We’re in the best season for list writing so I put together a little list for you that might be useful when you go shopping next. In my very modest way I’m simply calling it the Ultimate Gift Guide for Artists and Creatives of all kinds. I’ll only recommend things I use myself, and things that have worked in my studio for years. I hope you’ll find it useful.
Art Materials is the best gift you can possible give – it’s the gift that keeps on giving even after the birthday or Christmas has passed. It’s the gift of creativity! No matter age or experience levels I think you’ll find something that you will need or want to try out in this list, so pin it or bookmark it so you’ll remember what to look for next time you’re getting a little something just for you.
Yes, please remember, you need to be generous to yourself too. Sometimes the best Christmas Gift is the one you buy for you!
Colors of the rainbow – paints
Watercolors | I got a new set last Christmas and love them. You should try out the St Petersburg White Nights Watercolour 12 Pan Set or a 36 set if you know watercolor is your thing. Later you can buy new colors to add into your collection.
Acrylics | I mostly use cheap acrylic paints, like Winsor and Newton Galeria Acrylic Paint. If you’re a beginner get a few big bottles or a smaller 10-Pack to start with.
If you get a few small tubes I suggest you buy a bigger botte of Titanium White too. It’s great to mix things up with white.
It’s also fun to experiment with acrylic ink, for lettering, doodeling or painting with. Get a set of for example Liquitex Professional Acrylic INK in glass bottles. Yummy stuff.
On my own wish list you’ll find Golden Heavy Body Acrylics and maybe some Golden High Flow Acrylics, they’re often recommended by other artists but here they are very expensive.
Paint brushes and pencils
If you’re gonna paint, and I think you should, you need some tools to do it, even though using a plastic card is fun you won’t get very detailed with that technique…
If you’re a beginner get a set of different sizes that is rather cheap. I use a Nylon Hair Brush Set with blue handles. If I got a paint brush gift some day I’d love them in a pink pouch like the Paint Brush Set with the hot pink holder. Yum!
If you want something long lasting get high quality brushes made by Rosemary & Co.
I also suggest you get yourself a Sketching Pencil Set – I love sketching with charcoal and recommend you have a set of pencil with different hardness. It’s super fun to smudge and get messy with pencil sketching.
You’ll also need a Fixatif in a spray bottle (like Krylon Workable Fixatif Spray). It’s a clear spray that will fixate for pencil, pastel and chalk drawings. It will help prevent smudging, and allows for easy reworking of the artwork. It can also help avoid making a mess if you use any crayons in your work.
Papers and book binding
Let’s get into the substrate of creating, paper. I love all papers, but not all papers are equal. For mixed media, acrylic painting, and watercolor work, I will not use anything that will warp, wrinkle or bubble! I like it to be sturdy, good paper, intended for what I’m using it for!
Strathmore Blank Watercolor Postcards – because anything tiny is awesome, and it’s super fun to paint your own postcards when you’re on holiday or just as a gift for friends and family!
Watercolor pads like the Arches Watercolor Pad Hot Press Pad or a paper with more texture Arches Cold Press – great for paintings or binding your own mixed media journals.
If you want to learn to bind your own journals in 2016 I suggest taking the online class The Journey Within. I’m a guest teacher in that one, just sayin.
Fabriano Paper is what artist Teesha Moore recommends most often for her book binding technique Fabriano Studio Watercolor Paper 140 lb. Cold Press 12-Sheet Pad 8×10".
Stick it down
And when it comes to washi tape, let me just say, I have bought way too much this year, especially from my favorite Etsy seller Petty Tape, but I couldn’t rest it when I finally found Washi Tape with small gold dots. It’s my favorite – the gold dots shimmer! I will write a post next year about why you need at least a few rolls of washi tape in your life if you’re not addicted yet.
For collage, I use Uhu glue sticks. It’s my favorite item in my studio.
Notebooks and Journals for Creatives
To journal, plan out your creative projects, doodle, draw, make lists and write down your goals you’ll need a journal. I’m addicted to buying new notebook and making books myself, so instead of listing all my favorites, I’m just gonna recommend the latest favorite, the Leuchtturm1917 notebook medium size.
It comes in every color you can imagine, from neons to Berry Pink to this beautiful light blue turquoise. It’s a great hardcover notebook similar to the Moleskine but with the added bonus of numbered pages, which I love! You can get the pages with grid paper (squared), dotted paper or ruled paper. And of course my preference, a notebook with blank pages (plain) for most freedom on the page.
Also, you can get a pen loop for your notebook, and then of course, you’ll need a few good pens…
Pens pens pens
A pack of good drawing pens is a must, from tiny nib to small get a pen set of Sakura Pigma Micron Ink or Uni Pin Drawing Pens, my favorite!
For doodles and drawing on black paper or acrylic paint I like Uni-Ball Signo Broad Point Gel with white ink. Yummy stuff!
If you want to try a fountain pen for doodles or writing, I recommend trying the Lamy Safari with a Lamy Refill Converter (Z24) and a bottle of ink in your favorite color (I prefer black ink).
You can also get the Lamy with ready to go ink cartridges (Lamy Safari Fountain Pen Pink + 5 Black Ink Cartridges too.
Crayons for grown ups
If you ask me, the only set of crayons you’ll ever need are the ones from Caran d’Ache!
The colors of the Neocolor I Wax Pastels are so vibrant and lovely. The number one is Water-Resistant, and their brand Neocolor II are water-souble.
My favorite are the Classic Neocolor II Water-Soluble Pastels. I bought mine individually, but would love to one day get a pack of 30 Colors or if I’m bold, the Neocolor II Water-Soluble Pastels, 84 Colors.
On my Wish List
Visual Wish List on Pinterest – check it out!
Silhouette Cameo Electronic Cutting Machine – I wanna try one of these!
What’s at the top of your wish list right now?
I love so many of these things. 2016 is the year to work more on my art and my I Want List has really grown. Thanks for all these super suggestions.
Keep on dreaming… a wonderful feeling I got from your ultimate gift guide. I love looking forward to buying some new creative material. I’m thinking “one day…” and it feels great. Thank you for feeding my dreams today. Merry Christmas!
Thanks for the Crayon suggestion. I have a couple of coloring books, but I have not liked either the pencils or the pens for it. One’s too light and one’s too dark. Still looking for “Just Right.”