If there’s any singular joy in this world as an artist, it’s trying out new art supplies every month. Whoever originally thought of the making a monthly art supply subscription service is a certified genius. You may think that’s a pretty lofty statement, but I believe it’s the darn truth.

An unexpected but pleasant benefit of these monthly boxes is that I haven’t been spending as much on art supplies every month as I used to. Short of the employees at my local Michaels knowing me by name and offering me shares in the company, it’s not an exaggeration to say I frequent the art store a lot. I think just knowing that I’m getting these boxes every month, curbs the desire I would have had before to randomly pick up a new item.

Now before anyone gets concerned I’m not supporting my local economy anymore, fear not. The great thing about these boxes is that it actually also encourages me to shop in more specialty art stores. A lot of the items in the boxes aren’t available at the big box stores in my area. If I want additional colors other than the ones I was given or refills, I need to go to a specialty art store to get them.

Now that I’ve cleared up my stance on good-artist-shop-local-stewardship, let’s have a look at what was in this month’s box!

Items in the Box

  • Tombow MONO Graph Mechanical Pencil
  • KUM Correc-Stick Eraser
  • Copic Multiliner CS (Calligraphy Small)
  • Liquitex Professional Paint Marker
  • Faber-Castell PITT Artist Pen – Big Brush
  • The Snack – Smarties (aka Rockets if you’re Canadian)

Tombow MONO Graph Mechanical Pencil
This mechanical pencil from Tombow really shakes things up! NO, really! The way you extend the lead when you need more is by unlocking the pencil mechanism and shaking it up and down. It also features the Tombow MONO eraser which you can extend up or down by twisting the top, (see my YouTube video at the end of this post for a real-time demonstration). I love the innovation in this product, but I think the practical usage of it would take some getting used to. Most mechanical pencils operate with a click top to release the lead. While I like the shaking motion as a different approach to design, It reminds me too much of the motion I use when I’m trying to get the ink flowing in a pen again. Maybe that’s part of the point, but I’m not sure I’m sold on it. I like the idea of being able to extend the eraser manually, as that is a pet peeve of mine on most mechanical pencils. Both the lead and the eraser are refillable on this product as well with is also a huge plus.  That being said, It doesn’t feel obvious at first on how you would actually do that. I did some research on the Tombow website because honestly, I didn’t want to potentially break the pencil by trying to figure it out myself. Turns out, that part is actually pretty simple and standard. By gripping and pulling up on the eraser housing at the top you can load more lead in.

KUM Correc-Stick Eraser
I’ve been using white erasers since before college due to the fact that they don’t tend to leave any color behind on the page. I was a little skeptical at first when I read on the menu card that this giant PINK eraser claims to not smear or leave anything behind. I was almost ready to shout “LIES!” from the rooftops when I discovered that it’s actually true. Much to my delight, this eraser was really comfortable to hold due to its ergonomic shape. The precision tip performed quite well comparitively with the Tombow MONO eraser in the Graph Mechanical pencil as well.  I think this eraser makes a great first impression, but then I wonder, what happens when you wear the tip down? You would perhaps need to re-carve in a point with a knife and the ergonomic shape would slowly be compromised. Granted that might take a while, depending on how much erasing you do, but you also want to know you’re getting your money’s worth and not being wasteful at the same time.

Copic Multi-liner CS (Calligraphy Small)
I’m buying my ticket for the Copic-train! I haven’t ventured deeply into the markers as of yet because frankly, I’m afraid of what that might do to me financially. The Multiliner line, however, is coming up aces in my books and becoming one of my favorites. While I’m not a Calligrapher, per se I don’t think you need to be to find value in this pen. It worked really well for versatile mark making in my macaw illustration. From broad strokes to fine details this pen is a great take-a-long if you can only bring one pen with you. It’s also waterproof and Copic-proof when dry. For those that might not know, the term Copic-proof signifies that this will not smear or bleed when used in conjunction with other Copic products.

Liquitex Professional Paint Marker
I absolutely love the idea of paint pens. I’ve recently started experimenting with various lines and I think this is a really awesome step forward for what is possible with acrylic paint. Once again this single product packs a versatile punch. The chisel nib allows for a variety of mark making on a variety of surfaces. In my illustration, I used this pen straight out of the tube as well as watered down to achieve different tones. The consistency felt similar to their traditional line of products and the flow out of the nib felt controlled and consistent.

Faber- Castell PITT Artist Pen
Hello, my darling PITT pen *swoon*…It’s no secret these are one my favorite products to work with and I love the idea of them being available in big brush sizes. This product is a particular favorite pairing for me as a base color underneath colored pencil. Having a larger brush tip not only allows for diverse mark making but also coverage of larger areas in a shorter amount of time and with more consistency. These India Ink pens have fantastic lightfastness and are waterproof when dry. I used some basic color theory to create a green by going over the top of some of the blue areas in my macaw illustration. It layered very well and I was also able to water it down on disposable palette paper to create a lighter yellow tone for certain areas of the drawing. The only downsides I found to this product is that they are not refillable and would take up a lot of space if you had a lot of them.

A fun extra perk of the 3 pen products was that I was able to water all of them down and achieve a variety of tones to create depth in my illustration. Aside from my obvious bias towards the Faber-Castell PITT pen, it was hard to pick a favorite this time around. I liked different aspects of the different products even if they weren’t perfect. For the ones I wasn’t as familiar with I think more usage research is needed to see how they really perform over time. Overall though, this was another solid curated box from the Artsnacks team!

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.

Sign up for your own Artsnacks box by following the link:

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.

Leave a Reply

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.

Let's Connect!
Blog Categories

Be the first to know about new artwork and print releases AND get a 15% off code for my Etsy Shop