stay away from anymore more basic then good quality paper and pencils.
Art supplies (at least for me) is very personal, a red is not a red unless its a certain red from one company but that same company's blue is shit.
Same thing with brushes, they need to feel right in my hand.
Canvas however is always welcome as is gesso and stretcher bars
But if he doesn't paint then.. yeah.
If hes into graphics design the tablet might be worth while. But if hes already making a living out of it, he'll prolly get more frustrated from a cheaper one and would prefer to start with a good wacom or something similar.
I have one of these http://www.wacom.com/graphire/ and http://www.wacom.com/pendisplays/DTZ2100.cfm but they are well out of your budget, but most professional designers start out in the middle to top.
However its something he enjoys or hes working on getting better, then the tablet would be perfect to start off with. get the black on without the mouse, I've personally never seen the use for them in photoshop, some do X/Y/Z axis with the mouse that might be useful in 3D suits.
Is he into photoshop? or 3D?
Most popular 3D programs have a mag dedicated to it and photoshop has tons of mags perhaps a subscription to a good one depending on where his interest/skill lies.