Comic Non-Sans: Webcomic Gift Shopping

When I sat down to ponder this week’s column, the first thing that came to mind was a sort of abstract list of things I’d want for Christmas — more hours in the day, an iron drawing hand of the gods, etc.  Then I realized that’s not particularly helpful.  It could be an outlet for snark, certainly, but I have outlets for snark all the time.

Then I remembered what’s about to happen with my family: everyone’s going to ask what presents I’d like.  I’ve got an wish list full of anime DVDs and nook books, but those are frivolous and often expensive things.  I don’t necessarily want people getting me frivolous and expensive things just because they’d like to give me something I want.

And then I thought of baby showers.  Stay with me here.  Whenever I ask the expectant parents what they’d like, it’s rarely toys and books and newborn clothes.  More often than not it’s diapers and crib sheets and clothes the baby can grow into.  That is, seemingly low-level but entirely useful and necessary things.  And we webcomickers have plenty of those ourselves.

So, for those of you with webcomicker friends, check out what they could likely really use more than their wish list goodies:

— Pens, pencils, and paper. I really kill off ink pens and mechanical pencil lead.  And paper.  If I’m ever up ’til the wee hours finishing a page, it’s likely because my pen has run out and I didn’t have the foresight to buy more in advance.  Find out what your friend uses (brand, pen/pencil width/color, paper weight/type) and pick up some extra for them to stow away.  You’ll likely save them a trip at the last minute.  Or, if you aren’t sure of what they need …

— Art/Office supply store gift cards. I get about half my stuff at OfficeMax and the other half at Michael’s.  Find out where your friend goes and get them a card.  This is also good for any day when they might be out there and see something new they’d like to try out, or if they remember at the last minute something they’ve forgotten they might need.  Similarly …

— Load up a Kinko’s ExpressPay card. I know some people who don’t have their own copiers or printers, and in many cases their comicking may end with a Kinko’s run.  If you’ve ever gotten something there, you know computer time and copy-making can use up a lot of money.  This really comes in handy around convention-time, when some people (myself included) want to make digital prints themselves.

— Digital storage. Thumb drives are awesome.  And they’re great for when, say, you have to run to Kinko’s, or transfer something to a publisher.  External drives for backup are also hugely handy, and might have done me some good during previous hard drive crashes.  Even big external drives are starting to go down in price.

iTunes gift cards. Really.  A lot of people like to jam while they draw.  Personally, I’ll put on DVDs while I work provided they’re not subtitled, but as a rule it’s hard to go wrong with music.

— Pass the hat around. If they’ve been needing or wanting a new scanner, a tablet, or something else that’s a bit high-end, consider taking up a collection among friends.  Friends of mine have made private “events” on Facebook as a way to alert people to this sort of move.  You’d be surprised what you can scrape together if a bunch of friends drop in a fiver or so each.

And the boring answer?  Just ask.  They might need two or three markers from a set that have dried out.  Or maybe they want to muck around with new materials.  There are some I know who could just do with a big bag of Sculpey and some paint.  The point is, you don’t have to singlehandedly surprise them with a Wacom tablet or a full set of Copic markers if you’re the sort to want to give useful gifts.

… not that we’d fault you if you did.

Posted on December 6, 2011 at 01:00 by Kara Dennison · Permalink
In: Columns, The Written Word, Webcomics, Webcomics