Be careful about buying a gift for an art student, it is pretty risky to purchase any actual supplies to put under the Christmas tree this year. I myself am an art student at the Academy of Art University in San Fransisco and let me tell you I see alot of hit and miss gifts during the holiday season. It really comes down to what type of artist you are looking to buy for. Sure, say the word artist and of course images of paints, pencils and canvases begin to dance in your head; but there is much more than the standard paper and pencil incorporated into the modern artist needs.
If you are indeed buying for the fine art or color and design student, than professional art supplies is a good idea. But! I suggest that you buy a gift certificate! I know that it is the thought that counts; but buying an art student crayola markers and sketch pads from Wal-Mart is not very thoughtful at all. Fine artist are very particular about supplies such as paint’s, oil’s, clay’s, pastel’s, etc, so going out and buying these individually is not the best of idea’s. If you want you could take them with you to the store and let them pick up exactly what they want, fool proof!That way you get to see the kind of supplies they like, they get item’s they can actually use, and you get to spend time with them; which is what Christmas is all about in the first place.
A vast majority of artist are emerging in fields like new media, motion pictures, photography. If this is the case you could be left in the dust when it comes to navigating the tools and equipment these artist use. Buying equipment like camera’s both video and still, can be relatively easy if now what model your artist wants. If you don’t know going down to a local camera store, or even somewhere like best buy, and asking one of the employee’s about what’s new on the market and what camera is ideal for your student can make it fairly simple as well. Researching equipment yourself would be done best through sites such as: www.nikon.com, www.canon.com, www.SonyStyle.com, bhphotovideo.com/edu and reviews.cnet.com/camcorders/ Reviewing the offers and special kits on these websites can give you alot of insight on what is good buy, some even give public ratings and reviews about the equipment. A great idea for your artist would be computer software for editing, mixing, and scanning their art, programs like final cut pro, photoshop CS3, Vegas, and after effects are the most popular but there is numerous programs on the market. If the student you are buying for does not have a computer, that is the best gift you could give them; computers are the heart of motion picture and photography and the future of almost all art forms.
The students that fall into the category of computer arts will appreciate software. For animation and visual effects software such as Maya and Lightwave 3D are popular, for graphic designers Illustrator CS3 is a good programs well, but i would recommend just buying an Adobe Creative Suite for anyone working on a computer. The programs in Adobe Creative Suites cover all the basis, everything that is required to make images, designs, movies and animations in one big set up. Again there are alot of programs and software options, finding the right one is not hard as long as you make sure of two things: It is compatible with your students computer and it is a program they want and will use. Scanning the Internet through google is the easiest way to find these programs and others like them. Buying for your artist could be tricky, finding out what they want first is the best approach.
In general an art student could always use things like flash drives, and CD R’s always come in handy. Trust me, if you ever heard the expression starving artist know now that it is completely true, alot of us live and breath top Ramon. Giving them gift certificates to restaurants and fast food markets will help put some pounds back on their bones! Art students also need regular school supplies like anyone else i.e. notebooks, paper, pens. The best and simplest gift that i recommend is MONEY. It is hard to buy for an artist, they are picky and it can get confusing trying to find the right gift. Giving them money grantees that they get exactly what they want with it, and that if they need it, they will have it on them. By the way, artist always need money.