Scoring the perfect gift for a special someone is the best feeling ever. However, the hunt isn’t always easy, especially when you want to find something thoughtful instead of plucking the first generic item off the shelves. The best part of giving is presenting a meaningful gift that is reflective of the recipient, in hopes that they’ll truly cherish it.
Since many of you likely find yourselves searching for gifts for creative-minded folk, I took it upon myself to organize a “Gift-Giving Guide for Creatives”. Whether the recipients in your life are actual artists or simply appreciate creativity, these gift ideas are sure to bring a smile to their face – all while saving you time on the hunt!
“Useful” gifts may sound boring, but they’re guaranteed to be a success, as the recipient will soon wonder what they ever did without them. Consider gifts that will inspire fun or curiosity, or those that may solve a problem the recipient is currently experiencing. For example, aching wrists are common for those sketching every day or working at a computer, but a tiny pillow made to support the wrist could save the day!
Here are some specific suggestions:
- Portable Sketchbook. If your recipient tends to have epiphanic moments while at the supermarket, a portable sketchbook would be perfect to corral spur-of-the-moment ideas. Consider adding a nice pen or pencil to be kept along with it, or personalize the notebook by hiding messages, quotes, stickers, or drawings to surprise and delight your recipient. This gift can be found in almost every price prange, from a basic notebook to an elaborated handmade leather covered journal. Etsy is a great place to start looking.
- How-To Art Book. Is there a skill he/she wants to learn or master? Consider picking up books that teach the craft, or how-to guides from experts in the field.
- Magma Sketchbook series. This series is a set of journals that help you sketch creative projects via a wonderful section of tips and tricks. There are books for a variety of specific subjects, including Film and Animation, Design, Architecture, Idea Generation, and Fashion Design and Art!
- Binder / Portfolio. Help your artistic recipient keep their projects in order with by surprising them with a binder or portfolio, which can organize everything from important papers to pencils to business ID’s.
- Pen Tablets. If your budget is a little wider and you have a friend looking to explore art digitally, consider surprising him or her with a pen tablet. They’re an extremely useful tool for drawing digitally. Wacom pen tablets specifically are a popular and well-trusted brand.
Fun / Unexpected Gifts
Surprise your recipient in two ways: by presenting the fun or the unexpected. This kind of gift leaves your special someone laughing or elated, and hopefully both! Gifts that fall into this category can be silly finds to help them think creatively, like toys, or those they could only dream of having, like a set of drums (to finally write that album) or an iPad (to design on-the-go). Here are a few ideas:
- Toy Gadgets. Sometimes creative thinkers need a break, and what better way to spend it with goofy gadgets? They may seem silly, but that’s just the point: playing with a missile launcher may spark new ideas, or the innovation of a mini USB-powered refrigerator may send a creative brain down an entirely new path (while keeping soda within reach!).
- Unique Art Products. Every artist will appreciate a new type of art tool outside of the usual paints, pencils, and drawing pads. You might gift them metallic brush pens, a traveling watercolor set, or modeling clay. They may never see this gift coming, but imagine how it might expand their creativity once they give them a try!
- Affordable Photography Gear. Have a friend who’s interested in photography, but nervous about the price of typical photography gear? There are many ways to cut coster corners yet still achieve a great gift to help them explore their new hobby. First route: think homemade! Make your friend bohek filters with this YouTube tutorial, or even a pinhole camera – they will surely appreciate the time and love you put into the gift. Or, go vintage and seek out second hand cameras and gear. If you are able to stretch your budget a little, Lomography is a great place to get film cameras that still won’t break the bank.
- Unique Instruments. Forget pianos or violins; surprise your friend with a
unique instrument! Music is an incredibly powerful way to refresh and inspire a creative mind, especially in an entirely new form. Combining design and music, a loog guitar could segue your friend into an unexpected career as a musician. For those who like working with their hands, why not a DIY Ukulele kit?
Memorable gifts leave a really special mark in the other one’s mind, and are often the most thoughtful kind. Consider using your own talents to make something for a special someone, or create a gift that captures or represents that person’s life or interests. Here are some suggestions to get the ball rolling:
- A Portrait. If you yourself can draw or paint, creating a portrait for your friend would be truly memorable. If you’re not sure your friend would like a portrait or his or her own face, create a portrait or someone or something your friend loves, like a singer, actor, character, or pet. Not an artist yourself? Commission a portrait! Personally, I really like Robert De Jesus’ style (see below).
- Creative Letter / Video / Scrapbook. These things may not sound special, but you can make them memorable if you put in the effort. I’ve gifted friends with a handwritten postcard from Fountain Greetings and an classic style telegram from Telegram Stop and both were a success, especially when given to someone who appreciates the artistic value of these gifts. Or, consider creating a photo book or scrapbook filled with memories, or perhaps one that details their achievements as an artist. You could even email a collection of pictures so your friend can set a perfectly tailored screensaver. Or, make them a video like the examples below – can you imagine how much your videographer friend would love that?
- Be the Gift. There’s no better present on Earth than showing up yourself to celebrate a special occasion with your friend. If he or she is artistic, consider signing the two of you up for an art class together, or a yoga event to relax and let new ideas spin. Does he or she love to cook? Take a cooking class, prepare a meal together, and then pack up your delicious result and take it for a picnic. Actual experiences are often the best type of gift.
Ultimately, best part of gift-giving is surprising someone you love with something that makes him or her truly happy. What’s the best gift you’ve received, and what great gift ideas have you all stumbled on in the past?