Greetings friends and welcome to another edition of my Artsnacks monthly box reviews! Getting to experiment with new art supplies every month is definitely not getting old for me. I hope that you are learning something new too and are motivated to try some of these products for yourself. I’m sometimes a little set in my ways when it comes to art supplies, but this month’s box reminded me why it’s good to try new things sometimes and that they might even surprise you in the process.

Items in the Box

  • KUM Automatic Long Point Sharpener (Artsnacks Limited Edition Exclusive)
  • Caran D’Ache Edelweiss Pencil
  • ZIG Millennium Pen (0.5 mm)
  • Sakura SumoGrip Retractable Eraser
  • ShinHan Art Touch Twin Brush Marker
  • The Snack – Extra Sour Cry Baby Bubble Gum

KUM Automatic Long Point Sharpener (Artsnacks Limited Edition Exclusive)
What’s better than having one KUM Long Point Sharpener? Having TWO and in a different color! Lucky for me, I already own this sharpener so I was well versed in its awesomeness. I was excited to get this version however since it’s the Limited Edition Artsnacks version, it’s going to make the perfect companion to the pencil-case they sent out a couple of months ago.

If you’re not familiar with how this sharpener works, it gives you extra precise sharpening by first shaping the wood in the first hole, and then the lead in the second. It also comes with extra blades and an automatic stop blade to help prevent breakage and over sharpening. The two-step process might seem like overkill for some but if you like your pencils extra sharp and with a long point this is worth giving a try.

Caran D’Ache Edelweiss Pencil
Does anyone else have the song from The Sound of Music in their head? No…?…Just me? Cool…anyway this pencil quality wise, is nothing short of what I would expect of a premium brand like Caran D’ Ache. With its high-quality cedar casing and smooth core, what more do you need to hear? (Other than the sweet sounds of Julie Andrews singing you to sleep.)

I loved the smooth feel of this pencil in combination with the Strathmore Mixed Media paper that I use for my illustrations. The HB felt dark enough to create contrasting lines if needed but also wasn’t so heavy that it left too much graphite behind that would be hard to erase. I prefer that this pencil doesn’t come capped off with its own eraser because that just means I can use it in all its glory to the very last stroke.

Another perk of this product is that it sports the FSC logo which means that it is certified to have been made from responsible sources and has met the required social and environmental standards. Ten points to Gryffindor!!!

ZIG Millennium Pen
Do you remember what it felt like the first time you looked someone in the eyes and told them you loved them? Okay, that didn’t happen here, but I really enjoyed this pen. While I’m very passionate about my feelings towards the Faber-Castell PITT Artist pens, between ZIG and Copic I’ve learned that there are plenty of fish in the sea. I’m not abandoning ship just yet on my tried and true fave but it should be noted that this pen deserves a chance the share the spotlight. It has all of the qualities I look for in a pen including being waterproof, permanent, lightfast, smudge and fade proof.

During my later test erasing my pencil lines after inking my illustration, this pen held up to all of its claims. Obviously, not enough time has passed to truly test the fade-proof and lightfast claims, but I have a feeling I won’t be disappointed. One important thing to note about this pen is that it specifically states that you should store it horizontally. Normally I wouldn’t put up with that kind of demanding Diva behavior, but we’re still in the honeymoon phase for now, so I’ll oblige.

Sakura SumoGrip Retractable Eraser
This eraser surprised me probably the most of all the products. Honestly, I’m always skeptical of erasers. I think I’ve just used way too many bad ones that I has myself convinced there weren’t that many that were great. I admit this is a short-sighted opinion but sometimes it’s hard to let things go when it has happened enough times. This micro-porous foam tech retractable eraser actually worked like a dream. It required minimal pressure and the eraser dust left behind was in bigger clumps which made it for less brushing across the page to get rid of it afterward. It’s refillable which is always a bonus and the the casing protects the eraser for compromise when it isn’t in use.

Although the size and shape isn’t super ergonomic it didn’t feel uncomfortable to hold. This eraser in my opinion, is best for erasures of larger areas. While you could use it for more precision work I don’t think it’s particularly ideal compared to other brands.

ShinHan Art Touch Twin Brush Marker
Last but certainly not least, was the ShinHan Art Touch marker. I’m still a little bit of a newbie when it comes to this type of illustration marker but I’m learning to love the things they are capable of. This is a dual tip alcohol-based marker and the Fluorescent green color is what inspired my lime illustration. A cool feature of this product aside from the dual tip option was that you can get different intensities of the color by the number of layers you apply. I suspect this is common for most markers of this type, but I was actually thrown off by it at first. When initially testing out the marker I noticed that my first contact with the paper resulted in a darker area followed by a lighter area in the stroke follow through. In other words, the color didn’t feel like it had a consistent application. This seems to have evened itself out when it dried but I wasn’t really a fan of that as a first impression. I used that to my advantage in this illustration and I was even able to use a watered down version for the lighter rind area. It also had a relatively low odor which was nice.

I’m definitely curious to try more of these markers to get a real feel for what they can do. This product also scores major points with me for being refillable and the tips being replaceable. Although you are paying a higher price point per unit, those added features help justify the cost and the fact that you’re not just throwing the whole thing away when it’s empty. Much like its Copic cousins, however, these markers do bleed through paper so keep that in mind when you’re using it.

Here’s a closer look at my finished illustration using all of the items in the box! It was hard to pick a favorite this time around but clearly, the ZIG Millennium has a soft spot in my heart. A close second was the Touch Marker only because it’s left me wanting to explore more, and let’s be honest, who doesn’t like a bit of a chase?

For a more in-depth look at my process behind these drawings and to see the products in action, check out my YouTube video below.

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Have you tried any of the items in this review? Which did you like best? 
Share with me in the comments!

Please Note: I am in no way being paid to promote this product. The opinions in the blog post are my own.

Barb Sotiropoulos

Barb Sotiropoulos

I’m a Canadian artist and designer specializing in coloured pencil and mixed media. When I’m not creating art, I love helping other artists by sharing tips and tricks that have helped me. You can find me on all of my social channels @barbsotiart or check out my past Q&A articles for COLORED PENCIL Magazine or my co-hosting appearances on the Sharpened Artist Colored Pencil Podcast.

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Hey, I'm Barb!

I’m a Canadian artist and designer specializing in coloured pencil and mixed media. When I’m not creating art, I love helping other artists by sharing tips and tricks that have helped me. You can find me on all of my social channels @barbsotiart or check out my past Q&A articles for COLORED PENCIL Magazine or my co-hosting appearances on the Sharpened Artist Colored Pencil Podcast.

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