Art Over Science

Lesson 1: Artistic Gifts You Can Make Yourself

Deciding on the right gift for a family member or friend can be a daunting task. However if you have some skill at painting, a flair for drawing or are keen on photography you can create some unique and original gifts easily.

Here are some gift ideas that are easy, affordable and lots of fun to make:

Portrait of a favorite pet:

Next time you are visiting your family or friend take along your digital camera and discretely take pictures of their pet. Using these photos as reference, create a small portrait of the pet in pencil or paint. Try to add distinguishing features such as floppy ears or unique markings to give the portrait character.

Color print of your artwork:

Take your favorite artwork to your local copy shop and get some small color prints made. Prints can be duplicated onto glossy photo paper, poster card or onto canvas depending on the effect you are trying to achieve. Use a pencil to sign each one, put an edition number on it and frame.

Canvas blocks of their hobby or interest:

Buy some small inexpensive stretched canvas blocks. Using acrylic paint draw something onto the canvas that represents the hobby or interest of the person you are giving it too. For instance, if they like to go fishing paint a fish, or if they like reading, glue pages from an old book onto the canvas and write thought-provoking proverbs on top with paint.

Sketches of a family outing or get-together:

If you are good at quick pencil sketches take some paper to your next family outing or get-together. Do a series of quick 2-3 minute sketches and select a few of the best ones to frame. Mount them individually or use a montage frame. This type of gift is especially ideal for older family members such as a grandparent.

Photo essay of a prized possession:

If your friend or relative has a passion for their car, bike or boat take a series of photos of it and present on a display board. Take some full view shots of the vehicle and some close-up shots of the detailing, such as the logo badge, door handle, wheel spokes, anchor etc. When finished glue the photos randomly onto a display board and varnish, mount the photos into a large montage frame, or put into a small photo album.

Provide some art lessons:

For the younger members of the family give them some free art lessons! Not only will the love playing around in the paint, but you will have some fun too. Design a voucher ticket they can 'redeem' for lessons, then pop into the local discount store for cheap acrylic paint, paper, brushes, and accessories. Also, purchase a large stretched canvas panel for their final lesson.

An altered book:

Scrapbooking has become very popular in recent years but they can be a little predictable. To add flair and interest use an 'altered book' as the base for your scrapbook. Find an old hard-covered book which is somewhat relevant to the recipients interests and prepare it by removing and/or gluing pages together and by decorating the cover. When the book has been adequately prepared you can fill the inside with photos, drawings, poems, funny stories or childhood memories. This type of gift is perfect for special celebrations such as 21st or 50th birthdays.
As you can see, there are lots of imaginative ways to make artistic gifts for your friends and loved ones, which are both unique and economical. You are only limited by your imagination and creativity!

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(Next Lesson) Lesson 2: Finishing Off Your Acrylic Painting For Sale
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