These gift ideas for all types of artists – painters, sculptors, cartoonists, potters, textile artists, and more – are inspired by the Parable of Pablo Picasso. I love this parable because it’s both inspirational and realistic. It offers insight into the painter’s life, and that’s one of the best gifts you can give an artist.
Picasso (the book cover is pictured) is Philippe Dagen’s exploration of the artist Pablo Picasso’s techniques, materials, and images. Dagen reveals how Picasso both allowed the modern world to infiltrate his work and at the same time to react against it. Picasso moved between acceptance and rejection, created change, and left the most varied and diverse body of work in the entire history of art.
This large-format book is itself a work of art, and will be appreciated by artists of all types. That’s why it’s the first gift for artists in this list, because any artist can appreciate Picasso’s skill and creativity – not just painters.
Here’s a famous legend about the great painter, Pablo Picasso. Then a list of the different types of artists to put you in a more creative mindset and help you choose the best gift for the artist in your life. And finally: nine creative, unique artist gifts. I included links to Amazon, to make your online shopping excursion quick and easy.
If your artist is a knitter, read 8 Creative Gifts for Knitters. Those gifts are more practical than creative, but they may encourage and inspire your resident artist.
The Parable of Picasso
One day, a woman approached the painter Pablo Picasso – after he was rich and famous – and asked him to sketch something on a piece of paper. Anything, just so she could own a Picasso.
Picasso did a quick sketch of an old man playing a guitar. He gave the paper to her and said. “That will cost you $10,000.”
The woman was shocked! “But it took you less than five minutes to do the sketch,” she said. “Isn’t $10,000 a lot to ask for five minutes work?”
“The sketch may have taken me five minutes, my dear lady,” said Picasso, “but the learning took me 30 years.”
That’s why I think a print or poster of one of Picasso’s paintings is an inspirational, practical gift for artists – especially if you include The Parable of Pablo Picasso. It takes years (decades) to “make it” as an artist, but if you keep learning and practicing, you will succeed beyond your wildest dreams.
If you’ve already decided on a gift for your artist but you need to add a little something to it, read 15 Small Gift Ideas for All Occasions.
Types of Artists
Two things to remember when you’re searching for the best artist gifts:
- There are dozens of different types of artists
- Your gift needs to suit your artists’ personality and lifestyle
“The Old Guitarist” by Picasso – a Canvas Art Print is a lovely gift for artists who are aren’t married to a specific medium or art style. Picasso was a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, stage designer, poet and playwright. He was a Renaissance man who inspired many artists to be creative and imaginative in their work. Give your artist the gift of possibility.
Before you search through my gift ideas for artists for the perfect present, look at this list of types of artists. See what a huge variety of art, artwork, and artists there are? Like Picasso, your artist is probably talented in more than one area.
When you’re searching for a gift for the artist in your life, keep this list in the back of your mind. I’ll explain why later…
- Art Teachers
- Doll Makers
- Graffiti Artists
- Graphic Designers
- Mixed Media Artists
- Police Sketch Artists
- Set Designers
- Spinners and Weavers
- Stained Glass Artists
- Tattoo Artists
- Textile Artists
- Wood Carvers
How do you use this list of types of artists to find the right gift for the artist in your life? Cross pollinate. For example, if your artist works with stained glass or pen and ink, consider giving a gift that is artistic but not directly related to stained glass or pen and ink. Why would you give an artist gift like this? Because the best way to be creative as an artist is to step into different worlds, explore new ways of making art, and seeing the world through another artist’s eyes.
If your artist is a scribe, read 14 Best Gifts for Writers.
Gift Ideas for Artists – Inspired by Picasso’s Parable
I’m jazzed to share these gift ideas for artists because deep down I wish I was a painter! Actually, my desire to be a painter isn’t deep down. It’s right on the surface. That’s why I’m happy to do the groundwork for you, and help you search for the perfect gifts for artists.
All Media Artist Gift Set
The Royal & Langnickel 104-Piece All Media Easel Artist Set includes 12 oil paint tubes, 12 watercolor paint tubes, 12 acrylic paint tubes, 12 oil pastels, and 12 water color pencils. Additionally, the artist will love to paint with the 3 white nylon brushes, 3 plastic palette knives, 2 canvas boards, 1 wooden palette, and 1 six well palette. This artist gift set comes in a quality constructed wooden case, hinged and latched, which holds all the essentials for sketching, drawing, and painting.
This is a good gift for all types of painters and other artists, whether they’re new to the craft or an “old” professional painter.
