I am an artist and a creator. Buying new art supplies makes me giddy and I have a passion for creating.
I constantly need new materials to make more art, and when I stopped by my art store a few months after going vegan, I realized; are the products I’m buying cruelty free?
I did some research, and I must say, it took a lot of searching to find the answer. Below is a list of animal products/byproducts found in art supplies based on subject matter.
Art supplies commonly containing animal products:
Watercolor Paint- Ox gall is found in many watercolor paints, and comes from cows. Da Vinci carries extremely high quality watercolor paints, all free of ox gall. In addition to ox gall, you will need to steer clear from sepia paints, as the dye comes from squid and cuttlefish. To replace the sepia tone, there are some brands that use walnut ink instead.
Bone Charcoal: Not regular charcoal, as it’s source comes from plants, but bone charcoal. It comes from animal bones. If it doesn’t say bone on the packaging, its’s vegan friendly.
Fine Art Papers & Primers: Many papers, more specifically watercolor papers and other heavy-weight papers are sized with gelatin. Fabriano typically uses starch instead, and you can ask at your art store. For primers, many fine artists use rabbit skin glue, (yes, it’s made from rabbit skin.) An alternative would be gesso, but be careful. Gesso usually contains gelatin, but soy-based gesso is available online, and in some art stores.
Natural Hair Brushes: Many artists prefer natural brushes to synthetic, but there are many alternatives these days. Brushes made from real hair are manufactured using hair from trapped or hunted animals, of many species.
Some of my favorite cruelty-free art brands are:
http://www.colorsofnature.com – They make vegan brushes duplicating natural hair brushes.They also carry vegan papers.
http://www.fabercastell.com – They sell many different art supplies, all from plant or synthetic sources, and additionally don’t test on animals.
http://www.davinciartistsupply.com – Ox gall free watercolors
If I left anything out leave a comment!