I received December’s Sketchbox Premium last week. Sketchbox is a subscription service that sends you a surprise selection of art supplies and an insert introducing you to a new artist’s work each month. It comes in two varieties Premium $36 and Basic $25. This month’s Sketchbox was a nice collection of Copic Markers! Unfortunately, I have been busy with other projects and have not gotten to play with these beyond a few doodles. Which is a shame because I love them! But, I feel comfortable enough with what I have done to give a review of Sketchbox. This month’s Sketchbox contained two Copic Sketch markers, two more Copic Ciao markers, a Dewert Pencil 4B, a Pentel Stylo Drawing Pen, and a Sketchbox Signature Sketchbook.
The Sketchbox Experience
I do enjoy getting a little package of art supplies in the mail each month. I was very happy with this month’s collection. However, there have been months where I have been a little disappointed. I would also say I have attempted new styles and mediums because of this subscription. I basically had no interest in inking before Sketchbox. Now inking is something I do often. Inking can be a quick and compact medium which makes it perfect for daily art practice. I now keep a little bag of inking supplies in my work bag for when I get a lunch break. I love the insert with artwork printed on one side and an artist’s introduction on the other. I have started following a few artists I didn’t know about because of it.
Sketchbox sends an insert describing each product and giving you the MSRP. If you total up the prices this month it adds up to $42.33. Leaving the receiver feeling like she just got a bit of the deal on the art supplies. But, here is the thing I don’t know about you but I almost never pay full price for anything at most art stores. There is a constant rotation of sale items so if you just wait a bit you often won’t have to pay full price for what you want. Most big box art and craft stores run bi-weekly or monthly coupons on full price items in addition to that. Blick runs sales so often I wasn’t even impressed by their Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals as they were the same sales they run every few weeks the rest of the year. My opinion of the Manufacture’s Recommended Retail Price is that it is quite inflated so stores can ‘discount’ pretty much everything. Even the little mom and pop art supply store in my village has a “their price” and an “our price” on their price stickers.
I expect to pay a premium for this kind of service, they have to pay for things like warehousing, employees, artists royalties, and shipping. So the fact that I am not getting a deal does not bother me. But, they are presenting themselves as if they are giving you a deal. They are not the only ones who do this. Pretty much every subscription service I have tried does this kind of marketing to existing customers. I personally find this variety of marketing annoying because it works on the assumption most consumers know very little about product pricing. When I priced the contents with a comparable sketchbook at an art store I came out at about $34 after sales tax. Rember these are the smaller size Copic markers, not the regular size ones that retail for between $6 and $12. If you bought this package at Blick it would be about $30 before shipping. Buying five more dollars of stuff gets you free shipping right now. But, this bundle would be more expensive at Blick if you paid shipping costs. Basically, in my opinion, the subscription cost is comparable to what you would pay elsewhere for the same supplies. Which is better than I thought it would be. I was actually expecting to get a little less than $35 of supplies for the reasons I mentioned above.
This Months Contents:
Two Copic Sketch Markers: V95 Light Grape and BG72 Ice Ocean
Two Copic Ciao Markers: BG09 Blue Green and G99 Olive
Derwent Sketching Pencil and Pentel Stylo Drawing Pen
Sketchbox Signature Sketchbook 5.5×3.5in and Art print by Nat Susrez
This is a nice little sketchbook. It has a nice hardcover, good paper, a bookmark ribbon, a band to hold it closed, and a back pocket which you could use for artists’ trading cards. As I have mentioned in the past the art print is one of my favorite parts of this subscription.
I think this is worthwhile for certain situations. If you have a teen, novice, or amateur artist in your life this would make a great gift. Sketchbox will expose them to several brands so they can figure out what they like best. I have stumbled across a few professional artist because they get this subscription and then post to Instagram with the #sketchbox. I also bought one art print because of this. So a professional could leverage this to boost their social media presence but you are also providing Sketchbox with free advertising. I am not a marketing expert so I could be completely wrong about it helping an artist improve their social media impact. I think this was fun to try for myself for a few months but I don’t foresee myself renewing after this subscription runs out.
Happy Art Journey,