Buying presents can feel like drawing with your non-dominant hand—awkward and unpredictable. You’re on the hook for a gift that screams, “I know you, you wonderfully artsy human,” but your wallet is giving you the side-eye. Gifts for artists? Sure. Under $25? Cue the dramatic gasp.
But hold onto your Santa hats because we’ve curated a list of presents that won’t have you selling your grandma’s secret cookie recipe to the highest bidder. Christmas miracle? We think yes.
So, let’s get jolly and dive into a festive feast of art supplies. It’s time to gift like Picasso on a budget, minus the blue period.
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Illo Square 8×8″ Sketchbook
After spending 12 months with this sketchbook, we can say it’s one of the best for daily doodles and drawings. Its 122lb paper is thick enough for ink and marker, with enough texture for gorgeous graphite sketches. It also flaunts a faux-leather design that looks more premium than its price suggests.
Pentel GraphGear 1000 Mechanical Pencil
A good pencil is the foundation good art is built on. We’ve reviewed a ton of different pencils and can say there are none that are a better value than the GraphGear 1000. Our full review shows just how capable this pencil is. It also comes in several sizes if you’re looking for a themed gift.
Gifts for Adding Color
Winsor & Newton Pocket Watercolor Set
In our last review of the Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolor set, we were wowed by how this pint-sized palette packed a punch. While it’s missing the moody dark shades (no payne’s gray), for a set about the size of a phone, it’s a small price to pay.
Vibrant colors, easy mixing, and a case that’s tougher than it looks – this little guy is a total win for any artist who enjoys watercolor.
Prismacolor Premier Double-Ended Art Markers
Meet Prismacolor’s double-duty dynamos! These markers are the Swiss Army knives of the art world. One end’s got a fine tip for those ninja-like precision lines, and the other side features a brush tip for when you want to go bold and beautiful.
Two tips in one marker is like getting two gifts in one. Plus, they’re from Prismacolor, so the quality is top notch. Their alcohol/dye-based pigment has richly saturated colors and don’t fade like cheaper brands.
Gifts for the Digital Artist
HUION H420x Graphics Drawing Tablet
Gifts for artists who prefer creating digitally don’t have to break the bank. The HUION H420x graphics tablet is an incredible value. We previously reviewed it’s bigger brother, the H580x, and were seriously impressed with Huion’s build quality.
The smaller H420x measures only 4.17×2.6″ and is easy to tuck into any workspace or backpack. The tablet features 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity for precise control and is compatible with major graphic programs like Affinity, Photoshop, Clip Studio Paint and more.
Gifts for Inking
Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pens
Ideal for calligraphy and ink art, the Tombow Fudenosuke brush pens offer a range of line weights for creating fine to bold strokes. Artists rave about the control and versatility of these pens, which come with a water-proof, pigmented ink that’s perfect for illustration.
In our hands-on review, the versatility of the brush nib made it one of our favorite pens EVER. It’s simply the most expressive pen on the market, and a bargain to boot.
Sakura Pigma Micron Pen Set
For detailed work or outlining, the Sakura Pigma Micron pens are a true staple. Known for their precision and archival quality ink, these pens are loved by illustrators and comic artists alike. This set includes 8 pens varying from the need-like .005 to a bold brush pen.
Micron pens can also be bundled with other items on this list – they don’t bleed under marker or watercolor!
Giving the best art supplies for gifts doesn’t have to lead to a shocking credit card bill. $25 is more than enough to buy highly recommended tools from artist’s favorite brands. Celebrate their creativity and show them how much you appreciate their artistic pursuits. Happy gifting! 🎁