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25 Great Gift Ideas for Artists and Animators #BrownBag25

We're continuing on with our #BrownBag25 picks this month, and we thought with Christmas just around the corner that we'd take a look at some gift ideas you might want to treat yourself or the budding artist/illustrator/animator in your life to!

To help you choose from the plethora of gift options available, we asked our Brown Baggers what their ideal gifts would be and compiled a list of their great suggestions. We've grouped them into sub-categories for extra convenience.

Take a scroll through and be sure to add your own wish list items in the comments below:


You can't go wrong with books related to animation or art books from animated features or artists! Here are some of the books we think are must-haves for any animator:

1. The Animators Survival Kit by Richard Williams

This enormous tome (340 pages!) by legendary animator Richard Williams (Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Pink Panther), considered the animation bible by many, is an animation students (and pros) staple! Detailing the basic principles from bouncing ball to run cycles, with great attention paid to technique. The book is written primarily for 2D animators but the techniques are applicable to 3D also.

You can also check out the iPad app version for the techies amongst you or the 16-DVD box-set 'The Animator's Survival Kit - Animated' which features over 400 specially animated examples:

2. Cartoon Animation by Preston Blair

California native Preston Blair (Fantasia) is somewhat of an institution amongst our 2D artists. His animation collection series provides a thorough basis for studying animation principles and techniques, and would make a terrific addition to any animators bookshelf.

3. Drawn to Life: 20 Golden Years of Disney Master Classes: Volume 1 & Volume 2: The Walt Stanchfield Lectures

The Drawn to Life volumes collect the notes for life drawing classes from the legendary Walt Stanchfield. Every page contains bits of information or philosophy on drawing that will make you think about drawing in a different way. And that's what our Brown Bagger's love most about this book, it's written by somebody who has a passion for life and drawing and carried it with him his whole life.

4. The Illusion of Life by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston

Created by two of the famed Nine Old Men (The Walt Disney Company's core animators), this book is a must for anyone who appreciates animation, and Disney animation in particular. Detailing Disney's process for completing a picture step by step, the book provides in-depth information for animators covering the history of how animation came to be as well as important animation concepts.


Every artist adores acquiring some nifty new art supplies and well, what kind of artist would you be if you didn't have a sketchbook? There is a huge array of beautiful sketchbooks out there to choose from and lots of terrific pencils/pens/paints, but here are some of our staff's picks:

5. Seawhite Sketchbook - a sturdy, good starter sketchbook for any budding artist.

6. Hahnemuhle Travel Booklet - these come in a variety of sizes small size / large size

7. Canson ArtBook 180° - this sketchbook opens up completely without having a hardback cover. Allows you to have a flat surface to sketch on without the pages falling back onto one another or sketching with a slant.

8. Moleskine Sketchbook - our 2D Designer Derek Horan's favourite: “Artists love a sketchbook that they can easily take with them anywhere they go and there really is none better than Moleskine!”

9. And for something a little different why not try Wooden Kyougi Pads!

10. Pentel Graph600 0.5 mm - There are different colours available but this is the mint blue one. It's a great piece of gear because it has a bit more weight to it than most mechanical pencils. And you can buy different coloured lead for sketching, blue ones for example, 0.5mm or adjust accordingly to the size of mechanical pencil.

11. Prismacolor Col-Erase Pencils - Can you ever have too many pencils? We definitely don't think so and the Prismacolor Col-Erase are fan favourites in the studio.

12. Uniball Air Micro - Sometimes a pencil just won't cut it - well, in that case we have it on pretty good authority that this is a really nice pen for drawing!

13. Holbein Gouache Paints - Some fantastic paints for the traditional artists.

14. Kuretake Gansai Tambi Japanese Watercolour Paints - These have the added bonus of coming in a very pretty box!

15. Rembrandt Luxury Watercolour Travel Brush Box Set - For some extra pretty brushes to go with your paints!

16. Buddha Board Original - For some doodling AND relaxing.

17. Posca Pens and Markers - These are fun and oh so vibrant, sure to delight any artist!

Posca Markers
Posca Markers


18. Desk mirror - well animators need to rehearse in front of the mirror to get the best expression, don't they?

19. Chronometer - Timing is crucial in animation and a physical chronometer is a huge help.

20. Alvin Wooden Human Mannequin - It's a great tool for an artist to stage their scenes, create basic poses and a good help with setting up compositions too.

21. Stress ball - Stress happens to the best of us and these may help to relieve a bit of it!

22. Desk toys - And lots of them! Our gang can never get enough cool toys to decorate their workstation with.


An often overlooked but incredibly appreciated gift idea is a subscription or license to some great art software or online art course! There are some amazing options around to suit all budgets and needs so be sure to do some research in advance.

23. Adobe Creative Cloud - if you love digital art, chances are you're using an Adobe product, and any artist would be thrilled to get a subscription!

Be sure to check out other recommended online courses from our Brown Baggers here: 25 Great Online Courses for Artists & Animators #BrownBag25, and some software recommendations right here: 25 Great Tools for Artists & Animators #BrownBag25


If you're just starting out and want to get into digital art, a drawing tablet is the way to go!

24. A small Intuos tablet is great for starting out and for more experienced folks the medium is perfect in terms of size and quality.

25. For users with a bigger budget, there's the Wacom Cintiq 22HD. This Cintiq is probably every animator's dream, expensive (but so worth it). After you get used to it there is no going back, so if you know someone who really, REALLY loves you very much… or if you've been extra, extra good all year long maybe write a nice letter to Santa!

 Intuos tablet 
 Intuos tablet 

There you have it - we hope this has given you some ideas for what to pop under the tree this year!



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