by Ellie Jakeman June 07, 2022
Not that long ago companies did not have traceability in their own supply chains, and they were not proactive about sustainability, thankfully that is changing!
Many companies are now contributing to a healthier planet and developing eco friendly and animal cruelty free strategies to develop their products. More and more eco- friendly 'Green' companies in today's market display logos to enlighten their customers with recognisable logos such the Certified Vegan hearts, FSC Tree, (Forest Stewardship Council), Leaping Bunny logo, Fair Trade, and the Sunflower Vegan Trademark are just a few internationally used and recognisable logos, making shopping for the supplies we need a little bit easier.
However with artists' equipment and materials, it is not as clearly marked out, and many artists are conscientiously looking for vegan, cruelty free and environmentally friendly, sustainably sourced art and design products.
Any product tested on animals, cannot be classed as cruelty free!
Sometimes we unwittingly use art and design equipment, materials and mediums not knowing they contain animal derivatives such as animal hair or charred animal bones or not knowing they have been involved in animal testing!
Hopefully this article will help you to source manufacturers and products that will allow your creative endeavours to blossom, whilst knowing you are using vegan equipment, materials or mediums that do not contain any animal parts, or any animal ingredient, and have not been tested on animals!
Logos that will help you identify environmentally friendly, sustainably sourced materials, vegan and cruelty free products.
Vegan Artists using any pigment based paint will not only have to check that the pigment such as ivory black contains no animal derivatives but that the binder doesn't either!
For example, watercolour paints can contain honey in their binder. Also, ox-gall is used in some watercolour wetting mediums as a dispersant to generally improve the flow of your paint, so vegan artists will have to double check all ingredients listed before embarking on purchasing.
Some paints can be hard to distinguish as they're divided into professional quality, artists quality, paint that contain mostly naturally occurring pigments and so called inexpensive student quality, graduate using both natural, inorganic and synthetic materials. Certain paints retain their traditional age-old formulas and can contain some animal products:
[Some of the statements below are from leading art supplies manufacturers, always contact the manufacturer if in doubt about any product you wish to use!]
Brian Clegg can inform you that all our products do not contain ingredients from animal origin. The development and production of our products does not involve the use of any animal products. Intermediates and starting substances are of non-animal auxiliaries and there is no chance of cross-contamination with animal products during manufacture.
they have not initiated any animal testing on products or materials for 22 years, and do not use casein glue in packaging.
"Whilst we can confirm that chemically the majority of Liquitex raw materials do not contain any animal derivatives, we cannot confirm that the raw materials we purchase for the manufacturing process do not come in contact with animal derivatives, due to the fact that we do not have full visibility of their supply chain. And whilst we do not test on animals, Liquitex products are not certified as vegan at this time. We are currently in the process of gathering data on the supply chain of all our formulations in order to be able to address this. (More info here)
None of their products are tested on animals, but some of their products contain animal derived ingredients. (More info here)
Please note: Cotman Watercolours are all Vegan apart from the following colours: Ivory Black, Raw Umber & Viridian.
None of their products are tested on animals.
The following Daler Rowney paints do not contain animal products or by-products:
"No, we don't test our products on animals. However many of the raw materials we use have been tested on animals. This is because regulations require that the potential toxicity of chemical substances be determined in order to help safeguard consumers and the environment. The good news is that Europe is leading the world in requiring that companies make such data available to everyone in order to prevent the need for duplicate testing. Because we operate in the global marketplace, our supply chain is positively impacted by this change and we support this philosophy as compared to historical practices."
Do GOLDEN products contain animal ingredients?
Generally not. However, Bone Black pigment IS made from carbonised cattle bones. The following products contain Bone Black pigment:
Bone Black, Jenkins Green, Neutral Grey 2, Neutral Grey 3, Neutral Grey 4, Neutral Grey 5, Neutral Grey 6, Neutral Grey 7, Neutral Grey 8, Prussian Blue Hue, Terre Verte Hue, FLUID Bone Black, FLUID Jenkins Green, FLUID Prussian Blue Hue, MATTE FLUID Jenkins Green, MATTE Bone Black, MATTE Jenkins Green, HLA Bone Black, OPEN Bone Black, OPEN Jenkins Green. (More info here)
Watercolour paper is often sized; which means it is coated in a gelatine based glue to make the sheets less porous, and more workable for example Saunders Waterford paper. Good quality watercolour paper that is not sized is very hard to find. Instead you could use eco - friendly sketch pads and sketchbooks, such as a highly sustainable bamboo pad and a 100% recycled drawing pad, or heavyweight cartridge paper.
If you want to move away from these try instead to look for synthetic bristles, they tend to be nylon or polyester and have improved in quality over the years. They are very durable and will work with all paint types. All (except the Poundland special) should be labelled accordingly. Synthetic brush filaments can have a very similar appearance to natural bristles; some are dyed and baked to make them softer and more absorbent. This is known as Taklon.
Sablene is a fully synthetic, vegan version of Sable, fashioned from brand new synthetic filaments which mimic many of the properties that nature created. Pro Arte have taken a variety of these new filaments and blended them into brushes that now emulate both the look and the feel of sable like never before. For Sable lovers this is a breakthrough, for synthetic lovers these go to a new level and for animal lovers and vegans this is paradise!
Some pencils contain beeswax or casein glue (an adhesive binder based on animal proteins). Vegan pencils include Faber Castell Polychromos, these artist quality colour pencils are comprised mostly of plant based vegetable oil and high quality pigments. They're extremely popular with professionals and adult colouring book enthusiasts alike for their smooth colour and light-fastness.
Derwent also offer great ranges in pencils that are suitable for vegans and vegetarians:
I have had a strong interest in the visual and creative arts since a very early age. After completing an Art and Design Degree and Post graduate studies I have taught Art and Design, Fashion and Textiles, Textile design , Fine Art print and Illustration for over 20 years. Before teaching I was a freelance artist and illustrator and decided 4 years ago I would return to freelance and commissioned work. I have created many domestic and commercial murals for hospitals and hospices. I work part time for ARTdiscount as a content creator and product tester.
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