If you need gift ideas for art students or novice artists, you’ve come to the right place!
This list was made by an artist who knows about creative and affordable gift ideas for art students (moi!). And I made it with your budget and an art student’s needs in mind.
Sometimes it’s difficult to select art supplies or art books for a creative type when you’re not necessarily an artist yourself. And that’s what this list will help you with!
As a fellow artist and someone who LOVES finding a unique gift idea for any special occasion, I’ve got you covered.
Whether you’re looking for the perfect graduation gift, a personal gift, or need a creative gift idea for the holiday season, I’m sharing some excellent gift ideas for art students at a price that will make everyone happy.
This post contains sponsored or affiliate links. I may earn a small commission on a qualifying purchase at no extra cost to you. All prices are accurate, and items are in stock at the time of publication.
This hanging display garland by Mkono is one of my favorite gift ideas for art students, young artists, and even professional artists. It’s a fun way to display their latest work or lots of pictures for inspiration for new work. It’s made of metal chain with varying sizes of wooden stars, and is less than $15!
This set of high-quality vinyl painting stickers has lots of pictures of famous paintings. These stickers are a good idea for art history students or even your favorite art teacher. The stickers can be put on water bottles, luggage, notes, and sketch books. They can also be adhered to index cards to make flash cards for upcoming tests. And the best part? They are priced under $10.
Professional artists will tell you that being an artist can take a long time. And it’s more than just learning how to draw straight lines. Drawing is a discipline that helps with this process, and Catherine V. Holmes’s book “How to Draw Cool Stuff” will make the work seems more like fun.
Learning the color wheel has never been more easy when you have this Blank Swatch Book to paint your color charts in. Your student will ace Color Theory as they quickly and expertly lay down the different colors they mix in class. There are 50 blank charts, and the 55-lb pages are black on the back. This book is probably best for acrylic and oil paints to avoid wrinkling.
The MYNT3D Super 3D pen helps you turn your ordinary drawings into real 3D sculptures! This pen is great for artists, kids, and budding engineers, and the kit comes with 3 colors of ABS plastic filament, an A/C adapter, and the slim, ergonomic pen. Plus there’s a 1-year limited warranty! Priced under $40, it’s the first step to a future (and expensive) 3D printer 🙂
What gift ideas for art students list would be complete without an artsy art coffee mug? Especially one that’s covered with drawings of different art supplies? Make it a beverage set with your art student’s favorite teas like this variety pack of Twinings Teas or Grounds and Hounds’s starter coffee pack to get the caffeine party started!
Most artists have drank their paint water instead of their coffee at least once or ten times (myself included), so train your art student early on so they can avoid that experience!! 🙂 This insulated stainless vacuum tumber is great for keeping your drinks warm or cold, depending on the season. And there’s a written reminder on the outside that what’s inside is “not paint water.”
There are dozens of small sketch books available to artists who like to draw on the go. But my personal preference is the time-proven Moleskine sketch books. The pages are creamy soft, and the covers hold up well in heavy back packs or purses stuffed with art supplies. They come in a variety of colors and sizes, and are light-weight yet strong. They’re perfect for sketching with pencil or ink, crayons or pastels, and acrylic paints. The pages will crinkle a bit with more water-based paints, so if watercolors or goauche are your jam, try Moleskine’s watercolor sketchbooks. I haven’t tried these personally so am adding another recommendation below too!
This hardcover watercolor sketchbook by Handbook has 140# watercolor pages and comes in a variety of sizes including this hard-to-find 3.5″ x 8.5″ size. I personally love this size because I often divide the page in half and do two small paintings on one page. And with true watercolor pages, you won’t have to worry about excessive warping as in other sketchbooks.
The water colour field kit by Winsor & Newton Cotman is ideal for traveling and painting water color sketches on the go. This one comes with the paints, brushes, three mixing trays, and a plastic water bottle plus two clip-on water trays. These are sturdy kits and have high quality pigments so the paints actually last longer, and you can replace them when necessary. This particular kit is on sale as of this writing for under $30, which is nearly half of the normal price!
If you want to really encourage your budding Van Gogh’s art career, then get them a set of precut mats so they can proudly display their work. This acid-free showkit is an incredible value and I recommend it to all of my artist friends – plus they come in different sizes. Each mat is acid-free and comes with the backing boards plus crystal clear bags for safely storing their work. The cost of this entire showkit with 25 sets of 5×7 mats is less than seventy cents per set! These small works of art are perfect for creating a future show, and make excellent art gifts to friends and family.
I originally purchased this book in 2012 when it was initially published and it’s still in my personal library today. “Steal Like an Artist” was a game changer for me, as it dispelled myths about being an artist and really sums up the basics about being a creative person. Kleon gets his point across with short snippets of inspirational words and funny little drawings that are pretty profound. I still refer to it today and think it has a space in every art student’s arsenal of “must-have” books.
