I received the March ArtSnacks box in the mail today! This is the third month I have been a subscriber, and I have been enjoying it so far. I put together a quick little unboxing video as I opened it up (I wanted to experiment with shooting a video from my own point of view):
And here is a quick sketchbook page where I tried them out!
The items themselves were:
1. Aristo 3Fit Mechanical Pencil
I think I have mentioned previously that I have gotten out of the habit of using graphite pencil lead for drawing, because of how it smudges, so I admit I eyed this skeptically at first. I have tons of cheap plastic mechanical pencils. This isn’t a cheap mechanical pencil. It’s nicely weighted – I thought it was a bit light at first, until I started the doodle in the lower right of the above page. The weight is all in the grip area, so it feels right. The eraser swivels out of the top with a turn of the area it’s in, so you can retract it when not in use to protect it, and swivel it up more as you use it – it’s a nice long eraser. I’m not sure how to add more lead when what it comes with (appears to be HB) is used up… I’ll have to Google that up. On the negative side, it came with a bar code sticker applied to it, but after fiddling a bit, I was able to peel it off.
2. M. Graham & Co. Artists’ Gouache
I tried gouache awhile back, and didn’t like it, but I’ve been wanting to give it another try, so I am happy about this. This seems much better than the Turner Acryl Gouache I tried a couple of years ago. Less chalky, and more smooth. It spread nicely. I need to do some research on techniques using gouache before I pass final judgement though. The tube I received is raw sienna, which is pretty useful, though not exciting, but if I decide I like it, will definitely get used.
3. Connoisseur Protege Short Handle Premium Taklon Brush
A small round with a great point. The ferrule is one piece, no annoying seam to gather crap, firmly seated, no wobbling. The handle was a bit dirty, but it cleaned up. Worked well with the gouache, I can’t wait to try it with some watercolor. I am very glad it it taklon (nylon) rather than an animal derived brush.
4. General’s Charcoal White
I’m going to have to research this. My brain is refusing to believe that this can be charcoal. Charcoal = burned = carbon, and I don’t know how you can have carbon without blackness! Whatever this
black white magic, it worked nicely over a layer of the gouache, and I’m looking forward to playing with it over a page painted with black gesso. It loses its point quickly, but it actually works, unlike the Cretacolor white pastel pencils I once tried!
All said, I’m happy with my third ArtSnacks box, and will continue my subscription. I originally told myself I would try it for 3 months and go from there. The first month was all right, the second gave me the fantastic Cocoiro letter pen. And this month gave me things I am happy with – at least initially – now.
The subscription is $20 a month in the US. Some people judge it by whether the contents of the box could be bought for the $20, but I don’t. This box and the last may or may not be worth $20 retail, but I am getting new toys to play with that have been curated by someone, and I’ve been getting things that I would not have necessarily found on my own. In the case of the Cocoiro pen from last month, I’ve already purchased a spare black superfine nib refill to keep at the ready and two more pen bodies and refills for those – one brush pen and one grey superfine nib. This is definitely worth it for me.