The May ArtSnacks subscription box was my turn to review a box since Tina is traveling the Italian countryside. This box was probably a bit more to my taste than hers anyway so it probably all worked out. Acrylic paint isn’t exactly urban sketch-friendly.
This month featured a tube of Liquitex heavy body acrylic paint in Muted Pink. I fell in love with the limited edition inks that Liquitex did last year in the muted colors so I can see why they decided to try the formula with their acrylic paints.
I’m more inclined to mix colors with paints and I like fluid acrylics better than heavy body, especially for everyday use but I can see the appeal. And it’s pretty easy to thin these heavy body paints down with water or mediums into a thinner glaze for more mileage. Besides, the tube fits into the classic ArtSnacks box a lot easier than a Liquitex liquid acrylic bottle. I got the color Muted Pink which is very “dried blood” color or if you are more inclined “brick red”.
Also in the box were these wax-based watercolor crayons from Marabu. They are creamy with the consistency of lipstick. They can be blended with your fingers or with water. They are not as water-soluble as higher end Caran d’Ache Neocolor II crayons but the twist-up plastic housing, cap and rubber grip make them considerably more travel-friendly and comfortable.
What I didn’t know is that the Marabu watercolor crayons are remarkable similar to the Faber-Castell Gelato crayons. I’ve never used the Gelatos but these come in tubes that look just like lip balm and behave very similarly. According to artist and Art Supply Posse pal Kathy Weller (YouTube video review and comparison), the Gelatos and Marabu crayons work well together so if you already use Gelatos, the Marabu crayons are a great add-on.
I received a turquoise and light grey color. The light grey is slightly more opaque than the turquoise. It took me awhile to figure out what to do with these since I tend to work pretty small and they are pretty blunt. While the colors I received were not the most vivid there are some other much brighter colors.
Then there’s The Masters Brush Cleaner in a little mini container. EVERYONE should one of these. Make that TWELVE of these. Think of them like lip balm. They should be wherever you keep a paintbrush. I keep a big tub on my bathroom sink. That’s how I don’t contaminate all those ink samples? And those white taklon brushes, like the one that shipped in this subscription box? The minute it touched the Muted Pink paint is was stained but a couple of swooshes in Master’s brush cleaner and it was white again.
I’ve gotten hardened glue off brushes before and hardened acrylic paint! I don’t know what sort of witchcraft General’s employs in this cake of lemony-scented goodness but my brushes are soft and clean after a few swirls and soaks.
The only thing I was a bit disappointed about was the paint brush included. I know ArtSnacks wants the kit to create a complete package so that someone can use the materials included — if they send paint, you get a brush so you can start painting. And I know that each box gets a random brush from the company’s array from a particular line — some people got rounds, some got flats, some got blenders, etc. I got a little tiny, wispy brush which could neither support the acrylic paint nor load enough water to move the crayon. I’m sure I was the odd person out.
Last month, with the M. Graham watercolors I got a ginormous 3/4″ house painting brush. Everyone needs these brushes on the ends of the spectrum but since these boxes are often introducing folks new to the brands or to these products, these extremes are probably not the best options to get started with. And not everyone attempts to do the ArtSnacks challenges either.
So, on that note, here is what we made using the contents of the box (plus a few extras):
I decided to use the materials to make collages. I added in other papers, painted papers with the Marabu crayons and acrylic and applied everything into my sketchbook. Additional art materials: glue stick, Plumchester 1.5 pen, 0.5 Sakura Pigma Micron.
Another collage. Had some slight transfer of the Marabu crayon in the adhesive process. Additional materials: White gel pen, Sakura Pigma Micron
Bob got into the challenge as well and tried the Liquitex acrylic paint and Marabu watercolor crayons on black paper to see how opaque they were. The turquoise ended up looking a lot more green on the black and the grey looks almost white.