Box Off! - SketchBox vs ArtSnacks

I have been getting ArtSnacks box for two years. Recently, I discovered SketchBook. It's a similar subscription service that delivers full sized art supplies to your door once a month. I'm a big fan of subscription boxes and often recommend them. I'd like to find the best possible box to recommend and for my own use!

SketchBox Trial

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ArtSnacks Trial

The Basics:

I bought a three month subscription to SketchBox. This cost $85.00. There was a slight discount for buying more than one month at a time, but that breaks down to about $28.00 a month. SketchBox comes at two cost levels. I purchased the lower cost level, SketchBox basic. ArtSnacks is a $24.00 a month and only comes at one cost level. The May SketchBox arrived on April 27th and the May ArtSnacks box arrived on May 2nd. For me, the cost and delivery dates are close enough that they are comparable. 

The contents:

ArtSnacks:

The ArtSnacks box contained Copic MultiLiner CS, Tombow MONO Graph Mechanical Pencil, KUM Correc-Stick Eraser, Faber-Castell PITT Big Brush Artist Pen, and Liquitex Professional Paint Marker, 2mm. Overall, this was a disappointing box from ArtSnacks, in my opinion. Compared with last month's box, this box was a disappointment. 

Copic MultiLiner CS: The copic multiliner CS is a calligraphy pen (CS stands for calligraphy small). It has a small chisel tip. I am not a fan of this product. I like the copic multiliners in general, however this calligraphy tip does not work well for me. It was difficult to work with and did not compliment my technique. I was able to make it work, but it took twice as much effort as a normal multiliner or a brush tip pen. If I worked in lettering, this pen might have been useful, but I don't work much in lettering. I'm a bit confused as to why this pen was included in this box as ArtSnacks does offer a box exclusively dedicated to learning lettering. 

Tombow MONO Graph Mechanical Pencil:  This is a normal mechanical pencil. A mechanical pencil was included in a box a couple months ago and I'm still using that pencil. I didn't need a new one. It is a finer led, but not enough that I particularly notice the difference while sketching. Tombow is a nice brand, but it's just not what I need in a mechanical pencil.

KUM Correc-Stick Eraser: I like this product! It works as advertised. It allowed controlled precision while erasing. I've been having some trouble with erasing sketch lines and loosing some of the ink in the process and needing to touch up the ink. I hope this eraser will solve that problem.   

Faber-Castell PITT Big Brush Artist Pen: This could have been a good product, except I'm not not a fan of the color. I do like the pen itself. The large size is great for filling large areas and the brush tip allows a lot of control. I also like the large barrel on the pen. It's comfortable to grip. I have yet to test the pen's blendability. It the ink is india ink which should not blend with water based products. I'm not sure I like the pen enough to buy it in a better color.

Liquitex Professional Paint Marker, 2mm: This is a water based acrylic pen. I love the liquitex band. I like this pen. The ink applies with a sticky texture. Pages closed on this ink while wet will be cemented together, so be careful! However, the ink does dry quickly. When dry the texture is a matte, almost flaky texture. The bold color translates well to the page and the pen is easy to manage. I prefer a brush tip and this pen has a chisel tip, but it was still easy to work with. I don't know if I'd buy it again, but would buy it if I were working on wood or some other non paper medium.

SketchBox:

The SketchBox contained Spectrum Graphic Custom 3 piece set, Tombow Dual Brush Pen, Tombow Blending kit, Derwent Drawing Pencil, and LePen Drawing Pen - Brush. I loved this box! All of the products in the box worked together so well! Getting a three piece set of of the Spectrum pens was fantastic for getting a full read on the product. Similarly, the two tombow pens allowed me to test how the tombow pens work together. 

Spectrum Graphic Custom 3 piece set: I really liked this product. These markers are alcohol based, similar to copic markers. They blend well with each other and blend with copic markers as well. A little googling says that these pens cost a little less than copics, but are at a similar price point. My one complaint about these markers is that they did not come with a brush tip. This brand does offer brush tip markers. I loved the colors offered in this set! I might buy more colors if I can find the brush tip version of this marker.

Tombow Dual Brush Pen: This is a narrow barreled water based marker. I'm not a fan of water based markers. They tend to cause bleeding in most of my black ink liner pens. This pen was no exception. I had to choose my inking pens more carefully than I would with an alcohol based pen. For a water based marker, I liked it, but I'm not likely to buy it again.

Tombow Blending kit: This came with a blending pen and a wonderfully helpful pamphlet on blending methods with this product. Although, as previously mentioned, I'm not a fan of water based markers. The literature on blending methods was an interesting read. Some techniques sound interesting and the blending pen allowed some fun techniques when used with the colored tombow pen. 

Derwent Drawing Pencil: This is an interesting product. It worked well with all the products I've tried to use it with. It's opaque over most alcohol or water based inks. The pencil has a wax texture which is unusual to work with, but I liked it once I got used to it. I don't think I'll be buying this again, but I do like the product.

LePen Drawing Pen - Brush: I like this product! It's a broader brush tip pen than I usually use for inking, but it does allow more dramatic line work. I've enjoyed working with this product and I might buy it again. 

Final Thoughts: 

This month, SketchBox was my favorite! The products were better and more useful for trialing. Because of the sets with multiple colors, I was able to put the products through their paces. For example, I was able to trial blending the products regardless of whether or not I already have markers of the same base. The box was well designed and the products went well together. The ArtSnacks box did not meet the same criteria. The products did not work well together. Not only was the multiliner not well designed for illustration and bleed when combined with other products in the box. I'm disappointed because ArtSnacks is usually a better box. Hopefully next month is better!