07 October 2014

ArtSnacks - October 2014

It feels like I only just received the September items but I'm already reviewing my October ArtSnacks supplies!  It was a hefty box this time and included some unusual selections.  I suppose it's a testament to its interest that instead of basic lines, dots, and gradation, I was inspired to complete my ArtSnacks Challenge drawing as a means of testing these art tools.

October ArtSnacks Box Opened but Still Packed
First peek!

Although I already saw in a video earlier this year (when I was deciding whether to subscribe to ArtSnacks in the first place) that the October box is Halloween themed, I had long forgotten by this time.  I was therefore very pleasantly surprised to see all the black and orange!

ArtSnacks Items Unpacked
That candy smelled so good I could hardly wait to eat it!
ArtSnacks Supplies Unwrapped
Decent item count here!

Here's the full list of items from my October ArtSnacks box:
  • Lyra Colorstripe Colored Pencil
  • Cretacolor Black Chalk Pencil
  • Pentalic Woodless Charcoal Graphite Pencil
  • Pro Art India Ink
  • Protégé Short Handle White Nylon Brush

Drawing Started with Colored Pencil
I really enjoyed using the colored pencil.

Like I said above, my ArtSnacks were so inspiring that I felt like creating a complete drawing right away.  I decided to use these items in the order listed on the menu so I started with the colored pencil.  I must say, after using it, I think it's a shame these are no longer in production.  The color laydown was so smooth and rich--making excellent gradients and covering the paper quite thoroughly and quickly when desired--it's the first time I've really considered buying a different brand of colored pencils.  The yellow color I received inspired me to draw the moon, stars, and eyes you see above.

Drawing Continued with Chalk Pencil
Note how quickly the pencil tip was worn down.
The next item I tried was the black chalk pencil.  It was certainly interesting.  Rather like charcoal but more...crumbly?  It's difficult for me to describe the difference but I can say the tip wore down very quickly and it produced lots of dust.  To create a larger drawing with this pencil would require much sharpening and might even use up the whole thing.  On the flip side, I got satisfyingly dark marks from the pencil in relatively little time.  I smudged the chalk with a paper towel to take care of the stray dust and chalk flakes which also gave the drawing a more refined look (compare the smudged body to the unsmudged head in the photo above).

Drawing Embellished with Graphite
Various shades accomplished with the woodless pencil.
Here I get a bit confused because the ArtSnacks menu describes this item as a woodless charcoal pencil available in "3 different grades: soft, medium and hard", but what I received is clearly a 4B graphite pencil.  I'm not sure if it's just a typo on the menu or if I actually received the wrong item.  It's not a big enough deal to complain or inquire about, just a curiosity.  The item I did receive is something I've already used before and which I still have in my repertoire.  I haven't looked into whether I already have this exact hardness (I probably do since I tend to have even numbers, i.e. 2B, 4B, 6B, etc.) but it's still a good one to have since you can get both fairly light and fairly dark marks from it.  I recommend this pencil for drawings that will be all or mostly graphite since being woodless makes covering large areas much faster.

Drawing Completed with India Ink
Some of the ink is still wet and reflective in this photo.

The last two items were clearly meant to go together: brush and ink.  Perhaps I've never used real india ink before or maybe this type is just different, but I was surprised at the thick, plastic texture once dry.  I felt it was more like using acrylic paint than ink.  I don't recommend using the ink to fill in large areas, especially when diluted.  The ink dried so quickly that everything I filled looked splotchy and unflatteringly showed brush strokes.  These traits seemed to be even worse when I dipped the brush in water after ink (diluting on the brush, essentially) before laying it on the paper.  I also was a bit disappointed in the dropper that comes with the ink because it didn't create a very wide range of droplets on the page.  No matter how I coaxed, they all came out around the same size and not nearly as small as I hoped or expected.  Next time I'll be using this ink for linework.  The disappointments I experienced while creating this piece showed me that I'll probably be much happier if I use it to create lines with a nib instead of filling large areas with a brush.

After all that with the ink, I only have a little to say about the brush.  It behaved very well.  I'm really happy that I received a round (my favorite brush shape) and I'm fairly sure I didn't yet have a short handle round brush in this size (9, I think; the size mark is not clearly differentiated from the number 6 but this is much larger than other 6's I have).  I'll definitely go to this brush again in future.


So what do you think of the Halloween ArtSnacks?  Did you get a box, too?  If so, did you get different colors or sizes than I did?  What did you create for your ArtSnacks Challenge?