Greetings, peeps! :D
It's that time of year again! The time where many of us brave the overcrowded and tacky-holiday-music-filled malls (or, if you're like me, sit snug as a bug at home mindlessly clicking through Amazon) in search of the perfect gift for our friends, family members, roommates, neighbors, co-workers, classmates, and maybe even your dog. You know, if you're one of THOSE weirdos.
I know sometimes that us nerds & creative types can be hard to shop for. So if you're struggling to find just the right gift for that special weirdo in YOUR life, here's a few things I'd recommend to almost anyone. The best part? Everything on the list can be had for $30 or less!
OH, and before you ask: I'm getting absolutely NOTHING for pimping any of these items. None of them sponsor me, and I never asked for kickbacks. Honestly, they're all either items I already own & would recommend, or things I would be head over heals to get myself (not that I'm hinting or anything. ;^_^)
Stripped: A Revealing Look At the World's Greatest Comic Strips
"Stripped" is a documentary, and quite literally a love letter to the history and process of comics. It was put together by Frederick Schroeder and David Kellett and funded entirely through Kickstarter (which I'm happy to say I helped contribute to, yay!) They have interviews with TONS of comic creators, from Jim Davis (Garfield), Cathy Guisewite (Cathy), Mort Walker (Beetle Bailey), Mike & Jerry (Penny Arcade), Matt Inman (The Oatmeal) and MORE, and even includes a rare, first-time-ever audio interview with "Calvin & Hobbs" creator Bill Watterson. It discusses the history of the comic strip, explores the process of creating comics in a variety of mediums and styles, and postulates about the future of the medium as we move into an internet-savy, post-newspaper age.
I'm not kidding when I say, if your perspective gift recipient reads comics, makes comics, LOVES comics, you owe it to them to get them this documentary.
Recommended for anyone in your life who reads comic, has a nostalgic love for comic strips, and/or makes them for a living.
Where to Buy: StrippedFilm.com (recommended) * Amazon * iTunes
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Hero Forge Custom Miniatures
If you run in nerdy circles, chances are you know someone who plays some miniature-based tabletop roleplaying game. Dungeons & Dragons is the most well-known of it's ilk, but there are SO many more that it would be pointless to list here (a quick glance at Wikipedia proves this.) But if your targeted gift-receiver collects, builds, paints, and plays with such models, than they might be interested in Hero Forge's Custom Miniatures.
Their website allows you to create your miniature (which as of now is limited to humans & humanoid races like elves, dwarves, androids, etc), complete with costume pieces & props. You then have a selection of options for your hard-copy model, from the inexpensive low-detail but durable, higher resolution & paint friendly, to even larger 3" and 6" statuettes. The models are then 3D printed and shipped right to you in 2-4 weeks. Pretty neat!
The turn-around time for these, on top of the unique customizable nature, may make these seem like not a great option for christmas. But trust me when I say that half the fun in these is choosing just the right pose and parts for your custom model. Give your giftee an IOU for one of these and they'll be just as happy!
Recommended for roleplayers & tabletop gamers of any variety.
Where to Buy: HeroForge.Com
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"Figure Drawing for All It's Worth" by Andrew Loomis
This book is considered by many to be THE definitive book on figure drawing. It was originally published in 1943 and had been out of print for many years until Titan books finally put it back into print in 2011. Before then, it would regularly go for 3 digit prices on eBay. Yes, artists wanted it THAT much.
I own the book in hard-copy. It's a nice, hefty 3lbs and is chock full of information and sample drawings, including anatomical studies - both full figure and broken into parts - with labeled drawings of muscles and skeletal structures for both male and female models. Loomis's drawings are not only detailed and informative, but beautiful, rendered expertly in pencil and charcoal. In my personal opinion, any serious artist should have this book on their shelves. If your artist doesn't, it is your sacred duty to rectify this. And remember: if you REALLY want to make an impression (and have the funds to burn), keep an eye out for an original printing.
Recommended for painters, illustrators, and figure-focused artists with an appreciation for the classics
Where to Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble
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Jet Pens.com Gift Card
All hail the mighty gift card! Fits in a card, ships super easy, and guarantees your recipient will wind up with something they'll like. Win-win!
My favorite online store for pens & pencils is JetPens. They specialize in writing pens, pencils, dip inks, cases & bags, and a variety of office supplies from Japan. I buy my favorite inking pen from these guys, and have made many purchases from them over the years. Their shipping is super quick, AND is totally free as long as you spend at least $25.
If you're not sure what kind of drawing or writing implement your giftee likes, you can snag a $25 electronic gift card. There's a TON of stuff here, so there's no way they won't find something they like.
Recommended for illustrators, cartoonists, and writers who love working with real materials. Computers are SO overrated!
Where to Buy: JetPens.com
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One last thing before I go: If you enjoy my work & want to give one of my shirts or books as a gift, please consider checking out my store. There's not much time left before the holidays are over, so if you want to give something of mine as a gift, don't wait too long! Hey, I've got my own gifts to buy. ;)
Happy holidays, folks! Drink responsibly.