Ten (MORE!) Gifts: Great Gifts for Colored Pencil Lovers (presents they'll actually use!)

10 (MORE!) Gift Ideas for a colored pencil lover (presents they'll actually use!) |

Shopping for the perfect gift for a colored pencil lover can make your brain hurt...

With the recent adult coloring craze, there's a ton of stuff on the market right now.

And you know darned well that some of the supplies offered to colorers aren't worth the price. How do you avoid buying the stuff that's pretty but worthless if you don't color yourself?

Relax. Sometimes all you need is a little advice from an experienced colored pencil person.

I've been using colored pencils since 1985, so I've seen a lot of pencils and accessories come and go.

I'm also brutally frank, so if I think something is overpriced, useless, or downright stupid, I'll tell you not to buy it.

updated for 2019!

I regularly use these products and highly recommend them. For more information on recommended supplies, see our page dedicated to Amy’s Favorite Things here:

Here are 10 (well loved, not useless) gift ideas for your colored pencil lover:

(Warning: the following article contains Amazon Affiliate where applicable. Links to other stores or websites are not part of any affiliate program)

And hey, don't miss my other great Gift Suggestion Lists here... Copic, watercolor and mixed media.

#1 - Caran d'Ache Luminance Starter Set

If your special person is a beginner colorer or if they are only coloring in coloring books, I would skip this suggestion entirely.

Luminance pencils are an artist grade pencil and they're my preferred brand for professional applications.

But they're a little pricey for someone who isn't coloring seriously. As I said in part one here, I always start my beginners out on Prismacolor Premier pencils because they're an artist grade product but they're priced so that they don't knock your eyeballs out with the sticker shock.

Luminance are definitely a more expensive pencil than most other brands. Worth every penny in my estimation but the price should be taken into consideration. I think it's unwise to invest in a large set of these pencils if your recipient is only using them for manila paper coloringbooks.

But as a serious colorer, someone just starting out but looking to improve my technique and make real art? A set of these pencils would have brought tears to my eyes. Luminance pencils make a beautiful and a generous gift.


#2 - Pencil Extender & Pencil Caps

Theoretically, the entire length of a colored pencil is usable. In practice though, once a pencil gets down to about 3 inches long, it becomes hard to control and painful to the hands.

Pencil Extenders add length to pencil stubs, restoring control and preventing sore fingers. Plus they save money by helping you milk every last drop of use from every pencil.

Buy a set rather than a single extender. At any one time, I have at least 5 pencil stubs on extenders. Having to constantly move a single holder from pencil to pencil is inconvenient.

To go with the set of Pencil Extenders, here's a great set of Pencil Caps.

Yes, caps for pencils, isn't that ingenious?

These used to be available in bulk at the cash register of my favorite art store but I don't see a bulk option online. I have both the plastic and aluminum type and the only reason I can justify spending more on the aluminum variety is that they're adjustable and will fit larger diameter pencils. The plastic variety fit Prismacolor pencils quite nicely.

By the way, I also have that sharpener. It stinks.


#3 - Quality Hot Press Watercolor Paper

When students ask me for colored pencil paper suggestions, I always recommend this paper first.

Fabriano Artistico Hot Press 140 Pound Watercolor Paper in Extra White.

Say that ten times fast.

Yes, I know it says watercolor on the cover. That's because it's watercolor paper, silly!

F/A Hot Press Watercolor Paper is perfect for colored pencil. It has enough tooth (microscopic roughness) to grab hold of the pencil pigment and keep it trapped on the paper. Watercolor paper has a built in bonus in that it’s a high cotton and/or linen content paper which makes it super durable and able to withstand lots of layers of pencil and lots of damage from erasing.

Make sure it's HOT PRESS watercolor paper though! Watercolor paper also comes in "Cold Press" and "Rough" which are both far too bumpy for use with colored pencils. Hot Press is nice and smooth.

Oh, and watercolor papers also come in different weights. I recommend ‘140 pound’ for colored pencils. Avoid paying extra for "300 pound" watercolor paper- it's very thick paper that watercolorists love but it's total overkill for a colored pencil person.


#4 - Artist Drawers

No, I don't mean Van Gogh's underwear.

This is a new addition to my studio (hat tip to the Colored Pencil Podcast) and I'm beyond thrilled to finally have permanent storage for my pencil collection.