Most art students are studying art because ultimately, they want to be professional artists or work in a creative type of art industry. The huge issue is, you don’t typically learn about the business of art in school! One of the best high school or college graduation gifts you can give your art student is a copy of “Art Inc.” by Lisa Congon. This book is “The Essential Guide for Building Your Career As an Artist” and is not only in my personal studio library, I downloaded the Audible version so I can listen to it on my walks.
I encourage you to gift this book early on to anyone even considering a career as an artist. By reading these step-by-step instructions before school starts, they can adjust their learning and studies so they can focus on the end game from the beginning.
This set of acrylic paint pens by Artesza comes with 40 high quality markers in different colors. These pens really help with the creative process because they are so versatile. Use them on canvas, ceramic surfaces, glass, wood, stone, and even plastic. They last a long time and the different colors ensure you won’t get bored even if you’re only drawing straight lines!
When your art student wants to quell some stress or have a game night with friends, bring out “Starving Artists” for a night of fun. Players choose a card then “draw” the artwork on the card using one of 150 transparent colored acrylic cubes. There are 92 over-sized cards featuring the works of famous artists including Van Gogh, Jasper Johns, and Georgia O’Keefe. The game can be played solo or with up to four players.
16. Artist Smock
Being an artist can be a messy job, and dressing the part is a lot of fun. An artist smock helps you like a professional artist, while doubling as protection for your clothes. While some artists love walking around wearing clothes that look like they’ve been covered with finger paint, others prefer protecting their clothes and letting the smock wear the paint. This heavy duty smock has pockets for your brushes and wipes, and the top pocket can hold your cell phone while hooking earphones through one of the loops.
This roll-up paintbrush holder has twenty-four 1″ sections to hold your student’s favorite brushes, pens, and palette knives. The handy canvas roll protects the art instruments while keeping everything neat and organized. And it fits perfectly in a backpack or purse!
18. Drawing Desk Set
This two piece drawing desk set comes with an adjustable top plus the stool and a built-in set of drawers. It’s available in various colors and finishes. The drawers are great for storing art supplies, notebooks, and paper, and comes with a matching top that is perfect for mixing paint or holding your favorite cup of Joe. The stool fits under the tabletop when not in use, and there is a pencil ledge at the bottom to hold your pens or drafting instruments.
NOTE: I personally use only white or wood tabletops when drawing or painting. It’s my preference, but I find the clear glass, patterned, or black tabletops are distracting. They also bounce glare off them from any overhead light. The white or wood tends to absorb the glare and makes for a better drawing experience.
Priced under $40 and worth every penny! This amazing YOUKOYI LED Desk Light clamps onto the side of your drawing desk or on a nearby surface. The flexible arm allows you to adjust the light to whatever height or position you need. The LED lights have multiple illuminating options to protect your eyes, and they don’t give off intense heat which regular bulbs do. This light is a must for any studio!
20. Artist Gloves
For digital and fine artists alike! These artist gloves are inexpensive and 100% necessary for keeping your hands clean as well as eliminating interaction when using touchscreens. They’re lightweight and easy to wear, and come in a pack of 2 for under $10.
These affordable transparent art portfolio bags come with durable zippers and carrying straps. They are perfect for storing works in progress or your favorite mood or presentation boards. The transparent design makes it easy to organize the items inside, and protects everything from spills or rain. And a package of three portfolio bags is less than $20!
For more art storage ideas, check out my 20 Art Storage Ideas list today.
22. Artist Tote Bag
This artist tote bag is versatile and handy, plus it’s like a blank canvas waiting for your student’s next design. And when it’s not holding supplies or books, it doubles as a grocery bag. The handles give a comfortable grip, even when carrying the heaviest items. And it’s machine washable and available in multiple colors. And did I mention it’s under $10!
Here’s the perfect gift for any budding artist who wants to show off their latest handywork to friends and family. These watercolor postcards are made from heavyweight 300GSM paper that won’t buckle when worked on. A set of 30 postcards and 30 envelopes is cost efficient too – less than $20 for the whole set.
It’s hard to find a more perfect and affordable gift to give any art student or artist! This set of six famous painting artist socks costs under $15 and makes a great gift for your student and all their artsy friends. You can gift individual pairs or the whole lot – and they make inexpensive stocking stuffers. Your artist will love these and you might want to pick up another set for yourself – they’re so darn cute!
Artists love to look fashionable and if they really want to dress the part, an artist hat (or beret) is a must. This set comes in 10 different colors and is made from polyester. They’re great gifts for your art student and their friends, and are fun accessories to be worn any time of year.
I hope this list of 25 gift ideas for art students help kick off your favorite budding artist’s creative career. And I tried to select items that will help you stay on budget for their future needs, wants and desires 🙂
Please share these ideas with your fellow art student parents or creative friends. And feel free to add your comments and ideas below. I want to hear your favorite gift ideas in case I missed a few!