Small Gifts Ideas for Artists

Want to buy a small or inexpensive gift for an artist in your life? Here's a collection of gift ideas suitable as workshop presents or Christmas stocking fillers, for birthdays or any occasion when you want to say "I love you" to an artist.

If you're shopping online, it may pay to buy several things and keep some back for another occasion, to save on postage/shipping costs.

Water Brush

Water Brushes against white backgrounds.

Marion Boddy-Evans

Forget carrying a brush and a separate container for water, just carry a water brush! You can use it with watercolors and water-soluble pencils, and it's really handy for sketching or doing outdoor studies, as well as back in the studio.

Oil Sticks

Winsor and Newton Oilbar oil paint sticks

Marion Boddy-Evans

Oil sticks aren't the same as oil pastels. They're bigger (especially if you buy the extra-large ones!), more slippery and buttery so feel quite different to work with, and they dry completely (well, after a few months, like oil paint). ​Oil sticks let you combine the immediacy of drawing with the intense colors of oil paints, offering new ways to express yourself.

Ink Brush Pen

Person holding Ink Brush Pen.

Marion Boddy-Evans

A brush pen is like a water brush that's filled with ink.

Texture Medium for Acrylics and Oils

Open Galeria Mineral Texture Gel.

Marion Boddy-Evans

Different texture mediums contain different things, from pumice to glass beads. Imagine having granules of "sand texture" in a seascape or "urban grit" in a cityscape... that's the sort of possibilities texture mediums present. A perfect gift for an artist wanting to explore textures or move their painting style in a new direction.

If you're using acrylic paints, texture medium can be mixed with the paint or used to create texture before you start painting. Oil painters can use acrylic texture medium as a base layer before they start painting.

Finger Paint Brushes

Person using finger paintbrush.

Marion Boddy-Evans

Take finger painting to the next level with a brush that slips on the end of your finger like a thimble would. The various colors are different sizes (small, medium, large, extra large), so you ought to find at least one that fits. Having a brush on all five fingers will certainly test your dexterity! The bristles of the finger brush are synthetic; they come to a sharp point so you can paint quite fine lines if you don't press too hard.

Pocket Pencil Sharpener

An open Pocket Pencil Sharpener.

You wouldn't drop a sweet wrapper on the pavement, so don't do the same with pencil shavings when you're out sketching on location. Yes, you could argue it's biodegradable, but it's still litter really. Rather take it home with you by using a pocket-sized pencil sharpener that collects its shavings.

Pencil Extender

A Pencil Extender

How many stumpy bits of graphite pencil or color pencil are lurking in the bottom of your art box? Never struggle and get frustrated with a too-short piece of pencil again, or feel you're wasting it by throwing it out. Stick it into this pencil lengthener and it's instantly transformed into a pencil that's a reasonable length for using easily.

Brush Tube

A Brush Tube with brushes inside.

Keep all your brushes together in a brush tube. It's got a lid so you can close it up when you're transporting your brushes anywhere and, back in the studio, you can leave the lid off so any damp brushes can dry.

One disadvantage is that if you've got a tube in your daypack, it tends to rattle when you're walking around unless you've got it jam-packed with brushes or put a small piece of cloth in it. If this is likely to annoy you, rather get a brush roll.

Brush Roll

A Brush Roll containing brushes.

Transport your brushes by inserting the handles into the various slots, then rolling the whole thing up, and tying it up.

Disposable Paper Palette

A disposable paper palette.

Paper palettes mean you never have to spend time cleaning up your palette after a painting session, you simply rip off the top layer and throw it away.

Cards to Paint

Blank Cards to Paint.

Giving a hand-painted gift is far more personal than any ready-made card, and is really a gift in itself. This set of blank cards and envelopes enables you to paint your own cards, whether for birthdays or festive occasions. Don't forget to paint the envelopes too!

Tube Keys

Oil paint with a Tube Key attached.

If you're a painter who likes to try to get every last bit of paint from a tube, maybe you should try some Paint Saver Keys which make it easier to roll up a tube as you use up the paint.

Containers for Leftover Paint or Mediums

Small airtight containers for leftover paint or mediums.

\Marion Boddy-Evans

Save any leftover paint or specially mixed colors for use on another day by scraping it into small, air-tight, plastic containers. Or even squeeze out your paints directly into the containers and work from these rather than a palette; tidying up will be easy because you just snap on the lids and you're done.

Paper for Collage or Art Journaling

Multicolored paper.

Any artist who enjoys collage or art journaling will enjoy a pack of beautiful papers to work with. And there's no such thing as ever having too much!

Palette Pilot

An ad for Palette Pilot.

Marion Boddy-Evans

This is one of those small gizmos that can make life easier. You stick it to the bottom of your palette, put a finger (or two) through the strap, tighten as needed and then you can easily hold your palette from below at any angle. This way your palette won't slide off your hand, and your other fingers support the palette as you pick up colors with your brush so it doesn't wobble. Just remember, when you put your palette down, it'll squash flat.

Brush Defender

Brush Defender packaging next to person holding brush defender.

Marion Boddy-Evans

Fed up with the hairs on your brushes getting squashed out of shape in your art box? Cue the Brush Defender! A simple but effective idea that allows the hairs to dry out while protecting them. You simply slide it up the brush handle and over the brush hairs.

An Artistic License

An award for Artistic License.

Marion Boddy-Evans

Why not give a friend an artistic license? Print it out on a piece of paper a bit posher than ordinary computer printer paper, and put it into a frame.

Watch Now: Dos and Don'ts for Inking Comic Books