Inspiration Gifts for Artists: Real Artists Talk About Their Wish Lists


Let’s find the best gifts for artists with the help of Ardak, Victoria, Michelle, Celena, Beatrice, Theodora and Kathleen, who all shared their wish lists with us.

Wish List by Our Artist Friends
Wish List by the ZenART Team
Must-haves for the Beginner Artists

We know getting gifts for artists and creatives can be a bit challenging. We mostly know that artists like to curate almost everything in their lives. From their clothing, the music they listen to, the books they read to the fine art tools they use for their practice. Our team previously compiled a list of gift ideas that are sure to make any artist in your life happy. However, what do artists really want to receive? We asked some of our ZenARTists about what’s on their wish lists. Let’s get to know some of the artists in our growing community and see what they wish to receive this holiday season. Want to share your wishlist? Leave your comments below to join the conversation.

Wish List by Our Artist Friends

Victoria Pavlov

Victoria Pavlov and her painting, Storm.
Victoria Pavlov and her digital painting, Storm.

Victoria Pavlov (@victoriapavlovart) has dedicated her professional life to digital and traditional imaging and photography. She creates her art with a canvas, a camera, a Wacom tablet and Adobe Photoshop and thus became known in the digital art industry as “The Photoshop Artist.” Victoria is a published author and has been a very active member of our growing artist community.

Gifts for artists Black Tulip paint brush set
Watercolour set and Black Tulip Cat’s Tongue photo from @victoriapavlovart

Victoria Pavlov’s Wish List:

#1 A blender brush for oil – Sometimes known as a smudger, the blender brush does not have a pointy tip and is a versatile oil paint brush that can be used to blend colours or soften edges in paintings. 

#2 A watercolour set – A new professional watercolour set is always a welcome gift for water media artists. An artist can never have too many paints.

#3 Varnish for oil – Varnish not only gives a glossy, finished look but it also seals and protects paintings. These make for practical gifts for artists who do a lot of oil paintings.

Michelle Gonzalez

Michelle Gonzalez with her painting
Michelle Gonzalez and her painting.

Watercolour artist, art teacher and a mother of two, Michelle Gonzalez (@brushstrokesbymichelle) started pursuing her artistic passion in 2018 as a birthday gift to herself. Today, aside from sharing her beautiful watercolour paintings through her digital channels, Michelle continues to inspire more people in achieving their watercolour painting goals through her classes on Skillshare.

Gifts for artists portable easel with Michelle Gonzalez' painting
Michelle Gonzalez’ painting @brushstrokesbymichelle with portable easel

Michelle Gonzalez’ Wish List:

#1 Large portfolio folder – First on her list is a portfolio case, this will keep her artworks in one easy-to-showcase folder.

#2 A portable easel – Second on Michelle’s list is a portable easel that will enable her to do plein air painting.

#3 Lightbox or light pad – We mentioned this item in our 10 Thoughtful Gifts for Artists article, a lightbox is a popular tool amongst illustrators. In case you haven’t seen one, the “box” is like a table that shines light underneath your paper making it easy to trace an image.

#4 Paint tube squeezer – A paint tube squeezer helps in maximising your paint tubes. Often sold as a “toothpaste” tube squeezer, the better quality ones can squeeze out paint from your toughest paint tube. Definitely another item that makes it to our “must-have gifts for artists” list.

Celena Deng

Celena Deng with her painting
Celena Deng with her painting.

Another active member of our vibrant community of artists is watercolourist Celena Deng (@celena.deng). Celena is a Physics graduate whose curiosity for how everything works aided in discovering her passion for colours and art. Art is her way of celebrating nature and humankind.

Gifts for artists ZenART Supplies sketchbook
Check out ZenART Sketchbook B6 travel-friendly sketchbook gifts for artists.

Celena Deng’s Wish List:

For this year, Celena would like to receive a travel-friendly sketchbook so she can go places and still paint anywhere, anytime. And we agree! A sketchbook will always have a place in our “gifts for artists list.”

ZenART Team Wish List

Since we are a family of artists and creatives here at ZenART and we’ve been having discussions about the best gifts for artists, we made sure to ask some members of the team about their wish lists. If you’ve been following us and engaging with our online channels, then you might have already interacted with them.

Ardak Kassenova

ZenART Supplies co-founder and creative director, Ardak Kassenova and her painting.
ZenART Supplies co-founder and creative director, Ardak Kassenova.

Other than being a professional artist, the co-founder, chief inspirer and creative director of ZenART Supplies, Ardak Kassenova (@ardak_zenart) is also a mother of two beautiful girls. Amidst her busy schedule, Ardak recently resumed painting and sketching outdoors and her primary considerations for selecting her wish list items this year are convenience and the ability to work on the go, efficiently.

Gifts for artists pochade box
Ardak Kassenova’s painting in Italy, pochade box for plein air gifts for artists from @krayart.su

Ardak Kassenova’s Wish List:

#1 Pochade box – First on Ardak’s wish list is a pochade box for plein air. If you’re an artist who’s been into plein air painting, chances are you’re either eyeing one or already own a pochade box. A pochade box is a compact, transportable container that is like an artist’s on-the-go toolbox for painting outdoors. 

#2 Mini watercolour station – Second on her list, is a mini watercolour station. A mini station is a small work table set created explicitly for painting. It has enough room, slots and sections to hold everything you need for a painting session—your paper, brushes, and your palette. 

#3 Carry-all art bag – Last on her list is a multi-purpose carry-all art bag to contain everything she might need to paint on-the-go. This is definitely something a professional artist would want to have in their arsenal. 

Beatrice @ ZenART

Beatrice with her painting
Beatrice and her mixed media painting.

Beatrice (@bescina) is ZenART’s employee #1 and our Community Superstar. Growing up in Italy immersed her in arts and culture. She takes care of multimedia visuals for our content, project management plus overall social media marketing, and when she’s not doing all that, she likes to pick up a brush and do some watercolour painting.

Gifts for artists Mould and deckle
Mould and deckle gifts for artists, used for crafting handmade paper

Beatrice’s Wish List:

#1 Masking fluid and white gouache – First on her list are some basic art supplies that she’d like to use on her painting experiments. Masking fluid to create sharp white details and white gouache, well, you can never have too many paints.

#2 Mould and deckle – Second on her list is a tool called mould and deckle used to make handmade paper. Staying true with ZenART’s values, recycling her own paper would certainly be a nice craft.

Theodora @ ZenART

Theodora Lionti with her painting
Theodora and her oil painting.

Our Dynamic Social Integrator, Theodora (@theodora.augusta.lionti) is a professional artist whose visual style is greatly influenced by the Italian Renaissance. When she’s not working on her oil paintings or preparing for an art grant competition, she creates artful content for our ZenART YouTube channel and engages with you through our social media platforms.

Gifts for artists ZenART Supplies Artist's Choice filbert brush set
ZenART Artist’s Choice 6-pc filbert brush set gifts for artists

Theodora’s Wish List:

#1 Egyptian ink – First on Theodora’s list this year is Egyptian ink. This type of ink is a staple for illustrators. Theodora wishes to create more calligraphy and illustration works, which she loves making.

#2 Table easel – Second on her list is a stable table easel that would allow her to work on smaller, more detailed oil paintings.

#3 Filbert brush set – Third on her list is a filbert brush set, like our Artist’s Collection filbert brush set, perfect for painting portraits and figurative works,  which she also likes to create.

Kathleen @ ZenART

Kathleen with her painting
Kathleen and her oil painting.

Kathleen, our Wordsmith, is another artist member of our multi-talented content team. When she’s not working with Ardak on putting together quality artist self-help content, she runs her handcrafted jewellery business, paints, sculpts, teaches art, and designs costumes, sets and props.

Gifts for artists ZenART Supplies Fine Line Mini brush set
Artist roll-up case, ZenART Fine Line Miniature Collection brush set comes in a handy canvas case.

