Are you struggling to find the perfect gift for your arty friends & family over the festive season. Fear not, I am here to help you. I work part time in our shop here at Ken Bromley’s, testing out lots of products before adding them to our range. The rest of the week you’ll find me in my studio working in a variety of media. So I am going to share some top picks based on personal experience and value for money.
Rosa Gallery Classic 12 Whole Pan Metal Tin Set
This palette is my top choice for beginners in watercolours. You get 12 whole pans full of beautifully vibrant, finely ground pigments that flow effortlessly across the paper. Some artists are disappointed with student grade watercolour paint as it takes ages to get enough pigment from a half pan to produce a wash and the wash itself is often weak. I found this not to be the case as far as Rosa Gallery is concerned! The whole pans are tacky to the touch and a wash can be quickly made and the pigment load means that the wash will be strong and vibrant. The metal case, with thumb ring, makes this set ideal for use outside as well as in the studio. This set is, in my opinion, is fantastic value for money. Our article ‘Introducing Rosa Gallery Ukranian Watercolours’ has more information.
Rembrandt Watercolour 12 Half Pan Metal Tin Set
I’ve picked this set out because I think it’s great value for money for painters who are wanting to upgrade to an artists’ quality paint. Rembrandt is made by Royal Talens who have provided artists worldwide with high quality materials for over a century. This set contains 12 half pans with a good balance of starter colours, the vast majority being single pigment too. The set contains a number of more expensive pigments too such as the Cadmium Red & Yellow and the Cerulean Blue. Price wise you would pay £20 more if you bought these pans singularly from the Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolour range.
Daniel Smith 24 Half Pan Metal Set
For something really special why not treat your loved one to this Daniel Smith hand poured set. As well as getting a metal box full of professional quality paint they also get a free empty metal box. Making it easy to add to their collection! The palette has plenty of mixing wells and there is space to keep a small brush too. Included with each set is a waterproof acetate map of the colours, their properties and location in the box. So they will always be able to identify the colour they are using. Daniel Smith are considered by many as leading innovator in the watercolour market I am sure this set will delight! Smaller sets are also available here.
System 3 Introductory Set
A student quality paint set that includes 10 x 22ml tubes in a good variety of colours making it ideal for beginners. System 3 has a bit of a cult following amongst art students due to the pigment load and the versatility of the paint. Use System 3 for screen printing and painting on fabrics, plastics and walls as well as traditional surfaces! If you need a brush set to complete your gift – check out this matching System 3 brush set with a good variety of brush shapes.
Liquitex Heavy Body Classic Set
This is a great set for anyone new to acrylic painting or wanting to try out a professional quality paint. The set includes 6 x 59ml tubes offering great mixing ability. The tubes contain Liquitex’s thickest paint (heavy body) which means that crisp brush strokes and knife marks will be retained. Why not add one of Liquitex’s accessories such as a Free Style Palette Knife or one of their large scale brushes to your basket too to complete your gift?
Golden High Flow Acrylic Transparent Set
I love this paint from, arguably, the market’s leading acrylic manufacturer. It’s an exciting product to use because it’s an acrylic paint in an inky consistency so I find it perfect for loose, expressive painting. I use it to dribble across my mixed media paintings and I use it to draw straight from the nozzle on my paintings or in my sketchbooks. Because of it’s consistency it’s also perfect for calligraphy and detailed brush work too. I think this set is good option for artists looking for something a bit different that will complement their existing art supplies. Also check out Princeton’s Catalyst Wedges – they are fabulous to use with High Flow paint.
Oil Painting Gifts
Georgian Water Mixable Oils Starter Set
The perfect set for beginners and artists attending classes. Water mixable oil is used like traditional oils and is without the smell or the hassle of the clean up with solvents. The set contains the standard colour palette for a small set of 6 x 20ml tubes. The paint has a high degree of light fastness and a good pigment load. A great set for dipping your toe in the water with oil painting without breaking the bank!
