Whether you’re getting the artist in your life art supplies, clothing, books, tech, or you just want to find some stylish, cool, and thoughtful gift, this article is for you! This list of the best gifts for artists, a collaborative effort between me and all of my stylish and cool artist friends, will help you find the perfect present for any artist at any age.
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Table of Contents
- Gifts for Artists: Over 1,000 Dollars
- Gifts for Artists: 500-1,000 Dollars
- Gifts for Artists: 100-500 Dollars
- Gifts for Artists: 50-100 Dollars
- Gifts for Artists: Under 50 Dollars
- Bonus: Virtual and Digital Gifts for Artists
Artists can be particularly difficult to shop for. Not intentionally, of course – it’s just that people assume that artists have a certain well-developed and personal style and that any gift that would really appeal to us should therefore also be stylish, not to mention needing to have a definite cool factor of a fun gift. This makes total sense, since we artists are, without fail, quite stylish and cool people.
Seriously, though, I think you can also feel a little intimidated when buying gifts for artists in your life – and maybe especially art supplies, not sure if they are getting the right brand, even the right item, or if it will actually be useful.
We’ll try to answer some of the following questions:
- What are the best gifts for artists?
- What are the gifts for artists who paint?
- What are the gifts for artists who draw?
- What are the gifts for an art student?
- What are good art gift ideas for Christmas?
- What are the best gifts for artists who draw digitally?
Well, a new school year is just starting, there are only 136 shopping days until Christmas, and that’s a lot of questions, so we better get going – with this ultimate guide to finding the perfect and thoughtful gift ideas for an artist in your life.
What Makes a Perfect Gift for Artists in Your Life?
The thing is, artists are (mostly, at least) normal, everyday people, and we do appreciate the thought and effort as much as the gift itself. That said, even though there is no need to worry or overly fret about it, it is true that we love a thoughtful gift that is cool and stylish.
I’m not sure if I, or anybody else, can clearly define what “cool” is – well, maybe Johnny Depp can… But we know it when we see it, and I think I can honestly say that every gift on this specially assembled list of the best gift ideas for an artist in your life has a very strong cool vibe. I also think that the gifts here, when appropriate, are very stylish.
I will say, though, that quality is always stylish and always very cool, and so we’ve also worked very hard to make sure that the items on this list of best creative gifts for artists are of the highest quality.
At the end of the day, though, I simply return to the idea of the thought and effort behind the gift. If you love somebody, and really want to get them something that they will love, appreciate and really find use in, they will know this and the gift is guaranteed to be a success. Even style and coolness are somewhat out the window in the face of caring and consideration.
How Can You Find Creative Gifts for Artists in Your Life?
So really, there is absolutely no need to worry, to feel intimidated, or even to spend ridiculous amounts of time on selecting the perfect gift ideas for an artist in your life. Browse the items below, and I’m guessing that at one point you will see something, feel something, just know that that particular item is just right.
But to make it easier I will put the gift ideas selection into sections based on price:
- Over 1,000 Dollars
- 500 to 1,000 Dollars
- 100 to 500 Dollars
- 50 to 100 Dollars
- Under 50 Dollars
The list will include:
- Tech Items – Computers, drawing tablets, styluses, headphones
- Art Supplies – Everything from a brilliant art set of high-end paint brushes to a humble but lovely drawing notebook
- Clothing – T shirts, jackets, shoes, even silly French berets
- Books – Art books to inspire, delight and/or teach
- Furniture – That perfect drawing table, desk lamp or even a cool, wobbly stool
- Miscellaneous – The best artist backpack in the world, coffee makers, coffee mugs, coffee and, uhm, well, other miscellaneous stuff.
But before we continue, I’m going to go make a cup of coffee. Please wait here.
Ok, I’m back – thanks for waiting. And in the Final Thoughts section, located, appropriately enough, at the end of the article, we will talk about some online gifts – not anything as generic as a gift certificate, of course, but online art classes, music and entertainment streaming services that any artist in your life might find valuable.
I hope this list of best gifts for any artist in your life is as fun for you to use as it was for me to put together, and that it really helps you find that perfect present for your child, parent, partner, artist friend, associate, odd and eccentric neighbor or whatever wonderful creative character you’re lucky enough to have in your life.
