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Artists tend to be enigmatic, if not strange, people. They are the colorful, the outlandish, the adventurous, and the vexing ones among us, and if you’ve got an artist friend, sibling, parent or relation, chances are you’re here because you just can’t figure out what to buy them! Whether you’re looking for a holiday gift, a stocking stuffer, a birthday present or a casual something to show them you’re thinking of them, this is the gift guide for you. We’ve scoured the internet, wracked our brains, and come away with what we think is a list of gift ideas perfect for the creative people in your life. These are our top 30 best gifts for artists!
By Cal Bannerman • Published Jan 2 2023
When we think of an artist, we tend to think of a painter. Now, whilst there are a seemingly infinite number of artistic mediums you can work in, we think painting is a pretty good place to start. Cass Art are renowned for their top-quality art supplies, and this Sennelier watercolor set is no exception. The 24 Artists’ Extra Fine Half Pan Watercolors are all made in France using the traditional method, and are here accompanied by a porcelain mixing palette and two watercolor brushes. This is the perfect gift for any aspiring Van Gogh!
If there's one thing a writer always needs, it's more notebooks. Whilst we may live in the digital age of laptops and tablets, there's nothing quite like filling a journal full to the brim of ideas, stories, illustrations, doodles, and all of the wonderful things which occupy an artist's mind. This blue journal and metal ballpoint pen gift set is one of those creative gifts that will benefit any artistic loved one, and help them get their creative juices flowing!
Arguably the most popular medium for the artist today is the podcast. Podcasting - like a regular radio show recorded for posterity - has taken the world by storm in recent years, covering just about every conceivable field: from storytelling and drama, to history, education, and gossip. But a budding podcaster needs a decent "plug-in-and-play" microphone before they can begin recording themselves (and friends). The Blue Yeti USB Mic from Amazon is a high-quality, yet budget-friendly mic that will sound great recording in just about any environment. A thoughtful and unique gift for anyone keen to record vocals.
Art comes in many shapes and sizes. Sometimes it's clear that your kid can produce works of art quite naturally - through everyday means, such as drawing, singing, or writing. Other times, you can't know until they come into contact with the right tools, such as the right musical instrument! This Classic Cantabile acoustic guitar is a budget-friendly instrument to start any aspiring Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell or Poison Ivy off on their way to rock'n'roll stardom! It also has a pickup, meaning it can be plugged into an amp for extra oomph.
The thing about painting is, that whilst some of the all-time greats never made a cent in their lifetimes, it is an expensive hobby (or vocation) to have. On top of the paints, the brushes, the time and the canvas, you also need appropriate paper to paint on. Regular old paper just won't do for watercolor paints, which is why this pad of watercolor paper from Bienfang makes a truly, if surprisingly, great gift for any painter.
If you're looking for a Christmas gift for your artist friend, then we think you might just be onto a winner with this art book from the Paint-doku series. The artistic mind can be a frenzy of creative energy, but it tends to like a challenge too. Paint-doku presents a sudoku-esque puzzle of blank rectangles on each page which, once solved, requires you color-in the rectangles in a specific order and pattern, eventually revealing a charming painted picture with each solution. It's guaranteed to keep a young artistic mind occupied this festive season.
Cass Art have knocked it out of the park once again with this simple-yet-effective wallet set of 10 paintbrushes. These paintbrushes have been designed to be great all-rounders; in other words, they can be used to paint in just about any medium, from oil and watercolor paint, to acrylic paint, gouache and gel. It's one of those art gifts like the journal set above - you'll find that painters will never turn down a high-quality fresh set of brushes! Even if you think they may already have plenty, if you're stuck for what to get them, go with these.
Whether it's doodling, painting, sketching, illustrating, or drawing up plans for world domination (who knows?), a proper hardcover spiral-bound sketchbook is an absolute necessity in every artist's toolkit. It may not be the most glamorous or expensive of gifts, but it's a great gift nonetheless. Thick and acid-free 100gsm paper means they can sketch with their pastels, pencils, chalk or graphite and experience no bleed-through from page-to-page.
From taking creativity on the go with them (see above), to keeping it firmly grounded in the studio - when you picture a famous painter like Dali, Van Gogh, or Frida Kahlo, you almost certainly picture them standing by a canvas, mounted on their favorite easel. An easel is an expensive thing for most budding painter's to fork out for, which is why it makes such a perfect gift for a loved one. This particular easel from Daler-Rowney is made from fine oiled beechwood, is light yet sturdy (so as to aid portability), and readily adjustable to take canvases up to 127cm (50”) at a range of heights and angles.
