In a recent colored pencil podcast, my cohost and I talked about some gift ideas for your colored pencil artist friends and family. Today I’m going to talk about some of those and a few other ideas for you to give your artist friends, or maybe you should just link this video to your family for ideas on things they can get for you!

Starting with colored pencil or graphite:

  • Colored Pencil Magazine You can buy a subscription either print or digital for your friends. The student magazine is also great for beginners!
  • Paper samples. If you have several friends who like to work in graphite or colored pencil you can buy some large individual sheets of paper like the Fabriano Artistico Extra White Hot Pressed 140lb watercolor paper, Stonehenge in various colors, and any others you like from Cut the large sheets down into 5×7″ pieces and make little paper sample packs wrapped in a pretty ribbon to give to your friends. This is an easy way to get gifts for multiple people.
  • Individual pencils – If you have friends who have been using one brand of pencil, maybe buy them 5 or so individual colors of other brands to test out.
  • Faber-Castell water soluble pencils – – These come in a set complete with a really nice paint brush to use them with.
  • Because graphite is so inexpensive, you may want to give a full set of Faber-Castell regular graphite pencils
  • A sketchpad with a couple of graphite pencils and an eraser
  • A set of different types of erasers. There are so many to choose from and they are so inexpensive that you can make a little gift basket of them. Faber Castell ink eraser   Derwent electric eraser  Tombow mono eraser Just make sure any erasers you get don’t have color like pink or purple. Those colors can rub off onto the paper.
  • Inktense blocks
  • Inktense pencils 72
    While I am using the whole set, you can mix colors easily with these so if you just want to try them out for the first time, the 12 pack of blocks is a decent set.

For oils or acrylics:

I don’t recommend most sets for beginners. It doesn’t really give the artist a feel for the medium if the supplies are bad. Instead, maybe get them a tube of black and white paint of a quality brand.  For acrylics, I really like Liquetex basics for how I work. Titanium white and mars black will give me everything I really need to complete a full painting.

  • Liquitex basics mars black
  • Liquitex basics titanium white
  • Set of Liquitex Basics These are smaller tubes but if you want to give someone a lot of colors to start with for a lower price than buying a lot of the big tubes, this is an option

For a full list of acrylic supplies that I use, check out this video

For oils I usually use Winsor & Newton, but if just going with black and white I really like Permalba for those colors. The Permalba white has a very nice texture and is quite opaque and the black is super dark. A little of that one goes a LONG way!

If you want a full list of oil painting supplies that I use, check out this video

Don’t forget canvases and brushes if you’re shopping for your favorite painters! Everyone knows I’m a huge fan of Fredrix canvases. You can pick up canvas pads of 10 sheets of canvas for a great price if you’re not looking to spend a lot.

If you want to spend a little more, check out their blue label ultra smooth canvases which are great for artists who like smooth blending and fine detail

For brushes I have to be honest, I’m a brush hoarder and there is no way to conveniently list out even my must haves. Just to get someone started though, this set of white taklon bristled brushes is a decent set. If you go to an art store, I would check out any synthetic hog hair or taklon bristled brushes. I recommend brushes with longer hairs. The shorter ones don’t last long.

Easels – There are so many different types. I would recommend avoiding the lightweight A frame type as these are really hard to work with.

The Smart Art Box Somehow I forgot to mention this in my video, but it’s such a great way to allow artists to try out a new medium every single month!! If you’re within the US or Canada, they will send a box of full sized supplies and a lesson on making a project with those supplies. You can sign up, or get more info on their site

If you’re still not sure what your favorite artist might like, a giftcard to a local art supply store is always a great option! You can even buy giftcards online from so they can shop online!