An Inspiring 2021 Buyer’s Guide of Gifts for Artists in Your Life
Gifts for Artists: Over 1,000 Dollars
Apple MacBook Pro Laptop Computer
Surely the ultimate artist’s laptop computer, the MacBook Pro is an immensely powerful and capable machine, which offers compatibility with the finest art software made, an extraordinarily rich, saturated and high resolution Liquid Retina display screen, tons of memory and storage, and that perfect combination of absolute precision, control and accuracy with total creative freedom and unrestrained expressivity. And the MacBook Pro is the best laptop imaginable in all of those boring non-art ways as well. Really the perfect gift, if it is at all in your budget, and as close to a perfect computer overall as I’ve ever found.
Please note that these links lead to the top-of-the-line configuration, with the most memory and storage, for the bigger 16 inch and the smaller (but still quite big) 13 inch MacBook Pros. At the same page either of these links will lead to, you can also opt for smaller and less expensive configurations – it’s always nice to have as much memory as possible, but never nice to over-extend.
Apple iPad Pro Drawing Tablet
The best iPad ever made, and quite probably the best art tablet on the market today, the Apple iPad Pro has it all – super-fast processing, drop-dead gorgeous graphics and display screen, compatibility with the best art software, plenty of memory and storage. A perfect choice for the serious art student or any working commercial or fine artist at any level, and an incredibly thoughtful and generous gift.
Please note that these links lead to the top-of-the-line configuration, with the most memory and storage, for the bigger 12.9 inch and the smaller (but still quite big) 11 inch iPad Pros. At the same page either of these links will lead to, you can also opt for smaller and less expensive configurations – it’s always nice to have as much memory as possible, but never nice to over-extend.
And make sure that you also get the Apple Pencil, which is really required for serious painting and drawing, and as a less necessary but super convenient and useful accessory, the Apple Magic Keyboard 12.9 Inch or Apple Magic Keyboard 11 Inch.
Microsoft Surface Book 3 Convertible Laptop Computer
Wacom Mobile Studio Pro Computer Art Tablet
If your beloved recipient is a Windows user, and you want to give them the very best computer available for artists, you have two clear choices: the Microsoft Surface 3 or the Wacom MobileStudio Pro.
The Microsoft Surface Book 3 is an exceptionally powerful, fast and flawlessly functional computer, which will not only run any and all art software – drawing, painting, animation, 3D sculpting and more – perfectly, but is also quite possibly the best all around Windows laptop on the market today for any and all types of computer work. It is a convertible tablet / laptop, with a keyboard that detaches leaving you with a brilliant touchscreen drawing tablet (the best, really, besides the Wacom itself), or re-attaches to make a brilliant full-function laptop. Really, if I weren’t such a devoted Apple gal…
The Wacom MobileStudio Pro, on the other hand, while still a full-function normal Windows computer, is really engineered and designed to be an art tablet, with the very best screen-to-pen interface, the most beautiful display and many built in features meant to optimize the creative process. The MobileStudio Pro is the default choice and most used art tablet for so many top-level commercial artists, animators, illustrators and other artists professionals, and is the standard as well for the majority of the world’s leading art studios.
The Wacom, then, is the best Windows art tablet on the market today, and a very good computer, and the Surface Pro 3 is the best laptop on the market today, and a superb art tablet.
Microsoft Surface Book 3 With Keyboard
This link is for the 13 inch display touchscreen (which, while smaller, I actually prefer) with the highest amount of RAM and storage, but the same page will allow you to choose the bigger screen, or less memory for either size, which can make a significant difference in price.
And while the Surface Book 3 comes with a keyboard, you should make sure you also get the superb Microsoft Surface Pen, a must-have for any real artwork.
Wacom MobileStudio Pro 13
The legacy quality that will last not just for a lifetime but literally for generations!
As you might expect, all of the recommendations for best gifts for artists in this 1000 dollar plus section are tech items, specifically computers. All, that is, except for one, which is somehow as non-tech as it gets, with a delightfully manual, even primal, approach to creativity, a decidedly old-world sense and absolutely the highest level of hand-crafted quality.
