Arting Tools

Animal Free and Cruelty Free Art Supplies

November 10, 2016

I’ve been a vegetarian for many years, and have recently decided to go vegan.

vegan

I would have done it months ago, but I wasn’t ready to make the effort to make my own food and check the labels on everything, and make sure my nutrition was well balanced. Now that I’ll be free from my job very soon, I’ll have plenty of time for all of that. So here I am, several days vegan.

Don’t worry! I will not be showing you disturbing photos or telling you horrific tales to convince you to be vegan…

I’ve recently learned that art supplies are also not animal free and cruelty free. This includes paints, paper sizing, glue (such as in the binding of books), inks, brushes with fur, and so on. So I’ve decided to make an effort to find out which products are animal free and cruelty free and to buy the ones that are.

At first I was overwhelmed at the number of companies and products I would have to look into, but after being methodical about it and contacting some companies whose products I wanted to buy over twitter or facebook or through a contact form on their site, I got some clear and helpful answers pretty fast.

I’ll be updating this page about animal free and cruelty free art supplies on my website, so it will contain the most updated information I have.

Here’s what I found so far. I’ll formulate the information in a more concise format soon. I hope you find it helpful!

St Cuthbert’s Mill

I’ve heard wonderful things about St Cuthbert’s Mill Bockingford watercolor paper from Gee Massam Art. I was happy to get this prompt reply from them to my inquiry over twitter:

Our Bockingford, Millford and Somerset papers do not contain any animal derivatives.

St Cuthbert’s Mill then offered to mail swatches of their paper to both me and Gee! Needless to say, we were both very happy about that!

Hahnemuehle

I have several Hahnemuehle sketchbooks which I love, one of which is my Kraft Paper Sketchbook. So I was very happy to get this reply in a facebook message to my inquiry:

Herewith we declare that all Hahnemühle FineArt paper* and canvas do not contain raw materials from

  • Animals sources
  • Gene- modified sources

(*exception: the coating of Photo Silk Baryta and PastellFix)

Note: I personally have nothing against gene modified sources, but I quoted the exact text as they sent it to me.

Here’s an interesting blog post about Hahnemuehle Bamboo Paper and Veganism.

Daniel Smith

I wanted to buy the Daniel Smith watercolors since Liz Steel recommends them, and I was happy to receive this email reply to my inquiry:

All of our colors are cruelty-free. The only animal-derived ingredient id the pigment pBK9. pBK9 is created from the charred bones of cows that died naturally and is found in the following colors only: Sepia, Ivory Black, Payne’s Gray

Synthetic Watercolor Brushes

I know that the sable watercolor brushes are made from animal fur, unfortunately attained in a way such that I prefer not to use them. So I asked Liz Steel if she can recommend good synthetic watercolor brushes, and she recommended as follows:

Escoda Perla brushes have a great reputation. But Da Vinci or Rosemary & Co brushes are good too.

I am not sure how much of a difference there is between the more expensive synthetic brushes and any other brand of synthetic watercolor brush in an art supply store. Perhaps I’ll try it and see. Getting the more expensive ones would mean I’ll have to start taking better care of my brushes!

Stillman & Birn

Unfortunately I will not be buying any Stillman & Birn sketchbooks, since I received this reply to my inquiry via email:

The paper in all of our products is 100% animal free; the sizing used is vegetable based. However, some of the adhesives used in the binding process in manufacturing our sketchbooks is animal-based glue.

Winsor & Newton

Here is a PDF describing which Winsor and Newton products are and aren’t vegan friendly.

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  • Christiana November 17, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    Great post! This is something I haven’t really thought about. I’ll definitely be doing some research of my own. 🙂

    • Keren Duchan November 17, 2016 at 7:22 pm

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Christiana! I got some replies from additional companies I contacted, so I will be consolidating the info soon. Are you a vegetarian or vegan?

  • Yvette January 25, 2017 at 5:24 am

    So good to hear this one: vegan’s art supplies. Thank you, Keren. I wonder about Liquitex acrylics and mediums….