These shallow drawers aren't for travelling colorers but if your colored pencil lover has a large collection of pencils and has the space, I highly recommend this gift. These drawers are sooooo much better than stacks of various sized manufacturer's boxes and the avalanche that happens when reaching for one.

Best part: each drawer is fully removable. Pull out only the drawers needed for any project.


#5 - Fixative and Sealant

If I have one more student ask me what brand of hairspray I use on my colored pencil project...


Hairspray is for hair. Hairspray is not for artwork.

Colored pencil projects should be sealed to prevent the pigments from light damage.

There's also this crazy thing called "blooming" which happens with a few pencil brands where the wax from the pencil pigment rises to the project surface and makes a thin white coating that dulls the look of the finished artwork.

I use two different types of spray throughout my project process.

About midway through or if I'm going to set the work aside for a few days, I'll spray with a light coat of what's called Workable Fixative. It's a temporary coating which offers short term protection. 

If I have to radically change the color of an area (otherwise known as fixing a mistake) I'll also shoot it with Workable Fixative. That gives me a better chance of covering over the mistake with new layers of correct color.

Then, once I'm all done, the artwork receives 2 to 3 coats of Lascaux Fixativ which is actually a sealant.

Both are matte coatings, both are non yellowing, both prevent waxy bloom, and the Lascaux Fixativ spray is rated as archival.

Hairspray is none of the above.


#6 & #7- Two Essential Magazine Subscriptions

I think magazines are pretty important, especially to beginners. A good magazine can inspire and instruct- all in bite sized chunks that can easily be set aside if the ideas are overwhelming.

Even the ads in art magazines are useful because they don't run commercials for art supplies on television. Sometimes you have no idea what products are out there until you see the magazine ad!

Now that we have digital editions, old issues can be easily accessed without gathering dust on the book shelf. Given that I have about 100 back issues in boxes that I can't begin to part with, going digital was a godsend for me. Plus they're cheaper than the dust catchers!

Colored Pencil Magazine is my absolute favorite. I drool and redrool over the artwork within.

Color Magazine is another good one and particularly good for beginners.

A subscription to both will make your colored pencil person smile. 


#8 - The Ultimate Guide to Colored Pencil

In my first list of 10 Gifts for a Colored Pencil Lover, I gave you my favorite book for intermediate students and above.

For beginners, I really like Gary Greene's Ultimate Guide to Colored Pencil. Greene does an excellent job breaking down stroke techniques and he clearly defines the steps of projects which combine the strokes.

Remember, both books are a step beyond coloring book coloring. If your recipient has moved from coloring books to digital stamps, I'd recommend this book as a great introduction to more advanced coloring.


#9 - Derwent's Chinese White Drawing Pencil

I've been using this pencil for a couple of years now and I find that I'm using it almost everywhere. I stumbled upon it by happy accident and I kinda wonder how I lived without it for so long.

Your average white colored pencil (even the artist grade white pencils) are pretty weak. That's because they're always slightly translucent.

Not this puppy. This Chinese White Drawing Pencil is a potent and practically opaque white and because of that, I consider this pencil a supplement to one's pencil collection rather than a replacement white. Your colored pencil lover won't want to use it on every single project but they'll find lots and lots and lots of uses for this special white.

Like any good artist grade pencil, it combines well with other brands, so you don't have to worry about crossing brands. 

Great as a stand alone gift or buy several at one time. I love it!


#10 - Huion Light Box

Colored pencil paper isn't great to draw on. As a professional artist, all of my projects start on drawing paper which I then trace onto art paper.

Colored pencil paper isn't great to stamp on, stamp inks bleed and feather, plus the ink can effect how the colored pencil adheres to the paper. Tracing is the best method for a card maker to transfer a stamped image to art paper.

Colored pencil paper also doesn't fit though most printers. So if your colored pencil lover uses digital stamps, the only way they can get the image transferred to art paper is to trace.

So tracing is not a bad thing. Lightboxes are essential tools. This Huion Light Box is my favorite.

It's super thin and very light weight so it stores very efficiently. The light is very bright and potent and because it's on a dimmer switch rather than a settings button, I can make micro adjustments at any level.

It's also LED lit so the light is cool in color and the box never heats up. My old light box had to be switched off every 10 minutes when it would begin to be uncomfortable to work on.

The Huion Light Box comes in several sizes so be sure to check them all out. If your colored pencil person makes cards, they'll prefer the smaller box. I have a larger size to accommodate my bigger scale projects. 


