10 October 2017

Inktober 2016/2017 - Day 10: JUMP

If my household hadn't been running late this evening, I wouldn't have had time to finish today's Inktober drawing.  It's nice to have a good excuse to put other stuff off (cooking dinner) and keep drawing!

Pencil sketch of a girl jumping blissfully.First stage of inking the jumping girl.

The prompt for today was JUMP.  I went with my first instinct (as usual--one of the biggest things I've learned doing this challenge is that I can't spend time thinking up a unique or clever response, I just have to get started ASAP or there won't be time to finish in a single day) which was a human figure blissfully jumping.  This ended up being another instance where I impressed myself with how easily I was able to put on paper what I imagined in my mind.  The only area that gave me trouble was the face but even that was hardly anything compared to past attempts at drawing such an unusual and difficult angle.

Completely inked drawing for Inktober day 10.

Once again I simply based the figure on myself.  Another way to save time; if I try to draw someone original from imagination, it just takes me too long.  I didn't end up filling the page this time.  I would like to keep aiming for that goal, but it wasn't within reach today.  I couldn't think of anything to add and it took me too long to get this much done anyway.  I had a lot of fun drawing this, though.  Adding the final ink really made everything pop!

Final digitized image of the fully-inked jumping girl.

I hope I can keep this up throughout the month.  This exercise--drawing a fully-inked picture every day--has been teaching me so much about myself.  I feel like I'm slowly chipping away at something buried inside me, something like a key to unlock the doors to the next level of working as a full-time career artist.  I've been an artist my entire adult life, but this year, the first year I've spent working full-time as an artist, has in ways been like starting over from scratch.  Inktober is helping me learn better ways to accomplish my career goals...

09 October 2017

Inktober 2016/2017 - Day 9: BROKEN

Here we have it, the last Inktober drawing that was completely finished in 2016.  This is how far I got before I just couldn't keep up anymore.  I think I'm already doing better than I was then, I'm faster at drawing and better at getting the corresponding blog posts published.  I hope that's the case anyway, because after today, there will be no more drawings from last year to fall back on...

Inktober Calendar and Day 9 Drawing

I searched and searched but I couldn't find any photos of the making of this drawing.  I doubt that I didn't take ANY but there's a very good chance that they're on one of my old phones.  I think I changed phones twice in the past year...  Without photos it's hard to remember much about my exact process in creating this piece but I do remember drawing it while sitting in a cafe XD  I drew the figure without reference, so it's not bad considering, but I think I could do a much better job of it if I were to attempt drawing the same pose without reference now.  I've just been soaking up human anatomy and perspective like a sponge recently.  It's like what I've always aspired to be able to draw is finally sinking in.  I'm sure next year I'll look back and feel like this again; I hope to always be improving throughout my entire career!

Drawing of a man in a loincloth, breaking a bone in two.

I hope everyone is doing well with Inktober so far!  Remember, if you start to get overwhelmed, consider dropping down to drawing something every-other-day, only on your days off, or even just once a week.  The point is to exercise your inking skills intensely, so if a daily drawing is too much, just do what works for you while maintaining a sense of regularity!

08 October 2017

Inktober 2016/2017 - Day 8: ROCK

This post is a day late but I was super lucky because today's drawing is the most unique of any I have done or will do for my Inktober 2016/2017 challenge!  This prompt response was already mostly done from last year.  I had gotten tired of it, took a break, and ended up never finishing it until now.  It felt like a huge chore to keep working on it back then, but having a year-long break made finishing this piece super fun and easy!

Shading Stage 1Shading Stage 2Shading Stage 3

The lines that I finished in 2016 were all done with the Copic Multiliner from my ArtSnacks Inktober Collection.  I did all the background hatching last year, too.  What I added today was the super dark shading and textural detailing.  It was all done with the brush and ink from the Collection.  I tell you, it was SO fun to ink everything like that!  I really love using a brush to ink!  I didn't have to think hard about the shading, either.  I was just able to go along almost mindlessly.  Perhaps because I was already thinking of what I wanted to do when I worked on this picture last year; I had a whole year to mull it over (subconsciously).

