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vegan art supplies?

Erm...well, I was just digging out my art supplies and realized none of them have ingredients listed on them. :( whats the deal with that. Ive looked around online and it seems a lot of paints have questionable and certainly un-vegan ingredients, including geletin, casien, tallow and bone char. What about animal testing? Obviosly I know to stay clear of camels hair/horses hair brushes. I think MOST of mine are synthetic. I have natural sponges which are not vegan. But the texture on them is so good....are there synthetic ones with a similar texcture? Dishwashing sponges wont do the trick....

I think I'll use up the supplies I have but just replace them with vegan stuff..but how will I know if its vegan? Are there good brands and replacements out there? isnt yeilding much results... ???

Wow, I paint too, and I've never thought of this.  You'd probably have to ask the company, and even then.....
That's a tough one!
What kind of paints do you use?


If you find a source, please let us all know. My daughter paints as well.


hummm...heres a thread where they talk about some of the differnt supplies...

godness, ox gall!!!!!!??????


I have an art degree, but I don't think I have shared that here. 

Oxgall is a vehicle that helps watercolors flow differently, and is usually purchased separately.  Gum arabic is what is in most of the watercolor paints and is the primary vehicle for watercolor pigment.  I have never used oxgall.  I don't know, never thought to look up what gum arabic comes from.

It should also be noted, as it was on the linked website, that more and more artists' pigments are being made in the laboratory and are not plant, animal or mineral.  If you go to buy paints and just look at the prices, cadiums are priciest of all with the reds being the highest right now.  You look at phthalo purples, blues and greens and they are pretty cheap because they are chemically derived.  The phthalos have been with us for 40 years or better.  I never use black, never have.  Whites can be poisonous.  Flake white has lead in it. 

Of note, the great masters used gesso to prime their canvases.  It was derived of rabbit skin in those days.  Today, it is acrylic.  The Impressionists didn't prime their canvases with it because it had a distinct color to it and they worked on white canvas (and were the first group of artists to do this as well as the first group to work en plaine aire). 

Once again, I have proven I am full of rather useless information!


wait... what's bad about black?

i don't paint much anymore, but none of that is useless information!


Well, I don't use black because I always mix my own....

I wish paints weren't so toxic.  I should start mixing my own from leaves and berries.  :)


Well, I don't use black because I always mix my own....

I wish paints weren't so toxic.  I should start mixing my own from leaves and berries.  :)

Imagine how nice they'd smell too... :)>>>


ART SUPPLIES:  free of animal ingredients.

What’s in a Colour?
If you know where the pigment or dye comes from you have a great head start in knowing what you are working with and what you are participating in.

Some pigments are made from plants or minerals or are synthetic, but some are not. For instance, Ivory Black and Bone Black pigments are from charred animal bones. Lampblack, on the other hand, is pure carbon and not from animals at all. Here are some other colours that are not from animals: ochre, raw umber, burnt umber, burnt sienna, cadmium yellow, zinc oxide, gamboge, indigo, madder, cobalt blue, naphthol crimson and diozine. There are many others.

Great Books
The Artist's Handbook of Materials and Techniques by Ralph Mayer (great section on pigments)
Colour by Victoria Finlay.
Painting with Acrylics by Jenny Rodwell

-Cochineal is a scarlet dye made from ground up female cochineal insects.

-Ox gall is gall, obtained from cows, and used as the wetting agent in most watercolour paints.
Holbein has some watercolours that do not contain ox gall. Remember to find out what pigments are in the paint before buying the paint.  
Here are a few of their ox gall free watercolours: Cadmium Red Deep, Cobalt Blue, Cadmium Yellow Deep, Lamp Black, Opera, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Deep. There are many more.

-Rabbit-skin glue comes from (you got it) rabbits. And it is used for sizing oil-painting supports.
-Gelatin is made from boiling animal skins, tendons, ligaments, etc. The highest-grade gelatin, made from the skins, hoofs, and bones of calves, is used in gesso. Watercolour and most papers are sized with gelatin. Gelatin is also used in many foods and to make gelatin capsules for vitamins etc. Accent Vellum, construction papers and handmade papers usually don’t have gelatin. There are some papers starting to come out that are sized with starch. Ask at your art store.

-Sepia ink is made from the inky substance from the sacs of squid and cuttlefish. India Ink or Chinese Ink is made of carbon or lampblack pigment, and a shellac binder. Shellac is obtained from secretions of an insect.
Damar Varnish is from a plant source. See, The Artist’s Handbook by Ralph Mayer.
-Water Soluble Ink seldom contains animal ingredients. Water Resistant Inks usually do contain animal ingredients, but no harm in asking. Check with the manufacturer via the internet and click on “Contact Us”.

