20 February 2018

ArtSnacks - February 2018

Happy Valentine's Day! It's a bit late, but I'm finally here with my unboxing and review of the February 2018 monthly ArtSnacks box!  For anyone who doesn't know, ArtSnacks offers monthly blind boxes on several different subscription plans.  These boxes always contain at least four (and often five or six or more) full-size, premium art supplies.  This is the last box of my third year being subscribed to the service and I'm still not bored of it!  Let's see what came in my box this month.

I love when ArtSnacks themes the boxes for the holidays!

I was really happy with my January box and the February box didn't disappoint either.  Everything, again, was totally up my alley!  Drawing and watercolor supplies--my favorites!  Here's what was on the menu:
  • Sennelier French Artists' Watercolor [lemon yellow, titanium white]
  • Raphaël Mini Precision Brush, Flat Size 2
  • Faber-Castell Goldfaber Sketching Pencil 2H
  • Sakura Pigma Micron PN
  • BONUS: Fabriano Artistico Watercolor Paper Sample
Outside of the actual art supplies, my box also came with a little serving-size bag of Sweethearts and a Valentine's Day-themed ArtSnacks logo sticker.  I still love that every box comes with these fun bonus items!

Test of both watercolor tubes and the brush.

Sennelier French Artists' Watercolor

Watercolor is one of my favorite media so I'm always happy to receive more in my ArtSnacks boxes.  I was a bit disappointed to receive white this time, though.  I so rarely use white since I work on white paper (and the sample paper that came in this box was white, as well!).  White is good for mixing pastel shades and greys, so it's not a useless color, but I always unbox thinking first about how I can use all the supplies together for my ArtSnacks Challenge (a piece made using all of that month's supplies and nothing else).  It was not easy to imagine using every item from this box effectively in the same piece.  You can see, in the testing image above, how the white paint is virtually invisible on the white paper of my sketchbook.  It shows up well on the yellow paint, though, which was what made it possible to complete my ArtSnacks Challenge successfully this month.  As for the yellow paint, there's nothing much for me to say about it.  It seems like a quality watercolor paint, plenty of pigment and no weird smell like some other brands.

Raphaël Mini Precision Brush

This brush is one of the shortest-handled brushes I have ever seen!  I was skeptical at first glance, thinking it might be uncomfortable to use, but once I tried it out, it didn't really feel any different than other short-handled brushes.  I could see someone with really large hands having trouble, but then again, such a person might have trouble with any short, thin handle.  When I used this brush for my ArtSnacks Challenge, I found it worked really well, holding a lot of color, spreading it evenly, and it didn't lose its shape or any bristles.  Based on the menu, it seems like all boxes contained the flat size 2 brush.

A little side story about paint brushes:  Recently, I finished painting the interior of my house but we were in a rush to move out (I was painting it because I sold it) and the painting supplies all got packed before I was done.  We went out and bought a couple of those cheap painting kits--the kind with a roller brush, paint pan, foam brushes, etc.--and most of the supplies were fine except the 2.5" brush that was included.  It was SO cheap, so awful, I was barely able to paint anything.  I threw it away as soon as I was done painting because it was already falling apart after only a couple hours of on-and-off use.  I've never worked with such a cheap, useless brush, not for interior or fine art applications.  I'm bringing this all up because it really made me appreciate how good even the worst of my large collection of artist brushes are.  It especially made me think about the fact that I've never gotten a bad brush from an ArtSnacks box.  I almost feel spoiled.  It's so great to paint with quality supplies!

Pencil Test. The hard graphite doesn't show well in the photo.

Faber-Castell Goldfaber Sketching Pencil

Thanks to ArtSnacks, I will probably never need to buy another artist pencil again.  I have so many now!  But I'm never unhappy to receive another one :3  I've been particularly keen on harder pencils recently, since they are great for doing underdrawings which will eventually be erased (the harder the pencil, the easier to erase cleanly) so this 2H was quite welcome.  I don't have anything in particular to say about it, it's a hard graphite core encased in wood, easy to hold and does its job.  Can't really ask for more.

Micron PN test. Like most Microns, the ink is black.

Sakura Pigma Micron PN

Now this item REALLY intrigued me.  I'm a longtime user of the Sakura Pigma line and until I received this pen, I thought I had already seen (and owned) every pen under the Pigma banner.  I can't describe how excited I was to see something new from a familiar brand!  The blue-green color for the "PIGMA" and "PN" printed on the body was so visually striking since I am very used to my other pens that have purple or red text, instead.  I had no idea what "PN" could possibly stand for.  This was the most excited I'd felt by an ArtSnacks item in quite a while!  Instead of the thrill of an utterly new tool, it felt like the shock of a plot twist!

I finally turned to the menu to learn just what was up with this marvel.  It turns out, "PN" stands for "plastic nib".  I totally would not have guessed that, lol.  The nib allows for a bit more range in line weight than the Microns I'm used to but it's otherwise the same as the rest of the line.  The ink is water/alcohol proof when dry, which is the nicest thing about these pens and the reason I've used them for so long.

My ArtSnacks challenge!

I actually completed my ArtSnacks challenge for this month before writing this post, which is somewhat unusual, but not bad since I can include it here instead of making an additional post.  The reason I got it done so soon was my Twitch livestreaming schedule.  Every second Monday is ArtSnacks challenge day, so regardless of whether my unboxing post has been completed, I have to get my challenge piece done.  Not only that, but it's done live on the Internet for anyone to watch!  I started livestreaming in January but this was the first live ArtSnacks challenge I did.  If you'd like to watch it, it's been uploaded to YouTube!

I drew a grey heron. I really like birds recently!

ArtSnacks is on a roll so far this year.  They've had a great first two boxes (at least according to my tastes) and they've been teasing their birthday box for next month, so I'm hoping I'll be just as happy with that one.  ArtSnacks' birthday is my subscription anniversary, so the March box will be the first box of my fourth year as an ArtSnacker!

Pencil shavings canister gets another sticker.

So, fellow subscribers, what did you think of the February box?  Did you like what you got?  Did you participate in the challenge?  Non-subscribers, are there any questions about the items I got this time?  Is there anything you'd like me to cover in my unboxing posts that I missed this time?