Let us not forget that some of the most stunning and daring art ever made is worn not upon a canvas, but upon the human body! Fashion is a realm for truly forward-thinking artistic geniuses, and the world of the runway is much more than just swimsuits and wedding dresses; it's a place for beauty to thrive. Bob Mackie is one of the world's most legendary fashion designers, and this stunning new art book takes us on a tour of his art. Perfect for anyone curious about fashion.
And speaking of fashion... No aspiring fashionista, model, nor designer can rise to the heights of someone like Bob Mackie (see above) without first mastering the basics of sewing with a machine, and/or with needle and thread. However, learning the basics on your own is next to impossible. Craftsy offers a range of free and premium online courses for aspiring artists, including this affordable Practical Sewing Tips & Techniques tutorial. An unconventional and unique gift for an artist friend, this is one of those art gifts which shows you've put the time and effort into thinking of something they could really put to good use.
We all need some inspiration from time to time, regardless of whether we're artists, office workers, farmers, lawyers, doctors, or laborers. But, arguably it's the artists who need inspiration of a higher calibre in order to survive on their art. Jean-Michel Basquiat was an icon of the New York street scene in the 1980s, and rose to the heights of fame in the art world before his untimely death at the age of 28. This beautiful Taschen art book documents his life and work, and is ripe to give any artist in your life a healthy dose of inspiration. You never know, Basquiat may just become your loved one's favorite artist after reading this!
Bob Ross has become, in the age of memes and YouTube, something of a mythical creature. Rising to fame in the late '80s and '90s with his follow-along-at-home painting tutorial TV show 'The Joy of Painting'. He is remembered for his softly spoken voice, his impressively quick painting skills, and his love for all things nature and natural. This Bob Ross Funko Pop! figure from Amazon would sit well on the desk, shelf, or bedside table of any painter. He is, after all, an icon of art history!
Since the dawn of time painters have used old coffee cans, soup tins, and cups to hold their brushes, and since the dawn of time the same painters have struggled with how quickly their paintbrushes seem to warp out of shape. The Masterson Sta-New Brush Holder has been designed to combat all of those issues. By holding (up to 10) brushes upside down over a drip-tray, the Masterson ensures that they dry in the most natural way, whilst retaining their all-important shape and fidelity. Dispense with the coffee pot, embrace the brush holder of the gods!
Not only will this beautiful little enamel pin badge teach any budding artist about the relationships between the different colors (naturally crucial to their progression as an artist), but it also just looks cool! This enamel color wheel pin from Etsy is a pretty cheap and affordable way to show your creative loved one that you're proud of their passion, and that they should be, too!
Frida Kahlo de Rivera led an incredible, tragic, inspiring life, producing some of the world's most recognisable and uplifting, yet challenging art. For better or worse, her countenance has become something of a commodity in recent years, catching the attention of generation after generation of aspiring artists, feminists, writers and more. This gorgeous two-tone coffee mug from Zazzle can be made to order with the white/Frida print exterior, and color of your choosing for the interior (though we think it works especially well in pink). A unique gift and a perfect present for artists in need of caffeine!
The light box has been an absolutely fundamental part of tattooing, animation, illustration and architecture since its invention many decades ago. A light box allows an artist to place multiple images on top of each other and see them all at once so as to trace them or draw over them. Problem is: most lightboxes tend to be bulky, heavy-weight things powered by an actual light bulb, and for that reason largely immovable. This LED light box from Amazon is light as a feather, available in multiple sizes, chargeable via USB, and can even be adjusted for brightness. What's more, it's cheap, too! This drawing tablet can be laid flat or tilted up for maximum work efficiency.
Printed with a bright, attractive orange Alta design, this UK-made wooden pencil case from Etsy actually comes stocked with 12 light-wood coloring pencils. Of course, your artist friend or loved one can elect to keep just about whatever they like inside this case. No artist should be without a stylish pencil case, ensuring that they never lose their sharpeners, rubbers, pencils and pens, so integral to planning out their next masterpiece!
Polaroid cameras have been a cultural icon since the 1950s, and still hold much weight today. With so many of our photograph memories stored away in folders on smartphones which we simply never look at, taking a physical, instantly-printed picture is more special now than ever. Aspiring filmmakers, photographers, fashion designers and artists of all sorts can feed their inner creative with this Polaroid Now starter set, featuring the latest and coolest Polaroid camera and three packs of color, and black & white film.
