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A watercolor painting of a girl on a swing.

The Best Gift Ideas for Watercolor Artists

Are you looking for the perfect gift for the watercolor enthusiast in your life? Whether it’s an artist friend, family member, or even yourself just starting on an artistic journey, finding the right present can be both exciting and challenging. That’s where we come in. 

Here is our beginner-friendly guide, designed to help you explore a variety of gift ideas tailored to watercolor artists.

Whether you are buying a gift for an absolute beginner or someone who is already dipping their brush into the world of watercolors, we’ve gathered a wide range of options that will make their artistic endeavors even more enjoyable. 

We understand that navigating the world of art supplies can sometimes feel overwhelming, especially for those just starting. That’s why we’ve handpicked items that are not only popular among watercolor lovers but are also suitable for varying skill levels.

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Here’s a list of the best gifts for watercolor artists:

Watercolor Set:  

Both professional artists and beginner watercolorists would enjoy a high-quality watercolor set. Look for good quality artist-grade paints that are light-fast. They can be purchased in individual tubes, watercolor pans, or complete sets.

Here are three watercolor paint sets that would make excellent gifts for watercolor artists:

1. Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolor Set:

watercolor tubes in a metal paint palette with lid.
Winsor and Newton professional watercolor paint tubes in a metal tin

This set is a favorite among watercolor artists due to the high-quality pigments and color vibrancy offered by Winsor & Newton. The Professional Watercolor Set includes a range of colors that are carefully selected for their transparency, lightfastness, and mixing capabilities. The set typically comes in a compact box with fold-out mixing palettes, making it convenient for both studio and outdoor use. Individual tubes or sets of tubes are also available.

2. Sennelier La Petite Aquarelle Watercolor Set:

a set of watercolor tubes in a blue box
Sennelier La Petite Aquarelle Watercolor tube paint set.

Sennelier is known for its rich history in producing artist-quality materials, and the La Petite Aquarelle Watercolor Set is a fantastic option for both beginners and experienced artists. The set features high-quality pigments with excellent lightfastness and a creamy texture that allows for smooth application. 

3. Daniel Smith Essentials Watercolor Set:

a set of 5 watercolor tubes in a box
Daniel Smith watercolor tubes.

Daniel Smith is renowned for its wide range of unique watercolor pigments and vibrant colors, and the Essentials Watercolor Set is a great introduction to their high-quality paints. 

Each of these sets offers its own unique qualities, and make thoughtful gifts for watercolor artists.

2. Watercolor Paper: 

You can never have enough good-quality watercolor paper. It is always a welcome gift for an artist. Here are some well-known brands that offer professional-grade watercolor paper:

Arches:   

a pad of watercolor paper with a green cover.
A pad of Arches watercolor paper.

Arches is one of the most renowned brands in the world of watercolor paper. Their paper is made from 100% cotton and is known for its durability, absorbency, and ability to withstand multiple layers of paint. 

Fabriano:

a pad of watercolor paper with a blue cover
A pad of Fabriano watercolor paper.

Fabriano produces a range of high-quality watercolor papers suitable for both beginners and professionals. Their traditional watercolor papers are made from 100% cotton and are known for their excellent surface strength and texture.

Strathmore:

a pad of watercolor paper with a brown cover and a picture of pink flowers
A pad of strathmore watercolor paper.

Strathmore offers a wide range of watercolor papers, including their 400 Series and 500 Series lines. The 400 Series is suitable for intermediate to advanced artists, while the 500 Series is designed for professionals. They provide options for different textures and weights.

Canson:

a pad of watercolor paper with a blue cover
A pad of Canson XL watercolor paper.

Canson offers a wide variety of artist papers. They are quality papers at a reasonable price. Along with their watercolor paper, their mixed media paper also works well with watercolor. 

These brands offer a range of options in terms of texture, weight, quality, and different sizes allowing artists to find the perfect watercolor paper that suits their style and preferences. 

Watercolor Brushes: 

A set of brushes with different shapes and sizes for various techniques would make a good gift. Individual brushes are also a good idea if a full set is out of your price range. 

