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Best Gifts for Painters and Artists Part 1

Updated on April 21, 2015
Pastels make ideal gifts for artists
Pastels make ideal gifts for artists | Source

Sennelier pastels are lovely

Sennelier 100 Full Pastel Portrait Wood Set
Sennelier 100 Full Pastel Portrait Wood Set

A beautifully presented box of pastels. Every colour of the rainbow. Earth colours. Tints and tones to play with. An artist's dream.


Best gifts for artists

This art gift guide makes choosing art easy! Artists always need materials and love to receive those special gifts with a touch of luxury that they won't splash out on for themselves; a really beautiful sketchbook, a functional easel or a nice, clean set of top quality soft pastels. The only problem is that art supplies can be confusing. Which artists materials should you choose?

This art gift guide make it easy. I'm a professional artist and art teacher running art classes in S W France and I've spent a little time searching on the internet to select art materials that would suite both amateur and professional artists.

For a beginner there will be a confounding range of art materials. EVERYTHING. For an artist that already has a collection, go for quality rather than quantity, or make an addition to their existing range. If your artist works in pastels, perhaps a set of pastel pencils would be the ideal gift?

I have made an initial selection below, which is far from exhaustive, but would at least provide you with a bit of information and a few ideas.

This list just got too long so for more ideas have a look at Best Creative Gifts Part 2

Sketch books

A sketch book is a constant companion, something to have always ready to catch that special moment or to fill in the odd few minutes. These books will be filled and then kept and treasured over the decades, an account of a life in pictures and drawings, so it makes sense to buy a really good quality book, with a hard back and good paper properly bound into the cover.

To go with this ..

Conté crayons and charcoal pencils.

A sketchbook is a record of the beautiful things in life
A sketchbook is a record of the beautiful things in life


My first easel was a strong, functional professional artists easel bought second hand when I was in my teens. Now, many years later it is still as useful and functional as ever. This sort of easel would be my first choice. After that it's always useful to have a desk easel, and a travel easel.

To go with this ..

Drawing boards, clips for paper and a set of drawing pencils. Buy your DIY creative partner a Stretch your own canvas kit or if you are the handy one why not make a set of canvases to go with the easel?

Artists easels are an essental tool and this easel has been well-used for over 35 years.
Artists easels are an essental tool and this easel has been well-used for over 35 years.

A box of soft pastels

Every artist who uses pastels know how nice good quality ones are and would appreciate a selection of beautiful soft pastels in their favourite colours. I love high quality pastels and soft pastels use more pigment and less binder so that your colours are better. They are also easily blended so that complex colours and textures can be built up. Their only down-side is that they remain dusty and need fixative to prevent smudging after the work has been finished. If you need to economise, buy fewer, but better quality pastels.

You might also consider buying Pastel pencils. These are essentailly pastels encased in wood and so they are handy and clean to use and are easy for sketching and working outdoors. Finer details can also be achieved with pencils and so they are an ideal mate for the sticks.

To go with this ..

Other things a pastellist might love to receive is a pad of pastel paper in white or in assorted colours or, less romantic but no less useful, a spray tin of fixitive so that the pastel doesn't rub off.

Water colour paint box
Water colour paint box

Water colour paints

Water colours are excellent because they are clean, compact and portable so that they can be used on the kitchen table or outside with little fuss.

Paints can be bought in tubes or little blocks, as a set in a handy tin or box or individually. Like pastel, always go for the best because the best quality paints will give clearer and more vibrant colours and purer colours when mixed together. Nobody wants to mix blue and red to produce sludge brown instead of royal purple!

Colours are individually priced as some are more expensive to produce than others. Like pastels, always go for quality not quantity. An artist can begin with just three good colours, red, yellow and blue and then build up a personal palette of colour, so a small box of carefully selected good quality paints is preferable to a huge array of poor ones.

To go with this ..

You can also buy water colour pencils. These are excellent for working outdoors and for introducing a drawing element to the work. Brushes and water colour paper pads would complete a gift set.

Future gifts

For those who already have water colors, why not have a look at acrylic and oil paints?

Buy a good textbook for reference. You can see examples of the author's work in these Collin's painting and drawing books by Ian Simpson
Buy a good textbook for reference. You can see examples of the author's work in these Collin's painting and drawing books by Ian Simpson

Choose a good book

Good text books are a great source of information and inspiration for the artist. Information on techniques, materials and examples of good work are essential. If you have access to good books and can get out and see good work in art galleries to back this up, you will be able to improve your own work by example.

I have selected a few 'How To' books, but I would always add books with good illustrations of the work of the great masters and perhaps some overviews of the development of art over the ages.

Painting in the garden
Painting in the garden

So much choice

I hope that this has provided just a few ideas now of what is available for your painting friends and family. Whether your gift is a few pencils or a holiday that will give you skills that you can enjoy over a lifetime it is sure to be appreciated and give much pleasure. Just take a look at this well-used little box of water colour paints and you'll see how even a small gift can go a long way. (This belongs to one of my English painting course students and has 'gone' all the way to France and back.)

Still need more ideas? Have a look at Best Gift Ideas for Painters and Artists Part 2


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    • Les Trois Chenes profile image

      Les Trois Chenes 6 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

      Thanks, Ben, for your comment. Will put links on my art hubs for you, and look forward to seeing more of your work on Hub Pages. Let me know when you publish your on-line Hub Gallery.

    • Ben Zoltak profile image

      Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      I have had some fun in a relaxed way with watercolors, but for the past two decades, I have been an oil man. You can never get too much white titianium or sable or really any, kind of brush. Great hub article, I like people who look out for artists.

      Thanks again for the kind compliment on my eBook: Your Life As A Painting

      I noticed you were formerly in the UK where my ebook about an artist's outlook is also available, do you have any opinion about how I might spread the word over there about my book?

      Hope this isn't too much on your article! You live a charmed life as a holiday painting instructor/host, what a wonderful existence!


    • Les Trois Chenes profile image

      Les Trois Chenes 7 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

      toyboyclip Thanks. I've certainly improved my photography since starting to write for HubPages

    • toyboyclip profile image

      toyboyclip 7 years ago from India

      Nice Photos.

    • Les Trois Chenes profile image

      Les Trois Chenes 7 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

      akirchner You made me laugh! Thank you for your crafty comment. I believe everyone is artistic to some degree - we can't all be Rembrandts but we can all enjoy painting and drawing. So get those pencils and paints out!

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Central Oregon

      Artfully to speak! Excellent ideas and it makes me wish I could be artistic instead of autistic!