On the tech side, these are serious tools for designers and artists already established in their practice – not beginners. But we've also included some basics for anyone who's looking to jump to the next level or just is in need of some inspiration. (Items without specific sourcing information are available online or at your local art supply store; prices are approximate.)
1. Polaroid Photo Studio Kit, $45.99
Excellent for the artist or photographer who needs an easy-to-set-up tabletop photo studio for a small workspace. Take pictures of small items like jewelry, enamel pins or anything smaller than a loaf of bread.
2. Sakura Pigma Micron Pens, $3-$5
Micron pens come in a range of point widths and are great for sketching and inking linework. Artists should always have a few on hand. They're available basically everywhere, but if you need immediate gratification, try Sam Flax.
3. Sony Alpha a6300 Mirrorless Digital Camera, $900 and up
A beautiful camera for anything or anyone, really. It's a small body packed with a lot of great features – it's mirrorless, lightweight and has internal 4K recording. Interchangeable lenses and other accessories are available, if you're made of money.
4. Wacom MobileStudio Pro 13, $1,999.95
This is key for full-time designers, illustrators and 3-D artists who need an all-in-one, full-featured, wireless tablet. No computer needed; you can load in professional applications such as Adobe Photoshop, Pixologic ZBrush and whatever else.
5. Shinola sketchbook, $28, shinola.com
Tired of Moleskines and want to venture out into a new sketchbook? These are well-made, lightweight, and won't fall apart after a few sketch sessions. The 100lb paper allows the use of ink, graphite, charcoal and even light watercolors.
6. Krink markers K-32 box set, $92 for the set or $12 each, shop.krink.com
This set is a must-have for artists who want to paint in their books or add detail to a large mural. Krink markers offer a great amount of coverage per pen. Recommended by Andrew Spear and Tobar (wink).
7. Patterns: Inside the Design Library, by Peter Koepke (Phaidon, 332 pages, $80)
This gorgeous book offers a peek inside the Hudson Valley Design Library, the world's largest archive of patterns and textiles. Gazing at the shapes and lines and colors will inspire anyone to create.
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