Even though I’m a great fan of modern – sometimes even minimalist – illustrations, it often happens in December that I get absorbed in looking at the old classics. There are many wonderful illustrators who have managed to capture the wintry atmosphere, but for me – unsurprisingly – it’s the British, who are closest to my heart.
To say a shamefully over-used cliché: I love curling up under a blanket with a cup of tea, pretend that I’m 4 years old, and flip through these old children’s stories, only to look at the beautiful pictures. So these are the illustrators who help me get into the Christmas mood even in the extreme rush of December.
Unsurprisingly, December is rushing past me so quickly that we have reached Christmas nearly without my noticing. So instead of coming up with a new post, I have decided to dedicate these next few days to my family and friends. No worries though, I will surprise you with something nice before New Year’s Eve all the same :)
Until then, have a very merry Christmas, try to slow down as much as you can and don’t worry too much. It’s all right if it’s not perfect! After all, this is no catastrophe. Just Christmas :)
I quite enjoy looking at my family members’ face expression when I answer the question ‘what would you like for Christmas?’. I usually start chanting a long monologue about different brands of brushes, papers and notebooks, and during this time there is a spectecular change in their attitude: first they are happily smiling because I have an exact idea of what I want, then their smiles start to falter and by the end I can see perfect despair on their faces.
Ineed, buying presents for creatives is no easy business, especially if you haven’t seen a pencil and paper since your childhood. So I have now set up a list so you don’t go to pieces when you try to surprise a creative family member or friend.
Of course it makes a difference whether you buy a present to a prodessional or amateur artist, and for how long he/she is in the ‘business’. Naturally, a professional illustrator will have chosen his/her favourite brands, while a beginner will (probably) happily experiment.
Therefore, I have grouped my ideas according to levels, but of course there is no reason why a beginner would not be happy about an art album or ticket to the local museum. Browse around and choose according to your liking :)
Note: in this list I have included several Hungarian artists/authors. If you like their work and would like to purchase their products, please contact them personally via the included links.
There’s a slight odour hanging around the notion of DIY presents. Those who have already given some (and have an inner critique) will know that the result is often a little crappy, a little useless, looks a bit awkward, but it was done by our own little hands, therefore it is priceless, and anyone who gets it should consider it as such. It’s a shame that they don’t, except maybe your old gran.
So it’s time you were the exception, as handmade presents can be super-cool. ‘Handmade’ is not necessarily meant literally, it only means that you put in your creativity, knowledge and time to make the present a success. When giving a present it is essential to know at least a little about the one we want to surprise, here, however, I have collected some ideas which will probably do the trick even if you are not bosom-friends.
The edible present
I’m starting off with my favourite one. There are surprisingly many people who cannot enjoy the wonders of home-made cakes and cookies, either because they don’t bake or can’t make it home where mum bakes, or even mum doesn’t bake, so they really appreciate some handmade gingerbread. You can wrap up the finished cake beautifully (here are some ideas) and you are ready with a nice Christmas surprise. The great advantage of edible presents is that they don’t add to the junk pile of your loved one.
Don’t give: to those who follow a diet or sensitive to some ingredients. You can either bake something which follows their diet or alternatively give pesto or sugar-free jam.
Are you one of those who find the whole Christmas hype, shopping, cooking just a pain in the neck, working even on the 24th, then fall headlong under the Christmas-tree on Christmas Eve? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you’ll probably roll your eyes when I say you should write Christmas cards sent by good old snail mail. However, you might get a glimpse of a new angle: I say you should send Christmas cards for your own well-being! I’m just about to tell you how.
After all, painting is not a big deal. As a matter of fact, anyone can paint this little picture, who has paint and brushes at hand, as it doesn’t require much talent, yet the result is quite nice.
In the next few steps I am going to show you how I made this little painting, so you can also give it a go. When finished you can send it as a postcard or simply put it on the mantelpiece for a bit of Christmas feeling.