-Charcoal comes from vines and willow, but bone charcoal doesn’t. The word “bone” is a dead give away. Ask before you buy.
-Graphite: mineral. Conte Crayon: natural pigments (iron oxides, carbon black, titanium dioxide), clay (kaolin) and a binder (cellulose ether).

-Pencils: Derwent does not use any beeswax in any of their products. Their charcoal pencils are made from pure charcoal, clay and pigment. The wax used in the pencils is from a plant source, the binding material is from a mineral source. They have a list of individual colour pencils that are free of animal products. Just ask them. Their Coloursoft pencils, Graphitint pencils, Aquatone pencils, metallics pencils, graphitone and Derwent Pastel Blocks are all free from animal ingredients.

- Krylon has fixative sprays that do not contain animal ingredients

-Yupo Paper (100% polypropylene) suitable for all watercolour techniques. Good for drawing and fixative sticks to it.

-Raw Fabrics: unsized organic hemp, bamboo, linen or cotton. Stretch the fabric on stretcher bars and put on Golden’s Absorbent Ground (100% polymer is on the label but ask to see if there is anything else in it ). It’s like gesso, but is absorbent for watercolours, and the Pastel Ground is for pastels and drawing. Also, charcoal on unsized fabric with a fixative spray afterwards works well.

-Natural brushes are natural hair that is harvested from farm raised or trapped animals, in particular sable (marten), squirrel or mongoose. Less expensive natural brushes are made of horsehair or bristles from pig or ox snouts and ears. There are now high quality synthetic brushes that are just as good as natural brushes. Winsor & Newton is just one of many who make synthetic brushes.

-Oil Pastels are made by combining raw pigments with animal fat and wax. Soft Pastel are usually free of animal ingredients. Here is a site on ingredients and also, another on how to make home-made pastels:

Going straight to the manufacturer or company is a great way to learn what is in art supplies. More and more new products are being made that are free from animal ingredients. The internet has put us in easy reach of manufactures and companies who want to hear from us. A simple, polite request has power. It’s now easier than ever to ask for products that are free of animal ingredients.

When it comes to art materials, leave the animals out of it.

Compassionate change.  Ask for it.


I just watched a video on and it was about hemp.
I never knew hemp was so versatile.  Its amazing.  I knew it was healthy food and good clothes, but the oil could be made into non-toxic oil paints, as well as making paper to paint on!
I wish the government would suddenly know this and start using it!  It'd be much cheaper too!

No relation to the article but the video says it could be a non-toxic, unpolluting alternative to gasoline too!


Almost all of Windsor & Newton art supplies are vegan. Here are the exceptions:

The entire Artists' Watercolour Range

Cotman Watercolour Range: Viridian Hue, Burnt umber, Ivory Black

Artists' Oil Color Range: Blue Black, Carmine, Ivory Black

Artists' Oilbar Range: Ivory black, Payne's Gray

Winton Oil Colour Range: Ivory Blck, Raw Umber

Artists' Acrylic Colour, Finity Range: Ivory Black, Payne's

Galeria Flow Formula Acrylic Colour Range: Ivory Black, Payne's Gray

Griffin Alkyd Fast Drying Oil Colour Range: Ivory black

Artisan water Mixable Oil Colour Range: Ivory Black

Designers Gouache Range: Ivory Black, Raw Sienna, Winsor Green, Spectrum Yellow, Intense Blue, Sky Blue, Purple Lake, Prussian Blue, Linden Green, Grenadine, Flame
Red, Burnt Umber, Bengal Rose, Primary Blue, Lamp Black, Spectrum Violet

Artists' Pigment (Dry Ground) Range: Ivory Black, Carmine

Complete drawing Inks Range

Watercolour Mediums Range: Ox Gall, Lifting Preparation

Brush Series: Series 7, Series 7 Miniature, Series 16, Series 3A Designers' Sable, Cirrus Kolinsky Sable, Pure Squirrel Pointed Wash Brushes, Pony & Goat Hair Mop Brushes, Goat Hair Mop Brushes, Sceptre Gold II, Artists' Hog, Winton Hog, Azanta Hog

Water Colour Paper: Artists' Watercolour Paper, Saunder's Waterford Paper, Cotman Watercolour Paper

DO NOT CONTAIN ANIMAL INGREDIENTS: Calligraphy Inks Range, Poster Paint, Artists' Soft Pastels

All Sharpie, Uni-Ball, Paper-Mate, Eldon Office Solutions, and Sanford products are also animal-free. This includes Prismacolor products ;D (made by Sanford, I believe)!!!!!

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