by Larissa Brierley August 02, 2016
Choosing to use animal free art materials.
Having a lifestyle that matches your choices can be difficult in today's current market. It's fair to say that day to day items such as toiletries, cosmetics and certain foods are clearly marked, such as the Leaping Bunny logo and the sunflower Vegan Trademark are internationally recognisable making it that little bit easier. But with paints not so much.
Here I'll help explain what to look out for. I don't want to put you off; it's just to make you aware of what's in your materials. Remember it's a modern world we live in the choice is yours.
Brushes or bushy tails?
Natural hair bristles are used for different types of painting and range from mammals such as; hog for oil painting and squirrel for wash brushes. Plus there's also camel, goat and pony hair all for various uses. 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 labeled 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.
Undisputed the finest quality watercolour brushes Kolinsky sable, are produced using the winter fur from the tail of a male Siberian weasel.
Paint can be hard to distinguish as they're divided in to professional quality; paint that contains naturally occurring pigments and so called inexpensive student quality using synthetic man made colours. Certain paints retain their traditional age-old formulas and can contain some animal products:
Shellac a resin like secretion from the female lac insect, used to give a glossy finish and as a binder in inks, such as Winsor & Newton drawing inks.
Cochineal comes from various types of lac, scale insects; its secretions are used to make a strong carmine dye. This can appear in paints, ink and even food colouring.
Bone black made from the charring of bones to produce very dense black. Sounds like something to be done at witching hour!
Ox gall a watercolour medium based on the animal protein from gall bladders of cattle, and acts as a paint flow improver.
Tempera paints use an egg to bind the pigments together, this paint has fantastic longevity and pre-dates oil painting.
Honey for many uses as a preservative, to increase colour vibrancy and smoothness. This is now in all luscious formulations of Sennelier watercolour.
Daler Rowney state that none of their products are tested on animals. The following Daler Rowney paints do not contain animal products or by-products:
Please note: CotmanWatercolours are all Vegan apartfrom the following colours: Ivory Black, Raw Umber & Viridian.
Watercolour paper is often sized; which means it is coated in a gelatin 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.
You may be surprised to know but some pencils contain beeswax or casein glue (an adhesive binder based on animal proteins). I recommend Faber Castell Polychromos, these artist quality colour pencils are comprised mostly of 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. Personally a favourite of mine.
Derwent also offer great ranges in pencils that are suitable for vegans and vegetarians:
All Coloursoft pencils - soft, bright and blendable.
All Inktense pencils - vibrant and water soluble for pen and ink effects.
All Aquatone pencils
All Metallics pencils
All Graphitone pencils
Derwent Graphic pencils in the following grades only B, HB, F, H, H3, H4, H5, H6, H7, H8, and H9
This information is correct at the time of publishing (08/16) some product formulations may have changed, and some companies may have other products that are tested on animals. Please contact manufactures directly for up to date materials lists.
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