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Top Christmas gifts for artists and creatives

(Image credit: TechRadar)
Christmas gift guides

We're bringing you a tech-focused Christmas gift guide every day up to the big day itself, to help fuel your present buying inspiration.

Day 1: Apple fans | 2: Photographers | 3: Switch gamers | 4: Xbox gamers | 5: PS4 games | 6: Retro gamers | 7: PC gamers |  8: Lego fans | 9: Music lovers | 10: Mobile gamers | 11: Home cinema dreamers | 12: Home cooks | 13: Smart home starter kit | 14: Tech for kids |  15: Fitness fans 

Stuck for ideas when it comes to Christmas gifts for creatives this year? The big day is getting close, so we're here to help you ensure your loved ones can properly express themselves with a selection of great creative goodies this year.

If you're not creative-minded, it can be hard to know where to start. There are tablets, cameras, or creative software, but which is the best option for your giftee? Things can quickly get expensive, too, so we've put together a list of a wide range of treats to help assist the creative pursuits of your arty friends and family, at a selection of prices.

Choose correctly, and you could be reaping the benefits on Christmas day. With a great value instant camera, your artsy friend may well provide the shots to create a beautiful festive photo album this year, or a synthesizer to create a great Christmas soundtrack with a twist.

Either way, we've got you covered. Here are the best Christmas gifts for artists.

Adobe Creative Cloud

(Image credit: Adobe)

Adobe Creative Cloud subscription

Nothing is more crucial for an artist than having the right tools at their disposal. For graphic designers, illustrators, photographers, or video editors, Adobe Creative Cloud offers the market standard in design excellence. 

Subscriptions aren’t necessarily cheap, and are bought on an annual basis, rather than letting you subscribe by the month – but there’s no denying the utility of what you get. You’ll spend less on an individual program like Photoshop, though buying the whole package may be more cost effective if you need access to a few different ones. (Check out our guide to the best free painting software for some cash-less alternatives.)

(Image credit: Apple)

iPad Pro 12.9 (2020)

The best big tablet around right now

Weight: 641g
Dimensions: 280.6 x 214.9 x 5.9 mm
OS: iPadOS
Screen size: 12.9-inch
Resolution: 2048 x 2732 pixels
CPU: A12Z Bionic
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB
microSD slot: No
Battery: 9,720mAh
Rear camera: 12MP
Front camera: 7MP
Reasons to buy
+Mouse support+Tremendous processing power
Reasons to avoid
-Limited LiDAR functionality-Still not a laptop

But your fancy new suite of editing tools won't mean much without a large, beautiful screen on which to use it. The bigger iPad Pro 12.9 is exactly that, although you'll be paying for the privilege of enjoying illustration work on this powerful, beautiful device.

The latest 2020 version hasn't changed all that much – it's not that much more powerful and the new camera tech has few uses, even for creatives – but this is still the best large tablet on the market right now with its lightning-fast OS and unrivaled processing power. It's a workstation, music player, portable cinema, easel, and more rolled into one.

Of course, you're paying for that extra screen space, so make sure your giftee really needs it before paying the extra premium with help from our best iPad guide. Either way, with the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard, the latest iPad Pro 12.9 is a creative powerhouse. 

Read more: iPad Pro 2020 review

Fujifilm Instax Mini 70

Another well-priced Instax Mini model

Lens: 60mm
Focusing: Macro, Normal and Landscape
Flash: Built-in
Self-timer: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Really easy to use+Selfie mode
Reasons to avoid
-Can obscure flash-Limited control

An instant camera is a great gift for a budding photographer, with the satisfaction of seeing your creations print out of the camera itself after shooting. No more scrolling through thousands of snaps in your phone gallery, then.

The Instax Mini 70 comes with five shooting modes (including that all-important selfie mode), all of which are automatic and make for breezy focusing, exposure and use of flash. It isn't overpriced for what it offers, though you will need to factor in some budget to pay for some Instax Mini Film.

See more options in our guide to the best instant cameras.

littlebits Synth Kit

Modular synthesizer for the truly adventurous

Reasons to buy
+For beginners or professionals+Synthesizers!
Reasons to avoid
-Not the cheapest stocking filler-May be daunting to uninitiated

Aimed at both professional musicians and complete amateurs, this modular synthesizer allows kids and adults to “explore the science of sound, make sweet beats, and create instruments".

Once the domain of tech wizards, building synthesizers is now something anyone can do with the right kit – and you can see in the video above what makes it so magical in action.

(Image credit: Future)

Nanoleaf Canvas

Smart lighting decor that can bring the funk

Reasons to buy
+Easy to set up+Smart home integration
Reasons to avoid
-Mounting tape hard to remove-Expensive

If you need your smart home to look as good as the rest of your decor, these Nanoleaf Canvas smart lights should do the job. Consisting of touch- and voice-sensitive panels, allowing for customizable arrangements, and able to respond in time to music, it will light up your home quite unlike anything else.

It’s easy to set up – if hard to remove – and if you can swallow the cost then it’s one of the most imaginative smart lighting solutions we’ve had the pleasure of trying out.

Find out more in our Nanoleaf Canvas review.

Nintendo Labo piano

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Nintendo Labo: Variety Kit

Cardboard and coding makes for a genius combination

Reasons to buy
+Empty List
Reasons to avoid
-Empty List

Ah, Labo. Only Nintendo would find a way of making cardboard boxes fun again, with its range of Labo contraptions combining the smarts of its Nintendo Switch console with pure arts-and-crafts delight. You’ll need a decent amount of space to store them, depending on the scale of the kit you purchase, but the resulting joy is very much worth it.

There are a few other kits to consider, including the Toy Kit, Vehicle Kit, and VR Kit depending on what the creative soul in your life is after, but the Variety Kit is a great place to get started, especially with a musical piano option alongside a motorbike, fishing rod, and more.

And yes, it’s mainly for kids, but as a shared family activity it should scratch the itch of anyone who’s still a child at heart. (It's not compatible with the smaller Switch Lite console, though.)

Henry St Leger

As Home Cinema Editor, Henry lives and breathes televisions, which is bad for the lungs but great for his content addiction. He also reports on VR, video games, smart speakers, and home entertainment.