I was in Brussels a few weeks ago looking up the European Union’s open house event. When I was europeanunioned out, I took a trip to an art supply shop called Schleiper. When I say it was by some distance the best art supply shop I have ever been in, I am being deadly serious. None of the art supply shops in Dublin come even close. Schleiper is heaven to someone like me.
Schleiper covers my notepad needs, my coloured pencil needs and my watercolour and sketch pad needs. If I hadn’t flown hand luggage only, I’d most likely have done quite a bit more damage than I did. As it was, I picked up two A5+ notebooks that I use for my diary but with MOAR pages (note to self: well stocked up on diary notepads for around 5 years) mainly because I just can’t get them here. I gazed wantingly at the wall of Atoma notebook supplies. I really wanted loads of that too but the purposes for which I’d want them isn’t yet clear and there’s no point in doing the shopping until you know exactly what you want.
They had the best supply of painting gear that I’ve seen. Easels, canvases, paints, the lot. And they were good on coloured pencils too.
In the end, I bought what I call a handbag sketch book (because the ones I like are not commonly obtainable at the moment). This is a sketchbook that I keep in my handbag and basically sketch into with a fineliner pen when I’m, oh, queuing to get on a pen, wandering around a museum and such. I’m not very good at drawing and so I need to practise. It’s easier to do that if you have a sketchpad to hand all the time. A5 is the biggest I get in my handbag but it’s that bit too big. The next size down that I find in Ireland is too small.
This is somewhere between too small and too big so I like it. I haven’t finished out the current (fiasco of a) A5 but I’m getting close and so…I had to force myself not to buy several of these small ones but I’m angling to go back there within six months (by which time I should have run out of handbag sketching supplies) and will…do the needful at that time.
On the coloured pencil front, I was prudent and with the balance of hindsight, this was a mistake as Schleiper had a discount sale the day I was there and I think they knocked 20% off what I bought. I really should have gone straight back in and … I bought an 18 pencil box of Pablo pencils as I wanted some dry coloured pencils. In truth, I should have bought all the other things I have.
My personal view of the staff in Schleiper is that they are unfailingly polite and very helpful. In addition to the pencil and paper stuff I wanted, they had notebooks (which I didn’t know I needed and which makes any stationery shop in Dublin look like a village store) and supplies for absolutely every other creative activity you could want including cake decorating, knitting, chocolate making sewing, and every type of paper based art.
I fully recommend the place if you can find it. It’s not too far from the European Parliament in Brussels.