ArtSnacks Plus is a new option from the art supply subscription service ArtSnacks this year. You get everything sent out in the regular monthly box, plus 1-2 additional full size art supplies and a full size art surface. I’ve been curious about this new service, and I found a great coupon code in time to order September’s box, so that’s what I did. If you would rather watch and listen, you’re welcome to watch my YouTube video on this box. Otherwise, continue reading below.
I am not sponsored by ArtSnacks at this time, by the way. (Though I’m definitely open to it, ArtSnacks, if your people are reading!) I did purchase this box like everyone else, and this is my honest, unbiased review as a regular customer.
The regular ArtSnacks service costs $24 USD per month in the USA, or $34 USD per month internationally, shipping included. $2 USD and $4 USD savings per month are gained when you pre-pay a 6- or 12-month subscription plan. These boxes include 5-6 full size art supplies, an exclusive monthly sticker in the shape of the ArtSnacks logo, and a candy (the “snack” part). ArtSnacks Plus adds 1-2 more full size art supplies and a full size art surface, but at a higher price. The monthly subscription price on Plus is $39 USD per month (for everyone) plus shipping. As a Canadian customer, I paid $9.99 USD for shipping, so let’s call it $10 USD international shipping. (This is the same as the price difference between US- and international subscriptions on the “shipping included” regular box.) At the time of writing this post and recording my unboxing and review video, the ArtSnacks website was acting up and not allowing me to enter the subscription process screen for Plus, so I cannot comment at this time on what sort of savings a pre-paid plan would have for Plus, nor do I know off hand what domestic shipping would be.
It does appear that the Plus boxes are filled to order, rather than mass produced, as so far I have not been able to find any Plus boxes on the “previous boxes” portion of the ArtSnacks Shop. The additional “Plus” supplies card included in the Plus box also has a coupon code that says it is linked to the recipient’s individual email address, which means the Plus cards are printed individually per customer and inserted as the box is labelled for shipping. (Sorry, but yes, that does mean I can’t share any codes with you! My code won’t work for anyone else.) Overall, it looks like if you’re willing to pay for the more expensive service, the ArtSnacks Plus box is by far the better deal between the company’s two options.
While international customers need to pre-pay a 12-month subscription, the most expensive option up front, in order to see a “savings” on content value after purchase and shipping costs, Plus customers everywhere benefit from the savings this box offers even on a month to month payment basis. If you want to know exactly what was in the box, how I used it, and a value-cost breakdown, keep reading. Be warned, though. Spoilers ahead! (Obviously.)
Krink K-11 Acrylic Paint Marker
Contents: 1 Makrer
Suggested Retail Price: $8.00 USD | $10.64 CAD | £6.42
“New product! Headquartered in Brooklyn, KRINK makes creative tools for creative thinkers. The K-11 Acrylic Paint Marker features a 3mm double-sided bullet tip and is filled with permanent, water-based paint that stays vibrant on a variety of surfaces. To use: shake well until thoroughly mixed, remove the cap, and press the nib down several times until saturated.”
I got the shade light blue, and it is very pretty. When they say double-sided nib, they mean the nib is a nicely formed, rounded bullet nib on both ends, so when the nib starts to wear out and fray, just pull it out and turn it around. Krink does sell refills for all their markers, and they sell nibs, but the benefit to this particular line of markers is definitely the fact that your nib will last twice as long. This isn’t my first acrylic paint marker, but it is my first Krink product, and I do like it. I used this marker to cover the entire background on my 8×10 inch piece, and it’s still going strong. I peeled back the label a little, and there’s only about a centimeter of empty space in the end of the marker barrel. When new, there was already a small gap, so less than a centimeter was used. I’m guessing since this is acrylic, the note about it staying vibrant means it’ll be fairly lightfast. I couldn’t find lightfast information at a glance, but I’m sure it’s out there. I don’t know how long this has to dry before it’s permanent, though. I did apply liquid colour on top (watered down LePen ink on a paint palette) and the Krink paint did interact with it.
Zebra Mildliner Double Ended Brush Pens
Contents: 2 Markers
Suggested Retail Price: $2.79 USD each ($5.58) | $3.71 CAD ($7.42) | £2.24 (£4.48)
“New product! Add a gentle touch of colour to your artwork with Zebra Mildliner Double Ended Brush Pens. These convenient pens feature two different tips: a flexible brush nib and a super fine bullet nib. The soft, mild ink is translucent and water-resistant, so have fun and experiment with layering!”
