Scrawlrbox #16 Review

January’s box is my third and completes my 3 month subscription. I loved every box so I’ll definitely get more in future. This month the featured artist is Gemma Stylz and the challenge theme was “Nature’s Eye”. The art print is beautiful up on the shelf above my desk.

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Scrawlrbox #15 review

Contents of Scrawlrbox December 2016
Contents of Scrawlrbox December 2016
Scrawlrbox December 2016 full contents.



My second box arrived in December, and it was packed with goodies.  December’s featured artist is Rebecca Loechler and the challenge is to design a colouring page. If you’re not familiar with adult colouring books, Scrawlrbox has you covered with a beautiful A6 colouring book and a colouring sheet designed by Rebecca Loechler herself.

I’ve had a lot of fun this month doodling different sea creatures and using my new light box to fill  two different pages and ink up some colouring pages.

Again I’ve included Amazon links to the included goodies if you want to grab any right away. Note these include affiliate links to help cover my site costs/art supplies stash.

Box contents:

  • 8 pack of Spectrum Noir Colorista pencils
  • 2 Spectrum Noir Colorista markers (canary and nectarine)
  • 1 Sakura Identi Pen (black)
  • 1 Spectrum Noir Sparkle Pen
  • 1 Spectrum Noir Colorista A6 Marker Pad
  • Spectrum Noir tips & tutorials CD-Rom
  • 1 colouring sheet
  • 2 blank sheets of paper
  • Sweetie! – Werther’s Original.. yum!


Spectrum Noir Colorista A6 Marker Pad –
(Exquisite Florals Taster Pad)

This little pad is a great testing ground for playing with different markers. The paper is sturdy and a delight to work on. You get a blank page to put between pages to prevent bleed. Some sheets are outlined with metallic gold, silver and other glittery colours. I used the first page to test the canary and nectarine markers with some other pens in my stash (see below).

You could easily use the completed pages as front covers for handmade notebooks. I’m planning on having the snazziest sketchbooks this year!

Flower illustration colouring book page, uncoloured
Spectrum Noir colouring book – sample page


Spectrum Noir Colorista pencils –

I love the colours in this set – they’re bright and pigmented enough to add a real fun pop of colour to your work, versatile for sketching in the garden too. The selection of colours is spot on. They blend nicely and seem well pigmented. I’m already using these to do little sketches and colour illustrations.

Spectrum Noir Colorista markers (canary and nectarine) –

These pens have alcohol based ink and dual tips. Both are bullet shaped, one fine end and one ultra fine. The ink seems well pigmented and I can blend the colours and layer over to add subtle shading. The Colorista pens are a bit chunky but still comfortable to hold and use. The caps can be a wee bit fiddly.

Coloured in page with flowers and leaves
Spectrum Noir colouring book – the orange and yellow inks here were the pens included with this month’s Scrawlrbox. Love that gold outline!

Spectrum Noir Sparkle Pen –

I love this pen!  The ink is colourless with glitter so you can add a shimmer to any colour you have already. It’s very similar to a water brush – you have a synthetic brush tip attached to a reservoir. You squeeze the reservoir gently to get more ink flowing down. I tried mine over some pen ink and coloured pencils. A bit of colour can lift onto the bristles but I put a few drops of water on my palette and used it to clean the pen. That left me with some glitter water that I could re-use for a more subtle sparkle. I have a lot of experimenting planned for this pen!

There are some tutorials over on the Spectrum Noir website to help you get the best out of the sparkle pens.

Sakura Identi Pen –

This is a handy little black pen intended for ID marking things, but it comes with two handy tips and contains waterproof archival quality ink. The 0.4mm extra fine tip is sturdy and capable of some sharp fine lines, the fine 1mm bullet end gave me a nice range of line widths when I held it at an angle. Being compact, with waterproof ink and the range of line widths, I’m thinking this would work well in a portable sketching kit. I used it for some inking to do this month’s challenge making my own colouring page.

