Great Christmas Gifts for Artists and Illustrators

Do you have an artist in your life, but you’re stumped on gift ideas? Well, I’m here to give you some ideas based on art supplies I find really useful. First you need to know some basic information like which medium or style art they like to do. Do they like to draw in pencil or paint in acrylic? Do they draw comics or paint landscapes? Since I’m a watercolor fantasy artist I’ll talk about my favorites. Luckily there are some things everyone will like as well.

Drawing Tools

Caran D’Ache fix pencil and leads
Drawing with these pencils feels smooth and buttery. It’s a thick lead, but can be sharpened with a tiny sharpener at the end of the pencil or get a pencil pointer.

Caran D’Ache Water Soluble Graphite Pencils

You’ve probably heard of watercolor pencils but these are graphite pencils that can be blended with water. I used them for an underdrawing on Queen of Wands tarot painting.

Kum Automatic Break Pencil Sharpener

This is honestly the best pencil sharper I’ve had. It comes with two sharpeners. The first one sharpens the wood casing and the 2nd one points the lead. It’s specially built to avoid over sharpening and breaking the lead.

Water Soluble Graphite pencil

Water Soluble Graphite pencil

Ink Artists

Dinky Dips from Paper and Ink Arts

Tiny little ink bottles for artists who draw with dip pens. It’s a simple idea, but the size of each bottle is just right to add ink to the nib without getting any on the pen handle or fingers.

Finetec Metallic Watercolors

These little pans are fun for adding shiny details to watercolors or inks and come in sets of gold and colors. You can see some color swatches and paintings I created with them from my blog article on metallic watercolors.

Jet Pens brush Pen Samplers

Kuretake brush pen sampler or Tombow brush pen sampler are a great way to try a variety of pens.

J Herbin 1798 Inks
Limited edition fountain pen inks containing silver flecks

Artbin Pen and Nib Box

Perfect storage for pen holder all those nibs laying around.

Watercolor Artists

M Graham Watercolor Sets

These sets come in collections like Quinacridone colors, Cobalts, Jewel Tones, Marine paintings, and landscape colors. M Graham colors are highly pigmented and made with honey. They don’t completely dry out in a palette, which I like (some people don’t).

Daniel Smith PrimaTek Watercolor Set

These paints are made of actual gemstones. How cool is that?

Niji Waterbrushes

Brushes filled with water in a squeezable handle can be used for travel painting or just blending paint with clean water while painting.

Watercolor Paper Sample Sets

Most professional artists probably already have a favorite paper but it’s fun to experiment with different textures and brands. Cheap Joes sells various sets for different uses. The Quarter Sheet set is probably your best bet.

Mijello Airtight Watercolor Palettes

Leakproof palettes are great for travel. I used them for my every day palette for years.

Porcelain Watercolor Palettes

I love using these easily washable dishes for mixing colors. I have several and use for different color schemes.

Huion Lightpad

I have this large 23 inch led light pad and it gets lots of use transferring sketches from one paper to another to paint on. Not just for watercolor artists at all! I have a blog post on that too.


Digital Artists

Palm Rejection Glove

If your artist friend uses a portable drawing tablet, a palm rejection glove is a great thing. It’s not a happy surprise when you find marks you accidentally made with the side of your hand.

Imagine FX Subscription

Imagine FX features lots of digital art articles and how tos on and fantasy art and animation.

Print Making

Ink Sampler Sets

Akua Intaglio Inks

A sample set of soy based non toxic inks.

Speedball Printing Press

A small block printing press that’s great for beginners.

It’s cold outside!

Fingerless Gloves

It can be cold in my studio and every year I buy a pair of fingerless gloves to wear while working. Pro-tip: shorter gloves that don’t go past the base of the fingers are best for small hands and not getting in the way of holding pencils. Etsy is full of beautiful handmade gloves.

Tea or Coffee Mug Warmer

I love being able to keep my drink warm while spending long hours drawing in the winter. It really works!


Color and Light by James Gurney

Everything you need to know about painting color and light by master artist James Gurney.

Books by Andrew Loomis Figure Drawing for all It’s Worth or Drawing the Head and Hands, and Creative Illustration

Framed Ink - A guide to visual storytelling based on the author’s experience in comics.

It’s Fun to Draw People by Seiichi Nakamura is a great simplified figure drawing book that is somewhere between manga and more realistic art.

Still not sure?

Gift Certificates for Art Supplies
I don’t know many artists who wouldn’t love a gift certificate for any of the popular art supply sites like Blick Art Materials, Cheap Joes, Jerry’s Artarama, Artist and Craftsman, or Jet Pens.

Some other ideas: