It’s that time of the year again, the Christmas season. In my book that usually means avoiding the cold by snuggling up inside with all my pens and paper and somehow throw together Christmas presents that fit their recipients. If you’ve landed here you hopefully get to shop for a lettering nerd or Calligraphy enthusiast. Or maybe you are just looking for inspiration? Well anyways, we’re talking about my favorite topic once again, supplies! But this time someone else is paying!
What to expect
First off, you might notice that I use Letterer and Calligrapher more or less interchangeably because they do share a lot of supplies, however since I personally am more of the Calligrapher kind, these tips do lean a bit more on that side of the spectrum. I wanted to give a nice array of options here in terms of budget, so we’ll work our way up from small little thoughts to the big budget presents for the people that are really in it.
I chose the things I personally either got as presents, wanted as a present or products I just genuinely love altogether.
Stocking Fillers under $10
This first little category makes for great bonus presents, if you are putting together a kit or are buying for someone that you don’t know too well, or someone with whom you have a deal to only exchange small gifts. These also make for great little accompaniments with other larger gifts that can’t actually be giftwrapped.
If you are dealing with someone into calligraphy, you might want to look into buying them some vintage nibs. Vintage nibs do sometimes go really high up in price, I really encourage all of you not to buy any of these crazy ones, but there are vintage nibs that sell for reasonable prices. And it is always so much fun to experience some obscure vintage nibs and see if you like them. Often times they cost just a tiny bit too much to just buy on a regular basis but they are nice gifts.
I believe that one of the best lettering tools is the pencil. Depending on where in the world you are you might have more access to one of my favorites than the other, I personally would try to find the more “exotic” one as a gift. My two personal favorite pencils are the 602 blackwing and the Caran d’Ache Swiss Wood in HB. They are both perfectly smooth and write beautifully.
You are probably shopping for someone that likes their rulers if you are going for the next gift, but a rolling ruler changed my life. Literally. I have never liked drawing guidelines. Ever since I bought a rolling ruler, I don’t mind them. I might even enjoy drawing guidelines, just a tiny bit. This thing makes drawing parallel lines so freaking simple!
A kneaded eraser is another one of those simple things that don’t look like much when you first see it, but as soon as the Letterer you’re buying for has tried to erase on textured or handmade paper, they will learn to appreciate the perfectness that is a kneadable eraser. I prefer the Faber Castell one that comes in a little plastic box for easy storage.
Fude pens. Most people I see on Instagram use the Tombow ones or the ones from Pentel. This year the Tombow Hard Fudenosukes have been released in colors so they might not have those yet, but otherwise I would explore the wonderful world of Fude Pens and give them one that they might not have gotten yet.
Small Budget ~ $20-50
For smaller budgets, there is a giant plethora of things, narrowing this down was really hard, but I think I have a good selection of gifts now. But really, almost all art supplies fall in the under 50 category and depending on what kind of art they are into, there are a lot of things to choose from.
As for Pens I think Tombow Sets always make an amazing gift, because these brush pens are very expensive (well, here in Switzerland they are, they cost ~ 5 bucks per pen) so I personally almost never splurge on them even though I really like them. I also think that many of the real bristle brush pens from Kuretake feel more on the pricy side at 20 bucks (the Kuretake Fude 8 is one of my favorites) or buying them a really nice brush from Escoda or a Davinci Maestro if they like to delve into the world of painting as well).
I feel like buying them art supplies that they talk about a lot but never buy or art supplies that they are interested in trying but they are just a little too much of an investment for them at the time.
As an example I always wanted a ruling pen, but at almost 50 dollars for one pen that I knew I would not use all the time felt like I lot. So I gifted myself one as a graduation gift and I absolutely adore it.
Same for Books. Art Books can get really expensive, especially if you have to order them internationally. I personally fell in love with quite a few books this year but my favorite one was Paul Antonio’s Copperplate Manual that does come with a pretty hefty price tag but it is 100% worth it (yes, I still haven’t written that review either, just take my word for it, it’s AMAZING!) and if you are shopping for someone that’s not into highly technical Calligraphy, buy them Shelly’s Calligraphy Cards, these are a lot of fun to practice a new style!
Coliro Pearlcolors always make for an amazing gift because they fit the season well and who doesn’t love some sparkle. I have all the colors, I guess that says it all.
I could go on for ages. There are so so many art supplies that would deserve a shoutout, but I’m going to stop myself here.
Medium Budget ~ $75-100
For the medium budget in the art world you do get some really great things. A skillshare subscription for a year as an example, which is a great place to learn all kinds of creative skills. You can get them an ink stirrer, like the Soap one (I recently got the second generation with an improved motor, all my previous issues have been addressed and I can’t recommend it enough). In this category you can get some great paint sets, some even bigger pen sets or just more of the small budget art supplies.
Big Budget $100 and up
Alright, if you got some money to spend, I know exactly where I personally would put it. My favorite Christmas present I got last year was the Schmincke Calligraphy Gouache Set. This is my all time favorite Gouache and I absolutely adore it.
You can get them a custom made pen holder or write custom pen holder on a card and let them go through the process of choosing one by just providing the budget.
At this price point in person classes also become available. For me, I’m wishing for an in person sign painting class with Mike Meyer this year for Christmas. If I don’t get it I’ll just gift it to myself hahah.
If they are into technology, of course I also have to recommend every designer’s toolbox. Give them a Creative Cloud Subscription so they can vectorize and play with digital letters in Photoshop or edit their photos in Lightroom if they are into Instagram.
And if you really got a pretty big budget, most definitely give them an iPad Pro! I’m not even going to tell you how much I personally love my iPad, I just refer you to all my previous posts where I talk about it and my Instagram.
And what if none of this fits? Give them a shopping trip to their favorite art supply store and let them choose whatever they want. Because if I know one thing about us than that we are easily capable to empty out an art supply store, I’m sure they will find something to their heart’s content.