The Montblanc Meisterstück Gold Leonardo (da Vinci, no less) mechanical pencil is absolutely extraordinary. Even if we forget about the superb materials, the stunning look and overall presentation, the legacy quality of this pencil and how it will surely last not just for a lifetime but literally for generations – even if we let all of that go, we still have the most impactful, intensely expressive and totally satisfying drawing pencil I have ever been lucky enough to use.
Yes, the Montblanc Meisterstück Gold Leonardo is expensive, but if you want to give a truly peerless gift for an artist in your life, one that will be almost overwhelmingly moving and appreciated, and will appeal to and connect with your artist on both the highest and the deepest levels, look no further. The Leonardo is, without question, the best of the best.
Gifts for Artists: 500-1,000 Dollars
Apple MacBook Air
If the MacBook Pro, above, is the best computer on the market today for artists, the MacBook Air is no slouch, and offers such amazing performance, material quality, reliability and – it must be said – prettiness that it is among the most desirable, and truly useful, gifts for artists you could possibly buy.
In real and practical terms, if an artist is doing 3D animation or high resolution video or audio, the Pro would be a better choice – but we’re really talking about work on absolutely the highest professional levels. But if your gifted giftee is a serious commercial or fine artist, art student, content creator or pursuing any other form of creativity – even very high level animation and video – the MacBook Air would be more than powerful enough, and with its stunning Retina display, M1 processor and overall intelligent and thoughtful design, a delight to use.
Apple iPad Air Drawing Tablet
Similar to the MacBook Air, the iPad Air is not quite as fast or powerful as the iPad Pro, but is far better than almost any other art tablet on the market today, with its beautiful and highly responsive Liquid Retina display, ultra-fast and powerful A14 Bionic processor, high resolution cameras, excellent stereo speakers and more.
It is, though, fully the equal of the substantially more expensive iPad Pro in two important areas: build quality/reliability and cool factor. Indeed, the iPad Air is one of the most desirable, useful and beautiful gifts for artists on any level you could possibly purchase.
Again, as with the iPad Pro, make sure you also get the Apple Pencil and, if you really want to splurge and make the package complete, the wonderful Apple Magic Keyboard.
Microsoft Surface Pro 7
We’re right on the edge of cheating here, because the basic configuration of the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 with plenty of memory and storage, can be a tiny bit more than a thousand dollars. Of course you could get a larger SSD storage drive or more memory and be way over our limit, but even the lowest level Surface Pro 7 is an incredibly powerful art tablet / laptop, and a top level computer for everything else as well.
With Microsoft’s famously rich and sharp touchscreen display, great screen-to-pen feeling, solid and substantial – yet remarkably light weight – physical presence and incredible performance, any artist on any level would be over the moon to have and use a Microsoft Surface Pro 7 computer, which is easily one of the finest machines on the market today, and at (barely) over a thousand dollars absolutely untouchable.
While the Surface Pro 7 comes with a keyboard, you should make sure you also get the superb Microsoft Surface Pen, a must have for any real art work.
Montblanc Meisterstuck Classique Platinum Mechanical Pencil
Best Mechanical Pencil Overall for Sketching and Drawing
I’m beginning to see a pattern develop here. As with the over-a-grand category, here in our best gifts for artists 500-1000 dollar section we see mostly tech and one Montblanc.
The Montblanc Meisterstuck Classique Platinum mechanical pencil, which is one of the finest writing instruments ever made, is actually just a smidge over 500 dollars. Many people can’t believe they can even get a real hand-made Swiss pen for such a low price, but this is not just real and genuine Montblanc, with all that means, but an actual Meisterstück.
The unparalleled Montblanc graphite is inky black, with superb flow and yet hard enough to resist breaking even when sketching becomes a little too exuberant. The .5mm size is ideal for both sketching and fine line drawing, as well as for general writing. But more than all of that, this Meisterstück mechanical pencil is a work of art, with a feeling, a level of craftsmanship and a beauty that any artist can’t help but appreciate – cherish, even.