Inktober Calendar and Day 8 Drawing

In case you couldn't tell, the prompt was ROCK.  There are so many ways someone could interpret that word but, as is common for me, I just went with the first and most literal idea.  I think it turned out really great!  Reminds me of a manga background :D

Inked drawing of a large boulder surrounded by smaller rocks and stones.

If I hadn't already had this drawing mostly done already, I might have had to skip it entirely.  Getting any art done on the weekends is super tough for me!  How are you all holding out?  If you're having trouble keeping up, are you more of a skip-it-and-move-on type or a I-will-catch-up-somehow type?

07 October 2017

Inktober 2016/2017 - Day 7: LOST

My goodness, am I in a hurry tonight.  I was honestly contemplating skipping today but when I saw the task on my list in Habitica, I just picked up my tools and got to work!

Artist's workspace with sketchbook, prompt list, and tools.

The Inktober 2016 prompt for the 7th was LOST so I drew a girl (very heavily based on yours truly; it's so much faster to just draw myself than to think up something new) in a panic over which way to go.  While I was drawing, I had the idea to include a compass that was spinning to add some story to the image (i.e. she has a compass but it's out of control so she has no idea where to go now).  It was a good way to add depth to my response without having do much extra work.

Of all my Inktober responses so far, this is the least detailed due to how little time I left myself to get it done.  But I'm extremely proud of myself for hunkering down and drawing SOMETHING, rather than giving up so soon.  My weekend drawings may have to be simple like this through the entire challenge, since I don't normally have time to draw on those days.

Anime girl looking frantically around, arms up, with a compass spinning wildly.

The first week of Inktober is almost done.  How is everyone doing so far?  Feel free to share your thoughts or drawings in the comments!

06 October 2017

Inktober 2016/2017 - Day 6: HIDDEN

I'm moving right along with my Inktober drawings!  Day 6 is already done and it's only lunchtime!  It helps that my previous piece bled through to the next page; I used those cloudy marks to inform today's work and it made my subject really easy to draw.

Inktober prompt calendar highlighting day 6, HIDDEN.
First Round of Inking

As a reminder, I'm using the 2016 drawing prompts list so that I can finish what I started last year.  Day 6's theme was HIDDEN.  The general shape of the blank space between the two major bleed-throughs on this page reminded me of someone hiding in a huge fluffy blanket, so that's what I drew!  I gave the face a suspicious look just because it fits the Halloweeny mood of October.  Even though the subject looks on edge, what I really wanted to convey was the comforting, tactile sensation of a huge, heavy, warm, fluffy blanket.  Maybe they're on edge because someone is trying to steal their cuddly blankie?  Maybe that's why they're hidden!

Mika's cat sitting on her Inktober drawing, reaching up to the camera.
Anytime I focus on any kind of book for too long...

In the middle of working on this, one of my cats, Kiki, very adorably got right in the middle of my work XD She kept purring and fluffing herself up and rubbing on my face until she finally stepped exactly on my sketchbook, lol.  Typical cat behavior but absolutely adorable no matter how often it happens~  So I took a million pictures of her naughtiness (I picked just one to share here, lest my blog be taken over by her as well!) until she finally got bored and jumped down.

Inking Complete

After adding the first round of hatching, I thought of calling it good and stopping there but I decided to add a bit more presence with big inked shadows.  I ended up taking it farther than I first thought but happily didn't take it too far.  Sometimes when I shade without a plan, I end up going so far that I have to add more to the entire piece, changing the whole mood or message.  That can be fun, but for a daily drawing like this, I really don't want to do that much work.

Final Day 6 Drawing

Challenging myself to complete the full month of Inktober has been teaching me a lot.  Not about drawing and inking, but about myself, the way my mind works, and what I have to change in order to get something like this done.  I have to force myself to forget about perfectionism, remind myself that these are just daily drawings, not masterpieces.  I have to get started immediately and remember that if I don't get it done today, there's no make-up time later.  Stuff like that may seem simple, but my mind doesn't naturally think along those lines (it's more like "If it's not done perfectly and to the best of your ability from start to finish, there's just no point").  I think this month is going to help me become more flexible and productive as an artist.

