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Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving when many US retailers offer deep discounts on their wares, marks the start of the holiday shopping season. This year, it falls on November 25, but stores are already posting holiday bargains and early Black Friday sales. Now is the time to save on gifts for friends and family, and even a few presents for yourself.
As always, ARTnews will be scouting the best deals on art and craft supplies, from drawing tools to drills. We will be updating this page throughout the days leading up to Black Friday and over Black Friday weekend, so bookmark this page and check in with us often. A word of advice: Move fast, as many of these products will sell out quickly. (All prices current at time of publication.)
How we pick each product:
Our mission is to recommend the most appropriate artists’ tool or supply for your needs. Whether you are looking for top-of-the line equipment or beginners’ basics, we’ll make sure that you get good value for your money by doing the research for you. We scour the Internet for information on how art supplies are used and read customer reviews by real users; we ask experts for their advice; and of course, we rely on our own accumulated expertise as artists, teachers, and craftspeople.
SAVE ON ARTIST’S SUPPLIES AND EQUIPMENT
If you are lucky enough to live near a Blick, the art supply store is having an in-store-only holiday sale from now through December 24. Otherwise, do not despair! Blick is always an excellent place to shop for the holidays, as its regular prices often beat—or at least match—other vendors’ sale prices. Online shoppers should also check Blick’s website for daily promo codes. Plus, web orders over $45 get free shipping—just keep in mind those possible delays. (The store does offer express shipping, so you can stress less if you’re a late shopper.) Here are some supplies with price tags we love:
Load up on Prismacolor colored pencils, which are in our eyes the best all-around water-resistant colored pencils you can get (in sets up to 150 pencils!). You can get themed tins from a 24-pencil set specifically for shading and highlighting to a 12-pencil set for botanicals. Or, because these pencils are also sold individually, you can build a custom palette by packing a pencil box with your own selections.
Jazz up your holiday cards with Derwent’s metallic watercolor pan set, which features shimmery, jewel-toned pigments. Launched just last year as a more versatile alternative to the brand’s non-water-soluble metallic pencils, these stunning paints are highly lightfast and layer beautifully to create surprisingly opaque, pearlescent washes. Packaged for the artist on the go, the set includes 12 sparkly colors, a sponge, and a mini water brush, all packed in a travel palette with five mixing wells. Replacement paint pans are also available.
Thinking about making your own holiday cards or gifts this year? Set up a mini print shop in your abode with Jacquard’s all-inclusive silkscreening kit. You get a 10-by-14-inch pre-stretched aluminum silk screen—big enough for shirt designs—a 9-inch squeegee, photo emulsion, sensitizer, and three acetate sheets. Plus, enjoy four jars of Jacquard’s screenprinting inks, which are archival, lightfast, and provide excellent coverage. This user-friendly kit also comes with an easy-to-follow instruction guide, and is suitable for kids 12 and up. (Adult supervision is recommended).
Made in Japan and originally designed for manga artists, Copic alcohol markers are prized by professionals for their unbeatable quality. They are also extremely expensive. A lower-cost alternative to Copic’s Classic and Sketch lines, the Copic Ciao uses the same top-quality alcohol ink as its sister products, but contains less of it. (Like all Copic markers, however, it is refillable.) Similar to the Sketch, the Ciao features a brush tip at one end and a broad chisel tip at the other, perfect for a range of mark making. Designed with a circular barrel that’s smaller than the Classic or Sketch’s, plus a vented cap to prevent choking, Ciaos are an excellent high-end pick for children. Choose from sets up to 72 colors, or buy them individually!
If you are looking for an upgrade to your drawing paper, try Legion’s Stonehenge pads, which feature 90-pound sheets of artist-grade, acid-free, one-hundred-percent-cotton rag. This heavyweight paper can handle mediums from graphite and charcoal to ink and watercolor. It is available as single sheets, but we love this spiral-bound pad, which makes working on the go a true pleasure. Papers are protected by stiff and durable covers, and the pads come in useful sizes from a 7-by-7-inch square to a 6-by-15-inch rectangle ideal for landscapes or fashion illustrations.
