Gift ideas for young artists


Shopping for art supplies and books is one of the best things about being an artist but it can also be overwhelming if you aren't sure what to get. Below is a list of supplies for young artists. You can click on any item listed to go to a link on

Acrylic painting art supplies

Canvases for acrylic painting
This is a good deal for a set of 10 canvases.

Acrylic Paint Set & Easel
Lovely set up for acrylic artists.

Brushes for acrylics
Set of brushes


Sketchbook artist supplies

I have really fallen in love with the Stillman & Birn sketchbooks. For your young artist, I recommend the:

Alpha (which contains mixed media paper)

I like them about 8.25 x 11.75  


Waterproof ink pens in black ink, in various sizes. Many brands claim to be waterproof but end up smearing and ghosting ink when we paint over them so I prefer the  Black, Pigma Micron Pens which are truly waterproof. It's good to have a variety of pen sizes for various weights of line. I like the:

Black, Pigma Micron Pen 01/.25mm

Black, Pigma Micron Pen 05/.45mm

Black, Pigma Micron Pen 08/.50mm

Black, Pigma Micron Brush Pen 

For younger artists, I recommend having an extra fine point Sharpie instead of these more expensive pens.

Watercolor supplies

There are a lot of options out there. For the teen artist, I recommend:

I recommend Winsor & Newton Cotman Sketchers' Pocket Box 12-color Half Pan as a starter set. If you are not sure how much you will enjoy sketch booking and don't want to spend much, this set is one of the best for a student level watercolor set.

For younger artists, I recommend:

Prang Professional Watercolors Set

Watercolor brushes *

I recommend having at least three brushes of various sizes. For sketch booking it’s important that they are travel brushes (they will have caps on them so that they don’t get ruined when you put them in your bag).

A affordable and convenient option is the Pentel Arts Aquash Water Brush Assorted Tips, Pack of 3. These brushes can be filled with water and are quite convenient. 

For painting in the studio, I recommend:

Robert Simmons Simply Brush Set

* A word about brushes. Simply Simmons is a great brand and the price can't be beat. Be sure you buy the watercolor brushes and not "all media" or oil/acrylic brushes. Please do not buy Artist's Loft brushes. I know these are easy to find but they lose hair immediately and are very frustrating to use.

Watercolor Paper

I love the sketchbooks I listed at the top of this list but it would be good for your young artists to also have watercolor paper for paintings since the pages in the sketchbook are not meant to be torn out. I recommend watercolor paper 8 x 10 or bigger, 140 lbs, cold press. Avoid the 90 lbs. paper as it is too thin and is frustrating to use for watercolor painting. This is a good choice:

Strathmore 400 Series Cold Press Watercolor Pad 9 x 12


Other incidentals for a good set up for your young artist include:

A water container (like an empty yogurt container)

Paper towels

Mechanical pencil (so you don't have to worry about a sharpener)

Kneaded Eraser

White Eraser

A ruler (preferably clear)

A little bag to keep all your pens, pencil, erasers and ruler in. I love these little beauties because you can open them and stand up the bag like a cup to hold everything upright while you sketch.

Pencil set with Blenders and Erasers

Color pencil sets by Prismacolor

And that makes for a wonderful art studio for both at home and in art classes!

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Charlene Freeman