05 October 2017

Inktober 2016/2017 - Day 5: SAD

Today's post is going to be really short and rushed.  Managed to finish my drawing for Inktober today but I left myself hardly any time to talk about it!  Oh well, hopefully the photos really will be worth a thousand words and they can do most of the talking for me :3

Inktober Prompts Calendar

The prompt for the 5th was quite simple: SAD.  Since I didn't give myself much time to work on my response today, I just drew the first thing that came to mind, a sad person!

Pencil sketch to start.
Main lines inked with nib pen and brush pen.
Final ink added with brushes and Copic Multiliner.

This was actually a really straightforward drawing for me.  I feel like I keep saying this recently but I was pretty much able to draw exactly what I had in mind without any trouble.  Perhaps it helped that I didn't have anything too specific visualized for this one.  The hands were the main focus, the rest just needed to be filled in.  I'm pretty pleased with the deep expression I was able to bring to the face, especially since it's mostly covered up.

Final SAD Drawing

How are you doing with Inktober so far?  Keeping up?  We're not even done with the first week and it's already been a bit of a struggle to make sure I stay on task and give myself the time to complete each prompt.  That sounds bad but means that this challenge is good practice for time management and introspection!

04 October 2017

Inktober 2016/2017 - Day 4: HUNGRY

This is one of several unique Inktober posts I'll be making this year. The drawing I'm presenting here was actually completed last year, but that was around the time I started getting behind and just completing the prompt responses was all I could do. I had no time to share them online. This is part of the reason I decided to pick up with last year's prompts instead of starting over new; I wanted to give myself the opportunity to share what I already did!

Calendar showing Day 4's Inktober prompt.

The initial pencil sketch is done.

The prompt for Day 4 was HUNGRY and although I don't remember my thought-process anymore, I clearly decided to draw myself surrounded by a delicious assortment of breakfast foods XD Breakfast is actually my favorite meal of the day, but I'm not a morning person so I rarely get to indulge in things that actually require cooking time, like delicious french toast or sausage links.

I started this drawing off the same way as all the others: with a graphite sketch done using a pencil I received in a previous ArtSnacks box. I don't remember for sure anymore, but I feel like I had fun drawing all the scrumptious foods and my love for them made it easy to fill the page, lol.

Close-Up of Inking-in-Progress

Next I moved onto inking. Thank goodness I took all these photos at the time or I wouldn't have remembered at all what the details of my process were! I started with the ZIG sumi ink and the nib pen and then moved onto using the more expressive brush.

The ink bottle cap is able to hold the brush when not in use.
The ink cap is a tool rest, awesome!

I took the photo above to show something cool I discovered about the ZIG ink container's design: the cap has indentations for your inking tool to rest in! It's such a great idea, so easy to incorporate and does so much to help prevent the mess that ink can cause (setting your brush or pen down on a flat surface not only makes that surface dirty, it risks getting ink on the tool itself in places you don't want it and might not notice until it's too late).

Close-Up of Inking-in-ProgressInking-in-ProgressAdding Details

To finish the inked drawing, I continued using all the Inktober Collection tools at my disposal, as appropriate. That includes the Copic Multiliner pen, the Pentel brush pen, and the ZIG sumi ink. I also used a shape template to add hearts to the piece and a white gel pen to add details. The gel pen was brand new to me, as it had been a part of the October ArtSnacks box that arrived the same day :3

Final Drawing Using Only Inktober Collection Supplies
Gwah, sorry about the super blurry photo...

The photo above was going to be the final version of my response to this day's Inktober prompt but I really wanted to try out more of my October ArtSnacks and since they were all inking things too, I actually added a bit more to it later.


Let me know what you think of my Day 4 Inktober response! Do you recognize any of the foods I included in it? Just looking at it again is making me hungry...I think it's time for a snack!

