Choosing gifts for colleagues, friends, and loved ones can be stressful. When choosing gifts for artists, selecting the perfect present can add to the anxiety.
But don’t worry. We’ve got you covered…
This article will offer ideas for the best gifts for artists and make you a champion at picking something meaningful for the favorite artist in your life.
If you pride yourself on giving great gifts, this article is for you!
- Fine Art Courses & Learning
- Tools and Art Supplies
- Inspiration & Books for Young Artists and Mature Ones Too
- How to Book: How to Draw by Scott Robertson
- How to Book: Color and Light by James Gurney
- How to Book: Figure Drawing by Anthony Ryder
- Idea Prompt Book: Making it Weird by Sam Ram
- Idea Prompt Book: Draw it With Your Eyes Closed
- Idea Dice
- Art Philosophy Book: Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
- Art Philosophy Book: Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland
- Philosophy Book: The Art Spirit by Robert Henri
- Fun & Mood Setting Gift Ideas for the Artist Friend
- Accessories & Apparel
- Points To Consider When Buying For An Artist
- How This List Can Help
Fine Art Courses & Learning
Even painters who have been at it for many years can hit a rut. Workshops, online courses, and video tutorials help painters pick up tricks and improve their painting skills. They also inspire and build support.
Some of the best gifts for artists you can give are lessons from experienced people who understand not only art but how people best learn about it.
Here are a few fine art companies that have designed excellent lessons and learning opportunities to benefit creatives of any level.
New Masters Academy
New Masters Academy has online courses on painting, drawing, sculpture, digital art, theory, and more, from some of the best artists around. There are plans, subscriptions, and levels to fit the needs of any artist. This would be a gift cherished by any artist. You can’t go wrong.
Domestika Gift Card
Domestika has courses on just about any kind of creative activity you can think of. With bundle options and gift card offerings, this is the ideal online course site for anyone who likes creating.
Tools and Art Supplies
Although most painters have a favorite paint brush brand, paints, mediums, and other essentials, they will use almost anything they are gifted.
The first things that come to mind might be acrylic paints, paint brushes, or other traditional gifts for artists. However, there are many more options for the creative person, professional artist, or their art studio.
The ideas for the best gifts for artists listed here are popular, trusted items with positive reviews. If you want to explore supplies independently, you might be interested in this helpful article.
Plein Air Easel
Painting “en plein air” is painting scenes outdoors, on-site, and usually in one sitting.
Plein air painters will need an easel to support their canvas or board while painting and a way to lay out their palette, brushes, paints, and cleaning supplies for quick, easy access, as the change in daylight can quickly alter the look of a scene.
The best gift I have received is my portable easel. This easel by T-Sign art supplies is lightweight, easy to set up, and even comes with its carrying case and handy shoulder strap.
This French easel is sturdier for the artist doing a lot of outdoor painting. With a drawer for keeping all the painting supplies at arm’s length, it’s well organized.
It is a little heavier than the previous one but can withstand wind and larger paintings and will be the perfect gift for the outdoorsy art lover.
All painters need a way to keep their supplies handy but organized in the art studio. Gifts for artists that keep them organized will bring value for years.
A taboret is a shelf or drawer system, usually on casters, for easy mobility. It has places to keep oil or acrylic paints, brushes, and other materials, as well as a place for a palette with wet paint.
This 3 Teir cart is affordable, lightweight, and comes with 3 roomy shelves and a peg board with baskets for extra storage.
Superior Paint: Michael Harding
Gifts for artists can be hard to pick as they tend to be particular about their materials, opting for the best they can afford. However, many are also very frugal.
Paint can be expensive, and many artists use brands whose quality level is acceptable for most works but splurge on supreme quality paint for special paintings.
Michael Harding is regarded as a top-tier paint by many artists and would be a great option for a painter whose brand preference you aren’t familiar with. This is sure to be the best gift they get!
Choosing standard colors like cadmium red or yellow, ultramarine blue, burnt sienna, or titanium white will fit most painters’ preferences.
Unusual Mediums: Gamblin Stand Oil
Most oil painters use a medium such as linseed oil. However, selecting something less traditional can be one of those gifts for artists that pushes them to try new techniques.
Wet Paint Brush Holder
This brush holder will attach to most easels or furniture, holds up to 8 brushes or tools, and is made of sturdy polymers.
An artist can never have too many places to rest their brushes!
If you feel you know the artist well enough to pick brushes for them, check out this article to find the ideal gift.
Quality art supplies will last longer if they are well taken care of. Regular dish soaps can dry the hairs of cheap and good brushes, especially natural-hair brushes. This hand and brush cleaner set is a great way to clean tools and skin safely and economically.
If you have never read or been taught about cleaning brushes, I recommend you learn how to clean brushes by reading this article.
Paint Tube Roller
When I first learned about this trick, it made my life as an artist more satisfying.
