I am not a big fan of shopping. Don’t get me wrong. I love getting new clothes, yummy food from the grocery store, or pretty new earrings. But I just hate the actual going to the store, picking it out, and paying for it. And living in New York City, that includes schlepping it home too!
But I do have one exception. I love shopping for art supplies. Even if I’m only browsing, it’s fun to see the rainbow of paint colors, try out the newest pens, and fondle the paintbrushes. But my most favorite thing to shop for is PAPER! Collage paper, drawing paper, watercolor paper, pastel paper, and more. I love them all but handmade rice paper holds a special place in my heart. It’s so delicate and comes in so many forms. I picked up these gorgeous rice papers at Blick Arts. Some of them are mulberry paper; some have gold leaf specks in them, and my favorite is the one on top of the pile with the dried leaves embedded into the paper. I’m planning on using them in a commission I’m working on. Have you ever used rice paper? What is your favorite type of paper?
I love getting stuff in the mail. I don’t mean bills, promotional magazines, or jury duty summons. I mean fun stuff! One of my daughters treats herself to monthly makeup subscriptions (Boxy Charm and Glam Bag) and my son subscribed to a monthly healthy snack club (Graze) last year. My other daughter subscribes to a weekly food service (Blue Apron) that delivers recipes and pre-portioned ingredients to her doorstep. I’m not really into makeup, healthy snacks are an oxymoron, and why would I want to cook when I live in NYC and can order takeout? So what would I like for a monthly gift…why an “Art Snack” of course!
ArtSnacks is a monthly subscription service that delivers new and uncommon art products, providing artists with an opportunity to try out top-of-the-line art supplies. I purchased the one-year monthly package for $200 and I got my first box today. Here’s a look at what art supplies I received and my critique of each one. I received a General’s Layout Pencil ($0.75 retail), a Caran d’Ache Fibralo Brush Marker ($2.25 retail), a Kuretake No. 7 Brush Pen ($7.00 retail), a Spectra AD Marker ($5.15 retail), a Denik Custom Mini Sketchbook ($5.00 retail), and a green Life Saver.
After eating the Life Saver, I decided to test out each item. The General’s Layout Pencil was great. This pencil has been around since the 1930’s and is still a favorite of illustrators and cartoonist. The graphite is soft enough to make beautiful dark-to-light gradations and doesn’t smear. Honestly, this is the best pencils I’ve ever owned.
Next item was the Caran d’Ache Fibralo Brush Marker. The fiber tip offers the control of a marker and the flexibility of a brush. I added a little water to the ink and developed a pale watercolor wash. The specially formulated ink is designed not to bleed through paper though it did slightly bleed through the thin notepad paper I tested it on. Other than that it’s a pretty ordinary pen with only a single tip.
I got another orange pen, a brand new Spectra AD Marker, an alcohol-based marker that makes permanent marks and carries less odor. It has a chisel tip that makes three different line widths plus a brush tip that creates smooth varied lines. I liked this juicy marker with it’s dual tips and versatility.
My favorite pen of the bunch was the Kuretake No. 7 Brush Pen. This pen is similar to a foundation pen as it uses ink cartridges. It comes with two cartridges, the first that easily clicks into place while the second cartridge stores inside the pen body. The dark black ink flows smoothly and evenly onto the paper with excellent control. I’d love to get this pen in a variety of ink colors. The ink is not waterproof so you can add shading by wetting the drawing.
The last item was a mini sketchbook by Denik. Denik’s mission statement is, “Art can change the world.” A portion of the sale from every notebook goes to help build schools in developing countries. While I admire their philanthropy, the notebook was flimsy and made with very thin paper. Definitely not worth its $5 retail price.
Overall, a fun present to myself for less than $17. I can’t wait until next month!