03 October 2017

Inktober 2016/2017 - Day 3: COLLECT

I never finished drawing the daily prompts I received with my ArtSnacks Inktober Collection in 2016. That bugged me all this time so now that it's October again, instead of starting over new, I am picking up where I left off. I still have all the lovely art supplies that came with the Collection so I'm also continuing to use them for this challenge. Augmented, of course, with a few other ArtSnacks supplies from other boxes :3

Inktober 2016 calendar highlighting Day 3's prompt.

The prompt for today was COLLECT and the first thing I thought of was me collecting art supplies. I have quite the collection now, partially thanks to being a long-time subscriber to ArtSnacks but also because I love trying new things and have a bad habit of buying art tools simply because the novelty is invigorating. This idea formed pretty quickly as I considered the prompt, so I drew myself showing off my stuff!

Pencil line drawing of artist surrounded by art supplies.Ink lines have been added over the pencil.

I used my pencil from the September 2017 ArtSnacks box for the initial sketch. I found it unusually easy to draw what I was imagining, so that made me feel really good! Most of the time, I can't draw what I see in my mind's eye as concisely as I want. Maybe it was the necessity of getting the drawing done TODAY that helped me focus. I am absolutely determined not to repeat last year's Inktober attempt; I must get each drawing done and posted on the day it's due or it just won't happen at all. I know myself too well now to have any hope of a last minute success in such a case...

Anyway, once the pencil lines were done, I switched to the inking supplies from the Inktober Collection. That included a Copic Multiliner, ZIG sumi ink (with brush and nib pen; I used both here), and a Pentel brush pen. I was surprised to be reminded that the Collection only came with three ink sources. It seems like a lot more on the menu but that's because each individual item is listed out, including the sketchbook I am drawing in, the brush, the nib holder, the nibs, and an online inking class (I wonder if I can still sign up for it...). It's not a huge deal, just a tiny bit disappointing.

The drawing has been completely inked and cleaned up.

It started getting really late and even now I've got other things I should have been doing hours ago instead of continuing to work on this drawing but, like I said, I'm determined to get this done every day! So I took the time to fill out the whole page (that was a goal I had when I started these last year) which ended up really wrinkling the paper, since I thinned the ink with water to get that background effect. Along the way, I erased the remaining pencil marks and used a white gel pen to add some final details--especially to make the pens in the center stand out more--both of which were previous monthly ArtSnacks items.  I set the drawing in front of the space heater to dry once it was done :3

Are you doing Inktober this year?  Let's see your Day 3 responses down in the comments!

28 February 2017

ArtSnacks - February 2017

The second ArtSnacks box of 2017 is here and ready to be revealed!  For those who don't know, ArtSnacks is a monthly blind box subscription for art supplies.  They send out 4-5 full-sized art tools every month, often including sample sizes of other products on top of that, and the contents are a surprise until you open your box!  I've been a subscriber for several years now and I'm still happy to open my box every month~  Let's see what I got this time!

Contents of February 2017 ArtSnacks Box Laid Out

Here's what's on the menu for February:
  • Pentalic Graphite & Charcoal Drawing Pencils Set
  • KRINK K-70 Permanent Ink Marker
  • Kuretake ZIG Clean Color FB
  • Stabilo Pen 68

Pentalic Graphite & Charcoal Drawing Pencils Set

Drawing Done With Pentalic Drawing Kit

It's always very impressive when I receive a complete drawing kit in my monthly ArtSnacks box.  I mean, that's 6 full-sized items right there!  I feel familiar with this Pentalic setup because I already received a similar drawing pencil set from a different ArtSnacks box, but this one is even better, for me.  The set includes three hardenesses of pencil—HB, 2B, and 6B—one soft and one medium hardness charcoal pencil, and one white pastel pencil.  I didn't realize until I actually started testing these tools that this set is perfect for my travel sketches; I always pack a white charcoal pencil, a black charcoal pencil, and a graphite pencil when I go somewhere I'd like to sketch with ease, like the zoo or an out-of-town vacation.  Of course, to make proper use of the white pencil, I bring a tan or grey paged sketchbook, as well.  That's what made me realize I could use this kit on-the-go: I started to sketch on white paper and had to switch to tan so I could really show off the set's potential. 