The Steelcase Gesture Chair
The Steelcase Gesture seems as if it were tailor made for a working artist, with a solidity, ergonomic form and design that encourages alertness, productivity and creativity at the highest level. Really, it’s not just that comfort and mental clarity can meld so easily when you’re sitting in the Gesture, or that you can move, adjust, change positions or angles without a thought, or that it is incredibly stable and will obviously last for a lifetime, but that all of this – just like the understated elegance of the chair’s design – is so modestly and unassumingly presented that I can completely forget that I’m sitting on a masterpiece, and fall fully into the flow of creating my own masterpieces.
The only caveat? If you purchase a Steelcase Gesture for that clearly super-special artist on your list, do not, under any circumstances, sit in the chair before you give it to them, or you’ll end up with a new masterpiece in your own office, and the poor artist will end up with a spiral-cut ham or some nice bath towels.
Gifts for Artists: 100-500 Dollars
Wacom One Digital Drawing Tablet with Active Touchscreen Display
A drawing tablet from Wacom – the recognized industry leader in art computers and tablets and the first choice for top professional commercial and fine artists around the world – is always, always a good bet. But one that is not only first rate, and fully up to the company’s exceptionally high standards, but is under 400 dollars is, as golfers say, a gimme.
This is not a stand-alone art tablet, like the Microsoft Surface or Wacom Mobile Studio tablets above, but instead needs to be plugged into a computer – Mac, Windows, even Android. But once it is connected, the One offers an incredibly sharp, bright and saturated display, a high precision touchscreen for painting and drawing onto, and a flow and feeling that is so perfect, so natural and usable, it must have only come from Wacom. An indispensable gift for any digital artist, fulfilling the most demanding artist needs!
Apple Wireless Headphones
- New Apple AirPods Max
- Apple AirPods Pro
On-ear wireless Bluetooth headphones that can be used wired as well - sweet, musical and quite powerful, for a true audiophile experience
In-ear wireless Bluetooth buds which have a remarkably rich and clear high fidelity sound, good with all kinds of music
Apple headphones are designed to be best used with any Apple computer, phone or tablet, and work beautifully with any of them in terms of connectivity, controls and sound, but they are not just chosen by Apple users. In fact, and quite surprisingly, each and every one of the Apple headphones and earphones – wired or wireless – is also a real favorite among no-compromise audiophiles, who consistently rate them as among the best sounding products on the market at any price.
If your artistic gift recipient is an Apple user, so much the better, and I would say this is a pretty mandatory gift for artists, but even if they are just music lovers, no matter what kind of computer, tablet or phone they have, you can’t do significantly better than Apple headphones in terms of sound quality, build quality, fit and finish and reliability. Plus they’re definitely really, really cool.
Sennheiser Momentum Wireless Headphones
Beautiful metal and leather construction, incredibly strong and high build quality, excellent active noise cancellation and incredibly musical sound
The signature Sennheiser sound in a tiny and fully wireless in-ear option, with active noise cancellation and flawless operation with any kind of device
There is little dispute among the vast and continuously growing community of audiophile headphone users that Sennheiser is as good as it can possibly get. Their 60,000 dollar (!!!) HE1 headphones, with their own dedicated tube amplifier sunk into a ridiculously heavy acoustically dampened slab of Carrara marble, are one rather extreme example.
But for about 68,600 to 68,700 dollars less you can get that legendary sweet, clear and low distortion Sennheiser sound in the awesome Momentum line – still a premium headphone at a premium price, to be sure, but widely acclaimed as the best available for the money and a supreme value. Just so you understand, though, you don’t get any marble.
Da Vinci Deluxe Watercolor Brush Set
Best Premium Watercolor Brush Set Overall
Natural Hair and Synthetic Brushes with Wooden Storage Box and Brush Soap, Multiple Sizes, 5 Brushes (Series 36, 991, 5530, 5550)
This da Vinci deluxe paint brush art set is not only a beautiful, and beautifully presented, gift set that is sure to make a major impact, it is easily one of the highest quality, most complete and useful sets of premium watercolor brushes with a brush holder on the market. Not only a wonderful gift for artists, but a practical one as well.
Old Holland Classic Oil Color Introductory Box Set
Best Premium Oil Paint for Painting on Canvas
Introductory Box Set, Set of 10 Colors, 40 ml tubes
Here is an idea for a truly premium product that most artists, no matter how much they might want it, might never buy for themselves. Oil paints are expensive, and while there are certainly more expensive ones than these, the Old Holland Classic oils are considered by lots and lots of fine artists at the very highest levels to be the best going.
