Mini da Vinci Machines
Before he was “da man”, Leonardo da Vinci was just another screwball messing around with things that everyone else laughed at. Later on, some of those silly ideas matured into aircraft drawings that happened to be centuries ahead of their time. To this day they stand as a testament to the power of letting your imagination run off and do its own thing. You probably wouldn’t want to be a test pilot for any of these, but they are an invaluable learning and creativity tool.
Inspiration is fleeting, and art trends come and go. Help the artist you know embrace the impermanence of their creations with this Zen water canvas. Water is brushed on the absorbent canvas, leaving beautiful gray marks that evaporate and completely disappear within minutes, reminding the artist that their best ideas are yet to come.
It’s rumored that the real reason great Renaissance artists like Ingres, Van Eyck, and Caravaggio were able to draw so accurately is very simple - they cheated. The Camera Lucida is an ingenious tool that superimposes the subject’s image on the artist’s canvas. From there, all the artist needs to do is trace the projected image and, voila, another masterpiece accurate down to the last detail.
The greatest innovation in stippling since…well maybe the only innovation in stippling. It’s a fun process and the results are beautiful, there’s just one big problem - making all those damn dots. If the artist you know happens to have shaky hands (or a serious coffee addiction), then they may already be a stippling machine, but for the rest of us there is the Pointillist Electronic Pen.
It’s about time someone put a new spin on the jigsaw puzzle. Test an artist’s visual palette by making them assemble this bear of a puzzle using only their color instincts. Its reliance on color over line stimulates the brain in a different way from standard puzzles, presumably making an artist even more artisty.
This color sensor scans any surface and translates real world colors into digital color data (RGB, CMYK, XYZ) which can be imported into Photoshop and Illustrator, or matched with paints at Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, and Behr. This handy device has a million possible uses for artists, from capturing colors in the real world for use in digital artwork, to redecorating their home. A great gift for painters, designers, digital artists and illustrators.
If the artist you know has a show at a gallery coming up, this handy picture hanging tool is just what they need. Hanging lots of pictures of varying sizes on a wall and having it look neat and evenly spaced is a challenge. This tool includes 6 feet of tape measure, a built-in level, and will mark the wall to tell them exactly where the nails should go.
We are constantly awash in a sea of waves, fields, and rays, not to mention whatever the aliens are shooting into us, and if the scientists didn’t tell us about it we would have no idea any of that stuff is even there. The ferrofluid desk toy is a super cool way to see what magnetic fields would look like if they were actually visible. The included 2-poled magnetic wand allows the user to literally manipulate physics with their hands. Well, that’s probably not true, but it kind of looks like it.
Shapescapes is a toy designed to inspire creativity in three dimensions. Once you start playing with it you can’t keep your hands off. It’s like a combination of legos and trying to see shapes in clouds. It’s described as a product for kids but there’s no reason this wouldn’t be fun for adults too, and after all, artists are often kids at heart.