If you purchase an independently rated product or service through a link on our website, we may receive an affiliate commission
An art subscription box is one of the best gifts you can give yourself or a creative friend. These kits usually come monthly and come with specially formulated accessories, whether paints, inks or paper, to surprise and inspire you. Since everyone’s preferences are different, you probably won’t love every single product that you receive every month. Even so, subscription boxes are a fun way to try out products that you may not have used or even know about. If you’ve ever been overwhelmed with the choices in a typical art store, these boxes are also a handy way to enhance your tastes so that you can be better informed the next time you shop in person. Below are five of our most popular art subscription services that offer the best deals for US artists. (If you are based elsewhere, we recommend looking at the cost of international shipping as this can really drive the price up.)
This subscription service is one of the most enduring in terms of quality and value. The products are almost always exciting and you often have the feeling that you are getting a bargain. It’s also one of the most strictly curated options we’ve come across: packages often focus on a specific medium or product, and colors and materials complement each other so you can use everything on the same piece of art. For example, a box shipped in the past contained a set of Sakura Koi Brush Pens with a Sakura Micron Pen, Pigma Brush Pen, Pentel Pointliner Pens, and other goodies of walnut oil, a spatula, and a high quality Robert Simmons White Marten Brush. You always get a paper surface and the products are almost always in artist quality. You can subscribe to one of three types of boxes: petite packs, paletteful packs containing more items, and young artist packs. Each box contains a basic description of the tools and individual sales prices. Monthly, three-month upfront, and six-month upfront subscription options are available; You can also purchase previous boxes and unique packs individually.
WE like too
Founded by artists in 2015, SketchBox is an option that relies heavily on drawing and illustration tools. It’s a great option for artists who enjoy experimenting with markers, pens, and pencils, and who are interested in some lesser-known brands, although popular manufacturers like Caran d’Ache, Krink, and Van Gogh are certainly represented. Each month you will receive between four and nine materials loosely grouped according to a topic. Earlier boxes contained illustration markers, acrylic inks, engineering sketches, traditional sumi inks, and water-soluble, tinted graphites. From time to time SketchBox also includes special products made in collaboration with various brands; for example, it worked with Copic to produce exclusive markers. You can choose between a basic box or a premium box with higher quality materials. In addition to providing a descriptive breakdown of the retail prices for each included product, SketchBox has built a huge following on social media so you can see what other creatives have been up to with their monthly materials.
ANOTHER GOOD CHOICE
The craftsman’s box
If you are interested in learning a new crafting technique every month and want to spend a premium price, consider this subscription option. Designed for artists 18 and older, The Crafter’s Box includes kits with everything you need to learn skills such as locker hooks, paper quilling, cement hand pouring, and cold soap making. In addition to high quality tools from artisans, you get access to a digital workshop run by a skilled manufacturer so you can study with confidence. Individual workshops are also possible from € 75.00.
CHOICE OF STUDENTS
Smart Art Boxes
Smart art boxes are another relatively expensive option, but you get a generous amount of accessories that are well worth the cost. Each kit focuses on a specific art form; Previous boxes have featured marbling, Chinese brush painting, scratch art, gouache, hand lettering, and more. The brands presented are varied and often interesting: Perhaps you work with Sennelier inks, Marabu paints or Hahnemühle paper. This is a great option for people who want a good technique guide, as each box comes with a booklet that not only provides explanations of each tool, but also notes on how to use them and a history of the materials inside. There are also project ideas and challenges that encourage you to push your skills. One-, three-, and six-month plans are available; In addition, the company offers individual boxes that are designed as an introduction to various media, including hand lettering and colored pencil.
ArtSnacks is similar to SketchBox in its focus on drawing and illustration tools, but we find it can be a hit or a miss. The product groupings are rather random in terms of color selection and media; You get a lot of pens and markers, but you don’t necessarily want to use them all on the same piece of art. For example, one box contained a Sakura Pigma graphic pen, Daniel Smith watercolors, a general’s pencil, and a Princeton Kolinsky sable brush. Another featured a blue Marabu art pencil, a Sennelier Abstract Acrylic 3D Liner, a Tombow mono pencil and a Kingart artist brush. If you have a fairly adventurous approach to art, this can be a great way to build your toolbox. The cool thing about ArtSnacks is that it sometimes contains limited or exclusive materials, like a color collaboration with Golden Acrylics. You can choose to receive four or five artifacts a month, or pay a little more and get five to six products plus a suitable surface for your work. Earlier boxes and a full line of art supplies can also be purchased.