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.