Friday, 20 November 2015

Christmas Gifts for Creative People

photo taken by Josie de Meo

Blog 46

With Black Friday just a week away, I can see that people around me are getting more and more anxious to get their Christmas shopping started. This blog contains some of my tips for getting someone an arts-related gift for the holidays.

As an artist and instructor, I certainly believe that art should have a place in everyone's life. However, not everyone feels this way. While it is tempting to give everyone around me gifts of art, such as a painting, art materials, colouring books, or materials for Do it Yourself projects, it is always important to ask yourself whether the well-meant gift is really something the receiver will enjoy.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I had the perfect gift in mind for a friend of mine. Luckily, during a conversation she made it very clear to me that what I had thought would be the perfect gift, did not interest her at all. She told me that she would not even know what to do with something like that. I was certainly glad that I had not bought the gift for her.

When you are looking for gifts for your family and friends, you can get really lucky, if the people in your life tell you exactly what they would like to receive for Christmas. Would it not be nice if everyone would continue with the tradition of writing a wish list for Santa. This would facilitate buying gifts. However, often you have to find out the information through listening to them. If you are thinking of a certain gift and are not sure whether it is indeed a good idea, you could try to bring the subject to this gift in a conversation, e. g. “I just saw this new 3D marker, and would really like to try this out.” The reaction of the person you are talking to will usually give you a good indication of whether or not they would enjoy the gift. You can also look around their work area, talk to them about materials they use, look at flyers together, or visit an art store with them before the holiday season.

Once you have figured out whether you have any creative friends or family members, check the art store and bookstore advertisements (either online or in the local stores) to see where you can get the products. This way, you can already get a good idea what you are looking for and avoid getting overwhelmed by all the products in the store. Once you are in the store, always choose the best quality you can afford as many cheap products will bring rather frustration than pleasure to the receiver.

Here is a list of art materials and equipment for your creative adults that caught my eye when I started browsing the Internet for ideas for this blog and at the same time for my Christmas wish list.

With regard to new materials the following look quite interesting:

Winsor & Newton Pigment Markers are pigment markers which means they use fine art pigments instead of dyes. Therefore, the artwork does not fade. With the use of a special blender you can also blend the colours.

Winsor & Newton Watercolour Markers are highly pigmented, water-based markers which can be used with any regular watercolour. They are very useful for detail work. Each marker has a fine point on one end and a flexible brush tip on the other end.

Golden's new High Flow Acrylics have an ink-like consistency. They are very versatile and can be used for many techniques. They are are fully compatible with all other acrylic products. They can be used in an airbrush, a refillable marker, or with a regular brush.

Now some equipment that might make it possible for your loved ones to take their creativity into a completely new direction:

The iSketchnote, a slate which is a smart drawing pad, allows the instant digitization of paper drawings onto an iPad. The artists can use their regular pencils and pens. To see a demonstration go to This is something that would really interest me. Unfortunately, I do not possess an iPad.

I say the picture of a 3D Pen for the first time in the Chapters Christmas flyer. This afternoon, I watched a video about the use of it because I could not understand how you would be able to create 3D images. To see the YouTube video please go to It looks interesting but I do not think that it would be something I would enjoy.

Last but not least some hands-on books to get the creative juices flowing:

This year's big craze are colouring books. They top the the book charts, and there are so many variations on the market that you will see tables of different books in any main bookstore as will as long lists online, something for every taste. You better find out what subjects are of interest to the gift receiver because the sheer volume of different books will overwhelm you. Colouring books are great for people in your circle of friends and family who love colouring as a way to relax. Paired with some good coloured pencils or markers, this makes a very nice gift.

For someone who needs some inspiration, the books “642 Things to Draw” and “712 More Things to Draw” by Chronicle Books will give new ideas to challenge oneself.

You could also give a gift certificate for a painting course or a paint party.

Many community centres offer a variety of art classes at very reasonable prices. A course at a local art school or private lessons are other options. New courses generally start in January so the receiver of your gift certificate does not have to wait too long to redeem the certificate.

If you would like to create lasting memories of a time spent together, a paint party is a good choice. No experience in art is necessary and a lot of fun is guaranteed. My friend Josie de Meo and I offer paint parties both for adults and kids. If you are interested please contact us and we will gladly discuss prices and options with you. You will choose the painting you would like to copy. We will deliver all the materials, take care of the setup and cleanup, and make sure that you leave with a beautiful painting. We are able to cater both private or corporate events. For more information please contact me at

I hope I was able to give you some ideas. If you have used any of the suggested items, I would be glad to hear your opinion. Hopefully, Santa will bring me one or more gifts from this list. Then I will give certainly give you my own review. For now, I wish you happy shopping!

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