Christmas Gifts for Artists – Stocking Fillers

Today’s suggestions are dedicated to the pocket money price items. Perhaps you need to buy a Secret Santa gift or maybe you’ve agreed with your friends to spend no more than £5. Perhaps you’re looking for a series of small items for stocking fillers. Here are ten ideas, all costing £10 or less, plus a further bonus idea especially for those with time but without money. Check back over my last three posts too, as some of those ideas start below the £5 level.

fan brushSwordliner or fan brush. Both brushes are fun to use and perfect for expressive mark-making. I find the hogs hair fan brushes are far superior to the synthetic versions and can be used for oils, watercolours or acrylics.

Clutch Pencil. Useful for carrying in a bag or pocket with a small sketchbook when you’re on the go, because they’re always ready to go – no sharpening required. Various thicknesses and grades of leads are available.

Canvas. Not as expensive as you might think, a primed cotton canvas 30x 40cm for oils or acrylics comes in at less than £5 and would be ideal for prolific painters. It’s great to have a choice of different shapes and sizes available when inspiration strikes, so whatever you choose will ideal for a future painting.   

Jackson’s sketching case. All the products I’ve mentioned so far this week have been available from many retailers, but it’s worth checking to see if any companies have little gems unique to them, such as this sketching case. It holds 13 pencils and accessories and a sketchbook. Perfect for carrying art materials to a gallery, for using on a train or when waiting for a flight…

Painting Knives

Painting knife. There are so many different shapes available you’ll be spoilt for choice. Each make different marks so even if your artist already has a selection of knives new versions or even duplicates won’t go amiss.

Palette. Plenty to choose from here – plastic palettes for watercolour are well under the £5 threshold, but even some ceramic palettes or wooden palettes for oils are available within the price range.

Manikin. Useful for checking a pose or how light falls across a figure in a landscape, manikins are also a fun studio accessory – try suiting their pose to your mood! I even used one as a pointer in a presentation once, much to the amusement of the audience.

Watercolour postcardsPostcard book. Why send commercial postcards you can paint your own? Books of blank postcards made of watercolour paper are ready for the artist’s touch. The back of the postcard is printed with the traditional layout of writing space, address and stamp.

Brush pen. Like a pen but these have a fibre tip brush instead of a nib. Fill up the reservoir with water, ink or paint and it’s ready to go. Great for use with water soluble pencils (colour or graphite). Available in different sizes for detailed or more expressive work.

Compressed CharcoalCompressed charcoal. Similar to pastels and ideal for anyone who does regular life drawing. Available as sticks of black or a graduated set from white to black.


And finally… if you have plenty of time but no money – and a lot of people are in that situation these days – why not create a tailor-made art experience on a memory stick or in a sketchpad/scrapbook? Exactly what you include will depend on the artist you’re giving to, but the more effort you put in and the more it’s tailored to the individual the better. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • 2012 major exhibitions including their venues, dates and booking details
  • Funny or fantastic facts about famous artists
  • Favourite art images
  • A monthly art challenge
  • Product reviews
  • Inspirational art quotes
  • Top ten places to see works by their favourite artist
  • Suggested reading list with reviews
  • Great Facebook art pages
  • Doodling or painting website
  • Art venues within a 50 mile radius of their home town
  • The best art websites
  • Art people to follow on Twitter
  • Links to painting techniques videos on YouTube
  • Links to free online art publications
  • The best art blog posts
  • Virtual gallery tours

Tools such as StumbleUpon are useful in finding the less well known websites, but this gift is limited only by your time and imagination.

So that’s my series on what gifts to give artists this Christmas. My final post tomorrow shares five things NOT to give, unless you want the recipient to really mean the words “Oh, you shouldn’t have!”.

About Jackie Garner

Wildlife artist.
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1 Response to Christmas Gifts for Artists – Stocking Fillers

  1. Two more additions to the stocking filler list:
    (1) I’ve just seen a Conte Carres crayons limited edition tin set of 6 colours at £3.99. Useful product and they look far more impressive than the price would suggest.
    (2) An artist friend has suggested I include the battery operated eraser – great for precise erasing and adding highlights. I almost included it in my original list but I admit to a mild dislike of their constant buzzing when too many students in a class are using them. They’re great for use at home though.

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