21 Gifts for the Artist in Your Life

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The holidays creep closer with every passing day; now that Halloween is over we’re all going to start hearing Christmas songs wherever we go. If you are hoping to get a jump on your holiday shopping for your favorite painter, artist or writer friend, check out these gifts, perfect for birthdays, Christmas, Hanukkah or any other occasion.

1. Great Gatsby Duvet

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Looking for a great gift for your favorite English major? We all read The Great Gatsby in high school. Your English major friend will love this duvet cover because it reminds them of one of their favorite books, not some boring book he read in high school.

Price: $89.99

2. A Waterproof Notepad

Do you have a forgetful friend? Shower time might be the time where she comes up with the best thesis or a new design for that Google contest. This one’s for her. All she needs to do it sketch out her idea, no matter when it comes to her.

Price: $9.68

3. Mew Yorker Kitty Tee

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We all have a cat obsessed friend. This t-shirt will embrace her cat obsession. “I would love to get a real cat but for now I will settle for this shirt,” Luther College junior Megan Mathison said. Wear it with jeans or yoga pants to brighten up anyone’s day with a clever cat pun.

Price: $24.99

4. Meowmore Pouch

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This pouch fits paints, paintbrushes or pencils or anything else that belongs in a cat lover’s art pouch. You might even find a fur ball in there.

Price: $14.99

5. Wood Art Set

This comprehensive art kit makes a great gift for your artist friend or anyone looking to start coloring. “I would love to get this as a gift. My inner artist screams yes,” said Luther College junior Ali Turnquist. Your friend will love de-stressing with some art projects so she can get back to her English paper with a calm spirit.

Orice: Varies

6. Artsy Socks

Your friends can say goodbye to freezing cold feet with these cozy socks. “As a sock enthusiast and a studio art major, I think that there socks are amazing! They would be a great gift for any art or art history buff, and personally these are going on my Christmas wish list,” said Winona State junior Lexi Prowizer.

Price: $16.99

7. An Art Tablet

Art tablets outdo the professional competition making the perfect for your professional art friend. “Digital art tablets look really professional; they have all of the drawing tools.  You don’t have to worry about paint brushes or canvases or spilling paint all over yourself,” said Mathison. Whether a graphic artist or just a fan of drawing, technology lovers will need this gift.

Price: $169.95

8. A Smock

Painting is messy. Colors will fly all over the place, and more importantly all over her cute outfit. For your friend who always gets paint on her clothes, help her save a few bucks on dry cleaning with a smock to keep the creativity flowing.

Price: $23.99

9. Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist

Looking for some new drinks? This book is perfect for anyone who loves a good drink and a good literary reference. As the book said, “Think of this recipe guide as SparkNotes with a liquor license.”

Price: $9.66

10. Great Drinkers Shotglass Set

Want to share a drink with your favorite author? This won’t give you the same experience, but it’s close. “It’s funky new way to consume alcohol,” Luther College senior Andrew Botz said.

Price: $16.95

11. First Lines of Literature Mug

Relax with your coffee and find your next great read at the same time. Figure out what book the first lines on the mug come from, and then actually finish reading that book.

Price: $7.90

12. 642 Tiny Things to Draw

Is your friend new to drawing? Help him develop his natural talent, giving him the chance to draw as many things as possible.

Price: $8.69

13. Correcting grammar mug

We all have that one friend who likes to correct everyone’s grammar. No one wants to encourage these (annoying) ways, but this mug feels undeniably perfect for him.

Price: $10.64

14. Artsy Necklace

Wearing art is way cooler than looking at it. This necklace will make a unique and gorgeous addition to every art lover’s jewelry collection.

Price: $7.99

15. Handmade Coin Purse

Your recycling, hippie friend who’s determined to save the world, but also needs a place to store her hemp based lip gloss will appreciate this gift.

Price: $7.51

16. Artist’s Loft Fundamentals Art Organizer Craft Storage Tote Bag

For the friend who needs a place to store all her art supplies, this pouch will be a godsend. Whether moving between home and the studio or someone who likes to paint landscapes outside, this tote bag will hold all their art supplies.

Price: $11.90

17. Funny Grammar Expletive Mug

If you can’t help but channel your inner grammar nerd and preach about the difference between “their” and “there,” you need this mug. Your friends will never forget their grammar again. “My friend has one and she loves it, so I could give this as a gift,” said Luther College junior Harleigh Boldridge.

Price: $10.99

18. LED Pen Light

Does your roommate always keep you up with her lights on while scrambling to finish her homework? Do yourself a favor and give her one of these pens so she never has to keep you up again. “These pens seem like a fun and new way to write notes to friends at night,” Luther College junior Claire Little said.

Price: $16.99

19. 25 teabags with literary quotes

Everyone loves to curl up with the latest thriller while they sipping their favorite tea. These tea bags will give you a literary reference with every cup. “These are clever and practical, so I could definitely see myself giving these as gifts,” Boldridge said.