Calligraphy is the art of writing in stylish, elegant form, but it takes time to learn, and even longer to master. What's more, you need quite specific tools in order to write in calligraphy. This gift set contains everything the artist in your life could possibly need in order to begin their journey toward expertise in this most ancient, most alluring of art forms. A nice mid-budget gift for the letter-writer, the poet, the creative business person.
These days, more and more people are striking out on their own to set themselves up as freelancer artists; or simply spending more time focusing on the creativity that makes their life all the more fulfilling. That means more people are starting up their own podcasts, pursuing their dreams of being a world-famous singer-songwriter, or launching a Twitch or YouTube livestreaming channel. In order to make their dreams come true, their going to need some high-quality acoustic sound foam panels, like these ones from Amazon, to make their recorded sound as crisp and rounded as possible.
This Caran D'ache Graphite Line Satin black gift box set truly offers some of the highest-quality graphite pencils and blocks money can buy - the perfect addition to any art kit. Due to the multifarious shades of graphite pencils available in this set, as well as the blender and graphite blocks, the illustrator you're shopping for will be able to exact the same sort of finely-detailed, shadow-focused art that graphite drawing is renowned for. Contained within a satin-lined gift box, it's a set of drawing pencils which they will come to cherish for the rest of their days.
What better motivation to work hard, be bold in your artistic endeavours, and stick with it even when the going gets tough, than a print copy of one of Vincent Van Gogh's most iconic scenes, for them to hang on their wall? Looking at "Café Terrace at Night" everyday is bound to deliver a daily dose of inspiration, whilst just generally making your loved one's home a more welcoming and attractive place to spend time. Made extremely affordable and available in different sizes, pair it with a frame for the ultimate present.
Many of the world's greatest writers have stated that the hardest (and often least enjoyable) part of the writing process is actually the 'writing' itself. Getting started writing something creative, be it poetry, fiction, or memoirs, can often be the hardest part of that so called 'hardest part'. Ideas are ten a penny, but knowing how to implement them into effective writing is much less common. This ingenious book available from Barnes & Noble delivers the writer in your life prompts every day for a year. It is book with which they can let their inner Shakespeare loose!
"An ambitious artistic inquiry conducted with unpretentious charm", Margaret Atwood's book on the art of writing, its pursuit, and those who pursue it will undoubtedly inspire and educate all those who seek to make art at the tip of a pen, or the push of a keyboard. Atwood is a Booker Prize winner for her fantastical fiction, and in this book doles out advice, wisdom, and "unpretentious charm". A great gift, and an inexpensive one, for any artist (whether they write or not).
Vivian Maier's story is remarkable. A professional nanny, she took over 100,000 photographs from the 1950s to 1990s - from France to New York City to Chicago - and yet showed the results to no-one. With no professional training, and no patronage, Maier nevertheless tirelessly pursued her passion, and left a lasting mark on the world. This art book collecting her best street photographs is proof to anyone that no matter your background, you can produce beauty.
Whether they're planning to take in a shirt, sew up a dress, hot glue some sequins onto a bodysuit, or make themselves the three-piece suit to end all three-piece suits, your artist friend and fashionista-magnefique is going to need some magnificent fabric to work with. That's exactly where Fabric.com comes in, giving you limitless choices of material, style, thickness and more so that you can make them up a little hamper of materials to work with. We particularly like this floral patterned roll, but ultimately the choice is up to you!
We started off this gift guide with a set of watercolor paints from Cass Art, and we edge toward its close with a set of acrylic paints from the same store. Winsor & Newton are famous for producing one of the leading ranges of acrylics available on the art market today, and this set is designed to contain a tight, well-orchestrated range of their boldest and best colors. If you're unsure whether the artist you have in mind prefers watercolors or acrylics, we suggest you go with this acrylic set, since acrylics tend to be easier to work with, and arguably more versatile.
In that image in your head of the famous painter stood before their canvas and easel, with paintbrushes and paints to one side, what else is there? What are they holding? They're holding one of these! A palette which painters use in order to mix standard RGB colors into colors of their own creation. Without a palette, a painter is constricted to only the colors available straight out of the tube. Allow them to unlock their full potential with this very affordable kidney-shaped wooden palette from Cass Art.
Let's round off this list with a real cracker of a gift. Sometimes, paintings just don't go to plan. Sometimes, neither do poems, photography sessions, dance classes, podcast recordings, illustrations, animations, you name it. And for those times when an artist's world feels perhaps a little hopeless, what could be better than some tasty chocolate to soothe the soul? This edible chocolate artist's palette from Etsy is a charmingly sweet way to tell the artist in your life that you love them and that, sometimes, they should put their feet up and enjoy something simply delicious.