Holiday Gift Ideas for Artists

Girl Wearing A Santa Hat Surprised And Excited At Christmas

Looking for cool gift ideas for the artist in your family? Or maybe you’re the artist just looking to add a little something to your own Santa’s list. Here are a few of my personal picks to keep the artistic inspiration fired up.

Art Supply Kits and Gift Sets

Be careful when shopping this category. Arts and Craft suppliers everywhere try to cash in on the holiday season with attractively assembled and fully tricked out kits that seem to include everything the artist would need for any preferred medium, often embellished with fancy wooden cases. The problem? Simply put, poor quality art supplies. If the price of that complete art studio seems too good to be true, it usually is. Whatever the preferred medium, give the gift of quality. It doesn’t have to be professional grade but it should be better than elementary school grade which many of these kits are. Here are a few good quality sets that might fit the bill.


An artist’s easel can be  a highly useful tool addition to any studio. They can literally range from huge pieces of studio furniture to portable models for the dining room table artist. When deciding on an easel, know your artist (or your art). Watercolor for example requires easels that will lay back for wet washes and stand upright for detail work, so tripod easels are rarely stable enough to work well, but for oil, acrylic and pastel artists might be ok. H-frame easels tend to be the most flexible and stable, working for a variety of mediums. How big the artist paints or draws also makes a huge difference. Big floor models are rarely needed unless the artist likes to paint on big sheets or canvases. There are easel models that even hang on the door or wall and fold up out of the way. For the artist that likes to paint outdoors and on location, a french easel style may be the perfect gift. Shop for good sellers with positive, satisfied customer reviews testifying to stable and solidly built features. Nothing worse than painting on a rickety easel and having your work fall off or the easel keel over at the slightest provocation.

Inspiring Books

Where would artists be without inspiration. In the gift book category I focus on this aspect. There are technique and how-to books a plenty, but depending on the artist’s level of experience, that can be a very personal choice. Instead, give the gift of inspiration. Most mediums are featured in annuals that present the best and brightest artists working in any given medium, beautiful volumes guaranteed to both challenge and inspire.

Stocking Stuffers

Widgets and what nots for the last minute shopper. Maybe there’s a stocking stuffer or two here that will pass muster with the artist in your family.

Author: Steve Mitchell

Fine artist, illustrator, designer for over 30 years. But lately my mind's on watercolor.