Not the biggest but competitively priced and way cool, and located in the warehouse/arts district just west of the Los Angeles River, the SCI-Arc Supply Store offerings reflect the needs of art students at the nearby Southern California Institute of Architecture. The drawing-pen collection is definitive; and the model-making materials include bass wood and hardwoods; as well as plastic, metal and wood structural shapes. You've got your foam core, museum board, chipboard and pro-quality Copic markers, drawing pads, hipster-essential Moleskine notebooks, and specialty books from the SCI-Art Press. It's not so fancy-schmancy that a clever shopper couldn't pull together an imaginative present or basket of interesting items for anyone older than 5. Staff are occasionally harried, but there's nary a poseur in the place, which is a blessing in a district packed with self-proclaimed artists. Notices of showings, gallery openings and events are posted near the front entry. Easy street parking in front, too. And the very civil Groundworks coffee is next door. 811 Traction Ave., Unit 1A, dwntwn. (213) 687-0854.

—Kate Coe

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