Natural hair brushes (such as sable or squirrel) hold more water and provide better paint control, but they can be more expensive. Synthetic brushes are more affordable, durable, and suitable for beginners.

A set of 10 watercolor brushes in various sizes and shapes with black handles and a round cardboard tube for storing the brushes.
A set of Artegria watercolor brushes.

Portable Watercolor Palette:  

An empty watercolor palette with lid.
An empty watercolor palette with lid.

A compact palette with wells for storing paint and a large area for mixing is great for travel.

 

Watercolor Sketchbooks: 

Watercolor sketchbooks are a great gift. You can purchase them in a variety of sizes and paper grades.

A small watercolor sketchbook with a brown cloth cover.
A small watercolor sketchbook with a brown cloth cover.

Watercolor Pencils: 

These can be used for preliminary drawings and adding fine details. 

Here are three sets that I use but there are many more available.  

1. Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer:   

Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils in a green tin.
Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils in a green tin.

These watercolor pencils have high pigment quality and excellent lightfastness. They offer a wide range of colors that blend smoothly and easily when we. 

2. Caran d’Ache Museum Aquarelle:

12 Caran d'Ache Museum Aquarelle watercolor pencils.
Caran d'Ache Museum Aquarelle watercolor pencils.

Caran d’Ache Museum Aquarelle watercolor pencils are known for their rich pigments and smooth application. They come in a variety of sets, making them suitable for both casual and serious watercolor enthusiasts.

3. Derwent Inktense:

A tin of Derwent Inktense pencils with a butterfly on the cover.
A tin of Derwent Inktense pencils with a butterfly on the cover.

Derwent Inktense watercolor pencils are known for their vibrant and intense colors. These pencils can be used both dry and wet, and when activated with water, they turn into ink-like colors that are permanent when dry. 

Watercolor pencils from any of these brands would be an excellent gift for artists who enjoy experimenting with combining the control of pencils with the fluidity of watercolors.

Masking Fluid: 

A bottle of Winsor and Newton masking fluid for watercolors.
A bottle of Winsor and Newton masking fluid for watercolors.

Masking fluid is a tool for creating white areas by masking off paper sections. 

This liquid can be applied to preserve areas of the paper from paint. After the painting is complete, the masking fluid is removed, revealing the untouched paper beneath.

Watercolor Canvas Boards: 

Frederix watercolor boards.
Frederix watercolor boards.

An alternative surface for watercolor painting, these boards are made from cotton canvas mounted on a hardwood core.

Watercolor Mediums: 

Watercolor mediums are additives that can be mixed with watercolor paint to modify its properties and achieve specific effects. 

While mediums are more often used with oil or acrylic paint, there are many available for watercolor as well. Here are some watercolor mediums that would make good gifts for a watercolor artist.

1. Gum Arabic: 

Winsor and Newton gum arabic for watercolors.
Winsor and Newton gum arabic for watercolors.

This is one of the most common watercolor mediums. It’s a natural resin that can be mixed with watercolor paint to improve its flow, increase transparency, and enhance color brilliance.

2. Granulation Medium: 

Winsor and Newton granulation medium for watercolors.
Winsor and Newton granulation medium for watercolors.

Adding this medium to watercolor paint can increase the granulated texture of the pigments, creating interesting and textured effects in the painting.

3. Texture Medium: 

A bottle of Winsor and Newton texture medium for watercolors.

Texture mediums can be mixed with watercolor paint to create various textures and surface effects, adding depth and interest to the artwork.

There are many other mediums available for various things. These are just a few of the most popular ones.

Easel: 

An easel isn’t an essential tool for watercolor artists. Many watercolor artists just paint on a table or bench, but sometimes an easel is useful such as when painting plein air (outside) or when you want the paint to run down the paper a little. A portable or tabletop easel would come in handy in these situations. 

Brown plein air easel.
Brown plein air easel.
Arteza tabletop easel.
Arteza tabletop easel.

Watercolor Classes:

For a beginning watercolorist, online or in-person classes would be another great gift idea. Creative Live, Creative Bug, or SkillShare are good places to find online classes.

