Christmas is coming and you know what that means – aimlessly wandering a mall wondering what to buy the tweenaged kids on your list. If you have tweens or teens that have moved beyond crayons and colouring books and are starting to hone their drawing skills and explore working with various mediums, art supplies will be a great gift this Christmas. Below is a list of ten awesome art supplies that the aspiring artists in my family have either received and loved or are currently coveting:
10 Gifts for Artists
Sketch pads are essential to almost every artist. Regardless of the medium that your artist chooses, sketch pads give them a place to plan out their projects and practice the skills they will need for their future creations. My kids like the spiral bound variety because they lay flat when opened and there is no “valley” down the middle to contend with.
Pencils come in a scale of hardness and blackness. Different artists use different pencils depending on the project they are doing and their skill level. Cover all your bases and choose a pencil set that has a sampling of the different varieties.
Acrylic paint and canvases
Acrylic paint is often the medium used when people are first learning to paint. It is fast drying and water soluble when wet. This means that is easy to clean up when you are finished painting. There are many sets available that contain an assortment of colours or you can pick up individual tubes if you know of a particular project your young artist has in mind.
If you are giving acrylic paint also include a couple canvases for that paint to go on. Canvases come in a variety of quality, sizes, shapes, and price points. Choose a few and make sure to include one that will fit perfectly in your house. Add a sticky note to that one with a hint about what you would like. Merry Christmas to you:
Water colour paints, pencils, and paper
My kids like using both watercolour paints and pencils. Watercolours looks transparent because of the water that you add to the pigment when painting. There are great sets available that cover a range of colours.
There are also pads of watercolour paper similar to sketchbooks, but for watercolour painting instead. My kids are begging for more of these because the ones they have are already filled. I like these too because unlike buying a canvas, a pad of watercolour paper gives my girls many chances to create new compositions and practice their painting.
Regardless of the type of paint your artist uses, they will need some better quality brushes if they really want to improve. Go for a variety of mid quality brushes in an assortment of sizes.
Artists pens are not only used with pen and paper drawing, they can also be used with other mediums like watercolours and pastels. Your best bet is to buy a set with a few different nib sizes.
Chalk pastels are like a soft dusty crayon. They provide bright colour that is easily smudged and blended. Using a fixative will help keep chalk pastels in place when your artist has finished their creation.
Like chalk pastels, oil pastels are also crayon shaped, but they are buttery soft and provide intense colour. They can be used on canvas, paper, wood, and even earthenware.
Art books are great for both inspiration and instruction. If your artists is into drawing anime or manga characters, check out this excellent book by Mark Crilley
We frame and hang A LOT of our kids’ artwork, but there is only so much wall space. Anything that does not make it onto the walls goes into a portfolio case. I bought big ones for my girls so that the majority of their pieces would fit.
Bonus: iTunes card
There are some really cool art apps out there that let you create masterpieces in a digital medium. Paper by 53 is a great one.
Before I venture out to start my Christmas shopping, I’m going to check out these Christmas apps to get my holiday spirit going. Then I’m heading to an art store so I can check off some gift items for two young ladies on my Nice List.