Top 10 Gift Ideas For Your Wildly Creative Friends & Family

  For years I've been told two things:

  1. I am hard to shop for (not true according to my partner, Steve, who loves buying me presents).
  2. I am "recklessly" creative (okay, this one is sorta true, but the delivery of the sentiment leaves much to be desired).
As you might expect, neither of these statements made me feel terribly good about myself. I know I am not alone in having received such backhanded compliments (statement #2.) and passive-agressive comments (statement #1), especially around the holidays, so I decided to create a gift guide designed specifically for folks like me (wildly creative, not "reckless") and the people who love to give them gifts (my favorite kinds of people)! With this gift guide I am reframing (for myself and anyone else who'd like to join me) those hurtful comments into something something empowering, joyful, and easy to shop for, so without further ado, I present to you my 2021 top 10 gift ideas for your wildly (let me repeat for emphasis: NOT "reckless") creative friends and family!

In true "wildly creative" fashion, I chose
to attempt to make a visual for my gift guide
using a drawing app that I am just 
beginning to learn, Procreate. Is it perfect? NO!
But, I learned a lot doing it, enjoyed myself
(especially the color palette picking part), 
and feel it looks equal both wild & festive!

This pen is quickly becoming my favorite creative play tool and after watching this brief video below you will understand why! It's ink is a deep, dark black that dries fairly quickly. It gets bonus points in my books because it is not a disposable pen (it comes with additional ink cartridges and I have seen a few tutorials online teaching how to refill these cartridges with India ink, which I totally plan to do when mine run out - I love having less waste in my studio). Its brush is soft and flexible, and the ink that it comes with is incredibly waterproof (which makes it super fun to use with watercolor). Have I mastered creating art with this pen? No! But, I am having a heck of a good time learning about what it is capable of in my hands, which means it will be a delightful gift for all your loved ones who love exploring drawing and painting!

These are officially the Coolest Markers Ever! I love these shiny detailing markers so much, and honestly don't think I have used them to their fullest potential...yet. I received them as a gift from my fabulous partner last Christmas and I put them to use straight away in the doodle art that I add to all the packaging material for shipped Coloring Shop orders. These markers are so rad and reflective, especially when used on non-porous surfaces. I demonstrate the set that I have (which came with three different nib sizes) in this little video because these are a tad pricey, so I thought it best to show y'all just how unique and different they really are from all other writing/drawing tools. Anyone who loves to doodle or embellish their art with shiny, metallic details will love receiving one of these markers!

If you have someone in your life that loves creating with colored pencils or has a passion for extra-fine graphite pencils (ie. Palomino Blackwing pencils), then you know that when their favorite colors' barrels get really short, your loved one gets a bit grumpy. Coloring or drawing with a very short pencil barrel leads to hand cramps, pain, and frustration. But, these pencils they love are too expensive and awesome to not want to use them down to the very nubbins. Enter the pencil extender to save the day! In the video below I explain exactly how these handy devices work, which type of pencils they are for (and which ones they won't work with), and why they are such an awesome gift (especially those pencil nerds)!

As an illustrator of hand drawn coloring books I have many different styles of erasers, but my favorite of the bunch is definitely the Tombow Mono Zero. I call it a "fine point" eraser, but the company calls it a Pen-Style eraser. I like my moniker better because it tells you exactly what it is good for - getting into small spaces! With this eraser I can clear away the smallest smudges and stray lines with absolute precision. I show you all about it in the video below as well as how to insert the replacement erasers which can be a little tricky as all the instructions on the packaging are in Japanese (Tombow is a fabulous art supply company whose headquarters is in Japan; you've probably heard of their very popular Dual Brush Pens).

I just purchased these water resistant wax pastels by Caran d'Ache a few weeks ago to work on a coloring commission, and I already love them! The video below shows the color collection in action, how they work together, and how they differ from Neocolor II pastels (Caran d'Ache's more common pastel). In the video that follows this one I also show how these cool creating tools respond to a thoroughly saturated paintbrush. I am very new to this Swiss art supply company, so I'm probably pronouncing the name of these pastels incorrectly - my sincerest apologies! Next time I discover something awesome with a spelling that is wholly unfamiliar to me, I promise to do a Google pronunciation search BEFORE setting down to create a video all about them for y'all! I still have a lot to learn about these shimmery pastels, but I think just looking at the basic properties of them here will let you know if this would be a welcome gift for the folks who love to color on your list!


I am incredibly new to watercolor painting, but I received this amazing paint brush last year as a gift, and I am loving it so much I am sure any watercolor enthusiast will be pleased to receive one! Playing with it is so satisfying (as the video below shows - once I start painting with it my voice actually changes), and the design details of it make you feel like you are casting spells with a magic wand rather than painting with pigment and water - how fun is that! Also, this brush holds water so well, I occasionally use it as a mop brush (a brush to saturate watercolor paper with clean water in preparation for a color wash). If you have friends or family who are fascinated with watercolor painting like I am, splurge on this brush for them and I guaranteed you will receive a big hug!