Ink illustrations of sea creatures for colouring in
Top sheets are the original inked sea creature illustrations that I did for this month’s challenge. These were scanned and I tidied a couple of errors before printing them out at A5 size for colouring (bottom right).



Scrawlrbox #14 Review

Contents of the November 2016 Scrawlrbox.

Scrawlrbox is a monthly subscription of art materials. November’s box is my first. I’ve included links so you can buy any of the pens you’re interested in. Note: this post contains some affiliate links to help pay for more pens my web hosting.

November’s featured artist is Emma from Black Chalk Collective. The theme is brush and the box is themed around hand lettering. I love calligraphy and hand lettering, but I’ve never fancied brush pen script for some reason. I haven’t fallen in love with it since getting this box, but these pens are all versatile enough for other lettering styles and different art projects, so I’m delighted with them.

Inside the box were:

  • 3 Artline Stix brush pens (black, purple and blue)
  • 1 Artline Stix colouring marker (grey)
  • 2 Ecoline brush pens (turquoise and blue violet)
  • 1 Edding 1200 Metallic Colourpen (74 green)
  • 1 Crayola broad tip marker (blue)
  • 2 sheets of lined practice paper
  • 1 sweetie – a whistle 🙂
  • a PDF file sent by email with guides and lower case letters to practice


Artline Stix brush pens –
Artline Stix colouring marker –

The Artline Stix pens are triangular shaped brush pens with a lego-style texture that allows you to stick them together.

I found the Stix tips firmer than the Ecolines, but as a brush lettering newbie this felt easier to control.

The Stix colours were quite saturated and consistent, though the black wasn’t a truly jet black on the page. This may or may not bother you as these pens can create a gradient/ombre effect, giving your black letters some shading too. These pens can bleed through thin paper but they’re fine on sturdier papers. There are 20 colours available.

The colouring marker pen has a bullet-shaped tip. It doesn’t respond to pressure like the brush pens and delivers uniform width strokes. The grey is quite dark but useful for shading in sketches with black ink or adding a drop shadow to some lettering.


Ecoline Brush Pens –

The Ecoline brush pens are a wider round pen with a brush pen tip. I believe they use the same Ecoline ink that Talens sell separately. The pens come in 29 colours and the ink is transparent. Their ink isn’t waterproof so you can continue work on a piece later.

The tips on the Ecoline pens are nice and flexible and the colour seems to flow really well. I find them a bit harder to control because they are so responsive, but they’ll give you really expressive strokes with some practice.

I doodled on watercolour paper and used one of my water brushes to introduce water to the ink and vice versa. I made a teeny puddle of water and touched it with a pen a few times and the ink just danced around.  A drop of water on the pen diluted the colour long enough to attempt a graduated wash of sorts. I can use a water brush to soften edges and lift the ink out a bit too. With practice these pens are really versatile.


Edding 1200 Metallic Colourpen –

The Edding 1200 has a bullet tip so it won’t respond to pressure, however the stroke does vary from 0.5 – 1mm and a bit wider if you tilt the pen. You don’t need to shake or pump the tip to get the ink flowing. These pens seem ideal for adding accents to artwork or writing cards and gift tags/labels. The line width is really easy to control and write letters with. It doesn’t soak through thinner paper either.

The colour varies depending on the paper you use it on. On my creamy cheap watercolour paper it came out almost like a metallic mossy green. On pure white paper it’s brighter, but I preferred it on black paper. The ink dries quickly even on shiny paper.  There are 6 metallic colours and the 1200 also comes in 24 normal colours for use on light coloured paper.


Crayola Broad Tip Marker –

The line width of these pens varies depending on what bit of the tip you use. The point delivers finer lines, tilted you get a really chunky stroke with a lot of character. I love how it can sometimes break up and give you that rough wild texture. These are also cheap and readily available.

To create hand lettering script you’ll need to practice tilting the pen to control your thick and thin strokes. They don’t respond to pressure like a brush pen. The Crayola markers make a fun alternative to more expensive art pens, especially if you want to digitise strokes for graphics software or customise your pens by cutting into the tip for some extra texture effects.