A nice basic set of oil paints in the most important colors and an affordable gift for artists that will seem incredibly luxurious, even indulgent, to every artist, and will be strongly appreciated and heavily used. If the artist you’re buying for is a painter, you can’t miss!
Copic Original Art Markers
If we are talking about the best of the best in colored art markers, only one name really comes up – Copic. With absolutely the most beautiful and most consistent colors, unbeatable flow and control, superior mixing and workability, refillable pens that feel perfect in an artist’s hands, and for many other reasons, Copic are clearly the best.
Problem is, they are also clearly the most expensive. There is absolutely no doubt that they are worth it, but (just like with the premium oil paints just above) a lot of artists out there can’t quite justify spending the money – no matter how wonderful of a present it would be for themselves, how much they would use and enjoy them or how these pens would elevate their art and their creative process. But that’s where you come in, with a gift for your favorite artist that will be enormously appreciated and heavily used.
Faber-Castell E-motion EF Fountain Pen – Pure Silver
A truly premium and compelling pen that is luxurious and perfectly finished and feels just amazing in your hand. My favorite fountain pen!
High-quality stainless steel nib in width M (medium)
Equipped with a cartridge/converter system
I know a lot of people love the idea of getting a Montblanc pen or pencil for their beloved artist, but just can’t quite swing the super-premium price. And while I absolutely adore the two Montblanc pencils I’ve listed above, I have to say that there’s something almost more compelling about this chunky, heavy and beautiful Faber-Castell E-motion fountain pen.
Yes, it’s decidedly old-school in the best way, with a beautiful nib and refillable ink, and yes, the guilloche finish is extraordinary, and certainly it seems like a pen that will last at least a lifetime – a real fountain pen that ticks all the boxes. But that’s not it. What compels me most about the E-motion is how it feels in my hand, how it allows me to express myself with such flow, control and flair. There is something different and special about an artist drawing with a fountain pen, and it is as well realized in this Faber-Castell beauty as in any pen I’ve tried at any price.
- Dansko Women's Sonja Oiled Mule
- Dansko Women's XP 2.0 Engraved Floral Patent Clogs
Basic and businesslike, from the studio to the client’s office
With a wonderful splash of color any artist would love!
Dansko clogs are, at first blush, strangely stiff and hard, and to look at them you’d think they were impossibly uncomfortable to wear. And yet, by some miracle of Scandanavian design, these are some of the most comfortable shoes in the world, and quite possibly the best and most healthful choice for anybody who spends all day on their feet.
Dansko are also truly premium shoes which, despite the fact that they are not really exorbitantly expensive, are made by hand from the very highest quality materials. Superb footwear and a perfect choice for a studio artist, Dansko clogs are also great gifts for outdoors and everyday use – they are, in fact, addictively comfortable – and are hip and just unusual enough to be a great choice for any art student as well.
Artograph Futura Light Table
I could have gone either way with this one – Tech or Art Supplies. The big, beautiful Artograph Futura is one of the best examples of technology being applied in an incredibly intelligent way, and one of the most practical and useful bits of artist’s gear I’ve ever come across.
3.5 feet wide by 2 feet deep, and standing a perfect 31.5 inches tall, the tempered glass surface of this tiltable art desk is actually a light box – and not just any light box, but a bright, even and eye-friendly one from the leaders in the art industry – Artograph. With a design clearly intended for artists, this is the perfect work surface either with or without the light, and far more useful and versatile than even the best unilluminated tilting drawing tables – some of which are, somehow, even more expensive.
Koncept Mosso Pro LED Desk Lamp
Probably the best desk lamp I’ve ever used, the Koncept Mosso Pro provides even, neutral and very bright illumination, is easily and precisely adjustable, has a heavy base that keeps the lamp solidly in place, and is beautifully made and finished. Any artist will love using the Mosso, which will make everything clearer and easier to work on, will take care of their eyes and allow for longer, less fatiguing and more productive work sessions. A strikingly attractive premium gift for artists that shows just how much you care.