SAVE ON TOOLS FOR THE STUDIO
Save 22% on a Craftsman 7-drawer steel rolling tool cabinet for holding art supplies or tools. It has a solid steel frame, a 2/3-inch-thick butcher-block top, 5-by-2-inch casters with toe-locking brakes, and it boasts a 1500-pound load rating. Plus, it comes with a mat for the top and drawer liners for every drawer.
Take 50% off a Milwaukee M18 18V lithium-ion cordless tool kit and save big on a big set of tools. This deeply discounted kit includes a 1/2-inch drill driver, a 6 1/2-inch circular saw, a one-handed reciprocating saw , and a multi-tool, plus a work light, two batteries, a multi-voltage charger, a contractor bag and more.
Get 38% off a Shark Robot vacuum, designed to get the job done. This robo vacuum has powerful suction, and after each cleaning it empties itself into its bagless base. The company says the base holds up to 30 days of dirt and debris, though that could depend on how deep the grime is in your studio. The vacuum is compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, or just use the app.
Save 27% on an SAE/MM combination ratcheting wrench tool set for all your automotive and industrial repair needs. This well-made, 18-piece wrench tool set includes both SAE sizes (5/16 in., 3/8 in., 7/16 in., 1/2 in., 9/16 in., 5/8 in., 11/16 in., 3/4 in., 7/8 in.) and metric sizes (8 mm, 10 mm, 11 mm, 12 mm, 13 mm, 14 mm, 15 mm, 18 mm, 19 mm). Made from chrome steel alloy, the set is formulated for strength and superior resistance to corrosion, and the chrome finish easily wipes clean.
Take 33% off a Craftsman 20-volt power tool combo kit of two drills. Today’s cordless drills are incredibly powerful, handy and versatile, and they’re also easy to hold and carry. This two-set drill combo kit from Craftsman comes with a 20V drill/driver and 20V impact driver. Both are lightweight, compact, and are easy to handle. They come with a soft storage bag, batteries, charger and accessories.
SAVE ON ONLINE ART AND PHOTOGRAPHY CLASSES
You’ve most likely seen one of the commercials for MasterClass, the online education subscription service that gets celebrities from to record tutorials on a wide range of topics from cooking to science to philosophy. Instructors include musician Alicia Keys, chef Gordon Ramsay, editor and fashion icon Anna Wintour, comedian and actor Steve Martin, and other luminaries. For a limited time, you can buy one MasterClass annual membership and get an additional annual membership free.
SAVE ON DRAFTING STOOLS AND KID’S DESKS
Fully, which specializes in sustainably manufactured ergonomic furniture, is offering 20% off its entire inventory through the end of November. Though the company markets its wares as office furniture, many items in its catalog are equally useful in the studio. Save more on the Jaswig children’s desk, perfect as a first work or art table, or consider splurging on the avant-garde Capisco chair, which you can customize with a foot ring to make a drafting stool. This is the time to buy, as Fully rarely does sales.
SAVE ON PRODUCTS FOR CRAFTING
Michael’s Black Friday sale on craft supplies is in full swing, with great deals on everything from beads to framing. And don’t forget the items on Michael’s weekly ad. Pro tip: download the store’s app to easily browse newly released offers. Here are some of our picks for what to buy:
Buy one get one free on all artist paper pads, including drawing, sketching, and watercolor pads from Strathmore and our favorite mixed-media pad from Canson.
Get 30% off all markers, pens, and pencils, including Prismacolor Premier colored pencils, Copic Sketch markers, and take 50% off 10-piece Tombo dual-brush pen sets.
Save up to 60% on fine-art paint and drawing supplies, including a Sennelier La Petite 16-color half pan watercolor set in a wood box, a Prang 50-piece colored pencil set, and Prismacolor Premier double-ended art markers.
SAVE ON TECH GEAR AND CAMERAS
For cameras, computers, and peripheral devices, look no further than B&H, which is posting daily flash deals and holiday specials on its website, along with featured savings and specials. And check out our pre-Black Friday deals on cameras here.