Since most artists are frugal, getting the last bit out of expensive materials makes for a proud painter. This toothpaste-tube squeezer will get almost every drop of paint out of most metal paint tubes quickly and easily. This is one of those gifts for artists they don’t know they need
Sealed Palette Holder
Whether painting with oils or acrylic paints, a big concern of painters is paint drying out before it can be used. If you don’t squeeze out enough, to begin with, it might deter you (or your gift recipient) from using as much paint as the area in the painting calls for.
Using a palette in a tub that seals tight, painters can preserve their paints longer, and special color mixtures don’t have to be replicated every time they start a new session. This might be one of the best gifts for artists ever.
Simple gift ideas that are inexpensive but have a big impact can bring an artist as much joy as expensive items.
A viewfinder allows the artist to experiment with different compositions of a scene to be painted.
This option has great features like the grid in the viewfinder and holes in the grayscale for easy comparison to whatever image you are trying to match.
For creatives that must transport their work, having a portfolio that can protect the work yet be easy to carry and load can make all the difference in convenience and peace of mind.
This Prat portfolio comes in 3 sizes, is made of lightweight nylon, and has several smaller pockets for other materials or documents.
Detailed paintings take a long time to complete, and more experienced artists have often completed several smaller-scale “studies” to work out potential issues. As a result, many painters want to speed up the drawing process on the canvas and get right to the painting part of the procedure.
One way to enlarge an image quickly and accurately onto the painting surface is to use a projector. Projectors can be inexpensive, or they can run into hundreds of dollars.
This AuKing projector is affordable, has great reviews, and can double as a projector that can share images and videos from your computer or smart devices. Gifts for artists like these can motivate painters to create!
Some creative people share their working process with others via social media and YouTube or Vimeo channels. It can be hard to capture quality video with good lighting and focus.
With a smartphone-friendly ring light equipped with a bracket for stability, artists can free their hands to do the work while capturing the whole thing on video.
Transfer paper can be useful for artists who aren’t tech-savvy or prefer to be more hands-on in copying their image to a canvas over a projector.
Like carbon-copy paper of older days, an image can be placed over the transfer paper taped to the canvas. The artist then traces the image, which causes the “graphite-like material” on the back of the transfer paper to show up on the canvas as a duplicate of the tracing.
Practical gifts for artists may not seem fun, but to artists, they bring immense joy.
Detailed paintings take a steady hand, especially in more photo-realistic works. When the artist’s hand gets tired, or the details are especially small, using a mahl stick to rest the hand on just above the painting surface affords the artist confidence to make precise marks.
This model can extend up to 30″ and has a rubber tip to keep from slipping on the surface.
Sketchbook Cover/Pencil Case Combo
The best gifts are those that keep giving. Beautiful and exceptionally crafted, this Robrasim case is stylish and functional. This thoughtful gift is a no-brainer for any artist as it keeps sketching supplies, including colored pencils, organized and at easy reach.
One of the biggest obstacles for creatives is having materials to capture ideas when inspiration strikes in the moment of a busy life. These pocket sketchbooks are great to keep in the car, purse, or back pocket, so no muse is lost.
This would also be the perfect gift for an art teacher to share with students.
Inspiration & Books for Young Artists and Mature Ones Too
Books are a great option as a gift for anyone, but they will be appreciated even more by the creative person in your life. Art books can serve as inspiration, educational tools to build drawing skills, and even a blank canvas for artists to fill with their creations.
If you’re an artist yourself and want some ideas for unique gifts for artists, this article might help stimulate your creativity.
How to Book: How to Draw by Scott Robertson
This book is a must for anyone wanting to draw realistically or who enjoys design drawings.
How to Book: Color and Light by James Gurney
This instructional book will be a favorite for those who want to learn the principles of capturing realistic light and colors to apply to images from the imagination. Whether you are learning traditionally or digitally, its a must for any artist.
How to Book: Figure Drawing by Anthony Ryder
Anthony Ryder thoroughly yet simply explains how to render the human form with insights and step-by-step instructions in this popular book.
Idea Prompt Book: Making it Weird by Sam Ram
Many books are geared towards new artists with cliche ideas for drawings and paintings. Seasoned artists sometimes find themselves in a rut and need ideas to break free of the slump, but need prompts that are more original.
With ideas prompts like “jewelry made of vegetables,” artists of any level will find inspiration from Making it Weird.
Idea Prompt Book: Draw it With Your Eyes Closed
One of my favorites, Draw it With Your Eyes Closed, is a collection of truly unusual and unexpected “assignments” artists and teachers have received and given in art school.
With assignments like “make a drawing with nothing but your car,” ideas and inspirations will be hard to contain.
These dice from Two Tumbleweeds are a fun gift that can be idea stimulators for artists or a family or party game. With numerous combinations of prompts, this game will surely get the creative juices flowing!
Art Philosophy Book: Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
Sometimes ideas come from general concepts or ways of thinking. Books like Steal Like an Artist are designed to inspire rather than give concrete ideas.
More of a book about philosophy than a how-to manual, this and the next couple of suggested books are gifts for artists that will motivate any artist friend to create.