Something else that makes this kit nice for travel is the metal case it comes in.  The pencils are all cradled in a molded plastic rest with a thin sheet of foam providing cushioning from above.  Basically, the tools are well protected and conveniently organized while in the case.  Next time I go to the zoo, I may bring nothing but this set, instead of my travel pencil case, and my sketchbook.  It'll be even easier to carry and manipulate!  I'll have to remember to sharpen all the pencils first though, so they don't get dull too quickly while sketching (I could bring a sharpener but the point in this scenario is to bring as little as possible).  Which reminds me, I was very impressed by how incredibly sharp the graphite pencils already were!  Furthermore, the manufacturers sharpened the graphite pencils to a longer, thinner tip while the charcoal and pastel have shorter, wider tips.  I feel that's a good detail for Pentalic to have considered; it shows they really think about what artists want.

KRINK K-70 Permanent Ink Marker

Demo of KRINK K-70 Marker

When I saw this, I immediately thought, "I already have one of these," and indeed I do, from a previous art supply box (can't remember if it was ArtSnacks or the defunct Pigment + Palette).  I remembered so easily because I recently tried using the older one and found it disappointing.  It was encouraging, therefore, to see the menu explain that this particular marker is the redesigned version, supposedly with better ink flow and a reversible tip.  The tip is definitely reversible—one side is a large bullet while the other is a wide chisel—but I won't be switching again.  Even being extra careful, I still stained multiple fingers with the ink.  If I had rubber gloves or tweezers that I didn't mind inking up, perhaps I wouldn't have had a problem, but that's really too much for this one little thing.  As it was, I hoped a paper towel folded over several times would be enough to protect me through the 5-second operation but, alas.  I just don't think it's worth it to bother with flipping the tip around; I'd rather just buy two markers.  Furthermore, after trying both tips, I still found the chisel to have the same issue as the original K-70 that I mentioned before: the ink does not flow evenly.  I can't draw a wide line with the chisel tip that comes out as one solid mark.  I was hoping the improvements would have fixed that.  With a marker this big, the only thing I'd really want to use it for is filling in large areas with black but the spotty delivery of the chisel tip means I'd spend just as much time filling in as if I used a smaller marker.

At least the bullet tip works well.  Now I have one marker with a chisel (the older one) and one with a bullet (because I don't want to bother with the mess of switching) so the upside is I ended up with two different tools :3

Kuretake ZIG Clean Color FB

Demo of ZIG Clean Color Marker

I already have a few Clean Color markers from previous subscription boxes (I even have the same exact color, carmine red, in the Clean Color F series!) but this is the first time I've received one from the FB line.  (The menu means it when it says "New Product" because I couldn't even find it listed on Amazon!)  FB stands for "fiber brush" and I found it to be quite a firm one.  You really have to lean into it to get thick lines, but it does a lovely transition from hair thin to reasonably thick.  Using the side of the tip also works great for filling in, it's the best way to get big fat marks out of this tool.  Since the ink is water-based, I tried a few techniques with my water brush.  First I used the water to spread a big patch of ink.  It went quite far which shows this ink is very pigmented.  The vibrant pink color it thinned out to is beautiful, also.  The next thing I tried was wetting a section of paper then writing on it with the marker.  It made pretty cool effects but it really drained the tip of color.  My next experiment further drained it: I wet a section of paper, drew in it, then dripped more water onto that ink.  It produced a really beautiful, even, feathered patch of color but with how much it drained the tip, I wouldn't want to use the marker like that all the time.  I had to press the tip into a paper towel until the color properly returned so I could continue with my final test.  I drew a patch of ink on the page then dripped lots of water onto it and gently swirled the page.  The result was another cool effect: an organic blob with more deeply hued edges.  The only problem with this technique is that it takes forever for the water to dry up.

