Art Gift Ideas: Big Kids’ and Grownups’ Edition

Product Recommendations

My last blog post was all about what I think you should be buying for the young artists in your life. But what about the older artists? Well, you’re in luck, because I have created a list for them as well. And all of the products have been tested by yours truly. But you’d better hurry…Christmas is almost here!

If the artist in your life loves drawing people, Basic Human Anatomy: An Essential Visual Guide for Artists is a great guide for learning to draw the human figure and deepening their understanding of anatomy.  “Osti, using the basic system of line, shape, and form used by da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo, takes readers step-by-step through all the lessons needed in order to master this essential foundation skill.” (  A good sketchbook that can handle light washes is also essential to complete the lessons. I prefer spiral sketchbooks with hard covers, and I’ve been using this Stillman & Birch spiral book with no complaints.

Not many people know, but my first love was soft pastels. They are so tactile and easy to work with. I’ve worked a lot with Rembrandt pastels and they are lovely, but I love Sennelier pastels even more. They come in sets for every budget and interest. But if you really want to see tears of joy, go big and buy them the 525 wooden box luxury set pictured below! Be sure to also get them some quality sanded pastel paper. It holds the pastel really well and once they try it they’ll never go back to regular pastel paper. I use Art Spectrum Colourfix fine tooth pastel paper.

For the oil painters in your life, try buying them some Ampersand gessobords. It’s my main surface I paint on, and they come in various depths, from 1/8″ up to a 2″ cradle. I prefer the smooth surface, but they also have a surface that mimics canvas for those that like more texture. The gessobord is pretty absorbent, so lately I’ve been coating it using Gamblin’s oil ground and have been enjoying the feel of it. Or you could buy Ampersand’s unprimed panels and add the oil ground to those.

And, of course, as I stated before, lessons are always a wonderful gift to receive to help provide expert guidance and feedback for any artist’s growth. I accept students between ages 8 and 18, so if you think the young artist in your life would like some lessons I am currently accepting registrations for spring and summer semesters. Feel free to contact me with any questions, or leave a comment below.

If the artist in your life is an adult, some very talented artist friends of mine will be opening a new atelier in Austin soon called Atelier Dojo that will be offering lessons and workshops. I recommend checking it out!

That concludes my gift recommendations! Happy Holidays!


(featured painting: The Madonna of the Lilies, William-Adolphe Bouguereau)

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