Here are some great gift ideas for the art lover in your life – just as the holiday season approaches. I posted something similar a couple of seasons ago, but this updated list includes new finds and changes due to suppliers and technology. These are my recommended gift art supplies for the budding artist!
Art supplies make a perfect gift–because it is the gift of an experience–something that will reward the receiver for much longer than just the holiday season. They are the tools that give the art lover in your life a learned skill that lasts. On that note, here are some of my most coveted supplies with links to easy online suppliers at a good price. Happy shopping!
For the Up and Coming Digital Artist
Iskn, the Slate: For those, like me, who can’t give up a pencil and paper that feels earthly/like tree pulp, the Slate allows you to draw or paint with any material and translate it into digital copy. http://www.iskn.co/
For the Artist with a Sore Neck
Daler-Rowney Art Sphere Easel: A great table top easel that I’ve found to be sturdy and flexible – a tough combination to find. It can be positioned in so many ways – and relieves you from craning your neck too much. This is an inexpensive solution to neck and back pain while drawing.
For the Pencil Artist
Stonehenge Paper: Buy it in various drawing pad sizes, or by the sheet, and tear it down to the right size. Stonehenge is a luscious cotton printmaker’s paper that is great for wet and dry mediums. It is my go-to paper for all of my artwork. Various prices. Worth the extra expense for purposeful projects.
X-Acto Manual Pencil Sharpener: This is the only pencil sharpener I use when making my own artwork. The blades stay sharp and create the finest point on a pencil I’ve ever seen. Unlike electric pencil sharpeners, you have more control, can see the point while you are sharpening the pencil. The best part is you can open the device to remove broken leads that get jammed in the sharpener- which is common when using soft artist pencils. I love you, X-Acto, for making this sharpener! About $14. Worth every penny!
Tombow Mono Zero 2.3 mm Round Eraser: If you can’t purchase any more Tuff Stuff Erasers at your local store (online retailers have them priced at $27 a piece!), order the best replacement eraser you’ll ever need- the Tombow Mono Zero 2.3mm Round Eraser. You may also wish to purchase the larger rectangular one, especially if you’re erasing a lot or with harder pressure (ie. especially for kids). And get a few refills while you’re at it as they won’t last long.
Caran d’Ache Colored Pencils and Watercolor Pencils: Caran d’Ache are tip top of the line for colored pencils. Soft and creamy, and high quality- they will set you back, and, because of this, maybe aren’t recommended for kids. But if you’re serious about color work, treat yourself! These pencils run about $3-5 per pencil but you can often get sales from online suppliers which are worth seeking out.
Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils: Prismalcolor are a great quality for the price, and I’d recommend them for both kids and adults who aren’t yet certain whether they want to pursue work in color. The problem with the low quality colored pencil sets you can buy at the grocery store and the ones marketed for kids at craft stores, is the colors are hard and don’t layer well. Also, the wood and colored center will often break when sharpening. You really do get what you pay for in a pencil. Spend a little extra and save yourself a lot of irritation. I advise that you buy the Premier or Softcore Prismacolors which are soft and easy to layer, instead of the Verithin Prismacolors which are hard and as the name states, very thin. Prismacolors run about $1 per pencil.
Prismacolor Color Blenders: Purchase a couple of these when you buy your colored pencils. Colorless blenders have the wax and binders of colored pencils without the pigment. Blenders help to blend colors and burnish your colors when drawing. They are sometimes hard to find in town, so if you’re already paying for shipping for a bigger purchase, add a few of these to your order. About $1 per pencil.
For the Watercolor Artist
Watercolor Travel Set: A small, inexpensive travel pan of watercolors is a great way to begin. Why not buy Crayola watercolors for your kids? Because for just a little more, you can get a professional grade paint for more years of memories.
Hot Press Watercolor Paper: Hot vs cold press paper can be confusing – hot is not made for keeping you warm over the winter! Cold = textured; Hot = smooth. If you’re delving into watercolors, purchase some hot press paper to start with- you’ll love it.