5 last-minute Xmas gifts digital artists will love

Sometimes it can be difficult to find the perfect gift for the one you love, especially if you don't share their passion. We have compiled some of the best software, hardware and inspiration released this year that is sure to please your artist loved ones, or treat yourself.

01. State of the art hardware

jot dash stylus

Jot Dash stylus is a great digital alternative to the humble pencil, with a super fine tip perfect for sketching

Jot Dash Stylus had a thumbs up from ImagineFX this year, a simple, convenient, long-lasting stylus that you can pick up and start writing and sketching with just like a traditional pen straight away. At £40 - it's a steal, available here.

Another new stylus on the market is the Apple Pencil, and it's received rave reviews from digital artists - but make sure your artist friend has a tablet pro or something compatible.

If they are new to digital art, they might be in need of a tablet - Wacom's entry level Intuos Art has had a recent refresh and is a good starter tablet.

02. Essential tools

Art Rage

Art Rage is a favourite among many digital artists, including IFX regular contributor, Nick Harris

It's likely they already have Photoshop, but there are a whole load of other complimentry softwares that can be just as useful to a digital artist. Art Rage is a popular choice, why not grab them the newest version – Art Rage 4.5 (opens in new tab).

Some more options for under £80: Paint Shop Pro X8, PhotoPlus X8 and Manga Studio 5 (a great alternative for comic artists).

03. Tricks of the trade

Gormon studios - sci-fi costume

Learn alongside the professionals from the comfort of your own home with Gormon workshops

DVD workshops can offer a wealth of knowledge from the comfort of your own home.

Why not try one of James Gurney (opens in new tab)'s downloadable classes, we recommend Fantasy in the wild (opens in new tab) and How I paint dinosaurs (opens in new tab)

Gormon Workshop also offer DVD and downloadable workshops, full of tips and tricks from the experts. You can pick from traditional and digital video classes, we recommend Illustration from Imagination (opens in new tab), Sci-Fi costume design in ZBrush and Figure Fundamentals (opens in new tab); or just make it easy and get them a subscription!

04. That's the ticket

Best indie art festival announces day of recruitment

Chat with top artists in both informal and semi-formal settings at Trojan Horse

What's better than meeting your idol? Treating your art buddy to an event this year, just slip an IOU in their Christmas card.

Illuxcon (opens in new tab) is a popular choice amongst fantasy artists and you have plenty of time to save up.

Networking is invaluable for artists, and a whole host of inspiration can come out of attending an event - you could even make a holiday of it.

SXSW has something for everyone, while Trojan Horse was a Unicorn (opens in new tab)is a popular choice for illustrators, and is a great summer getaway.

If your fantasy artist is more interested in concept art and digital entertainment art, how about keeping an eye on this year's Industry Workshops (opens in new tab).

For comic fans, Though Bubble is a good shout, and not too pricey. Check out last year's unmissable digital art events for more inspiration.

05. Never-ending inspiration

the art of dave seeley spread

Dave Seeley draws you into his process, revealing his unique approach and how he creates his dynamic compositions

Fill up your friends bookshelves with a beautiful artbook, they definitely wouldn't be disappointed.

Books are another inexpensive yet invaluable resource for artists. Some of our favourite releases this year include 3DS Max Projects (opens in new tab), best suited to wannabe animators, and Mark Molnar's Behind the Pixels (opens in new tab), for concept art enthusiasts.

Spectrum 22 (opens in new tab) will offer plenty of aesthetically pleasing art work to get their juices flowing. The Art of Dave Seeley (opens in new tab) is another highly recommended read, along with Will Eisner: Champion of the Graphic Novel.

If none of these tickle your fancy, why not give them an ImagineFX Subscription (opens in new tab)? They are sure to appreciate a years worth of inspiration straight to their door!

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Alice Pattillo

Alice Pattillo is a freelance journalist with a passion for heavy metal, horror, science fiction, fantasy and comics. She has over seven years experience in magazines, formerly working as a staff writer at Creative Bloq, Imagine FX, Computer Arts and 3D World, as production editor for Guitar World and Guitar Player and online editor of Metal Hammer.