One of the difficulties about moving to Dubai is trying to find the things you took for granted back home. Knitting wool was a big one. It took me a fair while to locate anything resembling real wool here in the desert. Art supplies were another stumbling block. Sure, you can pick up cheap bits and pieces at Carrefour or Daiso, but if you want quality equipment, where do you go?
Luckily, in the last six months, I’ve found a few reputable and reasonable art supply stores here in Dubai. I’ll share them with you below. If you have any more suggestions, please feel free to send them through to me – I’ll make sure to add them!
CANVAS ART STORES
With several locations throughout Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Canvas is a solid bet. While its supplies a little patchy – they might not have everything you want, when you want it – generally, they have a good range. The prices aren’t too bad. Their Russian watercolors are particularly well priced, both sets and single pans and half-pans. Oils and acrylics, both artist and student grade, are available, along with a reasonable supply of brushes, canvas, pencils and other painting and drawing gear.
As an online only store, Artmall.ae can offer some pretty solid prices. Russian in origin, but based in Dubai, it offers a selection of quality art supplies, particularly for watercolor artists and students. While its range is more limited in scope than Canvas, it does stock some particular brands (including the White Nights, my favorite). It also offers an amazing range of Russian watercolor papers, and the best range of calligraphy items I have seen in Dubai. If it has the item you are looking for, its well worth the 30AED delivery cost (which drops to nothing if you order over 200AED in products). Payment is cash on delivery, and delivery is within two working days. They also offer a competitive ‘price match’ offer, if you find the same product/model cheaper elsewhere, they will match the lower price.
Kinokinuya at the Dubai Mall stocks a great range of reasonably priced watercolor and art papers, and lots of quality colored pencils and drawing pens (including copic markers). From time to time, it also stocks Sakura and Koi watercolor paints and waterbrushes, and has recently started stocking calligraphy quills and inks, and sealing wax and seals.
Okay, so ACE probably wasn’t the first store you thought of when I mentioned art supplies, but they do have a massive range. I’d recommend buying online, because you can never actually be sure what is in stock at each site. You could always try giving them a ring. It’s well worth it, because ACE stock Sakura paints, pens, pastels and watercolours, Derwant and Staedlter drawing pencils and accessories, and Daler Rowney charcoals, art mediums and canvasses. Not too bad at all!
This one has come to me on a recommendation, and I haven’t actually visited it yet. It’s located a few minutes walk from Abu Baker Al Siddique Metro Station, opposite the Hamarain Centre. Judging by MESCO’s website, they stock a good range of items in stock, including calligraphy (Speedball), model and pottery supplies.
PRETTY PAPER STUDIO
Pretty Paper Studio sells more than just paper! If you sift through their large range, you will find watercolor paints and inks and markers, They also sell lightboxes and a fantastic range of washi tape! From time to time, they offer classes, so you can learn various new art and craft techniques.
Another recommendation! Emirates Trading have several branches throughout the city. It is hard to find information on their website – so I won’t list it – but I understand that there is a small outlet with arts and crafts supplies in the Mall of the Emirates, as part of DUCTAC, and another at the Dubai International Art Centre. I will be sure to check these out, and to offer an update!
If you are aware of anywhere else, please let me know so I can add to my list!