Cliff Spohn — A brilliant commercial illustrator who also happens to be a brilliant abstract painter.
An important inspirational nexus for me lies around cartooning at the onset of modernism:
Simplicissimus Archive – Simplicissimus was a German satirical magazine that ran from the end of the 19th century through the end of WWII. Its pages were host to some of the best cartoonists and illustrators of the modern era.
Jugend Archive – Another old German magazine with brilliant cartooning and illustration. The namesake of the Jugendstil art movement, the German parallel of France's Art Nouveau.
The Modernist Journals Project – More of a literary resource than a visual one, but there are loads of great things here; magazines and journals from the dawn of modernism, available for your perusal online.
My basic computer setup is this: I run Debian, no desktop environment, just i3 as my window-manager, Ranger or PCManFM for file management/browsing, qiv for fast image viewing, MOC for listening to music, and mpv for video.
Additionally, there are some programs that I've really liked and have come to depend-on over the years:
IrfanView, by Irfan Skiljan — Light, fast, and incredibly useful image viewer/editor for Windows. I don't use Windows any more, but I used this program every single day for over a decade, and it never let me down.
potrace, by Peter Selinger — Sometimes I need to vectorize line-art. I use potrace. It rocks.
Emacs — A LISP environment masquerading as a text editor. It's my programming editor of choice, but I don't program all that much; mostly, I use...
Org-Mode — If Emacs is the tree of wisdom, Org-Mode is one of its most precious fruits. For the unimaginative, an outliner and organizer; for me, it's a dynamic hyper-journal. I do everything in Org-Mode.
The GNU Image Manipulation Program — I used to say awful things about GIMP. We had a rocky relationship for years. Things have gotten a lot better; so much so that GIMP is now my primary tool for creating illustrations digitally.
StudioFactory, by Syntiac/Peter Wendrich — I've used a lot of virtual analogue synthesizers over the years, but this is the one I constantly turn-to for quick experiments, goofing around, and general noise-making. I love this thing.
Suckless.org has a lot of great tools, and svelte rewrites of many core UNIX utilities. In their words, "quality software with a focus on simplicity, clarity, and frugality."
XTerm, maintained and improved for the last ~20 years by Thomas E. Dickey, is a marvel. The st page says "It has over 65K lines of code and emulates obscure and obsolete terminals you will never need." Yep. It's totally badass.
The Doug Engelbart Institute — Steve Jobs' "vision" allowed him to see products and market opportunities. Doug Engelbart's allowed him to see an empowered human race. Personal computing wasn't invented at Apple; it wasn't invented at Xerox; it was invented at Stanford Research Institute, by Doug Engelbart and his team. I made a comic about him. His daughter told me it was good.
Alan Kay gives great talks. He gives great talks because he's knowledgeable across several disciplines, because he's creative, and because he's got years of experience as a lead researcher and developer in personal computing.
SecuShare/GNUnet – SecuShare is a PSYC-based social/messaging layer atop GNUnet, "a mesh routing layer for end-to-end encrypted networking and a framework for distributed applications designed to replace the old insecure Internet protocol stack."
GNU social — An extensible social media platform. It's a bit of a beast, but it works, and the people working on it are an ace bunch.
io — I love this language. I just wish it had an environment, like Smalltalk/Self.
Urbit — A new internet, of new systems, with new names. This project fascinates me.
The SDF Public Access UNIX System — The name just about says it all: a non-profit public access UNIX system, operated since 1986 by a very small group of very dedicated guys. They offer free shell accounts, for those who wish only to dip their toes into the waters of computing, and have several paid membership/service tiers for more serious users.
Tent — Sadly, now a defunct project. Tent was an ambitious and, I thought, well-designed publishing/subscription/storage/access protocol. A while back, I'd planned to write an article about what Tent is, and why it's important, but then I saw that Ian Jeffries said what I wanted to say very nicely.
Gnu's Not Unix — You'd be missing the point if you were to say that GNU is just a free operating system. Its motivation is its reality: GNU is a humanitarian project, to develop a UNIX-compatible operating system with utilities and applications that conform to the principles of free software.