Michael Harding 6 Tube Introduction Set
This introductory set is ideal for anyone wanting to try out a high quality professional grade oil paint before investing in a wider range of colours. These paints are handmade using techniques dating back to the days of the Old Masters! The set contains 6 x 40ml tubes in a range of colours suitable for mixing. Your artist recipient will definitely notice the difference using these paints they are so vibrant – a little goes a long way!
R&F Pigment Stick Set
For something a little different you should seriously consider gifting this beautifully packaged R&F stick set. It contains 6 x 38ml sticks presented in a cradled ampersand panel. The sticks are professional grade oil paint mixed with natural waxes and rolled into a stick shape. They have a lipstick like consistency and spread smoothly across your surface allowing you to draw or spread them directly without the need for brushes. I use mine in conjunction with Cold Wax Medium, they work well as an underpainting and also drawn in between layers. You can select from a transparent set or an opaque set, and if you are looking for a stocking filler there are also trial sets available.
Drawing & Pastel Gifts
Unison Soft Pastel Mini Half Stick Sets
Unison pastels are professional quality and are handmade using the finest artists pigments. This set is an absolute steal for artists wishing to try out a highly pigmented pastel stick. They are chunkier and firmer than Sennelier soft pastels and have a smooth, buttery texture making it easy to blend colours. An added extra is that they are also water soluble which means that they work well with watercolours, gouache and charcoal too. I use my Unison’s in my sketchbook over the top of a watercolour wash to create a punchy drawn effect and apply water to blend them into the watercolours too. If you are after a surface that works beautifully with Unison pastels then have a look at the Canson Mi-Teintes Touch pads available in A4 & A3 sizes.
ArtGraf Tailor Shape Water Soluble Blocks
Inspired by traditional tailor’s chalk these blocks are my new favourite drawing tool. Use them to make a multitude of wet or dry marks or apply with a brush direct from the block. I love the way that they disperse across the paper when sprayed with water. They also work really well with charcoal, watercolour and Schmincke Aqua Bronze powders. The ArtGraf range also includes Graphite Putty & Graphite Powder – both exciting new products worth a try! Fianlly, if you’re looking for a stocking filler then I can’t recommend the ArtGraft Soft Carbon Pencil enough – it’s my new go-to pencil for sketching.
Polychromos Artists Colour Pencil Tin of 24
Polychromos Colour Pencils are professional grade and of exceptional quality. They are loved by artists worldwide for their brilliant performance and price. They have a soft, waxy texture so colour can be laid down smoothly without smudging. Highly pigmented with amazing covering power, you can use Polychromos on many surfaces including paper, card, drafting film, wood and even fabric! Read our article ‘How to Choose the Right Colouring Pencil’ for more information about our pencil range.
The Wildcard Gift
Uni Posca Paint Marker Set of 8
Available in either black or white, these sets are perfect for your teenagers and craftists as well as traditional artists. Posca pens will write on practically any surface, even non porous surfaces such as glass and ceramics. Fully waterproof when dry they can be used to customise trainers or decorate a canvas tote bag. A bright, colourful range is also available and would really go well with this jazzy Stifflex Artwork Spiral Paper Pad – an awesome gift for teenagers!
Artful Let’s Learn Screen Printing Starter Box
A complete set of arty goodies for kick starting a new hobby. What I love about these boxes is that they come beautifully packaged and with a comprehensive mini book full of ideas, inspiration and step by step instructions. Great value considering the individual price of the items included.
The Frazer Price Brass Watercolour Palette Box
Ok putting aside that this palette is practical with it’s mixing areas and the fact that it can be used both in the studio and plein air – check out how beautiful it looks! Who wouldn’t want this palette sitting on their desk? If you are pushing the boat out then this is the gift for the discerning watercolour artist. For more information read our blog post about the Frazer-Price Palette.
I hope I have given you some ideas for presents here. If you are still not sure why not ask your recipient to use our wishlist service or why not get a Gift Voucher, or send an eVoucher for an instant surprise!