Christmas Shopping for Art Materials

It is that time of year again and your friends and family will probably be thinking about what gifts they can give you if you like art.  Many well-meaning friends and family can buy us things that either aren’t suitable or perhaps aren’t the best use of their money.  I offer some suggestions to friends and family of budding artists.

Personal Choices 

Each person’s Christmas list should look different because what you need on your list depends on the type of media you like to use.  Acrylic paints are no use to you if you like pastels so try to communicate to your friends and family the type of media you enjoy.

Art to most people means, paint and pencils so understand that your friends and family won’t necessarily understand what ‘watercolour’ or ‘gouache’ means so they may need some hints.  This will make their job a lot easier and save you getting any unwanted gifts that could go to waste.

Ask for the media that you know you enjoy using
Ask for the media that you know you enjoy using

Less is More 

When it comes to materials you are better off having less materials but better quality ones.  It would be far more useful if family and friends got together and shared the cost of a good quality art item than each brought you something of poorer quality.

Buy good quality brands even if that means less of an item
Buy good quality brands even if that means less of an item

Useful Items

The items need to be useful to you, try to go for something you know you like rather than something new you have never used before.  Christmas is a great time to get the essential materials and the odd more ‘luxury’ item as well.  Generally however most beginners haven’t yet got the essentials so concentrate on them first.

A small set of 'B' grade pencils is essential
Pencils are probably more useful than glazes, mediums and accessories

Prioritise 

There are so many items you could ask for, but unless you have some extremely generous friends and family you won’t be able to have everything you may like.  Try not to get carried away when thinking of the things you need for your artwork.

Although it may seem like you have to have every type of pencil, eraser, accessory and sketchpad from some of the online shops and art magazines you really don’t need that much.

Write a list of items that you would like and then prioritise them, this will make the job of Christmas shopping a lot easier for your relatives.

Be Practical 

Don’t ask for a full length sized easel or drawing board desk if you live in a tiny flat and don’t have any room to use it.  You will never get it out if it is able to be folded up and put away due to lack of space.  It is difficult to be practical with so many materials to buy but stick to what you know you need and will use.

An Easel is great if you have space!
An Easel is great if you have space!
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