Price: $13.50

20. Men’s Artsy This Is My Halloween Costume T-Shirt

We all know and love that hipster friend who refuses to wear a costume on Halloween. Give them this t-shirt he can wear to every costume party for the rest of his life instead of going as “himself” every year.

Price: $14.99

21. Mini Stretched Canvas

These will double as an adorable way to decorate a dorm room, bedroom or anything else your friend can paint to decorate her new dorm room or bedroom. “These are perfect for people who really like little inspirational quotes or paintings,” said Turnquist.

Price: $11.65

P.S,, we have more gifts for artists.

Written by Marin McCall.

What do you get the friend that knows brushstrokes by name when you don’t even know the difference between teal and turquoise? Don’t touch their workshop if you want to escape with your life and don’t turn to their shopping list either—turpentine might be necessary, but as a gift (and a substance) it stinks.

These 21 gifts for artists will inspire your favorite artist for many masterpieces to come.

22. Color Wheel

That Halsey “Colors” quote every alt-girl has sad tweeted at least once after a boy messed with them? Child’s play. Artists can use this helpful guide to mixing colors to help create even more masterful pieces of art.

Price: $16.99

23. The Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self Portrait by Carlos Fuentes

You can follow in the footsteps of your favorite badass lady painter without sacrificing your brow game (power to all brows, including Frida-style though). A biography of Frida Kahlo or any biography of your favorite artist’s favorite artist gives them a glimpse into a creative mind that they actually have the talent to emulate. “This book is at the top of my wish list this year,” Seattle University sophomore Isabel Cunningham said. “Not only is this collection of diary entries filled with Kahlo’s illustrations, but it also contains an intimate perspective from the last 10 years of her life.”

Price: $18.54

24. Mona Lisa Paint by Numbers

Combining everyone’s favorite kids menu activity with one of the most famous works of art in history makes for a fun challenge for artists from beginning to expert. While the instructions helpfully lead you to a masterpiece with little effort, a little creativity could make this into a Mona Lisa template for your own new interpretations of the piece.

Price: $12.99

25. Shore of Tago Bay Long-sleeve

Those creative arms that produce their own art should be clothed in art too. Everything from the artist’s creative mind to their talented hands will represent art, borrowing a peaceful yet powerful image from one of Katasushika Hokusai’s famous works. The artist in your life will know exactly how to create an outfit around this shirt like every great artist knows exactly how to display their piece in a gallery. A simple frame of black skinny jeans and a masterful black eyeliner wing will make the statement of the top stand out.

Price: $17.99

26. Cutting Mat

Even artists struggle with spacing and drawing straight sometimes. Maybe their heads are crooked from their stronger right side of the brain tipping the balance? “I have always wanted one of these for my work space. The durable material and built-in grid make it perfect for drawing and collaging. They are also super cheap and easy to store!” Cunningham said. Even if your artist friend prefers their work in one piece, a cutting mat has uses for all types of creations.

Price: $17.89

27. Book about portraits

Sick of selfies? Grab this book to subtly suggest they should pick you as their next portrait muse so #selfiesunday can get an artist’s update. “I would mainly consider myself a portrait artist and I always love new ideas on how to reinvent the portrait,” University of Iowa junior art major Sydney Wientjes said. The different styles represented in this book will inspire many different iterations of your likeness.

Price: $15.63

28. Color palette book

Miranda Priestly could tell you what color schemes will dominate the runways, but artists of all kinds can draw inspiration from these matchups of hues. Sometimes just seeing the color combinations can spark an idea. “I’m notorious for sticking to black/white/gray color schemes and being very traditional,” Wientjes said. “Because of that, it’s sometimes hard for me to know the right colors to use when venturing into color theory in my pieces. I also can get stuck in a rut with the same, drawn out color palettes so having a fresh perspective can help.”

Price: $27.98

29. Punch Embroidery Needles

“I have been meaning to take up embroidery, but with the endless pit of obligation that is my sophomore year, I don’t have a lot of extra time on my hands,” Cunnigham said. “This set is perfect because it gives you the same embroidering experience with much more efficiency and much less time.” Saving time even in your free time sounds like exactly what a college student needs for a new creative pursuit. Experienced embroiderers will appreciate the efficiency just as much as beginners too.

Price: $12.99

30. Book about creativity

Artist’s block cramps up the hands so that you can’t even finger paint, let alone create a masterpiece. Hopefully even with this affliction, your artist will still be able to pass their eyes over this book and dive into the core of the issue: creativity. Taking a look at your process from the outside lets you tweak the plan before the product even touches paper.

Price: $9.86

31. 3D print pen

Plenty of artists already work in 3D. Hit the 2D purists with this curveball to bring any drawing to another level, or should we say dimension. This pen might even make your thank you note from them way more interesting.

Price: $49.99

32. Paint and palette necklace

Your artist probably has a specific aesthetic that their wardrobe always follows. If they love quirky jewelry, find something that will represent their interests. Those who create art should look like art too.

