Holiday Gift Guide for the Visual Thinker

It’s our most favorite time of year, gift-giving season! We’ve combed through local art stores, bookshops, electronics shops, and everywhere online to curate our favorite and must-have gifts for aspiring visual note-takers, teachers, students, creatives, and just about anyone in between. These are the items we at Ink Factory are longing for this holiday season, and we think they’re perfect for just about everyone (especially the 60% of us who learn better visually). From ten dollars to a couple hundred dollars, we’re quite sure you’ll find that perfect gift.

For Learning


Foundational Education for the Future Hand-Letterer

Most popularly used for invitations and communications which require a classic touch, calligraphy has long been admired for its beauty and elegance. And while learning calligraphy can be an intimidating task, this manual by noted calligraphy teacher Eleanor Winters gives readers clear, step-by-step demonstrations for creating beautiful hand-lettering. If you have someone in your life who likes to experiment with fonts, this is the book for you!

A Subscription to SkillShare Premium

The online tutorial community continues to expand into a multitude of diverse creative areas. Skillshare courses can teach you everything from how to build a business to how to make an animated gif. A subscription to Skillshare Premium is the perfect gift for anyone (including you!) who wants to expand, enhance, or diversify their creative tool kit. We particularly enjoy the wonderful range of hand-lettering and drawing related courses they offer. Here are some of our top picks:

Hand Lettering Essentials For Beginners
Typography That Works: Typographic Composition and Fonts
Ink Drawing Techniques: Brush, Nib, and Pen Style
Drawing on Everything: Discovering Your Creative Voice

For Relaxing


An Intricate Coloring Book to Relieve Stress

You may have noticed coloring books are back, and they’re not just for kids anymore. There is something calming about being able to zone out and fill in intricate, beautiful patterns with color. You can find coloring books in an incredible array of themes – from beautifully illustrated, fairy-tale inspired line drawings by Johanna Basford, a coloring book full of abstract designs for meditation, and even one full of drawings for tattoo lovers. There is even a Skillshare tutorial to learn how to create your own coloring book!

A Slipper for the Design-Minded

These slippers are sleek, super comfortable and versatile for inside and outside use. You can chose your color, which range from a cool grey to bright orange, and they are no-slip! So no falling down when you go out to get the paper in an icy Midwest winter. Everyone has their own pair at Ink Factory for when we swap our snow boots inside during the winter months.

Treat your Face, Not Just Your Eyes

This is our co-founder Lindsay’s go-to travel accessory (she even has one at her desk!). As graphic recorders we are always hopping from city to city, warm climates to cold climates, and everything in between. Everyone has their own methods for quickly freshening up before landing, before a meeting, or even before going out on the town and this is ours. It’s an instant pick-me-up on hot summer or dry winter day – and it’s fun to walk around spritzing everyone at work too!

For Creating


The Perfect Sketchbook

Love to draw? Care about the environment? Then Resketch books are the eco-friendly, unique option for you! These sketchbooks are made entirely of reclaimed paper from local and regional Chicago sources such as architecture firms, artists, designers, law offices, print shops, and even random people. Filled with a variety of paper from Dot matrix printer paper to sheet music, it’s like no other sketchbook out there.

A Rainbow Hued Set of Colored Pencils

24 colors are all you’ll need to create engaging and stunning visual notes. Colored pencils are a mess-free and convenient way to introduce a little color to your life – and they create an interesting texture that contrasts with markers.

The Perfect Tool for a Budding Illustrator

Drawing tablets are a fun and easy-to-learn way to start creating digital art, which is an invaluable skill in the ever-growing digital world. Photoshop, Illustrator, Autodesk, CorelDraw, and Clip Studio Paint Pro are just a few programs that pair perfectly with a drawing tablet. Wacom is our go-to for digital tools, both for their sturdy design and reliability.

For Everyday Life


Never Lose Anything Ever Again

The XY3 is a GPS-based item locator. On top of being beautifully designed, it will help you make sure you never you lose your keys (or your sketchbook!) again. It works in reverse too! If you lose your mobile device, you can simply use it to find where you last placed it!

The Only Pencil You’ll Ever Need

If you’re a seasoned mobile digital artist, or just got your first iPad, we think the Apple Pencil is quite the gift. The delicate precision of this magical drawing wand allows you to use pressure, angle, and speed while drawing with a multitude of pens and brushes. Pair the Apple Pencil with one of our favorite drawing apps (Paper and Adobe Draw) and accessories (cap keeper and a dual-charging cord) you’ll be well on your way to choreographing billions of pixels into hand drawn digital masterpieces. Here are just a few of our favorite apps and accessories:

Our #1 Pen in Every Color

We know a thing or two about writing instruments. Sure, there are the free ball-point pens you pick up at random conferences and events, but we’ve got a pen that is sure to become a favorite tool. The simple Flair pen (actually, a fine-tip marker) is perfect for drawing in a sketchbook or notebook. Because of its fine felt tip, you have the ability to draw delicate lines or bold strokes. Plus, Flair pens come in a wide array of colors to keep your notes and sketches fresh and vibrant. Buy them in bulk and keep a few at home, in your bag, and at the office. These markers are sure to convert you to our way of inking.

For Working


Create a Space for Ideas with IdeaPaint Pro

Grab a quart of this incredible and versatile paint from the pros themselves. IdeaPaint is an ultra-durable paint product that allows you to turn just about any surface into a slick, reusable whiteboard. They even offer black and clear, so you can get a little funky in your home or office. Paired with their whiteboard markers (in full-color or opaque white) the creative potential is unlimited. Our studio walls are covered with IdeaPaint and we use them every single day! Our tip, get a professional to install it! It’s quite an investment, so make sure you have help getting it just right.

A Set of Pro Graphic Recording Markers

In every industry, there is a company who creates the perfect tool. Neuland is a Germany-based company specializing in all things graphic facilitation. From large drawing boards to fine-point markers, they have just about everything you need for drawing, visual note-taking, and graphic facilitation. Our recommendation is their N˚ One marker kit – in regular and whiteboard. There is an entire rainbow of options, in multiple sizes and shapes available. Plus, these incredible markers are all refillable, the tips are replaceable, and the ergonomic finger grooves are adjustable to enhance continuity. Grab some extra ink, too! One refill bottle is equivalent to 22 refills so you’ll have plenty of charge to draw for weeks!

Turn Walls into a Place of Inspiration

These cork tiles are a versatile way to display tidbits of inspiration. Cut, clip and pin what you love, so you’re always surrounded by great ideas. Pick up a lovely set of push pins, a great pair of scissors to clip out inspirational images from magazines, or an instant camera to get those fun pics up on your inspiration wall!

Got anyone in mind for these amazing goodies? Or maybe you should treat yourself! After all, since visual note-taking has so many benefits, you’ll be doing yourself a favor. If giving the gift of giving is more inline with your holiday wish list, we love to give back. Here are some organizations that we think are pretty amazing and gifting a donation would be a great alternative to giving a physical item: Marwen, After School Matters, and Embarc,