Holiday Gifts for Artsy People

Find the perfect present for your favorite painter, sculptor or photographer.

Have you ever been at a restaurant that encourages creativity by covering the tables in butcher paper and including a small jar of crayons at each place setting? Recently, while dining at such an establishment, I returned from a brief foray to the ladies room to find that my companion had replicated Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” in its entirety with dazzling precision. “Oh, this?” he shrugged. NBD. We’ve all got someone like that in our lives. He or she may not be a professional artist, but they definitely have an innate talent. So why not choose a Christmas gift that nurtures their creativity? Whether it’s painting, drawing or sketching, it always feels good to express oneself creatively. Heck, they might end up sending some wall art your way, even if it’s just a frameable crayon Van Gogh.

1.
The Artist’s Way
by Julia Cameron

Creativity is akin to godliness, or at least it’s a means to spiritual growth, according to this classic guide to harnessing one’s artistry.

$30.77, amazon.com

2.
The Original Buddha Board

Your painter friend is either going to loooove this one–or ummm, hate it. Here’s how it works: fill the reservoir with water, paint something beautiful and then watch it fade as it dries. It has something to do with Buddhist spirituality and detachment. But if you do happen paint something that you want to live in perpetuity, you can always snap a pic and print it.

$34.95, amazon.com

3.
In the Company of Women
by Grace Bonney

This book is like spending a weekend with the most talented, creative women you could imagine: artists, entrepreneurs and makers of all kinds of things. Instant inspiration, guaranteed.

$14.79, amazon.com

4.
Tree of Life Leather Journal

Sometimes the best ideas start with a sketch or a raw concept jotted down on the run. But instead of fussing with scraps of paper, keep all your brilliance under one cover in this beautiful handmade Tree Life leather notebook.

$39.95, amazon.com

5.
Royal Langnickel All-Media Artist Set

Ideal for the budding painter with limited space, the Royal Langnickel set has an attached easel, and stores a prolific paint collection inside when not in use.

$74.19, amazon.com

6.
Artist Brush Set

There’s nothing worse than brush bristles that come off on the paper. This set of watercolor brushes is designed to keep brustles on the brush and artists happy (or at least happy about the condition of their paint brushes, if you believe in the myth of the tortured artist).

$24.97, amazon.com

7.
US Art Supply Box Set

Does the artsy person in your life like to sketch, paint or draw? If they’re still working out their medium of choice, this kit has everything they need to get started.

$54.96, amazon.com

8.
Sakura Fineline Pen Artist

For the master sketch artist (or anyone with the ambition to become one), precision is everything. This Sakura 59-piece set comes with three types of tips, so there’s nothing you can’t bring to life.

$79.88, amazon.com

9.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Masterpiece Paintings
by Kathryn Calley Galitz

Even a budding contemporary artist will learn something from sitting at the feet of the masters. Spend a day at the Met in New York, and take the masterpieces home in this book.  

$50.99, amazon.com

10.
Keith Haring (Rizzoli Classics)

Haring’s influence on art and culture still looms large three decades after his death, as evidenced by the major exhibition of his work at the Albertina Museum in Vienna this year and his posthumous collab with Coach for clothing and accessories. This Rizzoli coffee table classic details Haring’s brilliance and resilience.

$47.41, amazon.com

11.
Richard Bernstein: Starmaker

The hottest art book of 2018 is this beautiful monograph of the classic Interview magazine covers commissioned by Andy Warhol, and executed by his friend, the multimedia artist Richard Bernstein. His subjects were a who’s who of New York’s creative conoscenti of the 1970s and 80s including Madonna, Grace Jones, Diana Ross, Michael Jackson and Paloma Picasso.

$42.31, amazon.com