The best Christmas gifts for illustrators

For this special round-up, I took a look at my own holiday shopping list, and I asked fellow artists and illustrators what was on theirs. Let's take a look at what we came up with, and why. 

There are options for every price point – whether you're looking for a great value gift under £20 (just because you're on a smaller budget doesn't mean you can't get something cool) or want to splash out on something really special.

Gifts for illustrators under £20/$25

01. Personalised colour block cosy and mug

  • Price: £18

Many illustrators rely on a coffee or tea to kick-start their morning – but as soon as their creative juices start flowing, it can be easy to forget all about it. This mug cosy will their caffeine hit hotter for longer. Choose from six different colours (to match the recipient's studio aesthetic) and add a personalised tag to keep it safe from mug thieves.

02. Tinpa 33-piece sketching set

A complete sketching and drawing set.

Everything you need to get sketching
Roll-up pouch included

This is a complete sketching and drawing set for any artist. It includes graphite pencils, charcoal pencils, erasable pens, two different kinds of erasers, a craft knife, sharpeners, and more. It even comes with a random colour canvas roll-up pouch with individual slots, so you can take this set anywhere.

03. Apple Pencil direct charging stand

Keep your Apple Pencil juiced up.

Keeps Pencil secure while charging
Ideal for messy creatives
USB socket

The Apple Pencil is great! In fact, it's #7 on this list; but the one thing it doesn't come with is a decent way to charge it. With the Apple Pencil direct charging Stand you'll be able to easily charge your Apple Pencil without having to worry about it rolling off your desk.

Gifts for illustrators under £50/$75

04. Cuttlelola Dotspen

An electric pen to speed up stippling.

Use with a variety of papers
Rechargable

For illustrators looking for a way to increase their drawing and stippling speed, the Cuttlelola electric pen is ideal! This pen can be used on a variety of different papers and comes with a rechargeable lithium battery. You can plug the pen into a laptop or work with it on battery power, which usually lasts about an hour.

05. Leather Journal gift set

This hand-crafted journal is totally unique.

Recycled cotton paper
Hand-crafted and unique

Hand crafted and totally unique, this soft and durable leather journal is stuffed with 120 sheets (125gsm thickness) made from recycled cotton. The gift set includes the box, the secret pen holder, and a luxury ball point pen – perfect for creating your next sketch masterpiece. The binding on the journal is hand stitched, so the pages stay in place.

06. Pentel Arts GraphGear set

A premium gift set for mechanical pencil fans.

Coloured pads for easy identification
Refillable

Some artists don't like to draw with mechanical pencils, but the ones that do will love this set. These pencils are comfortable to hold, durable, and come with coloured pads, making it easy to distinguish the different lead sizes. Both the lead and the erasers are refillable, but each one comes pre-loaded with super Hi-Polymer HB lead.

Gifts for illustrators under £100/$125

07. ImagineFX magazine subscription

Special Christmas offers!

  • Print: £54.50
  • Digital: £45
  • Print & digital bundle: £66.50 (save 62%!)

ImagineFX is the world's best-selling magazine for digital artists. Each issue is packed with an eclectic mixture of in-depth workshops from the world's best fantasy and sci-fi artists, plus galleries and interviews, community news and product reviews. 

If you're after a gift for a professional artist, art student or hobbyist, a subscription is a great option.

08. Apple Pencil

Ideal for creating masterpieces on the iPad Pro.

Highly responsive
Works with most art apps
Ideal for precise work
Intuitive to use

This one's ideal for friends that have an iPad Pro for drawing, but haven't got round to picking up an Apple Pencil to go with it (and it's a little cheaper than just gifting the whole iPad Pro). While you can certainly get some cool things done with just your finger, the Apple Pencil takes your work to the next level. It is highly responsive, and it works well with almost all of the art programs on the App Store.

09. Clip Studio Paint EX

Price: $75.54

Clip Studio Paint EX is easy to use and all the tools have a natural feel to them. It comes jam-packed with features and toolsets like pens, pencils, erasers, rulers, pattern brushes, and more. It even includes frame-by-frame cell animation support – ideal for digital creative. 

Worried about compatibility? Clip Studio Paint EX is available for both Windows and Mac, and it was recently introduced for the iPad.

10. Wacom Pro Pen 3D

  • Price: $99.95

If your illustrator friend is considering taking their work into a new dimension, this could be a great gift. The new Wacom Pro Pen 3D is designed specifically with 3D creativity in mind; three buttons enable the user to easily pan, zoom and tumble in a range of 3D programmes. On top of that is Wacom's usual sensitive, intuitive pen technology. 

10. Deluxe artist painting set

A comprehensive set for fledgling painters.

133 items
Explore a range of mediums

This is a great set for anyone interested in exploring the world of painting. With over 130 pieces, it includes everything to get started with acrylic, oil, and watercolour painting – including various paints, paper, easels, and brushes. It also comes with two different-sized canvas panels: 8x10 6-pack and 11x14 2-pack.

Gifts for illustrators over £100/$125

11. iPad Pro 12.9

For on-the-go creativity.

Wonderful creative tool
Great screen quality
Improved performance

Paired with the Apple Pencil, the iPad Pro is great for drawing, painting, and sketching on-the-go – or better yet, in the living room. We liked it so much we gave it five stars in our review. I like the 12.9-inch, but it's also worth checking out the all-new 10.5-inch model, if the recipient would prefer something more compact.

12. Smart Keyboard iPad Pro

The perfect companion to the iPad Pro.

Doubles as a lightweight case
Full-sized keyboard
QuickType features

While you're filling your Apple stocking, why not grab the Smart Keyboard too. The full-size keyboard makes the perfect companion hardware to the iPad Pro. Users can just hook it to the Smart Connector and get to work! Then when they're all done, they can fold it up and take it with them, because it also doubles as a lightweight case. Useful.

13. Wacom Intuos Pro Paper

The tablet that lets you work on paper.

Import paper sketches with ease
Combines digital and analogue
Great pen performance

The Wacom Intuos Pro Paper Edition combines a digital workflow with paper. That's right! Users can clip their favourite drawing paper onto this device and sketch right on top using the Finetip Pen (or optional Ballpoint Pen). They don't need to even be connected to a computer at the time. When they're ready, they can import the sketch into their chosen drawing app, and continue to work on it there with the Wacom Pro Pen 2. It's really the best of both worlds.

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