Here’s a big list of stuff I like that people who like my stuff might like. (I get a cut if you buy through the links.)
Copies of my books, of course!
Blackwings. My favorite pencil overall — great for sketching, perfect for making notes in books. Sometimes I like to just sharpen them and sit around and sniff ‘em.
Aqua Notes. They might seem goofy, but I get a lot of ideas in the shower, and nine out of ten of them are bad, but that one that is good, well, it’s worth having something you can write it down on.
Leuchtturm1917 pocket notebooks. These are small enough that they fit in my shirt and jeans pockets, and they take a beating. I carry one everywhere. (Pro tip: sometimes you can get the calendars this size on mega clearance — then I just scribble over the calendar part.)
Pilot G2 Bold. My favorite pen. (I’m a weirdo: I don’t like to write longhand with less than 1mm of ink.)
Moleskine Daily Diary. This is the notebook I’ve used to keep a daily logbook for over a decade. My logbooks are invaluable to me—easier to keep than a diary and way more helpful. I like the smaller paperbacks, but you can also get a bigger hardcover.
Mitsu-Bishi 9852EW HB – I ordered these completely based on the case and now they’re my favorite for writing in notebooks. I like to saw/break one in half, sharpen the jagged edges, and wrap them in the elastic of my pocket notebook.
Zequenz flexible notebooks. I hesitate to list these here, because they’ve been known to fall apart, but people always ask, so this is the kind I use for my diaries. (Why this brand? They sent me a huge batch once and they worked for me, and I’m superstitious and lazy, so I just kept using them.)
5 Year Diary. Designed by the brilliant Tamara Shopsin. I write a quote in mine every day.
Prismacolor Ebony pencils. These things are chunky and thick and black. I use them to mark up books, but I also use them to shade backgrounds in my diary comics.
Carl. Angel-5 pencil sharpener. This thing gets pencils super sharp and it makes any desk more cheerful.
UHU glue sticks. Simply the best glue sticks. Perfect for collage.
Wonderboom wireless bluetooth speaker. I love this thing so much. Tiny and waterproof and sounds great. You can link two for stereo sound if you want.
Cutting mat. I keep one of these on my desk to protect my desk.
Anker power brick – I love this thing. (And Anker products in general.) You plug it into the wall, and it’ll charge two USB devices, and once those are charged, it’ll charge the internal battery. Take it to go, and you have enough to charge two phones. (I’ve heard this Nano is great for laptops.)
Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book: Make a World. My favorite drawing book, for all ages.
Crayola Slick Stix. I don’t know why regular crayons are so popular for kids other than the fact that they’re cheap and they don’t make a mess. (I think I just answered my own question.) Crayons are hard to hold in tiny hands and kids have to really press hard with them to get any kind of decent result. These Slick Stix are easy to grip and they lay down a really silky smooth line. They also have the added benefit of making everything you draw look like a Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Do A Dot Art! My son had trouble making circles early on, so he loved to use these for wheels on cars, faces, etc. They’re a little expensive, but they last a long time, and they mix really well.
Lynda Barry’s What It Is. My favorite book about writing and creativity.
Bernstein Favorites: Children’s Classics. Terrific introduction to classical music for kids.
On the one hand, this is a stupid time to get into vinyl because it’s so expensive now. On the other hand, it’s easy to build a nice collection because you can get a ton of great stuff reissued. Here’s a mix of some classics I recommend:
- A Charlie Brown Christmas
- The Beatles – Either of the new mixes of Sgt. Pepper’s or The White Album sound amazing (or you can go with my personal favorite, Revolver.)
- Prince, Purple Rain
- Miles Davis, Kind of Blue
- Amy Winehouse, Back To Black
- Al Green, Greatest Hits
- David Bowie, Ziggy Stardust
- Sam Cooke, Live at the Harlem Square Club
- Joni Mitchell, Blue
- Dylan, Blood on the Tracks
- James Brown, Live at the Apollo and Greatest Hits
- Nirvana, Unplugged in New York
Whenever I’m sort of bummed or in need of some inspiration, I love watching good documentaries about art and artists. Here are some of my favorites:
- Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (for everybody)
- Los Angeles Plays Itself (for film geeks and Los Angeles friends)
- Stories We Tell (for people who tell stories)
- Beauty Is Embarrassing (for art geeks and artists with families)
- Don’t Look Back (for documentary lovers, Dylan nuts, and music fans)
- The Last Waltz (maybe the best concert film ever)
- Bill Cunningham New York (for photographers and all artists — “If you don’t take money, they can’t tell you what to do, kid!”)
Books make great gifts… they’re particularly good gifts to yourself! If you have a local bookstore, buy ’em there!
Here are some books I’ve read in recent years that I think would help a wide range of people:
- Getting Things Done (for folks who struggle with productivity)
- Bird By Bird (for folks who want to write)
- Several Short Sentences About Writing (does what it says on the tin)
- The Journal of Henry David Thoreau
- The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction (for folks who want to read more and read better)
- Understanding Comics (for all visual communicators)
- The Gift (for artists struggling with the marketplace)
- Ways of Seeing (one of my all-time favorite books about art)
- 100 Essays I Don’t Have Time To Write (for folks struggling with balancing creative work and parenting)
You can also see my favorites year by year, for the past decade.