In the first week of our Holiday Gift Guide, we’re covering what to get for all the creative people in your life, from kids to hobbyists to crafters. This week, we’re going over what to buy the experienced or professional artist in your life who seems to have everything.
It can be daunting shopping for someone who seems to know everything about their art form, particularly if you’re not an artist yourself. Even if you are also an artist, it can be difficult to shop for someone who works in a different medium- maybe you’re a watercolor pro who hasn’t the slightest idea about pastels, or a seasoned sculptor who’s shopping for a painter. We’ll break it down for you and give you all kinds of ideas for what gifts to get for your own personal Picasso.
Quality > Quantity
When shopping for a pro artist, choose quality over quantity! Give them an upgrade to professional artists’s tools – every painter loves to get new brushes or fancy canvas. Good tools make a huge difference, especially brushes. Silverbrush Black Velvet and Escoda Kolinsky brushes are great choices. Masterpiece Canvas saves artists from having to stretch, without sacrificing quality. For paints and pastels, aim for high quality brands such as Golden Acrylics, Williamsburg Oils, Daniel Smith Watercolors or Sennelier Pastels. For sculptors, Xiem tools offer durability and control. When buying gifts for an experienced artist, quality really matters!
Go Basic- But Not Too Basic
An established Artist will have most of what they need. But most artists have something they use at a higher rate than their other supplies. Maybe your prospective giftee throws gesso like its their job, or is going through their Blue Period and uses Cerulean like its water. Maybe they buy Gel Medium like its going out of style. Buying them a large quantity of stuff they use heavily will show them you’re paying attention to their work and process, and it’ll save them another trip to resupply- win win! Plus, I think a gallon of gesso with a bow on it would look rather fetching.
Go Off-Script and Get Weird
To avoid getting them something they already have, get them something they’ve never tried! Broaden their artistic horizons with lesser-known acrylic mediums, like Golden Tar Gel or Fiber Paste. Try some unusual brush shapes, like cat’s tongue brushes for watercolor, fan brushes for acrylic or oil, or even catalyst wedges (silicone spatulas designed for innovative ways of applying color). Get an assortment of different spray coats and finishes like Krylon’s Gallery Series, which includes gloss, semigloss, and matte protective finishes for all kinds of paintings. Pick out some specialty paints outside the normal palette- think day-glo colors, metallics, glow in the dark paint, colors you’ve never heard of that make you say “Ooh!”. You’ll increase their options and maybe even inspire a new direction!
Take a Poll
Talk to the staff at Merion Art! We’re here to help you– and we’re exactly the kinds of picky professionals you’re worried about buying for. Just ask some of our on-staff artists what they’ve been drooling over- working here, we have a lot of time to window-shop our own products! For instance, a quick survey of staff says that our wishlists are full of lightboxes, large scale brushes, and big beautiful canvases. We’d love to talk to you and find the right gift for your artist friends and family!
Make Them Do Their Own Shopping
Of course Gift Cards are always a good idea- they’re the gift that keeps on giving, for the extremely picky artist! They won’t mind having to look around: art stores are to artists what candy stores are to kids. We suggest accompanying your artist to the store for a shopping spree, and then taking them out for a drink and a bite to eat (we always encourage pampering and feeding artists)!