The gift I want most is a flute lesson. Or 10. I haven’t gotten around to calling a music teacher and booking lessons – or even finding how much lessons cost – but boy would I love that as a gift! Is your artist interested in learning a new way to paint, sculpt, or mix her media? Private art lessons or an art class may be the perfect artist gift.
A Rustic Refillable Leather Sketchbook with Handmade Paper is the perfect companion for an artist or writer who sketches, doodles, or jots down interesting ideas for later work. This is one of the most practical artist gifts on this list. I bought myself an artist sketchbook a few years ago – and I’m not a painter or illustrator. I used my sketchbook as a daily journal, and it changed how I write. I actually drew in it, and I never thought of myself as a sketch artist. An artist can never have too many sketchbooks – or art supplies.
A sketchbook can be a very personal possession for an artist. If you give your artist a sketchbook as a gift, don’t give one with a dramatic or “loud” cover. Go with something quiet and understated. Your artist will art it up if she wants.
A gift subscription to Artist’s Magazine
A subscription to The Artist’s Magazine is a gift that most artists will appreciate all year long. I borrow this magazine from the library, and am always amazed at how much information is offered. Each issue covers a different theme, such as how to paint water or fire or portraits.
What I love about magazine subscriptions as gifts for artists (and all types of people) is the continuity. It’s not a one-time only gift – it’s a gift that will arrive at your artist’s doorstep every month for a year. This is a lovely symbol of support and encouragement, as well as a low-key form of education. Artists need to be continually fed with ideas and energy, and a magazine for artists is the gift that keeps on giving.
Gift card to a local art store
When I read a book called The Art Forger, I learned that many artists can’t afford to buy all the art supplies their little hearts desire. An gift card for the artist in your life would be appreciated. You could include a beautiful set of artistic greeting cards, a set of paintbrushes, or a sketchbook.
Expandable artist portfolio for professional artists
The X-Port Professional Expandable Portfolio is perfect for your artist’s canvases, foam boards, photography, presentation aids, product samples, and other documents. It’s difficult to carry paintings, sketches, or other types of art around without a big, professional portfolio.
If your artist is struggling to support herself with her work, you might consider giving her lessons with an art coach. Find her a mentor, a business coach or art teacher who can help her fill that portfolio with her best work, sell herself as an artist, and make a living with her gifts.
Speaking of carrying art around – if your artist tends to roam the world, read 12 Gifts for People Who Love to Travel.
Inspirational gift for artists
The The Daily Book of Art contains 365 readings that teaches, inspires, and entertains people who create. Being an artist is a romantic job or hobby, but it can also be challenging. Creativity can come and go. The muse visits, the muse leaves. A wonderful artist gift is something that encourages her to keep creating her art – even on days that seem dull and lifeless. This book ranges from color psychology and aesthetic philosophy to the proverbial argument over whether elephants really can paint, giving art-starved readers a broad encounter with many inspiring subjects.
I would also suggest The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, but in all likelihood your artist already has it. It’s a fantastic book for all types of artists and writers. If your artist doesn’t have it, then it’s one of the best gifts for artists.
This gift for artists is more difficult to find. My husband tried to send me on a retreat for writers, but he wasn’t sure which one to choose, when he should send me, and how long I wanted to stay. He knew I’d want to stay in the location of the retreat before and after the actual retreat. For instance, if the artist’s retreat is in New York City, your artist might want to go a few days early and stay a few days later. Treating your artist to a retreat as a gift is a beautiful idea in theory, but harder to give in practice.
Wall art – an inspirational gift for artists
Today is a New Day Wood Wall Art by Marla Rae features inspirational sayings, such as:
- Listen with your whole heart
- Begin again
- Offer hope
- Ask for help
- Today you can
These inspiring messages of hope and renewal are mounted on a wood frame with a beautiful textured finish. It includes a flush keyhole hanger in back, and is ready to be hung on your artist’s wall.
A book about how to prosper as an artist
My final gift artist idea is How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist: Selling Yourself Without Selling Your Soul by by Caroll Michels. It’s a classic handbook for launching and sustaining a career in the arts, and includes information on getting into a gallery, being your own PR agent, and negotiating prices. Michels also offers tips for artists on innovative marketing, exhibition, and sales opportunities for various artistic disciplines – including “Art Marketing on the Internet.”
I welcome your thoughts on these gifts for artists. Share your ideas with us!
May you find the perfect gift for the painter, cartoonist, or tattoo artist in your life.