I love playing with KingArt Tempera Paint Sticks so much (click here to view my color charting of this set and here for my blog post about how to plan an art date with them) that when I found KingArt Mixed Media Gel Sticks at my local T.J. Maxx this summer for a steal, I knew I had to bring them home! Neither of these tools are "fine art" supplies, but artists of all ages can have a boat load of fun with both of them for pennies! I have made fabulous abstract art with them on all kinds of paper that I've then made into cards to send to friends and family (playing with these supplies is my go-to way to make hand made birthday cards). In my book, anything that gets you experimenting without a care in the world about the end product of your art time is creative cash well spent! I decided to put these two supplies side by side in my gift guide and video about them so that I could compare and contrast them for y'all (Gel Sticks and Paint Sticks do not behave the same way at all), and because matched together they make a great inexpensive (yet artistically plentiful) gift for your wildly creative loved ones!


9. A Really Good Pencil Sharpener
It is ridiculously easy to find a pencil sharpener (grocery stores, big box stores, mini-marts, art stores all have a variety of them), BUT not all pencil sharpeners are created equal! Finding one that does a good job of creating a sharp point without totally mangling your (usually expensive) colored pencils is actually rather difficult. The most common question I receive at my coloring & creativity workshops is "what sort of pencil sharpener should I use with my colored pencils?" My answer is that I love using three sharpeners with all my many styles of colored and graphite pencils: The Kum 4-in-1, The T'Gaal Multi-sharpener, and the Kum Automatic Long Point. Each type of sharpener serves a different purpose; not all pencil barrels are the same size and not all color cores are made of the same ingredients, so different art tools require different maintenance supplies. The video below talks about each style of pencil sharpener in depth and demonstrates how they each work. I also wrote a companion blog post for this video that goes a little bit deeper into the importance of a good pencil sharpener and exactly how to use it to ensure your colored pencils and quality graphite pencils last a long time. Wildly creative folks can always use a new pencil sharpener (or finally getting a good one!), so picking up one (or all three) of these models is a good gift idea for friends and family who love to create with pencils.



10. HCWT Colorable Cards
Okay, I've got a self-promotion moment in this list, but seriously it takes creative guts (something wildly creative folks have loads of) to send your coloring art out into the universe in the form of a greeting card! Why? Well, one has just spent a considerable amount of time putting their creative ideas and energy into coloring one of my cards (enjoyable time, yes, but still TIME) and now they are going to send it out into the universe not knowing if A. it is going to get safely to the addressee, or B. what is going to become of it once it arrives at its destination (will it be treasured, trashed, recycled - they will never know). But what wildly creative people know is that creativity is an infinite resource within every human being and that it is a magical gift that demands to be used and shared! My colorable cards are printed on quality art papers (140lb Fabriano hot press watercolor paper or 65lb Kraft cardstock) which means one can color-in my wildly creative hand drawn illustrations with all sorts of art supplies, even paint! I have five different card collections to choose from (below are images of a few of them), and each collection comes with 4 different illustrations to color (one collection is even a double sided illustration), matching envelopes, and Color Test Strips (so you can test out your art supplies on these art papers). They can even be ordered with USPS Forever stamps (I have all the coolest designs), making them a thoughtful gift as well as a creative and fun one.

A couple of Little Critter cards are spread out on a pink background surrounded by markers. The words "Color front to back" are printed on the photo, and the center card is partially colored.
I call this collection "Little Critters." They are
creepy and cute at the same time, and are 
perfect for all ages! This is a double sided
card collection, so there is twice as much 
coloring fun per page as my other card
collections for the exact same price.

A large colorful heart card is in the middle of this photograph surrounded by art supplies.
The above card is from my "Love Is Love" set.
Here it is printed on Kraft cardstock, which is 
really fun to paint on! I used watercolor gouache
and metallic paint for the large spaces and pastel
pencils for the spheres. I call my favorite way to
color "kitchen sink coloring" because I love using
ALL my art supplies!

A greeting card printed on Kraft cardstock and covered with a cactus illustration to color is situated in the center of the photo on a white background and surrounded by art supplies.
This card is from my most recently completed
collection, "I Love Cactus!" 
Color test strips (that color-filled piece of
paper below the card) are an essential part of
my creativity so I include a few in every 
coloring adventure I create!


I hope y'all have found my first-ever holiday gift guide useful. And, if you know someone who struggles with shopping for "difficult folks" (who are probably not that difficult to shop for at all), please pass along this carefully curated list to them so that we can all be a part of stopping passive-aggressive gifting together!

 







Comments

  1. Great stuff! If you didn’t already have all of these, I’d know exactly what to get you!

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    Replies
    1. I supposed my fascination with all things art supplies DOES make it a bit of challenge to shop for me on occasion - I will admit to that ;)

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  2. Great ideas! I love hearing your opinion on what tools are best.
    Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. You are most welcome! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!😍

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