I don’t know what they’re talking about calling these water-resistant. I’m doing a two-part Inktober prep fineliner and brush pen review next week, and when I tested one of these with the brush pens, it did quickly and easily dilute a bit with water on the page, even after being left for a minute or two to dry. It activated with water about as much as I would expect any highlighter to do. These are highlighters, by the way. Don’t let the fanciness fool you. That’s what they’re made for. You can get them in a chisel and fineliner nib combination as well. I also tested them under alcohol ink, and while they don’t feather or smear, they do fade under alcohol ink. I got orange and magenta. The orange is a very nice fluorescent pastel highlighter orange, but the “magenta” is pretty darn purple, and not at all fluorescent. They do indeed layer nicely, and they don’t eat up the paper as much as a lot of water based markers I’ve tried. They have earned a place on my pen hanger along with my fineliners and metallic gel pens.
Princeton Snap! Series 9650 Golden Synthetic Brush, Filbert
Contents: 1 Filber Brush, random size
Suggested Retail Price for Size Range: $4.49 – $8.99 USD
My box included size 8: $6.99 USD | $9.30 CAD | £5.61
” Oh, snap! The Princeton Snap! Series 9650 Golden Synthetic Brush is fun and functional. Ideal for watercolor and acrylic, this versatile brush has taklon bristles that snap back into place and retain their shape, use after use. We’ve included a filbert shape in your box, which is great for blending.”
At first I thought it was weird and a little deceptive that they gave a price range, but then I looked closer at instagram photos of this box, and some people did get different sizes. I’ve only seen 2 sizes so far, 4 and 8, but since these are in the wrap I don’t think the sizes were separated by box type. I got an 8. I do love Princeton brushes, and I like Filberts, so I’m very happy with these. According to Blick, the suggested retail price for the Filbert 8 in particular is $6.99 USD. As the product line implies, taklon bristles “snap” back into place every time, and I’ve found these brushes clean very easily. I’ve used it with several different types of paints and ink since opening this box, and so far it hasn’t stained.
Marvy Uchida LePen Flex
Box Contents: 1 pen
Suggested Retail Price: $1.99 USD | $2.65 CAD | £1.60
” The Marvy Uchida LePen Flex is très chic! Featuring a sleek barrel and durable brush tip, this pen will become a fast favourite. It lends the user complete control, so each pen stroke appears exactly as expected. You’ll be impressed by the vividness of its water-based dye ink!”
I do love this pen, and I’m not surprised, since I love my Marvy Uchida fineliners. I wasn’t aware that LePen was made by this company, but that’s exciting. Even though it’s a Japanese brand, not a Chinese brand, so far I’ve had good luck getting legitimate Marvy Uchida products on Wish and AliExpress, so that gives me hope for LePen branded items on those sites as well. This pen is very water soluble, and I took advantage of that. As a dye-based ink rather than pigment, it won’t be lightfast, so this is not archival. I love the colour and the pen itself is very fancy looking. My only complaint is that the colour name is only on the barcode sticker, so I have to choose between leaving the sticker on the pen or forgetting what the colour name is. Oriental blue, by the way.
Daler-Rowney Aquafine Watercolour Ink
Box Contents: 1 jar with dropper
Suggested Retail Price: $7.99 USD | $10.63 CAD | £6.41
“Summer may be winding down, but Daler-Rowney Aquafine Watercolour Ink will keep your days bright! This pigmented, water-soluble ink is extremely versatile – use it directly out of the bottle, or dilute with water. Thanks to its high degree of lightfastness, the saturated colour will resist fading over time.”
The bottle I got it in Portrait Pink. I own a couple bottles of Daler-Rowney FW Acrylic Ink, which are still going strong over a decade after purchase, and I have some Daler-Rowney Aquafine pans, so I was very interested to try out the Aquafine ink. I’ll probably get a lot of use out of this in portraits, to be honest, since I find it hard to mix skin tones consistently, so using this as a base and possibly diluting or tinting it as needed will be so much easier. I noticed the pigment wants to separate out quickly, though, so it definitely has to be stirred up again if you leave it on the palette for any amount of time.
