Wondering what art supplies to gift for the Holidays in 2020? 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. It will reward the receiver for much longer than just the holiday season. On that note, here are some of my most coveted supplies with links to easy online suppliers at a good price. I’ve recently become an Affiliate of Amazon, so with these links, I might earn a few cents per sale.
For the Quarantined Artist
The good thing about a splurge like this in 2020 is that it will do double duty with your work-from-home and school-from-home days, however long they last. I’d get the new iPad Air with Apple Pen and these drawing/painting & note-taking apps: Ibis Paint X and GoodNotes 5. Really fun things can be done with these tools to aid in studying for any highschool/college student. I even think some of my middle school students would be up for studying this way – check out this inspiring college student!
Crafts for our Crafter Zooms (great for kids ages 8-14, I host them 1 x a month on Fridays for a little social/creative time together):
Self-Healing Mat & Xacto Knife (& replacement blades): This will be handy for some collage, watercolor, colored pencil projects I have planned for my crafters in the Spring. The replacement blades are essential, as a dull blade is more dangerous than a sharp one!
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 – think of it like hot has been ironed so it’s smoother. Cold = textured; Hot = smooth. If you’re delving into watercolors, purchase some hot press paper to start with- you’ll love it.
Paint Brush Set: It is really challenging to paint everything well with one size of brush. Do yourself a favor and buy a variety pack of good brushes. I don’t buy the MOST expensive brushes, because they get ruined so easily, but a range of teeny to medium and a mix of flat and round brushes will take you much farther than that one brush that came with your paint set! I like this creative mark set, because their mini brushes have done well for me over the years.
For the Artist with a Sore Neck trying to Work/School from Home:
I’ve really enjoyed this table easel, the Martin Pro Draft this year, even while working from home. A great tabletop 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! At about $6, you can’t get a cheaper, better tool!
Mitsubishi Hi-Uni Pencil Set: By far my favorite pencils for their fine quality and values that are not too hard or too soft in comparison to other brands.
Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils: Prismalcolor are 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 marketed for kids is the colors are hard and don’t layer well. Also, the wood and colored center will often break when sharpening because it is cheap wood and poorly formulated pigments. 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. About $2 per pencil.
Here’s hoping you’ll have more drawing and arts in your new year.