Hex X Jim Lee Artist Backpack with Removable Portfolio
If you’ve never heard of them (or even if you have), Hex makes the best backpacks on the market today. Yeah, I know a lot of outdoorsy extreme-sporty survivaly enthusiasts out there, with their 1000 dollar plus neo-something-or-another packs, would argue, but for my money, in terms of design and usability, material quality, style and value nothing comes close to a Hex.
And if Hex is the best, the Hex Jim Lee is certainly the coolest. Designed with, and to honor, legendary DC Comics artist Jim Lee, this pack is perfectly set up for any working artist or art student. And far from being outlandish and garish in its use of comic themes and visuals – like many other DC and Marvel products – the Jim Lee is quite tasteful and understated, with striking visual elements and premium touches throughout, but an exterior that is simple and elegant.
I’m not one to play favorites, and there are a ton of really great gift ideas in this list of best gifts for artists, but this might just well be my own personal favorite. Or maybe the Montblanc pencil. Or the iPad Pro. Or the Sennheiser headphones. Or…
Calphalon Temp iQ Stainless Steel Espresso Machine with Steam Wand
One thing I can tell you about artists – or at least the majority of artists I know – is that you should never, ever underestimate the importance of coffee in their lives or their artistic endeavors.
A stunningly luxurious gift, which is not exactly cheap but will seem much more expensive than it really is, the Calphalon Temp iQ espresso maker is super easy to use and to clean – especially compared to most other espresso machines. The Temp iQ is made to a very high – even professional level – standard, and will last for many, many years. Most important, though, is that it makes absolutely delicious coffee. A present that is sure to surprise the recipient – really, they will never expect this! – as much as it will delight them.
Gifts for Artists: 50-100 Dollars
Huion Inspiroy Q11K Wireless Graphics Drawing Tablet
Digital Art Tablet with 8192 Pressure Sensitivity 8 Express Keys Glove-11inch, Compatible with Mac Windows
Doing art on a computer is, of course, absolutely brilliant, but using a mouse or ordinary track pad for painting or drawing is not terribly effective, or fun, and can easily become truly maddening. But with a good, sensitive, high resolution graphics tablet everything changes, and art is again as effective and joyous as it should be.
The Huion Inspiroy is the best sub-100 dollar drawing tablet I know. It connects wirelessly to either an Apple or Windows computer, and offers levels of precision, control and high definition that would suit any artist on any level. With a stylus, a drawing glove and more, this is a complete package, and a great high-tech, low-price gift idea.
Copic Original Art Markers
We’ve already discussed Copic markers in the section above, but just to be clear these are without question, and without any serious competition, the best colored art markers on the market today. And while a 72 piece set of Copic art markers can run close to 400 dollars (yeah, I know!), you can get a small starter set, with the most important colors, for a lo-ot less – the same markers, the same quality, the same look of surprise and excitement on the face of your beloved artist when they rip back the wrapping paper.
Dr Phil Martin’s Spectralite Private Collection Liquid Acrylics
Best Liquid Acrylic Paint
There is a lot of talk, argument, even controversy about which acrylic paints are the best available, but if you ask artists which acrylic paint they love the most there is a pretty good chance they will say Dr. Phil Martin. Even though it is not even close to a household name, even in art houses, these are still mentioned with a kind of fervent admiration and loyalty by anybody who has used them.
And Dr. Phil Martin’s Spectralite Paint Set Private Collection set comes in such brilliant and beautiful colors, and in a pourable consistency that is much more versatile than “heavy body” acrylics – and greatly preferred by more experimental artists and crafters (or anybody who can’t resist painting every surface in their own private universe). Superb paint and a great gift idea that is sure to be loved and used.
Creative Mark Synthetic Hog Bristle Paint Brush Set 20 PC
Paint Brush Set Mimik Hog Professional Synthetic Hog Bristle Brushes for Acrylics, Inks, Dyes, Gouaches, Watercolors, Easein & Egg Tempera - [Deluxe 20 Piece Set w/Leather Case]
Although this big set of synthetic hog bristle paint brushes actually has a retail price a shade above 100 dollars, my link is likely to lead to a discount price that will put us in the right range. And anyway, considering the incredible quality of these brushes, the fact that they are equally good and useful with oil paint, acrylics and even watercolors, and that they come in a really, really complete set of sizes and types, even at full retail this is a pretty amazing value, and a brilliant gift for any artist.
