The holidays are upon us!
It’s a wonderful time spent with family and friends eating delicious food, watching holiday classics, and listening to music genres that normally I would ignore. (Why is Christmas so jazzy?)
What I don’t love is buying gifts. I don’t mean to sound like Scrooge, I swear. It’s just so stressful to find the right gift for everyone. And my list of “everyone” is fairly short!
My husband is the hardest to buy for and I usually get him something random and weird (i.e. gimmicky trash). When I do find the perfect something, I can’t wait to give it to him. For instance, he found out about his Christmas present this year the day before Thanksgiving! I just had to tell him!
So I’m not great at buying gifts. I just know that about myself. But I’m really good at buying art supplies. And I’ve bought a lot of them.
So if there is an “artsy” or “craft-sy” loved one you are shopping for this holiday season, here’s my recommendations for awesome supplies! I can’t fix the fact that I thought fancy cuff links were a good idea, when apparently they require a specific fancy shirt to be used. But hopefully I can help make some of your holiday shopping a little easier!
**In case you are feeling a bit humbug yourself, let me just say that these are all products I’m familiar with and enjoy. I’m not making ANY money off of the products and these are not affiliate links for this stuff. I just really like ’em and want to spread some arts and crafts cheer!**
These are hands-down my favorite pens to use and would make a great stocking-stuffer! I have other pens and markers that I really enjoy, but these are still my favorite. They are a brush pen, so they can make big marks on the page, but are fine enough to work on small detail elements. (Basically, they do it all!) I use them for most of my drawings. They just released a line of colored pens too that I’m excited to try too. The colors seem a bit more neon that I would use for an illustration, but seem perfect for bullet journaling!
It’s hard to go wrong with a set of colored pencils. A set of these colored pencils can be super versatile — they work great for fine art projects, but would do just as well for coloring books. They aren’t exactly cheap but a set of 12 is more than enough to get started! It helps that they are fairly prevalent in the art stores and craft sections; I found the gorgeous set of botanical colors available at Target!
My husband actually bought this ream of paper as a gift for me one year. I know, a ream of paper doesn’t sound fancy, but I loved it! I’m always afraid I’ll run out of drawing paper, and now I’m pretty confident that won’t happen for a while! Honestly, I don’t think there is a right or wrong kind of paper. But Bristol is my favorite, since it’s a thicker type of paper, than say regular printer paper. The vellum means it’s a bit “toothier” so it has texture (versus a smooth Bristol) and holds pencils really well (but I still use mine for ink drawings too). If a ream of paper still seems a bit clunky for a gift, sketchbooks are a great option! It’s hard to have too many sketchbooks!
I love this yarn. I had been using just acrylic yarn for all my crochet and knitting projects, but after buying this yarn for a specific sweater project, I’ll be hard-pressed to go back. Now, it is still acrylic yarn, but it has just a bit of wool blended in it to make it extra soft but still easy to work with (hence the name!). It comes in soooo many colors too. It is a thicker yarn, so it does need bigger needles or hooks, but I actually tried it arm knitting recently and it worked really well for that!
You guys. I’m obsessed with macrame right now. I know, I know, that’s so 70’s. But to be fair, I remember growing up with macrame plant hangers in our house at least through the 90’s. So it’s practically timeless! …One of the few Black Friday purchases I made was for bundles of rope. I hadn’t bought from Modern Macrame before, but I’m definitely in love! It shipped quickly, they had a lot of delightful colors, and they had accessories for projects too. I’ve actually had a really hard time finding rope for projects, at craft stores and hardware stores. (I keep hearing about how “trendy” it is right now, but it’s definitely not everywhere yet!) So I’m really grateful for this resource! If you think someone is feeling those vintage vibes, I recommend 5mm bundles to start, they can be used on a whole variety of projects! (Also their how-to book is amazing!)
Oh man, I buy a lot of books as gifts. And I’m always looking out for new and helpful books as an artist and creative. There are a lot to choose from, and it may just depend on what they are into as artsy and crafty people, but these are two of my favorites!
Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk: And Other Truths About Being Creative by Danielle Krysa
If your are buying a gift for a particularly shy artist or craft person, this book is like a friendly kick in the pants. Being creative is like one part practice, one part inspiration, and one really big part confidence. I usually alternate at which one I’m struggling with, but it’s most often that last one. If you are buying a gift for a diamond-in-the-rough that just don’t know it, this is the book for them!
Words for Pictures: The Art and Business of Writing Comics and Graphic Novels by Brian Michael Bendis
If you want good advice, why not start with the best? Bendis, in my mind, is absolutely one of the best. For all the books on comics that I’ve read, that cover each step of the production process, this one is the one that I remember the most. It’s comprehensive and insightful. If you know someone that keeps talking about making their own graphic novel or comic book, this is a great resource!
My last bit of advice would be this: don’t be afraid to ask the artist! I know for me, if someone shows enough interest in my creative work to ask what kind of work I’m doing or what supplies I use, I’m more than happy to talk about it! Artists tend to be “gear heads” and love what they use or have a pretty long wish list of stuff they can’t wait to try. If you are really nervous about buying the wrong stuff, I definitely think it’s a-okay to work with them and find something they’ll truly appreciate and use!