Prior to visiting Hong Kong, I checked Mikko’s post on arts and crafts stores – and immediately requested from my friends if I could sneak in a few art shopping duties on my limited stay in Hong Kong (2 days isn’t enough, tbh). True enough, I got to check out a few on my list and did a bit of art shopping and explorations.
Going to art stores is always like a field trip. Ever since my first solo trip to Singapore, it’s always been my lifelong mission (LOL lifelong) to discover art stores, book shops and cafes every time I travel – hence, ABC! :) Decided to change my “Art Hoarding” posts because I don’t hoard anyway. Haha. :P
Anyway, check out the roundup below of the ABC places I visited in Hong Kong.
Website | 3/F Lockhart Centre, 301-307 Lockhart Road, Wanchai
Because I’m currently working on a project that requires me to paint almost every day, I had a good excuse to go art shopping. LOL. Kidding aside, I really needed a few paints that I couldn’t get my hands on in Manila.
The Artland is an ideal place for artists to replenish their stash of art materials. Located in Wan Chai (easiest route is to take a tram from Causeway Bay) at Lockhart Centre, the whole 3rd floor houses a wide range of materials from paint, paper, markers, craft materials, to basic essentials (pencils, erasers, etc).
My inner child squealed at the wide selection of Crayola art materials (yup, not just crayons). Another thing to note is that not a lot of lettering materials are available here (brush pens, nibs etc) because the store focuses more on fine art materials (generic ones like watercolors, color pencils, acrylics etc).
I secretly freaked out because they had shelves of Langton pads (aka holy grail of watercolor papers for me). There were also Daler and Rowney pads (which are equally good, too) and pads for markers, drawing, and acrylics.
I also went crazy with Holbein watercolors, among other things. Oh, right – also the brushes section. Discovered new favorites I got to purchase. Price point isn’t bad. *Whew*
There were also a lot of new materials, including Staedtler’s brush pens (which I purchased) and Holbein’s Aqua Oil hybrid. Oh, and if you’re into coloring, they have a huge selection of markers (Copic Ciao is the best but it can be really pricey), coloring pencils (Derwent is a good brand) and pastels (photo above). Can’t wait to *hopefully* get my hands on new stuff soon.
Loot: Holbein tubes in Opera & Cobalt Turquoise (FAVES), Langton hot pressed pads, Acryla brushes and Staedtler brush markers.
Basheer Design Books
Website | 439-441 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay
I didn’t want to initially visit Basheer (because Singapore already has a branch and I go there as often as I can), but since we were already in the area, we decided to do a quick visit.
Little did we know that this bookstore was located in a very sketchy area – we had to take the stairs and there wasn’t a sign outside. You could easily miss it if you don’t look at the numbers because it’s secretly beside the Wan Chai Fire Station (just take the stairs and ask the clerk there – they’ll tell you where Basheer is).
Anyhow, once you enter – it’s an entirely different story.
Innovative interiors, strategic placement of books, and the daylight seeping in from the store’s window are just some of the things you can’t miss in Basheer.
I ended up purchasing a copy of Uppercase Magazine since I’m currently exploring on travel-related elements for my work. Also Exciting times!
Website | Public Square Street, Yau Ma Tei, Prosperous Garden
A station away from the busy streets of Mong Kok lies Yau Ma Tei, a quaint neighborhood resembling those of the olden times. After alighting from the MTR station, we headed to Kubrick for our caffeine and creative fix. Little did we know that this cafe was also a bookstore and DVD and video store altogether.
Kara in her element. Meanwhile, I spent a good half an hour browsing movie cover art. Lol
Chillin’ with Aly after a long day of walking / exploring
Equipped with some of the latest titles and magazine issues in arts & literature, their book shop is adjacent to the cafe, which was pretty cool. Interiors were A+, food was good and the place was super conducive for painting and chatting with friends. They encourage communication here as they don’t have Wi-Fi and discourage work stuff here (oops. Haha).
Took a quick look at Eslite located in Hysan Place, Causeway Bay. Tried my best not to immerse myself too much at the Arts & Design section because #budget, lol. But I did see a lot of photography books (huhu so pretty) and chanced upon this magazine about Google tips which was pretty cool (also: I’ll look for again soon).
Either way, if you’re looking for a bookstore similar to Kinokuniya in Singapore or Japan, this is definitely your best bet while in Hong Kong. Magazine titles are complete, there are cafes inside (perf!) and interesting reads you should definitely take a peek at.
Before I forget, some things to remember before going shopping:
Have a budget set aside from art shopping. Depending on what you’re doing (or if you’re a full-time artist like me), you’ll definitely end up spending more because of the range of materials available. Learn to allot a specific amount and don’t overspend.
Do your research and check reviews before purchasing. It’s easy to get lured into buying certain brands because some artists use it. But remember, it’s better to do your homework (e.g. picking which brand of watercolor or which specific color) before shopping. The brands I purchase are already preferences because I’ve been using them for quite a long time now. It also helps to ask fellow artists their reviews / experiences on using the products before actually buying (or better yet, try it for yourself first!).
Be observant of your surroundings because you can easily miss the art shops in Hong Kong, haha! Oh, if you need pens and markers, Log On is also a good place to visit. I also didn’t visit Page One this time but it has a lot of books also.
Anyway, that’s it so far for my quick ABC discovery post (+ tips!) in Hong Kong. Any places you recommend to shop at in Hong Kong? Let me know in the comments below! :)