Gift Guide: Creative Ideas for Art Lovers (or Yourself)

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Best Gifts for Artists 2017

Buying gifts for your artistic friends can be hard, although buying gifts for yourself always feels like a piece of cake. We put together a few of the best things we’ve found this year while we’ve been looking around during the shopping season. Give them to family and friends, or just grab them for yourself. A few of these are on sale at a pretty significant discount during Black Friday weekend (yes, it’s a whole weekend now), so grab them while you can.

Body Chan/Kun Manga Mannequin

If you spent any time whatsoever in a drawing class, you’ve probably posed a drawing mannequin into as many crazy configurations as possible. But you’ve never seen a mannequin like this. The Body Chan/Body Kun mannequins are made just for drawing manga and come with accessories that fit the style. At $40 each, they’ve never been this inexpensive.

body chan
These bad boys and girls come in grey, beige, and black.

Gradient Puzzle

AreaWare has some very neat gifts that have a distinct, minimalist, design-forward attitude. Their Blockitecture toys for building tiny modern dwellings on your coffee table work fine for children, but they look a lot cooler on an adult’s desk. They sell quirky things like Bitmap Textiles let you pledge allegiance to computer-aided design IRL. But the thing that stands out the most to us in their store this year is the Gradient Puzzle. If you know someone who has a lot of thoughts on the many ways color can be experienced or divided up, this gift will test their skills of perception.

gradient puzzle
The Gradient Puzzle is the final exam for both working designers and art school dropouts.

Anything from Natali Koromoto’s Shop

Nobody does it cuter than Natali Koromoto. We’ve been fan of her Brooklyn-made art for a long time, and her store always has cute stuff being added to it. We’re almost certain if there’s someone in your life who likes kawaii they’ll love just about anything from her store.

kawaii art store
Natali’s store has all kinds of neat things like cloud animal leggings and iron-on patches.

Nite Ize Inka Mobile Pen and Stylus

The Nite Ize Inka Mobile Clip Pen + Stylus is exactly what you think it is. A tiny stylus. The company also makes a Mobile Pen + Stylus which is really made to be part of a keyholder. They’re both inexpensive and fit the stocking stuffer category quite nicely.

Mobile stylus portable
It may not be the best stylus out there, but it’s got to be the most portable.

Watercolor iPhone Case

Show the world that you’re not just a tech obsessed consumer with this Watercolor iPhone Case. You’re more than that. You’re a lover of messy watercolors.

etsy iPhone case
Probably the best iPhone case we’ve seen.

Chuppy Lim Coloring Book

We’re super biased on this one because Chuppy Lim makes adult coloring books using our app, SketchBook. And the drawings are absolutely gorgeous. Grab a copy of his Chuppy Art book and gift it to someone who needs some coloring chill in their life. It’s a great way to say, “Zen out already, Martha!”

zenimals coloring book
Chuppy Lim draws the line art for his coloring books in SketchBook. It’s up to you to make them extra beautiful.

Render Demo How to Draw Books

Every aspiring artist needs reference materials, and the folks behind Render Demo create small books to show people how to draw basics like cars, shoes, super heroes, and figures. Stuff you should know how to draw. They’re great primers for getting better.

render demo how to draw books
Render Demo teaches a few subjects quite well: super heroes, figures, cars, and shoes.

Art Snacks Monthly Box

We’re obviously fans of digital art, but we still love art supplies of all kinds. Indeed, it’s a special occasion when we break out the physical tools. If you feel that way — or know someone who does — a monthly art box subscription might be just the ticket. There are a lot of monthly art boxes you can subscribe to like SketchBox from Cratejoy or Scrawlrbox, but our favorite is the box from Art Snacks. Solid stuff every month with real curated thoughtfulness. And a snack! The best part is they offer both an ArtSnacks Box and a Lettering Snacks Box for fans of hand lettering.

art snacks subscription box
The ArtSnacks August 2017 box. The snack that’s included is unexpected — but very welcome! | Image via artbytinadh

Moo Custom Postcards and Business Cards

Moo got into the business of making business cards when everybody else started getting out of the business of paper. We’re so happy they not only stuck with it but made their custom-printing service even better over time. They now offer super-cool square business cards, but their small postcards are what we like best. You can put your own artwork on them — with a different image on every single one if you want. It’s the perfect high-quality, unique advertisement for working artists.

moo cards custom printing
Moo’s Printfinity system lets you put a different design on every single card. You’ll look like a real pro.

Felt Ball Sling Shot

The people who run Hello Maypole do a lot with felt balls. Maybe too much. But we can’t resist their adorable Sling Shot with Felt Ball Ammo. It’s perfect for procrastinating — or stopping other people from doing their work, too.

We’re going to need more felt balls.

Fancy Features Coloring Canvas

Hey, coloring book lovers. How would you react if we told you that you could buy a giant canvas or even a mural that is paint-by-numbers ready? Fancy Features makes these completely unique canvases with line art that look like tons of fun — especially for an event or party.

giant coloring book canvas
You like coloring books? You’re going to love this.

Trippindicular Kicks

She Talks to Rainbows is one of our favorite Etsy stores that will paint some shoes for you with a galactic space scene or mermaid scales. Even unicorns. You won’t find these at the Foot Locker, and you don’t have to tell anyone where you did find them. Our little secret.

converse high tops galaxy
Out of this world Chuck Taylors and more at the She Talks to Rainbows Etsy store.

Public Domain Review Posters

Beautiful drawings and paintings from the past regularly move into the public domain, but how would you know when that even happens? Lucky for all of us, the Public Domain Review‘s staff of artsy librarian types have made it their nonprofit job to gather and report when it happens. They recently added a Fine Arts Print Shop, and we’re definitely ordering a print for ourselves this holiday season — both to support this one-of-a-kind project but also because the drawings they offer are stunning and unique, especially their scientific illustrations from past centuries.

art prints for sale
Some great prints on the Public Domain Review for a good cause — sharing and preserving art history.