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.
It can be tough to shop for artists, but one thing you know for sure is - they’re into art. Commission an original work by a local artist or find a starving artist online who is hungry for a sale. The gift will be sincerely appreciated by everyone involved. Make sure you pick something that suits your friend’s aesthetic and not your own!
If the artist you know is a maker or builder, they surely already have a toolbox. What they need though, is a Coolbox. This modern evolution of the toolbox has come a long way from being just a place to store tools. It has built-in power strips and an internal battery, a clock, wheels, bluetooth audio, an LED lamp, a whiteboard, and even a bottle opener.
This Zen sand drawing machine is the perfect toy to fiddle with while waiting for the next big inspiration. A magnetically controlled steel ball traces patterns and doodles in the sand. The ball can be controlled manually or you can just let it do its thing automatically. When you’re finished just give it a little shake and your design is erased like an Etch A Sketch.
In the right hands, a color wheel is like a recipe book for beautiful design. There are actually a lot of cool tricks that can be achieved by placing certain colors beside each other, as Jasper Johns explored in his work in the 1950s. For example, did you know that you can make one color look like two different colors? Or make two different colors appear as if they were exactly the same? There is a science behind it all, about how your brain interprets sensory input, but let the artist worry about that. Just know that this is an item that should be included with every painter’s toolkit, that can help them mix colors and understand the effects colors have on one another.
In the 80s there was a popular kids’ show called Simon, and as the theme song explained, the things that Simon drew came true. Well that whimsical story has become reality with the arrival of 3D pens. These amazing devices have advanced a lot since they were introduced, and the price has come down enough to make them an affordable gift for the artist you know.
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.
Drawing on a computer has its advantages but will never have the feel of drawing with pencil and paper. This thingamajig bridges the gap between the physical and virtual worlds and enables artists to digitally edit and enhance their traditionally hand-drawn artwork. The “smartpad” captures drawings from actual paper, converts them to data, and sends them by bluetooth to any computer. The pad also works well with iOS and Android tablets or mobile devices.
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.