Price: $10.99

33. Art Prints

Help beautify their personal spaces with prints from their favorite artists and illustrators. “The three P’s [prints, pins and patches] are always the most fun gifts to receive, and more importantly–support! female! artists! Some of my favorite illustrators are Polly Nor, Ambivalently Yours, Henn Kim and Laura Callaghan,” Cunningham said. Your artist friend probably agrees. Your purchase of one artist’s work supports the movement to get all artists paid for their work.

Price: $37.00

34. Fine Point Pens

Believe it or not, some people come prepared to class with their own beloved writing utensils rather than showing up and digging up some free pen from the career fair booths from the depths of their backpack. Pen-thusisasts choose their mightier-than-a-sword weapon carefully. “These are the perfect pens for every situation, whether it be jotting down notes or doodling in class. There are 47 different colors to choose from, but the 30 Color Wallet makes for the best gift!” Cunningham said.

Price: $13.88

35. Desk box easel

Creative types tend to get messy. Paintbrushes after painting a landscape scatter to the north, south, east and west of their studio. Charcoal and graphite smudges make them look like a Dalmatian. Neat, tidy, expandable solutions with lots of compartments for organization will help to contain the clutter of the creative.

Price: $14.28

36. Attitude Aprons Fully Adjustable “Choose Your Weapon” Artist Apron

Art belongs on the canvas, not the artist. While seasoned artists know not to wear good clothes while creating, an apron still cuts down the number of T-shirts that suffer from secondhand Jackson Pollock splatters.

Price: $13.39

37. Art socks

Some artists eat, sleep and breathe art from head to toe. You can cover the toe part with socks sewn in the style of famous works of art. Your favorite artist will have ideas up their sleeve and masterpieces in their shoes. “My mom got [these socks] for me last year,” University of Iowa sophomore art major Katie Shumaker said. “I think they’re really cute since I like funny socks like that, so I’d definitely recommend them.”

Price: $13.88

38. Calligraphy pens

Ever since we could punch keys on a board to construct messages, people have ditched the carpal tunnel pain of handwriting. But gifting this lost art to an artist ensures the gift will be returned. “I really want to get into calligraphy more and be able to make gifts for people using those. Those pens can be kind of expensive though,” Wientjes said. The price of this gift invests in a future of complementary calligraphy for life, though.

Price: $19.99

39. Artist’s mugs

“I relate to this high key. If I’m not too mentally exhausted while I’m painting to read this, it would definitely help me,” Drake University junior art major Mia Tirado said. Don’t let your favorite artist make the horrible mistake of drinking form the wrong mug. You can also get any beautiful art-themed mug as a gift for your artist friend to decorate their shelves and give them something a fellow artist is proud to call their creation. They can drink their morning coffee and get inspired for the day.

Price: $29.99

40. Photographer’s thermos

If your favorite artist deals in the medium of photographs, get them something that always says they’re looking for portrait subjects. The double take that this mug will inspire will get your friend a lot of attention while staying true to their passions.

Price: $9.99

41. iPhone photography kit

Upgrade your artist friend’s cell phone photography game with easy attachments. Though they probably have a camera that’s worth more than all the cheap, collapsible furniture you stuffed in your dorm, an iPhone will have to do the trick for on-the-go photographic art. “It’d be dope to have some of those lenses you can place over your iPhone camera,” University of Iowa sophomore Emma Scintu said. “I want my Instagram to look good even when I don’t have my nice camera on me.”

Price: $23.99

42. Buddha board

Even if your artist friend deals in serene landscapes of ripple-free waters and quiet, sunny forests, her inner mind might look more like that boat scene in Willy Wonka. Ease her mind with a Buddha board relaxation tool, where you can draw with water and watch your work evaporate. Without the added pressure of permanence, your artist can release her inner thoughts peacefully.

Price: $39.95

43. Bob Ross bobblehead

Adorn your favorite artist’s desk with the master of happy trees himself. A little reminder of the good in the world through Bob Ross’s cheery smile brightens anyone’s day, but it’ll remind your artist friend of the smiles their work can bring just like his does.

Price: $8.27

44. Please Don’t Touch Help Us Preserve The Art T-Shirt

Remind your artist friend that their face is your favorite masterpiece. They might paint their face makeup or leave it natural, but either way someone has to remind people to keep their hands off. Every artist will appreciate spreading every gallery’s number one rule, too.

Price: $18.99

45. Painters Palette Christmas Ornament

Whether this gift makes it directly onto the tree to hang for the rest of the season or gets packed away for the next, every Christmas after your artist friend receives this ornament, you’ll see it displayed on their tree. Every time your favorite artist sees the ornament illuminated by the Christmas lights, he’ll think of you and the next creation he has planned for you.

Price: $9.95

*Updated on December 7, 2017 by Marin McCall to include gifts 22-45. 

Frances Stevenson is a staff writer from Luther College in Decorah Iowa. She is a senior graduating with an English and Environmental studies degree and the Features editor of Luther's student newspaper Chips.

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