10 Gifts for Artists – 2020

Artists fall into the category of both easy and hard to shop for at the same time. Do they already have this art supply? Do they even like this type of medium? Should I just get them a gift card instead and let them pick out something on their own? Do they actually have space for any other art stuff? All are valid questions. In this post I’ll be going through my top 10 gifts for artists in the 2020 holiday season. Lets begin!

*No links are affiliated I just really love Blick Art Materials

  1. For the marker enthusiast: Copic markers

Copics are one of, if not the best art marker on the market. Available in a variety of styles the main attracting feature to these markers is their wonderful brush tip, as well as a corresponding chisel tip on the opposite end of the marker, allowing for different types of coverage based on the application. In addition copics are refillable and are available in over 300 colours. While expensive, they’re definitely worth the price-tag.

You can purchase copic markers in various styles here

2. For the watercolorist: Daniel Smith watercolor sets

Daniel smith paints come in over 200 colors and are available in a variety of styles, from metal tinned and plastic cases, to tubes that last years, and the economically priced dot cards that are perfect for trying colors before buying a whole tube. Daniel Smith makes 3 types of watercolors; their normal set, a set of shimmering paints that were specially curated, and the primatek series made with genuine pigments and stones for a unique and at times shimmering look. In addition to the paints themselves Daniel smith makes a special watercolor ground, similar to gesso in clear, white, black, and gold that allows nearly any surface to be primed for watercolor painting. Daniel Smith also manufactures acrylic gesso and a number of oil painting products. All products are made in America in Seattle, Washington.

You can find Daniel smith watercolors and sets here

3. For the acrylic painter: Liquitex Basics

Liquitex manufactures a variety of levels of paint, the basics series is both economical and high quality for the price point. While many professional acrylic painters prefer Golden paints for their paintings, Liquitex Basics are ideal for the beginner, intermediate, and even the professional on a budget. They have rich color pay off and dry quickly without being too quick to not have time to mix on the palette.

You can find Liquitex basics paints in all 48 colours here

4. For the oil painter: Royal Talens Cobra water mixable oil paints

Oil paints are known for their hard to clean nature and at times toxic chemicals used in the paints and their mediums. Thankfully, due to advances in science and paint making there are now oil paints that clean up with soap and water, allowing painters with allergies and asthma to experience oil painting without compromising their health. Royal Talens Cobra water mixable oils are a student directed line but are loved by students and professionals alike, they are less sticky than Winsor and Newton and clean up easily with a warm cup of water and dish soap making after painting clean up a breeze. As with all oil paints, they do take some time to dry fully.

You can find these easy to clean and economically priced oil paints here


5. For the Colored pencil artist: Prismacolor premier pencils
Prismacolor premier colored pencils are renowned among the art community for their soft, easy to blend cores and wide range of colors. While softer than their oil based counterpart Faber-Castell polychromos pencils, Prismacolor cores hold up surprisingly well and do not break often in the core unless dropped many times. Prismacolors come in a variety of sets and colors from open stock individual pencils, to full sets of 150 pencils. For the young artist, the Prismacolor also has a scholar line which while being lesser in quality than the premier series, is excellent for a student line.
You can find these wonderfully soft pencils here

6. For the sketcher: Stillman and Birn Nova Mixed Media sketchbook

This unique sketchbook holds multiple types of paper in one book, allowing multiple uses without needing to buy multiple sketchbooks with different colored/weighted papers. The sketchbook is ideal for mixed media art and keeping an art journal, as well as colored pencil artwork on the toned paper.

This multi-toned sketchbook can be found here it is available in hard and soft cover, as well as various different sizes

7. For the illustrator: Sakura pigma micron pens

Micron pens are a cult favorite among the art and illustration world for their smooth lines, long life, and water and copic proof design. Micron pens are pigment based and available in a variety of tip sizes and colors, including a brush, chisel, and plastic nibbed version.