Art Philosophy Book: Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland
One of the biggest blocks to an artist’s creativity, or the motivation to “make,” is fear; fear of failure, fear of mistakes, fear of rejection. Art & Fear breaks down some barriers and permits artists to create.
Philosophy Book: The Art Spirit by Robert Henri
Robert Henri is one of the most underrated artists of 19th-century art history. It’s easy to see why Henri was such a good teacher, as almost every page contains quotable principles he delivered to his students. This short, easy read will make even non-artists want to paint.
Fun & Mood Setting Gift Ideas for the Artist Friend
Set and setting are important for artists to access their creativity. A relaxed mood and a positive frame of mind are a big part of successful artmaking.
The thoughtful gift ideas in this section will please any artists interested in meditation, mindfulness, or who want to be entertained.
Frank Lloyd Wright Activity Book
A great gift for mature and young artists, this coloring and activity book is a wonderful way to relax the mind while keeping skills engaged.
This would be another wonderful gift for an art teacher who needs class ideas.
Movie: Loving Vincent
Learn about one of the world’s most popular artists while enjoying an aesthetically beautiful “painted” movie.
Art Movie: Basquiat
This movie has an incredible cast and tells the true, tragic story of one of the 20th century’s most misunderstood young artists.
Art Movie: Big Eyes
This film by Tim Burton is based on a true story. It tackles social concepts like women’s struggles with inequity, intellectual property rights, fads in the art market, and more.
Mood Setting: Zen Garden
More precisely, Japanese Rock Gardens are meant as a tool for meditation and inner contemplation.
This kit is great for artists to relieve stress, create an interesting decorative element for the studio, or as a relaxation tool before painting.
Art Mood Setting: Water Painting
This great gift idea will please just about anyone. Since the art is made with water, it evaporates, freeing artists from the pressures of creating a “successful” painting.
Practicing with this board and bamboo paint brush instills mindfulness, builds brush skills, and makes for a fun afternoon. A great choice for the budding artist
Art Mood Setting: Suminagashi
Suminagashi is Japanese for “floating ink,” also known as marbling. By floating the colored inks on water and laying a piece of paper on top of the water’s surface, artists and non-artists can create spontaneous effects. With just a little experimentation, your artist friend or relative can make greeting cards with beautiful, one-of-a-kind designs.
Art Mood: Singing Bowls
Certain sounds can be very relaxing and help with mindfulness and meditation.
This singing bowl will create sound vibrations that can set the mood for a painting session, a yoga class, a massage, or other holistic healing practice and is sure to top the list of unique gift ideas for any holiday season.
Art Mood Setting: Stash Tea
Tea is a great way to relax and lift one’s mood. The teas made by Stash are all certified non-GMO, are made with all-natural ingredients, and have authentic tastes. With caffeinated and non-caffeinated options, there is a flavor for any artist on your list!
Accessories & Apparel
Many mugs have cliche sayings that feel cheap. This coffee or tea cup will add a little culture to your hot beverage. Those intimately familiar with modern artists will love this art gift, and those with less experience with these art pioneers will get inspired to learn more about their place in art history.
For the beach, after a shower, or just to hang on the studio wall, this blanket is a lovely gift and doesn’t shy away from letting other people know what’s important to its owner.
While socks and ties can be cliche gift ideas, these socks will erase that stigma. Representing 4 of the most famous paintings in the world, this great gift will bring a smile to any art lover.
Art Themed Hoodie
Minimalist and to the point, this well-crafted hoodie makes for a cozy morning walk looking for inspiration or takes the chill out of a winter studio as it warms up for the day.
Points To Consider When Buying For An Artist
The best gifts are those chosen thoughtfully. There are things to consider when buying for artists of different ability levels and with which you have different levels of intimacy. Some gifts may only be appropriate if you know their art practice. In contrast, others will be creative gifts for anyone with an artistic sensibility.
You are Familiar With the Artist’s Habits and Setup
Certain gifts like brushes, paint tubes, and studio furniture may be challenging unless you know your artist’s painting habits and preferences. These may be best chosen for a spouse, sibling, child, or best friend.
Likewise, if you are an artist, any creative gifts here that interest you would be great to share with your artist gifted.
You Have Access to “Snoop” Their Supplies
Suppose you aren’t an artist or know little about the preferences of the artist you are buying for. In that case, you might consider figuring out how to explore their studio space as a “recon” mission.
Casually look at the brands of brushes, paints, mediums, canvas, etc., the artist uses and look for the options those brands carry. No artist was ever disappointed by receiving an extra tube of their favorite paint or a spare brush.
You Know the Artist Only Casually
Gifts like apparel, fun and mood setting, and inspirational options are best suited if you don’t know much about art or can’t explore your artist friend’s studio space.
How This List Can Help
This article provides gift ideas for artists of all levels, from budding artists to professional artists and any creative people you know. Whether it’s in search of a birthday present or for a good Black Friday Deal, start exploring now so you have time to pick the best gift for you or your artist acquaintance!