AmazonBasics Adjustable Tilt / Wobble Stool
Active stool for home, school, or office; can help an energetic or restless person stay focused; suitable for kids and adults. Curved base enables a wide range of motion; comfortable foam seat covered in durable polyurethane (PU).
A brilliant idea that claims to help people with ADHD focus better and work or learn better, the best wobble stools also help artists to stay focused and fall into the zone, while providing rest and support, helping maintain good posture and engaging core muscles.
There are a lot of wobble stools on the market today, and some are pretty expensive, but the Amazon Basics stool is solid, adjustable, comfortable and works great – and at a very reasonable price. A great addition to any studio and a great idea for any working artist.
Levi Strauss Original Sherpa Jean Jacket
One thing I can tell you about artists is that we may be a little more resistant to fads and trends than some other people, and while certain things – clothing, for example – may appeal to us when they are super-hot, we are even more likely to gravitate towards time-honored classic styles and quality merchandise.
One of the best examples of that has to be the classic Levi’s sherpa jacket. Yes, even we artists love the still somewhat hip Carhartt fleece-lined duck jackets, which are admittedly cool and of the highest quality, but I think any artist of any age would much rather have, and be seen in, a Levi’s sherpa. Warm, soft and comfortable, stylish in that way that only real quality can ensure, and still made to the very highest standards, this is the perfect all-weather jacket, and a great gift for an art student walking from class to class or from campus to coffee shop.
For reasons I’ve yet to get my head fully around, both male and female artists actually greatly prefer the men’s sherpa, I will include links for both here, but if you want to seem all hip and in the know and stuff, just click the first link.
Major Museums Art History Books
- The Louvre: All the Paintings
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Masterpiece Paintings
Vincent Pomarède :: Black Dog & Leventhal :: 1st Edition :: 2011 :: 784 Pages
Thomas Campbell & Kathryn Calley Galitz :: Skira Rizzoli Electa :: 1st Edition :: 2016 :: 544 Pages
There is little more valuable to an artist than to have a visual reference on hand, in actual high quality printed books, of the finest and most important masterpieces in history. And there is probably no better source for these masterpieces than catalogs of the world’s great museums. Here I will list six of the finest quality books I’ve ever seen – luxurious, beautifully printed and offering a quite exhaustive overview of the most important art ever created.
Gifts for Artists: Under 50 Dollars
Caran D’ache – Technograph Graphite Drafting Pencil Set
I am really excited to include the Caran D’ache Technograph pencil set here, not just because they are great artist pencils in a perfect range of hardness – from 6B to 4H – and one of the most useful gifts you could possibly get any artist, but also because they are Caran D’ache. I mean we are in the sub-50 dollar price range here, and it is extraordinary to get such high quality, and from one of the most respected and desirable premium brands in the art supplies market, for such a low price. The artist on your list will be not just thrilled, but pretty impressed as well.
Sakura Pigma Micron Pigment Liners
Best Budget Calligraphy Pen Sets
Micron Blister Card Ink Pen Set, Black, Set of 8
Popular and beloved around the world, and the default choice of comic book artists, illustrators and other professionals throughout Asia, the Sakura Pigma Micron pigment liners have the most amazing flow and beautiful black ink. The wide range of fine tips offer incredibly precise control and allow you to draw with amazing detail and complexity, and yet the larger tips still allow for more broad strokes and dramatic expressivity.
A perfectly designed and made set of black art pens that any artist would love to have, and will certainly use all the time, and an intriguing hint that you, the gift giver, may be just a little in the know.
Arteza Real Brush Pens 48 Color Set
This is, perhaps, a gift more for a budding artist (beginner), or for a child who is just starting to explore their own creativity, and yet the Arteza Real Brush Pens are filled with such high quality paint, have such great tips and feature a wide range of such beautiful colors that even experienced artists end up using and loving them. Plus, they’re just so much fun. Washable, non-toxic, inexpensive and so easy to use, these brush pens are great in every way.
Speedball Travelogue Artist Watercolor Journal
While this beautiful linen-bound art journal is made for watercolor paints, its heavy and high quality watercolor paper and smooth surface make it ideal for any kind of art – including pens and colored pencils, markers and various types of paint. Whatever it is used for, when a journal looks and feels this beautiful, anything inside seems more special too. A lovely and thoughtful gift for any artist, and at a very low price with such a high quality paper!
Fine Art T-Shirts
Yes, this may seem to be a little too obvious, or even a little too precious for your precocious, too-cool-for-school art student, but they will secretly love and treasure a really beautifully made fine art t-shirt, especially one emblazoned with a really great and important art masterpiece.
Here are a few of my own favorite choices. Obviously I haven’t gotten and checked out all of these different shirts, but am choosing them based on customer reviews and, especially, the beauty and importance of the art printed on them – not to mention the beauty of the shirt itself.
Big Floppy Artist’s Beret
This one could be really fun. What seems like an absurd prank gift, an overly cliche and even useless item, might end up being your favorite artist’s favorite piece of clothing – especially when it’s as nice as these Kangol Monty unisex wool berets. Now, if you have any chefs on your gift list, we can talk about their equally absurd and apparently useless hats as well… Seriously, though, these are extremely high quality, beautifully made berets, and for your favorite creative person I’m sure they will truly be appreciated.
DK Art Books
I was going to recommend only one book from the wonderful DK visual arts series, but honestly I can’t decide, so I am going to list my three favorites. Each is a great complete reference unto itself, is easy to read and accessible, lavishly illustrated and enormously entertaining, and they are different enough from each other that the three volumes together could be seen as a wonderful basic art reference library – good for study, inspiration and reference and, because they are from DK Publishing, good fun as well.
The Earth Without Art Coffee Mug
A clever and important message and an attractive and high quality mug, this is a really nice inexpensive gift for any artist.
Bonus: Virtual and Digital Gifts for Artists
Some people are still quite resistant to the idea of online or virtual gifts – that is, presents that are presented over the internet, with no actual physical content.
But for artists, there are a few gift ideas that will prove to be so valuable, so useful and thoughtful, that they are an easy and great choice.
One such example is online art education in the form of online art classes, which can be a real boon to any self-taught or untrained artist, or for somebody who hasn’t had the opportunity (or the money) to go to art school.
I am an experienced and, if I do say so myself, pretty effective art teacher, and I think that not just my expertise, but my love of art and teaching, always come through. I am happy to report that my students seem to feel the same way, and have found my courses quite valuable – well worth the time, money and effort.
My online art classes focus on a few specific areas: art technique, creative skills, painting skills and the business of commercial art. They are available on the acclaimed Skillshare platform, and can also be accessed through my own website, at artsideoflife.com/courses.
I am also quite enthusiastic about the complete art course offered at Evolve Artist, and find the teachers, the curriculum and the presentation to be top notch. More expensive, and a more serious investment in time and work, this is really a complete art education, and is as good as it gets online.
Other great online presents, which would be valued by pretty much any artist, include Audible and Focus@Will.
FREE 2 weeks trial with this link
Specifically curated- and produced music designed to improve your focus on the work in front of you
The first, Audible, offers online ebooks beautifully and professionally narrated and in high-quality sound. Lots of artists love listening to stories or other narratives when working, and Audible has over 200,000 books available in the highest quality. Even if they don’t use the service when they’re working, artists – or pretty much anybody – still love to relax and unwind after a long day at the paint mill listening to a good story.
My second choice, Focus@Will, is similar in some ways, but with a twist. Focus@Will is a streaming music service which presents a specially produced and curated music program which is designed not just for entertainment, but also to help you focus on the work in front of you. So often when listening to our own favorite music, we become distracted or even lost in memories or associations, but Focus@Will does exactly the opposite, while still offering all the fun and enjoyment of listening to music while you work.
Thanks so much for reading this long and exhausting… uhm, I mean exhaustive… article – Best Gifts for Artists – An Exhaustive and Highly Inspiring 2021 Buyer’s Guide – and please also visit my blog – Art Side of Life – where you can find tons of more gift ideas for artists, as well as artist interviews, informative and interesting articles, inspirations and ideas and lots of other articles that will help the artists keep their creative juices flowing.
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