Stocking Stuffer Ideas for the Artist in Your Life

I feel like I should start out today with a warning because I don’t want to spoil any of the mysteries of Christmas for anyone. So, if you believe that Santa is on course to come down your chimney Christmas Eve, please stop here.

For the rest of us, we can still believe in the magic of Christmas even though we know that it takes a special elf or two here at home to keep our holiday traditions alive.

That in mind, after 28 years of celebrating Christmas, do you want to know how I know Christmas is only days away? It’s when my husband starts showing symptoms of stress. Not general, every day, non-specific stress that we all can experience from time to time, no, his is very specific. He calls it stocking stress! I know, it sounds crazy, but if there were Christmas therapists, they would be treating him now.

The poor guy brings this on himself. It starts when he drops hints about looking forward to the holiday decorations being brought out of their boxes, then there are the questions about when the holiday baking will commence, and he will even indulge me with a little holiday music. So I start getting busy, the decorations come out and the holiday baking shopping list is now complete. Then it happens . . . he sees them . . . the sweat starts to bead on his forehead. It’s the stockings!

He starts to pace. He mutters something like, “oh I just don’t know what to put in your stocking” or “this is the hardest part of Christmas, I really don’t know why we need stockings”. Well, I can sum that up in one word, tradition. Plus, it’s fun. Though after 28 Christmases with him, I don’t know what is more fun, seeing him sweat or watching his joy as he finds treasures in his stocking on Christmas morning.

Since there is no Christmas therapist (near us anyway) I can send him to, it is up to me to treat his stocking stress. I have found that the best way to do that is to give him stocking stuffer ideas. As a colorists, sketcher, and now watercolor dabbler, I don’t have a shortage of ideas. Knowing it has to fit in my stocking will narrow down the list, but here are a few that made the cut:


Post-it Labeling Tape, Scotch Blue Painter’s Tape and drafting tape, I use them all and don’t think I can ever have too much tape.

  • Of these, I use the Post-it tape the most. I use it to anchor a project to a board or to give me a nice frame around my project or to create a straight line. It also makes for a great mask when I am doing striped backgrounds or trying to reserve small areas within my image from being colored too soon. The other thing I like about the Post-It tape is that I can reuse it.

  • I use the Scotch Blue Painter’s tape when I watercolor or use Distress Inks that I splatter water onto. It’s narrower that the Post-It Labeling tape, but would do all the things the Post-It tape can do. I find that the adhesive on this tape can be a little aggressive at times, so I am always very careful when I remove it.

  • I use the drafting tape for projects that don’t use water as it’s not waterproof. I learned years ago to remove some of the adhesive before applying it to my project paper.


Can a colorer ever have too many pencils? I mean does the color even matter. If he can’t decide on a color, I would hope the clerk helping him out would be wise enough to tell him a dozen 938 Prismacolor Premier white pencils are never going to go to waste. Then again neither are a couple of Stabilo Aquarellable Black pencils.


Any kind. Did you know that you can place a stencil underneath your drawing paper and do a “rubbing” with your graphite and/or colored pencil leaving you with a detailed design that you didn’t have to draw in by hand? I love to find small scale stencils that I can incorporate into my backgrounds this way. They also work great to pop in a design over your Copic marker or watercolor backgrounds, tablecloths, or any other part of your image that would be enhanced by the stencil’s design.

Now that I’m sketching, a collection of stencils that have basic shapes would be a nice addition to my toolbox.


Maybe this last one is a little devious on my part. By getting a gift card I am not limited to something that is small enough to fit into the opening of my stocking. Nope, I can go big. I can get a new sketchbook, a new paper I’ve been dying to try, you name it, there is always something that I know I can’t live without.

So, if there is an elf at your house that is subject to the same stocking stress as my elf, drop a few stocking sized hints that you can use once the holiday activities settle down and you get back to making art.

Wishing you a colorful Christmas and healthy new year.

What's happening in the Corner . . .

Has colder weather arrived where you live? Do you find yourself inside trying to stay warm? Why not pick up some knitting needles and start knitting a warm scarf. Hey, hold the presses, we don't knit here in the Corner, we color! So join us this month as we pick up our markers, colored pencils, and/or watercolors and learn to create a knit texture on paper!

If you are reading this after we moved on to the next technique, you can find the Work-at-Your-Own-Pace Practice for Texture:Knit here.

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