The month of October will definitely go down as a creative highlight for me this year. I participated in my second Inktober with the added extra bonus of also using the Special Edition Inktober Collection Artsnacks box. This box was packed with so much awesomeness!  I was already just excited to do the challenge again, never mind with new supplies as well.

For those of you unfamiliar, Inktober was created by artist Jake Parker in 2009 as a way to improve his drawing and inking skills. It’s now become an annual challenge in October that artists take part in internationally. A prompt list of words is given for each day of the month and the task is to draw your interpretation of the word and post it online with the relevant hashtags.

Items in the Box:

  • Custom Inktober & Denim Spiral Sketchbook
  • E+M Gemini Nib Holder with Nib
  • Dr. Ph. Martin’s Black Star Matte India Ink
  • Princeton Series 4050 Heritage Synthetic Sable Round Brush
  • Kuretake ZIG Cartoonist Mangaka Pens (set of 3)
  • Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay India Ink
  • Copic Gasenfude Brush Pen
  • Inktober Nylon Travel Case

A quick note about this box: When I originally received my box the Bombay Ink had leaked in transit damaging it and the sketchbook inside. I contacted Artsnacks’ support team right away and they were AMAZING about getting those two new items out to me right away and free of charge. I wanted to keep the original state of how I got the box somewhat intact to show that 1. things like that happen sometimes, and 2. that Artsnacks’ customer service was really awesome.

Inktober Nylon Travel Case
This travel case is a Limited Editon, Artsnacks Exclusive item. It seems really durable and has all kinds of pockets to store every item you received in this box plus more! I haven’t had a chance to use this item in action yet, but I love the idea of this and that the Artsnacks team is always thinking about artists on the go as well as at home.

E+M Gemini Nib Holder with Nib
I love that they included a traditional nib pen in this collection. I haven’t used one of these since college! The hande on this pen felt really comfortable and the nib was really nice quality. If this pen style is your preference, you can switch out the nib with other shaped tips as well.

Dr. Ph. Martin’s Black Star Matte India Ink and Bombay Ink
These inks were really fantastic. I really got a lot out of trying these inks in ways like I would a watercolor or acrylic paint. Highly, pigmented and lightfast these inks are also waterproof when dry. The Black Star ink has an added bonus of having a matte finish as well which is a bonus for many illustrators’ needs. This ink also worked great in combination with the nib or dip pen and Princeton Brush.
The Bombay ink was great in thin layers as well in multiple layers which was a really nice feature of this product. It even blended well with the other brands of ink I used in my illustrations.

Princeton Series 4050 Heritage Synthetic Sable Round Brush
This brush features a mix of synthetic and sable hair and performs like a champ! I was able to create awesome thick to thin lines and it held ink beautifully but also washed out well afterward.

Kuretake ZIG Cartoonist Mangaka Pens (set of 3 in 0.1mm, 0.5mm and 0.8mm)
Normally I’m not a huge fan of fine liners because I find that the tips tend to either damage easily or they don’t seem to perform at all for very long. On initial use of these water-based ink pens seemed to flow really well and the pigment quality was great. Of course, the downside for me is that they aren’t waterproof but if this isn’t a concern for you this is still a nice pen.

Copic Gasenfude Brush Pen
I used this product the least in my Inktober illustrations but not because it wasn’t good. This brush pen, inspired by traditional Sumi-e style art, would be great for calligraphy or looser styles of drawing. Since my drawing style doesn’t really fit with that, as a result, I only used it a few times. This pen also has water-based ink and if you’re an avid Copic product user, is also Copic-proof. This means the product won’t bleed when used in conjunction with other Copic markers.

Custom Inktober & Denim Spiral Sketchbook
Out of all of the products in this box, this is the one I liked the least. I committed myself to do all of my drawing for Inktober in this sketchbook, but it wasn’t without some strife. The paper is VERY smooth. It almost has no tooth similar to a YUPO paper. At times it felt like drawing on a coated print paper stock. Now I’ll admit, part of why I didn’t like it was because it was completely out of my comfort zone. After 31 days of using it, however, I learned the things it did well and the things it didn’t.

Ink tends to flow really easily on this paper, however, for other types of media all of your marks showed and not always in a good way. It also wasn’t great for any type of watered down or watercolor-like effects. If you like simple, clean graphic lines this paper is great. That being said make sure your lines are totally dry because it was also easy to smudge on this paper.

I loved that the cover of this sketchbook featured art by Inktober creator Jake Parker though. This whole challenge has become something quite big for him, and I think it’s only fitting that he should have his work represented in there in some way.

Final Thoughts
I really thought this was a great partnership and overall solid curated box by Artsnacks and Inktober. These items pushed me to try different things and although I really didn’t like the paper, it challenged me to figure out how to use it to get the results I wanted. The challenge itself is something I would highly recommend any artist do. It doesn’t have to be Inktober specifically, but the idea of doing a drawing every day for a month based on prompt words challenges you creatively and helps build positive work habits that every artist can benefit from.

To see all 31 of my Inktober 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.

3 Responses

  1. Aw man. I didn’t know Artsnacks did an Inktober special box and I missed it! Oh well. I’ll have to catch it next year. At least I was able to do Inktober anyway. Wonderful post, Barb!

    1. Thanks so much! I think this might have been the first or second year they had the special box. It was definitely more expensive but I enjoyed it and the selection of items was great.

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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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