Gift Ideas for Artists

Ready or not, the gift-giving season is upon us! Whether you celebrate Sinterklaas, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah or any other opportunity to give presents during the dark days of the winter solstice, we’ve got ideas aplenty. As in previous years, the ABC Staff has looked through their sections and hand-picked various choice literary jewels for your gift-giving pleasure.

We will present these titles in a series of blog posts and recommendation lists throughout the coming month. We hope you will find some inspiration in them, but please remember that these titles only represent a tiny fraction of the books on offer in our stores. Be sure to stop by to see what else there is in the area of your interest!

Let’s start off with gifts for the artistic soul in your life with books from our Music, Art, Street Art, Tattoo and Fantasy Art sections.

You can find our gift ideas from previous years here (scroll down a bit to 2013 and beyond), and be sure to have a look at our ABC Favorites, too.



Ebook available for Art, Inc.

“Conversation with an artist: Art curator Sir Norman Rosenthal sits down for a conversation with Jeff Koons, resulting in this fascinating book about the life and art of one of the most controversial artists of the 21st century.” – ABC Amsterdam Art buyer Jesse on Jeff Koons: Conversations with Norman Rosenthal.

“A beautiful art book: a new publication about the work of contemporary painter Peter Doig.” – Jesse on Peter Doig.

“Two art how-to books: The first book, Art, Inc. shows the basic steps to start a career as an artist. The second book shows how to write about contemporary art; texts such as academic essays, texts for exhibition catalogues, exhibition reviews and much more.” – Jesse on Art, Inc. and How To Write About Contemporary Art.

Street Art

“This legend had painted more than 5000 trains by 1980(!). He goes back in time to explain why he is the undisputed “King of Graffiti”. One of the true pioneers of New York’s graffiti scene.” – ABC Amsterdam’s Street Art buyer Paul on Blade: King of Graffiti.

“If you know someone who likes skulls and likes stickers, then this is the ultimate gift!  The stickable skulls come in an array of shapes, styles, and colors” – Paul on Stickerbomb Skulls.

“This book reveals the not-often-seen world of graffiti in the New York subway system.  Great photographs! The title says it all.” – Paul on Beneath the Streets.


“This nice little hardcover is a great book to browse through to get inspired before getting ink done. Also includes technical advice and safety tips.” – ABC Amsterdam’s Tattoo buyer Paul on 1000 Tattoos.

“This new title includes 50 portraits of mainly Dutch people who tell the stories behind their tattoos. Proof that nowadays tattoos are worn by people from all walks of life.” – Paul on Why I Love Tattoos.

“This beautiful boxset includes 53 postcards with images from the Russian Criminal Tattoos series. The meanings of these status-explaining tattoos are revealed on the backs of the postcards.” – Paul on Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopedia Postcards.

Fantasy Art*

*The Fantasy Art section can be found at ABC Amsterdam.  At ABC The Hague you can usually find these books in the Games corner.

“For twenty years now the Spectrum series has showcased the year’s best in fantastic art. Reinforcing the importance and prevalence of fantastic art in every style and medium, Spectrum collects art from books, graphic novels, video games, films, galleries, advertising and the fine arts. Featured in Spectrum 21 are over 300 artists, among which are Paul Bonner, Donato Giancola, James Gurney, Iain McCaig, Shaun Tan, Sam Weber and Allen Williams. A treasure for any Fantasy Art afficitionado.” – ABC Amsterdam’s Fantasy Art buyer Jitse on Spectrum 21.

“Ian Miller has illustrated numerous works of fiction with both book covers and illustrations. With art for the works of Tolkien, Lovecraft, and concept art for Warhammer 40,000, his work is some of the most iconic fantasy art. A wonderful collection of monsters and dragons, gothic nightmarish visions and well-known characters from fiction.” – Jitse on The Art of Ian Miller.

“Eighty creators from the world’s top video game studios joined forces without the constraint of committee design, free to submit their wildest fantasies. The result is the spectacular dark fantasy world of Substrata. This book features character designs, locations, monsters, items, interface designs, and much more. An alluring book to spark your imagination.” – Jitse on Substrata.