors together to create rich tones.

Faber-Castell Eraser Pencils
Retail Price: $6.00
Faber-Castell Eraser Pencils are perfect for erasing unwanted marks, fine point erasing and also creating unique eraser effects.  They erase pencil (August box), color pencils, and charcoal (September box)

If you know someone who would love to receive SketchBox for the holidays be sure to sign up by November 20th so they can start receiving their boxes in time.

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

Inside the Box

The Price Breakdown:

Tombow Recycled Color Pencils (12 piecs)
$14.99 MSRP
$10.69 on DickBlick

Faber Castell Eraser Pencils (2)
$6.00 MSRP
$2.39 openstock on DickBlick

Derwent Burnisher
$1.99 each MSRP
Derwent Blender
$1.99 each MSRP
These are sold as a set on DickBlick with an eraser and sharpener: $7.39 on DickBlick

Koh-i-noor Tri Tone Color Pencil (2)
$2.50 each MSRP
Sold as a set of 12: $17.99 on Jerry's Artarama
Set of 24, $23.13 with Prime on Amazon

MSRP Total: $29.97
Retail Total: $25.36
SketchBox Basic: $25+$5 shipping


One of my Youtube viewers pointed out that the Tombow Recycled Pencils use the same leads as the Tombow Irojiten pencils.  The colors are vibrant, but the leads are a bit hard.

The Challenge

November SketchBox Challenge- Kawaii Color Pencils

SketchBox Premium

SKETCHBOX- November 2016 -    Doodlebonez

The Brands

The Supplies
Derwent Burnisher & Blender Set: Includes 2 Burnishers, 2 Blenders, Eraser, Sharpener
Faber-Castell Perfectly Eraser Pencil with Brush
Koh-I-Noor Tri-Tone (11 Pencils, 1 Blender)

The Verdict

What it boils down to: The ArtSnacks had better art toys, the SketchBox had a more cohesive theme.

And this seems to be the case, month after month.  ArtSnacks is great for artists who enjoy GOOD artist toys- professional quality artist toys, and SketchBox (both Basic and Premium) is for artists who want to create a cohesive piece with the materials inside.

SketchBox is better for creating YouTube videos, ArtSnacks is better for reviewers who know their supplies.

In the YouTube community, this box saw a lot of contention.  I don't' know how I managed to avoid that mess, but I found it easier to create a coherent piece with the Basic Box than it was to create a piece with the ArtSnacks.  That said, I wasn't excited by anything sent in the Basic Box, and did not find it particularly inspiring, whereas there were several products in the November ArtSnacks that I was excited to try.

A little rant, since so many people are talking about Plumchester:

From what I've seen, ArtSnacks is not offering anything new- the one example of the Plumchester brand that's available to the public is almost identical to a Sakura Micron Brush pen, from body design to the make up of the tip.  Artists do not need yet another boutique copycat brand that pumps out the same mediocre to poor fineliners, brushpens, alcohol markers, and colored pencils.  The trend of coloring books aimed at adults has already seen an influx of poorly made, well marketed art supplies- we're already spoiled for choice when it comes to mediocrity.

What artists REALLY need are well designed products that offer something new or innovative- not a rebrand of existing fineliners and brushpens.  Given the history of ArtSnacks- founded by artists, inspired by artists, does collaborations with artists, and years of supplying their subscription boxes with quality art supplies - I expected better, and hold out hope that perhaps my complaints might hold some weight.  ArtSnacks has partnerships with many excellent art supply brands, and has plenty of examples to work from, so releasing sub part supplies with the Plumchester brand is not an acceptable option.  I definitely plan on keeping an eye on Plumchester, and purchasing pieces for review as they are released.

I feel like this month, ArtSnacks had the best value for your buck, with several new supplies (excluding the ArtSnacks exclusive, the Plumchester brushpen, because of course that would be new) to play with.

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