Holiday Gift Guide: Buying for Adult Artists

The Holiday Gift Guide has become a staple on this blog.  Once a year, I try to serve one aspect of the artistic community to the best of my ability, utilizing my years of expertise in a highly specialized field to help others buy for the artists in their lives.  In the past three years, I have written for student (child) artists, artists just putting together their first adult studio, and artists interested in experimenting with alcohol markers for illustration and , and even solicited friends to write guest gift guides for aspiring artists. 

This year, we're not going to focus on the basics, we're going to focus on everything your artsy friends might have skipped, might be saving up for, or may not have yet tried.  If you're an artist, you may find several items from this Gift Guide worth adding to your own wish list, or worth investigating later in the year.  These recommendations are based on my own experiences and preferences, and you may recognize many of these from this blog or from the YouTube channel.  As you browse this list, you may find things you yourself want- feel free to bookmark it and come back any time in the upcoming year.

Please note:  The only affiliate links used in this post are through Amazon.  All other links are independent links.  I always try to use the best source possible when linking products on this site, or provide multiple sources for purchase.  Using my affiliate links helps support this blog financially, and does not cost you any additional fees.  And don't forget, ANY shopping you do this holiday season that begins with one of my links nets me the bounty fee from Amazon, so if you have online shopping to do, starting from one of my links would help tremendously.

For Traditional Artists

Custom made sketchbook filled with paper of choice
Suggested papers: 
Shizen Handmade watercolor paper
Yupo (makes for a great shower notebook, as it's waterproof)

Other Papers to Try
Toned Tan Paper
Pearl Paper

For the Inker:

Inexpensive fountain pens to modify:
Jetpens Chibi+ Converter
Jinhao X750
Noodler's Flex
Noodler's Konrad

Nibs to try with your fountain pen:
Zebra G
Tachikiawa G
Noodler's Flex Replacement Nibs

Waterproof/Alcohol Marker proof inks
Platinum Carbon Black

Inks that Double as Watercolors
Diamine Flowers

Dip Pens
Tachikawa Nib Holder
Kuretake Nib Holder

Brause Rose
Brause Steno
Rubinato Gold
Tachikawa Tank
Tachikawa G

Winsor and Newton Gold
Winsor and Newton Silver
Finetec Watercolor
Drawing Sol K
Kuretake Sumi Ink

For the alcohol marker enthusiast:

Copic Airbrush System Starter Set
Ranger Spritzer
Grafix Masking Frisket
Copic Opaque White

Ranger Alchol Inks
Jacquard Alcohol Inks Starter Pack
Jacquard Alcohol Inks Openstock
Copic Various Inks Refills

Marvy LePlume Alcohol Markers Fine
Blick Studio Brush Markers
Copic Wide Markers
Empty Copic Sketch Markers
Empty Copic Wide Markers

Copic Wallets
Artbin Marker Satchel

X-Press It Blending Paper
Canson XL Watercolor Paper
Strathmore 400 Series Mixed Media Paper
Strathmore 500 Series Bristol (Plate, Smooth)

Other Markers To Try:

Pitt Pens
Zig Art and Graphic Twin
Zig Brushables
POSCA Opaque Markers

Papers for these waterbased markers:
Yupo (excellent with the Pitt Pens)

Inks compatible with alcohol inks/markers:
Toner cartridge ink (Dell C1760 NW is an affordable option)
Sailor Mitsuo Aida Brushpen
Platinum Carbon Ink
Drawing Sol K
Deleter Black 4

For Watercolorists:

Daniel Smith Dot Samples
Cheap Joe's Samples:
Quinacridone (12 dots)
Top 10
Essentials (Set of 12)
SoHo watercolors (in vivid colors)
QoR watercolors (particularly the blues)
Brusho Watercolor Crystals

Creative Mark Rhapsody Kolinsky Sable Rounds

Derwent Inktense Watercolor Pencils
Wax Resist Crayons

Paper and Ink Arts paper sampler
Cheap Joes Watercolor Paper Sample packs
Shizen handmade watercolor paper
Fluid 100 watercolor paper


Cheap Joe's Travel watercolor kit
Cheap Joe's Golden Fleece Synthetic Travel Watercolor Brushes
Miller's Pseudo Sable Sets- Travel Size
Joe Miller Signature 50/50 Travel Round Watercolor Brushes
Escoda Versatil Synthetic Kolinsky Travel watercolor brushes
Kuretake travel watercolor kit
Kuretake Brush2o Watercolor Brushes
Aquash Waterbrushes
Spritzer Bottles

