Creative Gear for under $50

Creative folk often work on projects that call for special tools. Here's an assortment of inspired options that won't break the wallet.

Wacom Bamboo Stylus

For people who like to draw, sketch, take notes, and otherwise express themselves on the iPad, Wacom's Bamboo Stylus offers a great assist. Available in six shades—orange, blue, pink, green, white, and black—the Bamboo Stylus is as fun to look at as it is to use. Its satin-textured metal body and balanced weighting make it feel comfortable and natural in the hand, while its small tip makes all forms of input precise and pinpointed.

Wacom, $30

IK Multimedia iKlip Mini

You can always count on IK Multimedia's iKlip Mini, a microphone stand adapter for the iPhone or iPod touch, to hold an iOS device firmly in position whether it's used for a stage performance or in a more casual setting like a practice studio or an office. The iKlip Mini's clever, multi-angle adjustable design keeps all iOS device controls, buttons, camera, and connection ports visible and freely accessible. The iKlip mini, made of durable thermoplastic, is easy to use and lets users rotate their device from portrait to landscape position by simply loosening or tightening a knob. It works with any standard mic stand, pole, or tripod (between .43 and .79 inches in diameter) on the floor or a tabletop.

IK Multimedia, $40

Logitech Portable Lapdesk N315

Let's face it, a lot of creative work gets done while sitting on the couch or with a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air propped up in bed. But it's not always easy to use finger-based gestures when tweaking a complex image, video, or page layout. Mousers will appreciate the Logitech Portable Lapdesk N315. This thin, light accessory keeps laps and laptops cool, and features a built-in retractable mouse pad. No more improvising around where and how to experiment with a project or for how long. With the Lapdesk, there's always enough surface available for quick maneuvers. The Lapdesk is compact enough to tote around, too. It's a half-inch thick and fits into a 15.6-inch bag or sleeve. It comes in gray, pink, or black with a gold design.

Logitech, $30

GorillaPod Micro 800

One of a series of camera tripods from Joby, the GorillaPod Micro 800 serves to anchor compact cameras for the most stable shots. The device is made of zinc alloy legs and rubber feet that sit comfortably on any surface. The device's aluminum positioning ball provides 36 degrees of movement in any direction. It weighs 28.2 ounces, and can hold a camera equal to its weight. The design is so sleek and unobtrusive that the Micro 800 can stay on the camera indefinitely for whenever users need a steady shot. Beats carrying a traditional tripod!

Joby, $30

Woodees iPic Stylus

Guitar players, get ready to rock. It would be hard to mistake the Woodees iPic Stylus for anything other than what it is—a guitar pic for strumming tunes on your iPad—just hold it between thumb and forefinger. Composed of black (or white) anodized aluminum with a soft rubber stylus tip, it works with all touch screen devices. Even when not composing some musical masterpiece, users can still employ the iPic Stylus for more conventional iPad purposes, such as text messaging, drawing, or playing games. For extra-added fun, pair it with the free Miso Music: Plectrum app.

Woodees, $15

The Glif

Anyone who loves photographing or shooting video with their crystal clear iPhone will want to have this elegant little accessory in their pocket at all times. The Glif can serve as a tripod mounting attachment—it keeps the phone stock still while shooting images or video. A threaded hole on the bottom of the device allows it to be mounted on a standard tripod. Or just use it as a stand—maneuver its rubberized plastic body to position the phone to any viewing angle. The Glif is designed to work with caseless iPhones and is compatible with both the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S.

Studio Neat, $20

KB Covers

When it comes to editing images and video, artists really want their fingers to fly as fast as their minds work. But often, artists get distracted by the sheer number of key commands they have to remember. KB Covers helps out with a variety of application-specific Apple keyboard covers that are marked and color-coded with common commands. The cover here is for Final Cut Pro X ($40). But you can get the light, silicone-based cover for other complex programs such as Aperture, Ableton Live, Adobe After Effects and Lightroom, Apple Logic Pro and Logic Express, and many more. Covers come in various sizes to fit compact, pro, ultra-thin, wired, laptop, and other varieties of keyboards. U.S., Japanese, and European keyboard covers are also available. Prices for the annotated covers start at $30.

KB Covers, $30 and up

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