These pens are ideal for illustrators, animators, art journalers, and urban sketchers. The larger tips may smudge with very light colors of alcohol based marker. They can be found here

8. For the Graphic Designer: Winsor and Newton Designers Gouache

Gouache is an opaque watercolor commonly used in graphic design and illustration. Winsor and Newton, along with Holbein, is the leading choice for gouache in comparison to cheaper brands. It has a smooth matte consistency, flows smoothly on the paper, and can be layered due to its opaque nature when dry. Gouache can be diluted and reactivated with water for a variety of effects.

Winsor and Newton gouache is available in sets and individual tubes. It can be found here

9. For the Animator: Artograph LightTracer Light Box

Light-boxes are essential for animators when working on multi-page animations and when moving sketches to the final paper. A light-box allows the design to be seen clearly underneath the final paper, making the design easier to move with less potential mistakes.

You can find this light box here

10. For the Mixed Media artist: Strathmore 500 series softcover mixed media art journal

Mixed media I have found can be a fairly loose term when it comes to sketchbooks, for some the paper is really more like a Bristol with less weight, others only hold up to a few washes of watercolor and warp when adding collage, but this particular sketchbook I believe truly deserves it’s mixed media title. I have one that is nearly full and it takes everything I throw at it with no bleed-through, minimal ghosting, and very little warping when being clipped down. It is my personal favorite for mixed media artwork and for using acrylic paint and paint markers.

You can find this journal in soft and hard cover versions here

If you really don’t know what to get the artist in your life, gift cards to their favorite art supply store are always greatly appreciated, that saves you the stress of picking something out, and they get to take a trip to their favorite art supply place!

From this list did you see anything you might want to try? Do you have any additional recommendations? Let me know, I’m always game for art supply recommendations to try!

Finding time for art when you have a busy lifestyle

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“So much to do…so little time to do it.”

That’s a phrase I often find I repeat to myself, being a first year college student and a neuroscience major I don’t exactly have a lot of time to necessarily do what I might want to do. With the pandemic I also find myself cleaning quite a bit when I would normally have downtime and be doing art or another activity I enjoy.

But, sadly it’s out of my hands that we are in the midst of a pandemic and my professors assign a considerable amount of work, I just have to find the time for art when I can.

If, like me, you have a busy life and find yourself unable to have time to sit down for a few hours and create here are a few tips I incorporate into my own routine to make sure I’m staying creative despite being busy.

  1. Doodle during your breaks. When I’m sitting at lunch or if we happen to be taking an exam in class that I have already finished I’ll pull out some scrap paper and doodle mindlessly. While they are absolutely not masterpieces, it’s a fun and easy way to get my hand going and give my brain a break.
  2. (this is directed at students or anyone who needs to take notes) Use Sketch-notes or otherwise make your notes pretty. Sketch-notes is a technique of note-taking that involves mainly drawing diagrams or other drawings and adding small blurbs of text as needed, it is best for visual learners and can be quite effective. Or, if you prefer more “standard” note-taking look around the pinterest “studygram” community for inspiration…I tend to look around when I am lacking motivation to study chemistry.
  3. Write out a daily schedule. Having a schedule for the day helps block out what you’ll be doing and when, and allows you to see if you have time that day for a few hours of winding down and doing something creative
  4. Use what you have on hand. As much as I would LOVE to have my nice paints or markers when doing diagrams in class for my notes, usually I just end up using a pencil or fineliner pen and possibly colored pencil if there is time/need for color. If i’m doodling odds are its on the margin of a note sheet or a sticky note with a cheap ballpoint pen or number two pencil in between lecture points. The quality of the supplies doesn’t necessarily mean the art you make is bad (though high quality supplies tend to be made of better materials and have an effect on quality in a way) all that matters is you’re being creative and having fun
  5. Re-evaluate your lifestyle. Do I really need to be THIS busy? Sometimes being overly scheduled can lead to stress, and therefor burnout. Find things you might not NEED to do to give yourself some time for rest and relaxation. Self care is important!

Are there any ways you make art while busy that I haven’t covered? Let me know, maybe I’ll add them to the list!