#11 - Digital Stamps... by me!

Okay, I know I was supposed to stop at 10 Gifts but I can't resist throwing in a bit of obvious self promotion...

I teach online Copic coloring classes for lovers of Copic marker, colored pencils, and watercolor.

Those three media types all have something unique in common, you can't use just any digital stamp. The coloring spaces need to be wide open with no texture marks and that's a rarity in the digital stamp world.

So because I got sick of searching for good stamps, I decided to start drawing them myself.

I designed my digital stamps with all three media in mind. They can be used for your special colored pencil artist, marker artists and watercolor artists alike!

Take a stroll over to my Digital Stamp Shop and get your special someone a few files to color. They'll love 'em!


so there you have it!

Ten, no make that ELEVEN awesome and battle tested gift suggestions for the colored pencil lover in your life.

Be sure to check out my other helpful gift suggestion lists for Copic, colored pencil, watercolor, and mixed media fans.

Questions? Suggestions? I'd love feedback in the comment section!

Happy Shopping!

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Free Digi Club- "Go Fish!" a Copic Friendly (and FREE) Digital Stamp


Tropical Fun!

"Go Fish" is my new Copic coloring image, free to subscribers of my Free Digi Club from now until August 1st.

Free Digi Club?

Yes, subscribers receive 1 free and challenging image that's perfect for Copic or colored pencil coloring.


Well, at least as close as I can get to it. Here's the deal, there are a ton of stamp companies out there and the internet is full of digi stamp offerings. But very few stamp images are drawn especially for Copic coloring!

Let's face it, most stamps are sold in the uncolored version and it's not until you fork over money and start to color that you realize the stamp is too small, too congested, or full of lines that get in the way and detract from your marker technique.

Not me. I draw my stamp images minimally. That allows you plenty of space to color and get creative!

Heck, that's why my company is named "Vanilla", because YOU add the flavor ON TOP of what I draw or teach or give away for free each month.


Online Class Update:

All Patreon classes have been suspended while I move my class system to a website designed for online classes.

I'm still plugging away at the preparatory work, the new class site is up and running, now I'm working on the payment and auto-responder processes. I think I'm about 3 weeks out from launch but as I said before, I'm not killing myself to get it ready by a specific date.

Students who paid for lessons at Patreon will receive coupons for access to the lessons which were active during their time at Patreon (you paid for a lesson, you won't have to pay again). Anyone who joined Patreon after May 1 hasn't paid for lessons, therefore will not receive grandfathered status at the new site.

Class fees will go up at the new site which will better reflect both their value plus the new services AND forever access. Sorry folks, the Patreon price structure wasn't meant to last.

And by the way, all classes will be sold individually. No more monthly membership structure. You buy only the classes that appeal to you, purchase them when you have time to watch. No more struggling to keep up with the pace of new releases!!!

Until the workshops launch, have fun coloring "Go Fish!"

And hey, send me a .jpg photo of your project! I love seeing what people do with my images!!!

Happy coloring!

Advanced Copic Class- Celebration Cupcake


It's a coloring party!

Join me for a cupcake coloring session at Remember When.

This is an advanced Copic class using May's Free Digi Club image, "Celebration Cupcake". Learn to color accordion pleats and realistic candles that glow. Finally, we'll color folds and waves in our frosting which is great practice for coloring clothing.

Frosting is like clothing? YES! Both frosting and fabric have gentle folds and waves. 

Thursday, July 21st from 6 to 8:30pm

Wednesday, July 27th from 1 to 3:30pm

Remember When Scrapbooking in Macomb Township, Michigan. Seats are limited so call to RSVP

Lesson: Gentle Folds & Waves

Image: "Celebration Cupcake" by Vanilla Arts Co.

Free Digi Club- "Celebration Cupcake" a Free Copic Coloring Image for May

"Celebration Cupcake" FREE Image for subscribers to the Free Digi Club |

Make a wish!

Celebration Cupcake is a new Copic coloring image, free for subscribers to my Free Digi Club!


Yes, absolutely, positively, stupendously free from now until June 1st, 2016.

Every month you'll receive an emailed link to a new free image plus a recipe sheet. Join at any time, you don't need to wait for the beginning of the month to start!

Each stamp has a corresponding speed coloring video!

Color with me; it's fun, it's FREE!