Palettes with Mixing Areas

An empty watercolor tin with empty half pans and a mixing area.
An empty watercolor tin with empty half pans and a mixing area.

Artists like to have a variety of watercolor palettes. A palette with ample mixing space for creating custom colors and empty half pans to store paint would make a great gift. 

If you want to make the gift unique purchase a pretty ceramic dish at an antique or second-hand store for use as a palette. 

I have several in interesting shapes and designs that I love using because they help inspire creativity.

Water Brush Pens: 

A package of 6 watercolor brush pens.
A package of 6 watercolor brush pens.

Water brushes are very convenient.  Fill the pen with water and dip it into the watercolor cake. The water in the pen keeps the brush wet without having to dip it in water.

These brushes can also be used with water-based inks or acrylics.

Art Apron or Smock

A black artists' apron with large splashes of various colors of watercolor paint.
A black artists' apron with large splashes of various colors of watercolor paint.

Splatters and messes happen when you are an artist. An artist’s apron protects clothing from paint splatters and spills. 

Watercolor Brush Holder: 

Watercolor brush holder with slots to hold the brushes upside down for drying.
Watercolor brush holder with slots to hold the brushes upside down for drying.

A watercolor brush holder keeps brushes organized and easily accessible. I like this one because it holds the brushes upside down for drying so the water does not run into the ferrule and warp the wooden handles.

Watercolor Travel Set: 

Winsor and Newton Cotman watercolor pocket sketch set.
Winsor and Newton Cotman watercolor pocket sketch set.

A small compact ½ pan watercolor set that comes with a brush and mixing area is ideal for travel. There are many available in various sizes and designs. I recently purchased this Winsor & Newton Cotman set and really love it.

Micron Pens: 

A set of six micron drawing pens.
A set of six micron drawing pens.

Ideal for adding fine lines and details, Micron pens are also archival and can be purchased in various sizes and colors. They are my go to pen for drawing, outlining, and adding fine details to watercolor paintings.

Watercolor books: 

Watercolor books would be appreciated by anyone but most especially by beginners. Books on the basics of watercolor, color theory, painting techniques, or the history of watercolor would be a good addition to their painting library.

Watercolor tutorial book.
Watercolor tutorial book.
Watercolor Techniques Book
Watercolor Techniques book.
Watercolor for the Soul tutorial book.
Watercolor for the Soul tutorial book

Adjustable Drawing Table: 

Black and white adjustable drawing table with storage drawers.
Black and white adjustable drawing table with storage drawers.

An adjustable drawing table is a very versatile gift. It offers various angles for comfortable painting or drawing and some even have a small area to store supplies.

Studio Lighting: 

A studio lighting kit with two square lights and filters on stands.
A studio lighting kit with two square lights and filters on stands.

Proper lighting enhances color accuracy and reduces eye strain. Proper lighting is also needed for taking photographs or the artwork or shooting process videos.Good lighting for the artists’ studio or painting area would be really appreciated.

A watercolor painting of a girl on a swing. The text reads best gifts for watercolor artists they will love. trembelingart.com at the bottom.
Pin for Later

Handmade Watercolors: 

Handmade watercolors can be a beautiful and unique gift. Etsy has a variety of beautiful watercolor palettes and handmade watercolors.

Collapsible Water Cup:

A collapsible water cup for painting.
A collapsible water cup for painting.

A collapsible water cup is great for travel. It is sturdy enough to hold your paint water and easy to collapse and pop back into your carry bag.

Brush Cleaner: 

A round container of artists' brush cleaner.
A round container of artists' brush cleaner.

It is important to keep artists’ brushes clean. This product contains brush preservers as well as cleaners.

Gift Basket:

If you can’t decide or are a little short of funds, purchase some of the smaller items and wrap them up in a pretty basket or bag. It’s the thought behind the gift that’s important.

Any of these ideas would make great birthday or Christmas gifts, or thank-you gifts for your favorite artist. Not everything will work for your particular situation or price range but I hope I have at least given you a starting point if you are stuck for ideas. 😊  Also check out my post on Gifts for Artists or Stocking Stuffers for Artists if you want to gift a variety of art mediums.

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