Art — even life — is all about imagination. It’s something children have in great supply and that adults too often let slip from their lives. As Einstein said: “imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” Can’t argue with Albert there. He’s a genius, after all.
But while all kids possess wild and wonderful imaginations, it’s helpful if they also have some tools to bring their imaginative ideas to life. In his famous letters to his brother Theo, Vincent Van Gogh wrote a lot about his struggles and the development of his artistic vision. But just as many of those letters focused on how much he needed paint! And canvas! Supplies! Below is a list of supplies for the young artist in your family or in your circle of friends. Remember: encourage the making of art by the young and their imaginations will be nourished for life.
ALEX Toys Artist Studio Wooden Dough Tools Set: 11 beautifully crafted, inexpensive wooden tools for shaping clay, dough and Play-Doh.
Faber-Castell ‘Paint by Numbers’ Museum Series – The Starry Night: Speaking of Van Gogh, here the great Faber-Castell brand — makers of awesome children’s art supplies and more — brings us The Starry Night Paint by Numbers. Others Faber-Castell make include the Eiffel Tower, a Japanese foot bridge, and more.
The Architect’s Drawing Kit: kids can “draw the interior and exterior of houses in realistic 3D.” A great tool to practice visualization skills and making concrete, shareable designs out of pure imagination.
The Classic Winsor & Newton Water Color Pocket Water Color Set: This set will make a young person feel like an artist, and that is part of the journey. The 24 color with 24 pan set will have an ambitious youth thinking Monet’s Water Lilies are within reach. The above link is to Amazon, but you can also browse around the Winsor & Newton site for inspiration.
Pentel is another great brand in the art world — and anyone who’s worked with oil pastel crayons will tell you the experience is addictive. You want to give enough variety so that the young artist can experience the idea of color gradation, but you don’t have to deliver Pentel’s big box of 432 pastels. A selection of 50 is delicious enough to get kids sliding into the oil rainbow. Available inexpensively at Walmart and Amazon. The crayons are a stepping stone to what Edgar Degas and Childe Hassam did with pastel oils.
For the boy or girl who wants choices and the feeling of being in charge and prepared, the Royal & Langnickel Deluxe Sketching Artist Box Set is a great gift. Rich with a bit of everything, this artist box has 800 reviews on Amazon and the good grace of being much less expensive than it looks.
Liquitex, makers of terrific acrylic paint with real pop, gives a gift buyer so many choices. Liquitex manufactured the very first water-based acrylics back in 1955 and has steadily enhanced its venerable name ever since, especially by working with artists and on artist education programs. Liquitex, like Winsor & Newton above, is a supporter of The Fine Art Collective offering artist workshops around the globe. For your young artist try the Liquitex Professional Heavy Body The Classic Beginner Set.
An artist needs a canvas. These days that’s not always true, of course, as art is just as likely made on an iPad or — as ever — with clay or pencil. But the metaphor of the canvas remains because, well, because of The Mona Lisa and Titian and…take your pick. The Artist’s Loft brand of Canvas Panels is a great place to start. Multiple sizes available. Here is a link to the Artist’s Loft Canvas Panels at Michaels, but they can be found at nearly any art supplier.