The holidays can be a wonderful time to provide art supplies for the creative young ones in your life. It’s a time when your gift can say,

“I love what you create, and I want you to create more.”

These days especially, kids are consumed with a digital life, so it’s important to also encourage the pursuit of good old-fashioned drawing and painting. After all, a computer will never replace the skills learned by drawing with a real pencil, or painting with a real brush.

Finding good art supplies that actually work though, among all that are being promoted these days, is not easy. No one wants, or should have to spend money on things that give mediocre results. (You might be surprised to learn that there’s actually ONE brand of supplies that is kind of an inside joke amongst fellow art teachers, as they have the lowest quality by far. It’s no coincidence they are the cheapest too.)

This list is an attempt to help busy parents and teachers chose the items that work well, fit their budget, and keep them from scrolling through endless Amazon reviews or Michael’s checkout lines. They are the ones I would want if ever stuck on a desert island … which actually sounds really nice, right about now.

Happy shopping everyone!

NOTE: These are affiliate links. If you click and take action on any, I will be compensated a small amount, but at no expense to you.

10. Art Journal Sketchbook

Journals with sturdy covers that open and lie flat are the best. It’s so much easier to draw and paint in them.

9. Watercolor Paper

Only real watercolor paper can truly show how brilliant watercolors hues and textures can be. This brand was my favorite for after school classes and never disappointed (especially when the next product was used to paint on them).

8. Liquid Watercolor Paint

These amazing liquid paints, stored in spill proof cups, were one of the best things I discovered in my ten years of classroom teaching. No messy trays with tablets and the colors are SO vibrant.

7. Paint Brush

A good paint brush can make all the difference in the world. Who can paint small details with one of those big floppy brushes? This style with a sturdy rounded tip were my hands down favorite.

6. Tempera Paint Cakes

Why tempera cakes instead of the liquid paint? Because with a brush and cup of water, students have everything they need. They can even control the value if they want, by adding more or less water.

5. Portfolio Oil Pastels

Try these out if you want oil pastels that make amazing color, and often end up looking like an oil painting. The 24 pack has a wonderful palette, and is the coloring media of choice for all my murals in my PDF Shop.

4. Crayola Crayons

A deluxe box of these crayons are still the best value, especially when you need lots of color choices. Who can possibly color a landscape or seascape with one shade of green or blue?

3. Prang Crayons

These crayons are eco-friendly and can create some really rich colors. They can almost look like oil pastels, without any of the smudging.

2. Crayola Metallic Markers

Metallic markers are such a treat to draw with, especially on dark paper. They make rather mesmerizing art, are totally kid safe and resemble Sharpie metallic markers without any of the extra cost.

1. Stabilo Power Markers

My go to favorite brand of markers, hands down. The tips hold up well, the caps are clear and interchangeable, and the palette of warm and cool colors just can’t be beat. These were my markers of choice for after school art classes for years.

Bonus! Favorite Storage System

My favorite storage for art supplies is made by Really Useful Boxes. They make a wide variety of sizes, but I found the 2.1 liter size is perfect for my collection of Stabilo Power Markers.