Creatives are notoriously hard to purchase gifts for. Because of their creative nature, illustrators and other makers know what they like and will oftentimes either buy or create it for themselves. But don’t worry—whether you’re on the hunt for Christmas gifts for illustrators, a birthday present for your favorite painter, or just want to celebrate a fun accomplishment for a fellow artist, there’s still plenty of opportunity to gift your creative loved ones with something special.
We’ve rounded up 21 of the best gifts for illustrators and artists—from tablets to books to studio decor, the latest in analog materials to the greatest in tech—and you’re sure to find something the perfect gifts for artists in your life.
What to Get Someone Who Loves to Draw
What are the best gifts for artists who draw? The possibilities are endless because, as you likely know, it takes many varied materials to create beautiful work.
When considering cool gifts for illustrators, take the “bigger picture” approach. While a set of pencils or a cut and print set may not seem like quite enough, think about all of the things that someone as creative as your gift recipient can create with just a few tools, and allow this sentiment to inspire your gift-giving!
1. The Art of Disney’s Frozen II
Art books are always among the best gifts for illustrators because they provide inspiration. This book, by Jessica Julius, allows Disney animation fans access to the thoughts, words, and context that informed the sketches and illustrations within. For illustrators and other creatives, this type of motivation can even lead to a whole new body of work!
2. Black 3.0 Acrylic Paint by Stuart Semple
According to painters and artists everywhere, this is the holy grail of matte black acrylic paint. It is heralded for excellent coverage and dense pigment, which are important qualities to any painter.
3. Moleskine Sketchbook
If there’s one thing that illustrators absolutely need, it’s a place to sketch or jot down notes. This sketchbook is popular for its thick, smooth paper and classic, professional look. This makes the list of “best gifts for illustrators” because it provides plenty of utility while still being professional enough to take to client meetings.
4. AGPtek A3 Light Box
When it comes to cool gifts for illustrators, you can’t go wrong with a light box. Light boxes allow artists to convert their work from traditional paper into traceable format and also allows them to more closely examine their work with the benefit of the backlight.
5. The Art of Howl’s Moving Castle
Any illustrator would love to receive this book from Studio Ghibli, renowned for inspirational imagery. The author, Hayao Miyazaki, is also a famous illustrator, and his work can help other artists grow in both knowledge and creativity.
6. Essdee Lino Cutting and Printing Kit
Sometimes, the best gifts for artists are the gifts of something new. Creatives are always experimenting with new tools and mediums, and this printing kit is a great introduction to stamp print-making.
7. Blue Light Reflecting Glasses
If you’re on the hunt for gifts for a digital illustrator, look no further! Blue light glasses are proven to help with eye strain and fatigue, which is common among artists working mostly on screens. Help the illustrator in your life fight headaches and blurred vision as they create!
8. Baggu Canvas Zip Tote
This one is the age-old “gift you didn’t know that you needed!” Illustrators, like most artists, often need to carry their work and materials with them, and no one wants to be scrambling for a bag or briefcase as they’re running out the door to the studio or a client meeting. This tote bag is a bright, sturdy choice for any artist who needs something reliable and useful but wants to make a professional impression wherever they go.
9. Liquitex Acrylic Gouache Essentials Set
While paint may not seem like something that would top the list of “gifts for artists who draw,” you may be surprised to find that many illustrators enjoy painting and think of it as a concurrent medium to traditional illustration. This is a wonderful, comprehensive gouache set for any illustrator who may be looking to dabble in painting or take their work to the next level by creating paintings from their illustrative work.
10. Ceramic Paint Palette
This hand-crafted ceramic palette would make a beautiful addition to any artists’ studio. If you’re looking to include a few extras, Sugar House Ceramic Co. also has corresponding brush rests, handmade brushes, and thrown paint pots.
11. Caran d’Ache Luminance Pencils
Beautiful colored pencils and illustrators go hand-in-hand. This set, which ranks among artists’ favorite tools, is described as “colorful” and “buttery.” It includes all of the colors that your gift recipient will need to create stunning illustrations!
12. Art Table
If you’re searching for something that will blow your illustrator’s mind but not necessarily your gift-giving budget, check out this adjustable height art table by VIVOHOME. This table is portable, which makes it great for illustrators who like to work in an immersive capacity, and it’s designed to adjust to the artist’s height to prevent back strain when doing stationary work.
13. Holbein Acryla Gouache, Artists Set
Many illustration artists turn to other mediums to continue to push their illustrative work and inspiration, so consider this gouache set for your gift list. Each color is ready to use right out of the tube, but also easy to mix and manipulate to create unique works if that is more your gift recipient’s style.
14. SpyderX Pro calibrator
The digital age has allowed illustrative programming to truly blossom, and this product by Datacolor will calibrate your illustrator’s monitor to allow for the best view of their work. This type of technology is also helpful within the context of client work, as it ensures that the artist and the client are having a cohesive experience throughout the creative process.
15. Oculus Rift headset
At the corner of fun and unique gifts, the Oculus Rift headset is a great choice for the artist who has everything! This headset allows artists to explore animating in the virtual reality space, and many artists shared that this new technology has helped inspire their traditional work, as well.
16. Faber-Castell Pencil Set
If you’re looking to add color inspiration to your favorite illustrator’s life but know that markers aren’t their style, this Faber-Castell pencil set is a great option. Faber-Castell is known for offering high-quality pencils, and artists appreciate the aesthetics of the wooden display box, too!
17. Copic Marker Sketch Set
Marker sets are easily among the best gifts for illustrators, allowing artists to infuse their work with color without the hassle and clean up of paint. Coptic markers are considered to be a premium choice, and users report that the array of color options and the tips on this set are excellent for illustrative work.
18. iPhone 12
Most creatives, especially illustrators, are excited by new technology, and the iPhone 12 is the latest in Apple’s long line of high-performing phones. The iPhone 12 offers a great camera and larger storage options in addition to Apple’s established programming. If your gift recipient could use an upgrade, this certainly tops the list of “cool gifts for illustrators!”
19. Microsoft Surface Pro 7
The Microsoft Surface pro is the best of both worlds for artists—it allows them to utilize a touch screen for on-demand drawing, but it also works in the same manner as traditional laptops if the user wants to work with a mouse or other add-ons. This is a great option for illustrators on the go, and reviews say that it’s sturdy, functional, and easy to use.
20. Herman Miller Aeron Chair
Think about where you typically find your illustrator—in a chair working, right? Sedentary work can take a toll on anyone’s body and mental health, and this ergonomic chair by Herman Miller can help! Artists say that this chair helps with back pain, when sitting for extended periods of focused work, and that it’s easy to move around when you need more studio space.
21. iPad Pro
While it may feel like Apple products are on every gift guide you see, it’s wholeheartedly because they’re among the best gifts for artists who draw. The iPad Pro, in particular, is a great choice for digital artists and illustrators and especially those who are ready to make the switch from traditional mouse-and-monitor digital work. Artists say that the iPad Pro is easy to use and feels surprisingly like drawing on paper. If you’re looking to really wow your artist, pair it with a purchase of the Procreate app!
22. Wacom Cintiq Pro 24
The Wacom Cintiq Pro 24 is an art tablet designed specifically for illustration. With a perfectly calibrated screen and smart pen design, artists can bring their work to life digitally while still feeling as though they’re drawing on paper. Many artists say that this tablet has changed the way that their art looks and has allowed them to expand their creativity through the harmonious work that this technology supports.
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