Perfect Christmas Gifts for Your Artistic Friends 2016

Can you believe it? It’s almost the end of 2016! But before we get to the end, of course there’s Christmas to be celebrated. That’s in less than 3 weeks. Are you as excited as I am?

And no matter how horrible 2016 has been for a lot of people, Christmas is always a great time to not just appreciate and give thanks to Jesus, but also to appreciate the people in our lives.

I know a lot of artists, and I like thinking of myself as an artist too *wink*, so I thought it would be a good idea to come up with a Christmas Gift Guide for Artists. These are essentially the things that I would want to receive myself haha!

Ready? Here we go!

Note: I drew the things that I don’t have yet. Hint to anyone who wants to give me Christmas gifts haha!

Another note: This mostly focuses on watercolor since it’s my medium of choice for creating art.

I truly believe that watercolor is a great first medium for those who want to try their hand at art. It can seem intimidating, but if you put in the effort, it’s also very rewarding.

So for watercolor beginners, I suggest giving them student grade paints and brushes so they can get familiar with inexpensive materials first.

My recommendations are Prang (for semi-moist watercolors), Simbalion (for a great range of colors), and Best Buy brushes. These are available in National Bookstore and SM Stationery branches.

I also love receiving (and giving) books that inspire and teach artists. Seeing someone else’s works and process is a great way to help figure out or develop your own style, and I’m sure any artist would appreciate a gift that encourages continuous learning.

Some of my favorites are Tokyo on Foot: Travels in the City’s  Most Colorful Neighborhoods by Florent Chavouet, How to Draw Almost Everything: An Illustrated Sourcebook by Chika Miyata, and A Bowl of Olives: On Food and Memory by Sara Midda.

I got these books from different sources, but you can order through Amazon or Fully Booked.

Another way to get an artist inspired is by surrounding them with wonderful works of art.

These days, artists sell their works in prints, postcards, calendars, etc. There’s really no limit to the form these artworks can take. And aside from bazaars, artists are also selling their works through shops like Common Room, Hey Kessy, and Craft Central.

Some of my favorite artists that I already have a few prints/postcards of are Arlene Sy and Cynthia Bauzon-Arre.

And of course, an artist can’t live on inspiration alone. There’s actual art-making that needs to be done! That’s where sketchbooks can really be of use.

Whether an artist likes working with pencil sketches, paint, or mixed media, there’s no need to worry because there is an unlimited number of sketchbooks that are available out there.

The ones featured here are Moleskine‘s watercolor notebook, Ella Lama‘s notebook (one of many designs), and Airees Rondain‘s ArtDori® notebooks (many designs to choose from as well).

Note: I don’t have Airees’ notebook yet, but she takes such great care in developing her products and I’m sure that her notebooks are amazing.

And if not sketchbooks, there’s also watercolor paper in postcard sizes and in blocks.

I love love love Fabriano‘s Fine Art Paper, especially because they have a promo pack that lets artists try 9 different types of paper. Fabriano is also a pricier brand so this is a great way to test out their paper at a more affordable price of P200. This is available in National Bookstore and Fully Booked.

St. Cuthberts Mill‘s Bockingford paper is a new type of watercolor paper that I was able to try because of Arlene, who gave me a couple of sheets of their hot pressed and cold pressed paper. The hot pressed paper is amazing! It’s really so smooth, and although a bit challenging to paint on since I’m more used to cold pressed paper with more texture, it also gives my work a different kind of feel. This is available in Art Whale.

Hey Kessy also has their own watercolor paper in postcard size that’s a great alternative to the more expensive brands. So easy to bring around for sketch painting sessions around town!

How can you paint with watercolors without the actual paint itself?

I definitely would love to receive more paint. The hoarder in me would celebrate! (I do feel guilty looking at all my paint though, and not being able to use them all.) And when your friend is ready to use artist grade paints (or is already using them), there are a lot to choose from these days. Lucky lucky!

My favorite palette, for a while now, is my Sennelier 24 half-pan set. The colors are vibrant and the formulation is so easy to wet and blend. For golds, I love Finetec! I’ve talked about both sets here.

A brand of paint that I’ve been excited to try out is Daniel Smith, and I finally got the chance when I got one of their dot cards during Just Add Water 2. These paints are also very vibrant and I’m planning to get their tube paints in the future…

Which I’ll be doing when I build my own palette! Enter Half Pan PH that sells empty half pans and cases for your tube paints.

My style has been evolving ever since I gave birth, and I’ve often felt lost, so one of my 2017 goals is to establish my own color palette again that more accurately reflects my style right now. Your friend might like that too!

Art Whale and Art Nebula sell Sennelier (although I got mine from Japan), De’s Artroom sells Daniel Smith, and I got my Finetec from Swirls and Strokes.

Some artists appreciate being able to paint anywhere and everywhere. If your friend is just like that, giving a travel brush is a great idea!

One kind is a waterbrush that already has a reservoir of water attached to it, so there’s no need to bring a water container to paint. There are several options out there, but I like using my Pentel Aquash the most.

There are also travel brushes that don’t have a water reservoir. Even though this means bringing extra gear (like a water container), these brushes are also usually better in quality. I recently got a couple of Escoda Optimo brushes from Art Whale.

When your friend isn’t into paints or likes sketching with pens, Muji‘s gel ink pens are my favorite! They write so smoothly, have a lot of colors to choose from, and refills are available when you’ve run out of ink.

And lastly, for that techie art friend of yours, an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil combo is a great investment gift. Sure, this is very expensive, but it’s also a powerful tool for creating art.

When I stopped painting everyday because of the baby, I got so depressed. The husband felt bad for me so he worked extra hard and surprised me with an advanced Christmas gift – you guessed it, the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil!

Now, I’m making art again. It’s not with watercolor on most days, but I’m really happy with the chance to make something again. To just express myself in the way that I love the most!

I’m currently finishing my #30DaysofBibleLettering project with these tools (and yes, I’m late), with the Procreate app.

That’s it! Those are my suggestions and recommendations for what gifts you can give to your artistic friends (or what to request for yourself haha). I hope this list gave you a lot of good ideas!

If you have more suggestions, please feel free to comment below. I would love to learn from you.

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