Gift Ideas for the Artist!

Yesterday I finished writing an article for a geek blog I used to be part of, MissionGeek, on what to buy for the geek (or not) girl in your life for the holidays and got to thinking; what would make a nice gift for the artist?

Who am I kidding, this is just a list of stuff I want for xmas. Oh well, enjoy anyway!

First of all, in spite of awesome Black Friday sales online that I particpated in I am trying to shop more locally this year and would encourage you to do the same. Most of the time my art shopping happens at Endeavours in down town Fredericton. They’ve always had thoughtful answers for any of my questions, such as what to use to paint on and seal on a hockey helmet, and how to paint/what to use for an illustration on a wooden table. If there’s a particular product you’re looking for it’s best to ask questions and make sure you’re getting the right thing.

That being said, localized art stores aren’t accessible to all of us so shopping online is sometimes a more reasonable option. DickBlick is a pretty humongous online art store and carries almost anything I can think of in terms of supplies and resources. If you’re looking to buy some slightly-used supplies on the cheap, E-Bay or Kijiji are other viable options. Often I see people buy sets of COPIC markers and they end up collecting dust, never to be used, and eventually the artist sells them for a fraction of the price.

Onto actual gift ideas! I’ve just spotted this and would absolutely love to have it:

Artist's Survival Kit

Artist's Survival Kit at DickBlick

I use the brush cleaner and it works wonderfully. Based on the amount of paint that I get on everything else, I could probably use the other cleaners as well and I’m always looking for ways to take better care of the brushes I have. As far as I know, the soap isn’t toxic and smells nice as well.

I love books about art but they are a tricky thing to gift. Without knowing the skill level of the artist in question, buying an instruction book is a risky venture unless they were specifically asking for such. Reference books or coffee table-type books are a good bet because they’re interesting to artists of any skill set. A beginner can learn tons from master works and professionals can look to them for inspiration. What I’m trying to say is: go for the books with plenty of pictures. This could be paintings, photography or graphic design, anything to get the creative juices flowing.

For those not worried about breaking the bank, feast your eyes on the Cintiq 24HD Graphics Tablet.

Cintiq 24HD Tablet

Cintiq 24HD Tablet at Wacom

I’ve used a Cintiq 21UX and while the included software is a bit wonky, it’s extremely slick. No mess, no chemical smells or poisons and undoing mistakes is as easy as ctrl-z. The digital pen is pressure-sensitive and mimics different paints and brushes quite well. At $2500 USD it’s a big-ticket item but when you calculate how much it costs to buy brushes, paint, cleaner and canvases it doesn’t seem that bad.

Does the artist in your life have all of these things? For someone who has all the supplies they need, fuel for the brain is next on the list. I recommend copious amounts of caffeine and candy in any/all forms. Tea, coffee and mugs are always appreciated (even if the mugs get used for brushes instead of drinks).

Happy shopping!

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