For the potential YouTuber:

SD Cards-For Camcorders 256 GB (Amazon) (Newegg) (TigerDirect)- Always check Slickdeals first
Micro SD Card+Adaptor 128GB (Amazon) (Newegg) (Tiger Direct)- Always check Slickdeals first
Large external harddrive
Adobe Premier- Adobe's video editing software, very expensive
DaVinci Resolve
Adobe Audition- Adobe's audio editing software, very expensive
Audacity- Free audio editing software
Meteor Mic
Lapel Mic- GIant Squid
Card reader
Camera mount:
Neewer-This model needs an adaptor to hold your camcorder
Adjustable Flex Mount
Vivitar Spider Tripod
Phone mounts:
Selfie Stick
Gooseneck Phone Mount

General Studio

Tombow Glue Runners:

Mono Liquid Glue
Martha Stewart Crafts Ballpoint Glue Pen

High Precision Tweezers

Work Surfaces

Inkssentials Craft Mat (Nonstick)
Silicon Craft Mat (heatproof, perfect for working with hot glue)
Cutting Mats:
EK Tools, Self Healing Mat- 12"x12"-White
Self Healing Cutting Mats- Various Sizes- Green

Work Tools

Alvin Drafting Brush
Xacto Swivel Knife
Xacto Blade
Fiskars Rotary Cutting Set
Rotary Cutter Large
Rotary Cutter Small

Artist Life

Arthritis Glove (compression glove):
Isotoner (long)
Mueller (with wrist brace)
Wrist Brace:
Ace- Full coverage
Mueller Wrist Brace
Champion Neoprene Wrist Brace (flexible)
Back Brace
Tiger Balm
Badger Balm
Mint tea (great for soothing sore throats post conventions or during recordings)
Menthol stick (for migraines or joint pain)
Bath salts- lavender, mint
Bath Bombs- Lush, Bat's Baths
Succulents or other easy care plants
Aromatherapy Oils
Unscented, non greasy hand lotion or high end lotions
High quality socks
Fluffy bathrobe
Space heater
Reusable Waterbottle- I recommend this self sealing Contigo for pet owners
Small icepacks- good for icing wrists, necks, backs, or keeping lunch cool at cons
Electric Heating Pad

Subscription to Amazon Prime- Includes Prime Music, Prime Movies, and Prime Shipping

Amazon Fire TV

Kindle Unlimited

Amazon Fire Tablet


Subscription Snack Boxes:
Skoshbox (Japanese snacks)


Month at a Glance (good for scheduling and planning content)
Day Designer
Pocket or Purse Size:
Calendar and Journal Organizer
Small Binders
Avery refills
Set of highlighters (for color coordinating schedule)

Studio Equipment:


Natural Light Lamps
Ott Lights

Drying Racks:
Double Sided Drying Rack
Standing Print Racks:
Richeson Black Canvas Print Racks (Variou Sizes)
Wooden Print Rack
Anti Fatigue Mats

Folding Workspaces/Sewing Tables
Adjustable Height Folding Table
All Purpose Fold Down Table
4' Folding Table
Folding Craft Table and Storage


Desktop Storage
Keep in mind that makeup storage often works quite well for art supplies, and tends to be cheaper
Acrylic Eye/Lip Liner Organizer- Could be used for pencils, colored pencils, or even waterbased markers

Marker Storage

Desktop Paper Storage
Storage for Small Things:
Artbin Store-in-Drawer Cabinet

Large Storage
Clear Stacking Large Drawers (Large enough to store 11"x17" pads)

Rolling Storage/Taboret Storage:

Storage for Travel:

Serious Equipment

Epson Large Format Scanner-Epson Xpression 11000XL
Brother 3 In 1 Scanner/Printer/Fax (more affordable, lowerquality)
Cricut Explore
Toner cartridge ink (Dell C1760 NW is an affordable option)
Demo Con Table (6')

For Digital Artists

Anti Contact Glove

Clip Studio Paint
Manga Studio
Paint Tool Sai

Digital Assets:

Kyle T Webster's Brushes (has a huge variety of digital brushes)
Effects/ Background Brushes:
Foliage Brushes for Manga Studio
Manga Tone and Effect Brushes for Photoshop
Brushes, Templates for MangaStudio
Textures and Assets:
Watercolor Textures
Watercolor Frame
Watercolor Wax Resist Swatches
November Watercolor Splotches and Swatches
Multi Color Watercolor Splotches
Watercolor Crayon Swatches
Small Splotches
Splatter Frames
Brusho Splatters
Watercolor Swatches, Squiggles, and Splatters
August Watercolor Paper Pack
Bonus Paper Pack
Digital Watercolor Paper Pack

Large external harddrive (2TB) (Newegg) (Amazon) (TigerDirect)- Always check Slickdeals first!
Large thumbdrive (256GB) (Newegg) (Amazon) (TigerDirect)- Always check Slickdeals first!

