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Gift Ideas for Artists and Animators!

It's that time of year - with Christmas less than a week away - you may want to treat yourself or the budding artist/illustrator/animator in your life to something special! 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 top picks ranging from small stocking stuffers to the larger scale items that they'd definitely need to be on Santa's 'nice list' for!

1. Art Of and Animation Books

You can't go wrong with books related to animation or art books from animated features or artists! Here's some of the books currently on our wishlists:

Awaking Beauty: The Art of Eyvind Earle by Ioan Szasz

Graphic but mystical, vibrant yet enigmatic, the work of American artist Eyvind Earle is a treasure trove of subtle and shimmering contradictions. From fanciful backgrounds for Disney classics such as Sleeping Beauty to bold experiments in multimedia art, from ambitious commercial animations to lush and otherworldly oil landscapes, Earle's oeuvre never fails to please the eye and engage the imagination. And here, collected in Awaking Beauty—the official catalog for the 2017 Walt Disney Family Museum exhibition of the same name—is a definitive exploration of his life's full work.

A fantastic stocking stuffer chock full of beautiful artwork!

The Illusion of Life by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston

The most complete book ever written on the subject, this is the fascinating inside story, told by two long-term Disney animators, of the gradual perfection of a relatively young and particularly American art form—which no other movie studio has been able to equal.

No animator should be without this book!

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse - The Art of the Movie

Discover the world of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse in this stunning collection of art. Packed with concept art, final designs, and artist commentary plus previously unseen storyboards. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the creative minds behind The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street, bring their unique talents to a fresh vision of a different Spider-Man Universe, with a groundbreaking visual style that’s the first of its kind. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse introduces Brooklyn teen Miles Morales, and the limitless possibilities of the Spider-Verse where more than one wears the mask.

You may have already seen the movie and if you haven't - RUN, go and check it out! And while you're at it, grab this GORGEOUS art book.

Framed Ink: Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytellers by Marcos Mateu-Mestre

The ultimate guide to visual storytelling! How to make the audience ““feel”” the story while they are ““reading”” the story. Using his experiences from working in the comic book industry, movie studios and teaching, Marcos introduces the reader to a step-by-step system that will create the most successful storyboards and graphics for the best visual communication.

A great book to start with for learning good drawing techniques!

They Drew As They Pleased: The Hidden Art of Disney's Mid-Century Era: 4

The 1950s and 1960s at The Walt Disney Studios marked unprecedented stylistic directions brought on by the mid-century modern and graphic sensibilities of a new wave of artists. This volume explores the contributions of these heroes with special emphasis on the art of Lee Blair, Mary Blair, Tom Oreb, John Dunn, and Walt Peregoy. It includes never-before-seen images from Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and Sleeping Beauty and discusses Disney's first forays into television, commercials, space, and science projects―even the development of theme parks. Drawing on interviews and revealing hundreds of rediscovered images that inspired Disney's films during one of its most prolific eras, this volume captures the rich stories of the artists who brought the characters to life and helped shape the future of animation.

A little bit of history with some great art to pour over - you won't be bored over the holidays!

2. Sketchbooks

What kind of animator would you be if you didn't have a sketchbook? There's a huge array of beautiful sketchbooks to choose from, but here are some of our staff's picks:

Seawhite Sketchbook

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

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.

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!”

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

3. Art Supplies

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.

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.

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!

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

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

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

Buddha Board Original - For some doodling AND relaxing.

4. Apps or Software


This is a pretty cute, art software app made especially to create pixel art and pixel animations! If you want to try your hand at pixel art, getting this software is a good first step :^) 

Adobe Creative Suite - any one of the apps in the Adobe Creative Suite would make an animator smile from ear to ear, but if in doubt Photoshop or Illustrator are a great choice. Be sure to check out their bundles for students and teachers!

5. A Subscription to an Online Course or Publication

How about the gift that keeps on giving? A subscription can be a great way to help you or your loved one continue to learn and be inspired!

Character Design Quarterly - a character design focused magazine that comes out every 3 months that's full of tips, tutorials, interviews and educational articles so it's perfect for anyone who is interested in levelling up their art game! You can also opt to get someone a yearly subscription or alternatively, just get them a bundle deal so they can test the waters and see how they like it.

Character Design Quarterly (CDQ) is an exciting new print magazine for illustrators, artists, animators and character art enthusiasts. Releasing four times a year, the magazine will offer inspirational and educational articles, tutorials and interviews from top industry professionals specifically geared to helping artists hone their character design skills. This unique, engaging magazine will provide a regular stream of insider knowledge and illuminating advice from experienced professionals and freelancers to help artists of all skill levels improve their workflow and designs.

Animation Mentor, AnimSchool, Animsquad, or iAnimate - a subscription to any of these online courses would be a great gift for any animator! ^_^

6. Graphics & Drawing Tablets

If you're just starting out and want to get into digital art, a drawing tablet is the way to go! A small Intuos tablet is great for starting out and for more experienced folks the medium is perfect in terms of size and quality.

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

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

Happy shopping!

Anahita Tabarsi

Anahita is Brown Bag Films' Marketing Director, Digital & Social and drinks more than five coffees a day...

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