[Plus] Marvy Uchida Water Brush, Large Tip
Box Contents: 1 water brush pen (Plus subscriptions only)
Suggested Retail Price: $4.09 USD | $5.44 CAD | £3.28
“Paint anywhere, anytime with the Marvy Uchida Water Brush. By softly squeezing the brush’s body, you can control how much water is released directly through the synthetic brush tip. Try blending your new watercolour ink to create natural, smooth gradients of colour. Simply fill the barrel with water and give it a light squeeze to get the liquid flowing.”
This is a pretty standard water brush pen, and unlike some of the Asian brand versions, the screw cap is threaded standard for North America, so “righty tighty, lefty loosey” won’t lead you astray. I make that note because every waterbrush pen I’ve ever got from Wish or AliExpress, and the one that came in my Sakura Koi travel palette, turn “opposite” from what I’m used to. Comparing it to regular watercolour paint brushes, it’s about the same as my Winsor & Newton round brushes in size 6.
[Plus] Canson Plein Air Mixed Media Artboards, 8″ x 10″
Box Contents: 1x 8″x10″ glued pad, 10 boards (Plus subscriptions only)
Suggested Retail Price: $18.50 USD | $24.62 CAD | £14.84
“New to ArtSnacks! Whether you’re creating a masterpiece outside or in your studio, Canson Plein Air Mixed Media Artboards are the perfect companion for all artists. In this pad, you’ll find ten rigid artboards glued in place with a useful fold over cover. The textured surface works well for both dry and wet media, so it’ll handle your new pens and ink with ease.”
I think the word choice in there talking about the “texture” of the paper is deceiving, because they aren’t overly textured. It isn’t cardstock, but it’s also not a coldpress watercolour paper either. Mine came with damage to one corner, and that is on all 10 sheets, so that’s unfortunate. If I had purchased this pad from an art store, I’d be looking to exchange it. If you’re leaving a bit of a border for matting and framing, it’s fine, but since this is a thick board on its own you might not want to mat it, in which case the dinged corner would show. This is sheets of paper glued down onto acid-free board, so there’s no choice in sides. The back side is printed with the Canson logo. The glue strip that holds these sheets into the pad is so thick I had to cut it the sheet out, and then trim some excess glue off the edge. So good on one hand because it’s not going to come loose prematurely, but bad because it’s annoying and you actually need a tool to remove it. Heating the glue would probably work too, but then you would loosen all the sheets. I noticed as I was using this board that it always looked like it wasn’t handling the wet media well at all as it went down, but then when it all dried it looks perfect.
Total Box Contents Value
(Based on suggested retail prices from the included menu cards, and in the case of the exact size Filbert brush, dickblick.com)
Regular Box: $30.55 USD | $40.64 CAD | £24.52
Plus Box: $53.14 USD | $70.70 CAD | £42.64
ArtSnacks Subscription & Shipping Cost
Regular Box, Monthly: $24 USD in USA, $34 USD international (shipping included)
Regular Box, 6-Months Pre-Paid: $22 USD in USA, $32 USD international (shipping included)
Regular Box, 12-Months Pre-Paid: $20 USD in USA, $30 USD international (shipping included)
Plus Box, Monthly: $39 USD plus shipping ($10 shipping international, unknown domestic)
Subscriber “Savings” Calculations
Monthly USA Regular: $30.55 – $24 = $6.55 USD
Monthly USA Plus: $53.14 – $39 = $14.14 USD (minus domestic shipping)
Monthly Canada Regular: $40.64 – ($34 USD = $45.24 CAD) = $-4.60
Monthly Canada Plus: $70.70 – ($49 USD = $65.19 CAD) = $4.78 CAD
Monthly UK Regular: £24.52 – ($34 USD = £27.27) = £-2.75
Monthly UK Plus: £42.64 – ($49 USD = £39.30) = £3.34
6-Months USA Regular: $30.55 – $22 = $8.55 USD
6-Months Canada Regular: $40.64 – ($32 USD = $42.58 CAD) = $-1.94 CAD (loss)
6-Months UK Regular: £24.52 – ($32 USD = £25.67) = £-1.15 (loss)
12-Months USA Regular: $30.55 – $20 = $10.55 USD
12-Months Canada Regular: $40.64 – ($30 USD = $39.91 CAD) = $0.73 CAD
12-Months UK Regular: £24.52 – ($30 USD = £24.07) = £0.45
Customers outside the USA need to pre-pay 12 months at a time to get any “savings” with the regular box, but saw a savings on month-to-month with Plus. Is Plus worth it? If you have the cash, YES!