Stabilo Pen 68

Demo of Stabilo Pens

The final item in my February box was the Stabilo Pen 68 and I received two colors, a purple defined only by the number 55 and a green numbered 43.  I love when ArtSnacks sends more than one color of the same product because the color can often make a big difference in first impressions.  For instance, the green and purple I received both laid down very vibrant, solid lines and, aside from the purple being darker, didn't seem too different.  But when I used a water brush to test out the water-based ink, they revealed their distinct properties.  The green became very transparent, more easily blending away the original lines, and was quickly brushed out to clear.  The purple, on the other hand, remained fairly opaque when the same amount of water was applied, left the original lines mostly intact, and obviously would have required a lot more water and paper to be brushed out to clear.  This doesn't mean one color is better than the other, just that they have variations which might need to be taken into account.  Receiving two colors and seeing the differences also gives a better idea of what one might get if they decided to invest in more of the product.  Differences aside, both of my Pen 68's created beautiful, even lines and I think this marker collection would do really well with stippling techniques because the firm tips create dots that are generally always the same size and shape.

Goodies & Bonuses
As always, ArtSnacks includes a few extras in each monthly box.  I received the all-important menu, which explains what each item is and also has a goofy art riddle that makes me snerk every time (the menu was tinted pink this month for Valentine's Day 💘), a sticker featuring the cute ArtSnacks logo (my beau always calls my subscription "your ArtPretzels" because of the logo XD), and a little bag of Sweethearts candies, which I ate up before I even finished my first draft of this blog~

This was a really generous ArtSnacks box!  Not only did we receive a tin with six full-sized drawing utensils, there were three other types of art supplies in four different colors!  Maybe the ArtSnacks folks were just trying to show how much they love us.  We love you, too, ArtSnacks!  Happy Valentine's Day!

Mika's Workstation While Writing this Blog's Draft on Her Freewrite
Behind the scenes, the making of a blog :3

18 January 2017

ArtSnacks - January 2017

The folks at ArtSnacks helped get 2017 started on the right foot with the interesting, fun supplies they included in the January box. There were four different types of item--marker, paint, pencil, brush--but a total of five items thanks to the inclusion of two different paint colors. I'm here to share my unboxing with you, so let's check this stuff out!

Full Contents of the January 2017 ArtSnacks Box Laid Out 

Here's what's on the menu for January:
  • Kuretake ZIG Art & Graphic Twin RB+F Marker
  • GOLDEN High Flow Acrylic Paints
  • Princeton Snap! Series Paintbrush
  • Koh-I-Noor Magnum Black Star HB Graphite Pencil

Kuretake ZIG Art & Graphic Twin RB+F Marker

Kuretake ZIG Art & Graphic Twin RB+F Marker Test Page

I've now been introduced to so many ZIG tools throughout my years with ArtSnacks that I'm always happy to receive their products because they're always good. This marker's title is long but aptly describes it. “Art & Graphic” is self-explanatory, “Twin" indicates that it has a different tip on either end, and "RB+F" describes those tips: real brush and fine. The marker uses water-based dye ink and the 037 Persian Blue color I received is quite beautiful. I found that the brush tip laid down color fairly evenly when used with a light hand and produced an interesting dry brush texture as I pressed harder. I didn't test it, but I think dipping the tip in water would allow it to create large lines without the dry texture, perhaps making it useful for filling in relatively large areas with color. The fine tip, on the other hand, gave me a steady line that didn't waver in thickness. Since the ink is water-based, I ran a water brush over marks made with both tips as well as running the marker tip over a damp section of paper. All of these tests produced different, cool effects that would be useful in artwork, especially if the artist knew what look they wanted to achieve ahead of time (or was simply making an experimental piece).

