Art Books for the Holidays: Can’t-Miss Gifts

There may be no better gift for an artist than art books that feature the latest and greatest techniques. Since artists thrive on getting inspired by new ideas, a book lets the recipient know that you don’t just believe in their talent, you also support their creative pursuits—and that says a lot. Trust me.

With that in mind, I have a few art books I’d like to recommend for gift giving this holiday season (If you decide to get one of these for yourself…I promise I won’t tell!). The authors are that great combination of gifted artist and excellent teacher; while reading through the instructions, it’s as if they’re there with you, guiding and encouraging you every step of the way.

First up is Painted Paper Art Workshop: Easy and Colorful Collage Paintings by Elizabeth St. Hilaire. While some books about collage incorporate only found papers, such as book text, printed papers, and maps, Elizabeth starts by showing how to paint your own papers using techniques such as monoprinting, so the artwork created from them is truly unique. Then she shows how to use the papers to create stunning collages, and offers a generous gallery of inspirational artwork.

Painted Paper Art Workshop by Elizabeth St. Hilaire
Painted Paper Art Workshop by Elizabeth St. Hilaire offers a unique approach to collage. (Photo by Mark Elson)

Elizabeth makes the process very doable and achievable, explaining composition, underpainting, backgrounds, and more. You’ll be inspired to add your own spin on the techniques, taking your artwork as far as you want to go.

Painted Paper Art Workshop
Painted Paper Art Workshop includes detailed techniques such as monoprinting.

Suggested add-on gift: This Paper Paintings apron, designed by Elizabeth, will beautify any workspace, and is the perfect item to pair with the book.

Paper Paintings apron by Elizabeth St. Hilaire
This gorgeous apron, designed by Elizabeth St. Hilaire, will brighten up any studio space.

Next is Jodi Ohl’s Abstracts In Acrylic & Ink: A Playful Painting Workshop. If you’ve seen Jodi’s articles in Cloth Paper Scissors and her four fantastic mixed-media videos, you know how compelling her art is, how skilled she is at working with a variety of mediums, and how her repertoire includes fanciful characters as well as vibrant abstracts.

Abstracts in Acrylic & Ink by Jodi Ohl
Cozy up with a mug of cocoa and get into Abstracts in Acrylic & Ink by Jodi Ohl. (Photo by Mark Elson)

Mixed-media abstract art is quickly gaining in popularity, and looking at Jodi’s work, you understand why. This is creating from a place of fun, play, and discovery, and the results are incredible. Jodi thoroughly covers supplies, and how to get started building layers, colors, and marks, so that no one has to face the blank page alone. The process is pure fun—after all, the subtitle is A Playful Painting Workshop—and satisfying.

Abstracts in Acrylic & Ink
Creating abstract art is easy and satisfying with Jodi’s techniques in Abstracts in Acrylic & Ink.

Suggested add-on gift: The Getting Started: Painter’s Basics Kit includes acrylic paint, brushes, a journal, collapsible water cup, and more.

Painter's Basics Kit
The Painter’s Basics Kit includes paint, brushes, a journal, and more–a perfect go-along gift with Abstracts in Acrylic & Ink.

Our third book is Shimmer & Shine Workshop: Create Art that Sparkles by Christine Adolph. Adding a touch of metallic glimmer to artwork gives it a spark that can really make it pop. Christine has been working with transfer foils for years, and takes a sophisticated, elegant, and fun approach to adding them to canvases, art journal pages, fabric art, cards, and more. She shows how insanely easy these foils are to work with, and how to use them to get a range of effects, from bold metallic motifs to distressed bits of shimmer.

Shimmer & Shine Workshop by Christine Adolph
Learn how to add beautiful foiling to your artwork in Shimmer & Shine Workshop by Christine Adolph. (Photo by Mark Elson)

Christine is the authority on all things shimmery and shiny, and in this book she knows all and tells all: how to create foil designs, how to apply them to different surfaces, the best adhesives to use for a range of materials and effects, and alternative ways to get bright metallic effects. Looking through this book is instant motivation to get started working with foils—the sample artwork is stunning.

Shimmer & Shine Workshop
Beautiful foiling techniques take center stage in Shimmer & Shine Workshop.

Suggested add-on gift: The new Shimmer and Shine Foiling Kit, available exclusively at the North Light Shop, has the basic components to get started right away with foiling: a copy of Shimmer & Shine Workshop, plenty of foils in various shades, adhesive rub-on designs designed by Christine, blank cards, and a copy of Zen Doodle Workshop magazine.

Shimmer and Shine Foiling Kit
The Shimmer and Shine Foiling Kit has everything you need to start foiling today!

With the gift of art books like these, you’re sure to make your loved ones feel appreciated, because they know you get them. And that makes for a very happy holiday.


Blog, Mixed-Media Techniques


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