SketchBox June 2023

It was a surprise when the June Sketchbox arrived on the 2nd, because the previous two boxes had arrived in the middle of the month. I don’t know if it was due to the Sketchbox organisers sending the international subscriber’s boxes out early or the couriers being extra efficient, but I was certainly delighted to receive it around the same time as other subscribers.

The only down side was that I’d just opened the January one and was still testing out it’s contents, so I waited a week before opening the June box. Initially the box seemed similar to the January one in that they both contained brightly coloured ink, but that’s the only way they were alike. June’s box contained reactive inks.

Unlike the permanent Inktense inks, the Hero Arts inks are meant to rewet, mingle, bloom and bleed. And they certainly do. The sampler I made didn’t hint at how much more reactive they could be.

The behaved themselves in the first artwork – leaving a gap between the background and the objects was a design decision that turned out to have an extra benefit.

It was only when I painted these marbles that I experienced some dramatic bleeding when one colour met another, even when the earlier colour had dried. Fortunately, the marbles were small and have no precise internal edges, so it didn’t matter.

I don’t see this volatility as a fault. It could be rather thrilling in the right situation. I know how it behaves now and can take advantage of that. Which is what I’m enjoying most about getting and exploring these subscription boxes.

The paper in this box is my favourite so far, because despite painting the entire sheet for the lorikeet artwork it stayed perfectly flat. Not the slightest buckle. I want more! The brush was excellent. I’d never normally consider outlining with a pink fine liner, but the Copic pen looks great. The white gel pen didn’t make a completely opaque line, but it was kind of cool how the colour underneath stained it. I used it four ways: as a correction fluid on the white surface, multiply coats to make white highlights, a single coat to lighten an area, and as a barrier layer to stop a new layer of colour bleeding into the one underneath.

I had subscribed to a three-month subscription, but since I’m having fun trying products that are new and/or new to me, I’ve let it tick over into another three month block. It’ll be interesting to see what comes in the next boxes – and if they’ll arrive at the start or the middle of the month.