Kathleen’s Wish List:

#1 Sketchbook – First on her art gifts wish list this year is a travel-friendly sketchbook preferably perforated for easy 

removal in case she decides to have one of her pieces framed. 

#2 Artist roll-up case – Second is an artist roll-up case that can securely hold at least six brushes, a few pencils, a few pens, a multi-purpose cutter, X-acto knife, scissors, and a kneaded eraser.

#3 Easel – Third on her list is a travel-friendly, compact and light easel so she can start plein air painting.

Must-haves for the Beginner Artist

Now that we know what art gifts real artists want to receive this year, let’s take a look at the gifts they recommend you give the beginner artists in your life. We’ve compiled all their recommendations below.

#1 Sketchbook

For anyone beginning to either draw or paint, a good quality sketchbook is a must-have. Ardak recommends a good sketchbook that could handle lots of drawings and watercolour washes. Kathleen and Michelle suggest one for every day drawing and tracking of progress. This one tops our gifts for artists list.
“It’s really good to practise drawing every day to develop your technique, and it’s also a great way to record your thoughts and ideas.” —Kathleen @ ZenART

ZenART Supplies Sketchbook
Check out ZenART Sketchbook travel-friendly sketchbook gifts for artists.

#2 Basic set of drawing materials

For someone beginning their artistic journey, Ardak recommends drawing materials that include a basic set of pencils, pens and ink pens. Kathleen suggests a good beginner set should also contain a multi-purpose cutter and kneaded eraser. 
“Do your sketches and drawings everywhere. You develop when you paint and draw every day.” —Ardak Kassenova

Basic drawing set gifts for artists
Ardak’s drawing and sketching art set, ideas on gifts for artists

#3 Professional set of watercolour brushes

For someone beginning their watercolour painting journey, Celena suggests a good set of watercolor brushes. Michelle and Beatrice recommend ZenART Supplies Black Tulip professional, artist-quality brushes that will not break the bank. 
“I recommend a good set of brushes because it’s so hard to control water volume and brush strokes when you just started. A good set of watercolour brushes will definitely help.” —Celena Deng

ZenART Supplies Black Tulip professional, artist-quality brushes

#4 Artist-quality paint sets

Victoria recommends any of our artist-quality Infinity Oil Paint Sets. For beginner artists who are still building up confidence and knowledge of techniques, it is best to start with the best art tools to help accelerate progress and keep them motivated to paint and experiment with new techniques.

#5 Compact watercolor set

Ardak, Michelle and Kathleen recommend a compact watercolour set that you can bring everywhere; an artist develops when they paint and draw every day. Begin with a small palette 4-6 basic colours—red, yellow blue black white and indigo. Michelle suggests using these colours to create a handy colour chart.
“You will be amazed at the colours you can create with a small palette.” —Michelle Gonzalez

Michelle Gonzalez’ watercolour sets @brushstrokesbymichelle

In our opinion, the best gift for your favourite artist is a ZenART eGift Card! The virtual card is a thoughtful gift that will surely be appreciated by any artist. (Valid only within the US) Professionally, artists go through supplies quickly, specifically the consumable items like paint. And an e-gift card will ensure that they will get something that they will actually use—you don’t even have to be familiar with their artistic practice to know which ones to buy.

Christmas season is here! Join our 12-Day Christmas Challenge and get a chance to win your Christmas wish list with  ZenART. The fun starts on December 12, 2020!

What is on your wish list this year? Share them below! We’d love to hear your thoughts. Happy holidays!


Fabrianne is the Ambassador of Art Buzz, at ZenART, resident eccentric pocket-sized art curator, editor and art world liaison. She builds and develops relationships with the arts community and makes sure that ZenART’s inspirational articles gets to you “hot off the press.” She co-founded an online contemporary art gallery, worked with over 100 artists on exhibitions and performances, wears only black clothes and when she’s not creating buzz or curating and saturating in art, still daydreams of becoming a quirky Wes Anderson film character.


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