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Art Gifts for Kids

Art makes a unique gift for kids or a nice gift for kids who love art. Art supplies inspire creativity and are a great developmental gift for kids. Kids who love art, in most cases, also need art supplies to inspire their creativity. The need for art supplies opens up a great opportunity since they make great gifts for a birthday or holiday.

1. Drawing Supplies

Drawing is the building block for many different forms of art. Artists should have the ability to sketch an idea or design for almost any art project. Drawing skill, like most skills, is best learned at an early age. The ability to put pencil to paper and use hand-eye coordination to transfer mental images is a skill indeed. Providing relatively inexpensive drawing pencils, paper, and a good quality eraser will help any young artist start drawing. Most artists develop preferences for certain paper and drawing pencils over time. A decent quality beginning drawing set is a good place to start.

Also let kids experiment with colors at an early age. The easiest way to do this is to provide some colored drawing pencils. The pencils do not have to be expensive, but should have 24 or more different colors. Kids can learn earlier to be creative in their color choices for drawings and to discover which colors complement others.

2. Sculpting Supplies

Allowing kids to use real modeling clay instead of play dough can be helpful by giving kids, particularly older than 6, a material that allows more realism. Sculpting is very helpful for younger kids to mimic things they see in 3 dimensional form. No software training or drawing skill is needed. Kids can start right away using their hands to duplicate object they see or things they have in their imagination. To be safe, provide kids with non-toxic plastalina clay. Plastalina clay is a wax-based clay instead of water-based clay. This allows flexibility in the material, but it will not dry out. Plastalina clay is typically a little harder than water-based clay, but if it is warm up in the sun it will get much softer. Wooden sculpting tools can also be used by more advanced kids to shape and sculpt fine details in their work.

3. A Light Box

Light boxes have been used for years by artists and professional animators, but they are very fun for kids who are learning to draw. Pictures can be placed on the light box and kids can then learn to improve their pencil skills by tracing the objects, creating their own version of the picture. This is a great way to improve kids hand-eye coordination because kids will be very excited by the results of their tracing. Amazon offers a 10" x 12" light box for under $30. This is an amazing value for an artist's tool that was once hundreds of dollars.

4. Digital Tablet

A digital tablet is a very nice art gift targeted for an older child because of the cost. With the digital age, technology has changed the way artists create their work. Just like writers, photographers, and engineers, technology has provided a new medium for artists to create artwork. Even traditional artists such as animators at Disney use digital tablets to create their artwork. Digital tablets have been around for a while. Tablets allow artists to use a digital pen with a tablet to draw or create directly in a computer program. The created digital drawings also have an advantage over scanned drawings. The table drawings are vector drawings with separate digital attributes for each point, line, and line details instead of a raster image which contains a group of pixels that is turned on or off. WACOM is the industry leader in digital tablets with their starter-level Bamboo line or their professional Intuos line. Genius also makes very good quality digital tablets at a lower price than WACOM. Consider the size of the tablet when purchasing. Large tablets are helpful for creating large pieces of artwork, but they are expensive and less portable.

The most recent digital tablet, which is rapidly gaining popularity, is the Apple's iPad 2. With its built in touch screen and available apps, the iPad has some advantages over a standard digital tablet. The largest advantage is that drawings are created on the screen where they are drawn which is more like drawing on paper. The iPad is also extremely portable. The graphical pad and computer do not need to be carted around to be used as a digital drawing set-up. One of the best thing about using the iPad 2 for drawing is the inexpensive, yet powerful apps. There are 3 apps that are excellent for drawing on the iPad including iDraw, SketchBook Pro by Autodesk, and Adobe Ideas. All of these apps are priced under $9 with SketchBook Pro only demanding $2.99 on iTunes.

There is a cheaper digital tablet option for younger kids. It is the Kids Design Tablet made by Genius. The Kids Design Tablet has a working area of 5" x 8" which is similar to the smaller Bamboo tablet. It has several built in education and entertainment games designed for younger kids. The tablet itself is designed for kids 3 and up so younger kids who are interested in art should be able to get started. Amazon typically offers the Genius Design Tablet with software for under $60.

5. Art Books for Kids

Art books for kids should contain a minimum amount of text since most kids will not spend the time to actually read the instructions. Instead, the books should provide examples of the steps of drawing so kids can learn by practicing. Here are some of the best art books for kids.

The Usborne Complete Book of Art Ideas - This is one of the best reference books for kids art project ideas. This book has hundreds of art project ideas using different types of art supplies. It is a great referenece for homeschooling or those who want to encourage art

How to Draw Pets by Barbara Soloff Levy - For kids who have pets or want pets this is a great way to engage them with drawing. Ms. Levy uses very easy to understand steps that kids can understand to help teach them to draw some animals.

Modeling Clay Animals: Easy-to-Follow Projects in Simple Steps - A very good resource for kids a young as 4 to learn how to make animals out of clay. This book uses simple steps to teach kids a simple approach to making all types of animals.

I Can Draw People (Usborne Playtime) - A nice book to help younger kids (4 and up) learn to draw. This book uses simple steps to help teach kids an easy approach to drawing people.

Usborne Ideas: Big Book of Things to Draw - A nice book to help elementary school age kids learn to draw a variety of different things. Helps kids to learn perspective, shading, texture, and other drawing techniques to allow them to improve their skills.

Usborne Art Ideas Drawing Faces - A good starting drawing book for learning how to draw faces.

Secrets to Drawing Realistic Faces by Carrie Parks - This book is both a good starting to draw faces resource and an excellent book to help kids learn the skills needed to draw extremely realistic faces. Carrie Parks has a background in drawing faces for law enforcement and is extremely good at sharing her skills that made her so good. This book is highly recommended for advanced younger artists and teen artists.