Mini Comic and Zine Artists

Bone Folder
Long Arm Stapler
Toner cartridge ink (Dell C1760 NW is an affordable option)

Convention Artists

Inexpensive tablet for Square/ other card readers
Phone Stylus
Iris Photo Keeper (good for mini prints)
Extra grid connectors
Extra grids
Con Demo Table (6'- handy to have as some shows don't provide a table)
Healthy snacks/treats for con time
Reusable, sturdy waterbottle- I recommend this self sealing Contigo for pet owners
Sturdy rolling suitcase

Artbooks and Sketchbooks

Art of Studio Ghibli:
Nausicaa: Watercolor Impressions
Howl's Moving Castle
Kiki's Delivery Service
Spirited Away

Disney Art Books:
Beauty and the Beast
The Disney that Never Was
The Art and Flair of Mary Blair

How To Books:
Glen Vilppu Drawing Manual
ElectricAbyss: The Art of Heidi Black
Andrew Loomis:
Figure Drawing for All It's Worth
Understanding Comics
Making Comics
Mastering Comics
Brick by Brick
Drawing Words and Writing Pictures
Comics Spectrum (Gumroad Anatomy Lessons)

Artist Life:
Kingdom of Dreams and Madness
Starting Point
Turning Point
Steal Like an Artist
Barakamon Anime Manga
Manga Poverty
Princess of Tennis
Honey and Clover

Comics about Comics:
Kakukaku Shikajika (scanlation only)
Bakuman  Print  Digital
Spicy Pink (scanlation only)
Insufficient Direction Print Digital
I'll Give It My All...Tomorrow


Art Subscription Boxes:
ArtSnacks Subscription
Scrawlrbox Subscription

Bike Chain Fidget
Fidget Cube
Liquid Motion Bubbler
Loopeez Silent Fidget Toy
DNA Ball

Cute Pencil Cases
Better Together Daily Wallet
Better Together Note Pouch V3
Via Jetpens
Homecube Big Capacity Pencil Case
Lihit Lab Case
Box Style Pouch
Samaz Students Extra Large Capacity Pencil Case
Deli Large Student Pencil Case
Double Sided Pencil Case


Cat Sticky Notes
Happy Cat's Street Sticky Note
Baby Cat Sticky Note Set
Baby Cat Index Sticky Notes
Baby Cat Sticky Note Set V2
Animal Paw Sticky Notes

For the artist who has everything:
Give the gift of support to their Patreon
Give the gift of support to their favorite artists
Back a Kickstarter on their behalf

Subscription to art classes:
At local art stores
Life drawing sessions
Continuing education classes
Through local college


Spend Only Time:
Draw their OC
Draw their favorite anime/media/videogame character
Make a pledge to actively signal boost their work once a week
Write a review of their comic on Goodreads, Amazon,
Make custom Photoshop/Manga Studio brushes for their use
Scan some of your traditional media assets for their digital work
Volunteer your time- help them make inventory, cook them a meal, act as a beta reader for their work in the next year
Teach them a skill
Sew them something custom related to their work- a con tablecloth, an appliqued banner, wire cage covers, a uniform apron with handy artist pockets, a pencil roll
Create SketchUp mockups of the buildings in their comics- this is invaluable for reference!
Create an ad (video or static) for their comic, their art, or a service they may offer.
Write a testimonial
Help them create a portfolio website
Help them create a wordpress comic site
Introduce all of your other friends to their work

And if you enjoyed reading my blog this year, please make it a point to write in to some of the companies who's products I've reviewed (you can find links in my sidebar).  Let them know how much you enjoy my reviews and tutorials, and how you would like to see a partnership between us.  You can also make it a point to share my posts with your friends and family on your favorite social networks, and help me grow my audience.  I really need your help to grow, and please don't assume someone else is doing the job- every single person really helps.  Lastly, if you'd like to help me make this content in the future, please join my community of Artnerds over on Patreon.

This post was sponsored by 7" Kara Volume 1, a delightful all ages comic in lush watercolor.  Follow the adventures of tiny Kara as she sets out to meet humans, explore the big back yard, and have some big adventures. Volume 1 is available in print now through the Natto-shop.


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