GOLDEN High Flow Acrylic Paints

GOLDEN High Flow Acrylic Paints and Princeton Snap! Brush Test Page

I was surprised to find two full bottles of the GOLDEN paints in my box and was pleased to read on the Menu that it wasn't a mistake. How generous and fun to send us two different colors to play with! I received two fluorescent colors: green and chartreuse (yellow, to my eyes). These paints come in squeeze bottles (be sure to remove the protective seal under the cap before squeezing or you might end up with an explosive mess on your hands, literally) so they can be used straight from the nozzle or poured out for use in everything from refillable markers to airbrushes. For my part, I tried them straight from the bottle, with a dip pen and with the Princeton Snap! brush and water. The paints performed admirably in all applications and my colors in particular looked really cool swirled together with water on a blank watercolor postcard (pics at the bottom of the post!). The only problem I encountered was when digitizing the dried postcard: it took a good deal of color adjustment to get the digital copy to read well. I'm sure it was an issue caused by the bright hues and not by the paint in general.

Princeton Snap! Series Paintbrush

I don't have many filbert brushes and I didn't have any in size 4 so I was happy to receive this one. In the days I spent testing it out on various little projects, I've washed it many times, sometimes quite roughly, but haven't had a single bristle fall out. To me that's an indication of a well-made piece of equipment. Aside from the bristles, I think the attractive finish on the handle is further evidence of the brush's quality: at the right angle, it's possible to see a shadow cast on the wood by the letters printed on top of the clear varnish. That kind of detail is so satisfying! In action, I could find nothing to complain about with this Snap! brush; the bristles held a reasonable amount of pigment and laid it down evenly and smoothly. The filbert shape allowed me to create both wide blots and relatively thin lines, making this tool useful for multiple applications.

Koh-I-Noor Magnum Black Star HB Graphite Pencil

Koh-I-Noor Magnum Black Star Graphite Pencil Test Page

It's hard to get too excited about any graphite pencil but this Koh-I-Noor has proven to be a satisfactory example, gliding smoothly across the page, stippling, lining, and shading with ease. The latter is probably this particular pencil's forte, since it's much fatter than your average drawing pencil. The chubby body also makes the Magnum very comfortable to use. The only drawback here is that the large size requires a larger sharpener (or the more risky knife-sharpening method) which luckily is not an issue for me, thanks to the wide variety of sharpeners I've obtained from previous ArtSnacks boxes over the years.

Goodies & Bonuses

As with every monthly ArtSnacks box, this one included some extras: the Menu, a list of all the tools and their descriptions (plus a wonderfully cheesy art riddle); an information pamphlet from GOLDEN about the High Flow line of paints; an ArtSnacks sticker (my pencil shavings jar is getting prettier by the month!); and a yummy Life Savers candy :3 I don't know if I've ever said, but I am always pleased to receive an actual snack with my ArtSnacks~ I'm glad they send one every time!

Progress Shot of GOLDEN High Flow Paints Swirled on a Watercolor Postcard
I made a colorful mess!

Overall, January was a solid box, a great start for a fresh new year. I think my favorite item was the Art & Graphic Twin RB+F marker. I just love art markers, so I'm always excited to try new ones. The RB+F didn't disappoint and the color I received was beautiful, so it's a welcome addition to my collection. I was surprised how much I liked the High Flow Acrylics, too. I'm not a fan of acrylic paint in general, but the fact that these can be used with dip pens means they're not just acrylic paints for me. I rarely paint with acrylic but I use dip pens all the time. I'll remember these next time I want some trippy fluorescent linework. Heck, even the Snap! brush and Magnum pencil from this box, though basic, are still welcome additions to my supply horde. Who can't use an extra brush or pencil?

Close-Up Shot of GOLDEN High Flow Paints Swirled on a Watercolor Postcard
This was a really fun experiment~

I'm looking forward to what ArtSnacks will bring me throughout this year. If you received this month's box, let me know what you got and what you thought of it! Also, feel free to send me any questions about this box or its contents, I'd be happy to clarify anything I didn't already cover. Finally, if you did an ArtSnacks Challenge with the January 2017 supplies, link it in the comments so I can check it out!

I mailed the finished postcard to my good friend, Sarah.