Graphite Pencils

About graphite pencils:

Listed in my compendium are two companies with vegan-friendly graphite products:

  • Faber Castell: all graphite pencils, including mechanical pencil leads and watersoluble graphite pencils
  • Derwent: all Graphitint and Graphitone pencils, Graphite Blocks and XL Blocks ; and following Graphite Pencils B, HB, F, H, 2H, 3H, 4H, 5H, 6H, 7H, 8H,  -> B is the softest vegan-friendly here; softer leads are not vegan-friendly

I know some of you are probably wondering about other brands. Staedtler cannot guarantee that raw materials aren’t contaminated with animal sources  and although they do not do and do not commission animal testing, raw material suppliers could, if they (the suppliers) have to by law; also some Staedtler products contain beeswax.

  • Viarco (Art Graf): I had a correspondence with Viarco last year for a couple of months and sent them my vegan-friendly information sheet this year. Although in last year’s reply I got the information that all the graphite products and watersoluble products are free of the ingredients I asked about, which were following:
  • tallow
  • shellac,
  • Bone Black Pigment PBk 9 from burnt animal bones
  • gelatin,
  • casein,
  • ox gall/bile,
  • beeswax,

(coloured pencils do contain beeswax);  they can’t however guarantee that their raw material suppliers don’t test on animals. The suppliers are big companies and they don’t think they are in the position to ask this information of them.

If you are wondering about Lyra; last year Lyra replied to me for Canson (both belong the the FILA group; so Fila might be a distributor of Canson in my country).  This was a bit confusing. I did not get a reply for their own brand (I did write to them as well) but for Canson, they stated following: – all “their” papers are free of animal ingredients, except Ingres Vidalon and Mi Teintes; -they do not know about components supplied to them such as glue and packaging ; – certain dyes/colourants are tested on rabbits; they “can’t certify their products as vegan”.

I can’t give you any information on Lyra itself, because I did never receive a reply concerning their own brand.

 

Source: Mail contact

 

dizzy+ new inquiries sent out

Dramatized reenactment of how I feel right now by Teddy Boo (he was happily dreaming here)

Very dizzy and a bit disheartened is how I feel right now. The dizziness  does not come from writing inquiries , though.      

It is bothersome and disheartening, if companies do not read past the first paragraph of my mail. I did often encounter this in the last weeks . So I changed the layout and thought it would be easier to read through. The definition of vegan-friendly art supplies and a cruelty-free company  (two different things), which you can find in my last entry ,(https://www.veganartstuff.info/2018/02/21/definition-update-whats-cruelty-free-vegan-friendly/) I put at the bottom of my letter and attach more often  the PDF as well.    Unfortunately, many do not read past the small first paragraph, to find the option out in the second paragraph. I give a sentence to copy and paste, if they are not interested in this whole vegan/cruelty-free issue, they don’t even have to write the reply out, just: copy, reply, paste, send (4 mouse clicks; takes not more than 5secs). I also thought it would be better for me to ask about specific products and not the whole range they offer. I go through all the products, read the Safety sheets, read the company’s FAQs and then I contact them. So when I ask about certain items, to get the reply to just read the safety sheets, which I already did and which do not say anything about what kind of e.g. colour pigments are used (PBk9- bone black ), nor the production itself (for example dispersion of pigments with animal fats and oil).  On top of my definition stating examples of animal derivatives such as Bone Black, I wrote this next to the product I inquired about: Acrylics (it can contain PBk9), only for the person handling my inquiry to explain to me what bone black was. Also naming other products I did not inquire about because I read the data sheets: that their beeswax pellets contain beeswax. What companies often also do not think about is the manufacturing process or the supply chain. In the production process animal derivatives can be used and a supplier can test the (raw)material on animals or commission it. I think I was allowed to rant about this, if you put so much time and effort into this. And I always double-check, so I went through the data sheets twice. And when they respond, which is first of all fantastic, because a lot of companies don’t even bother with that, I have to explain what means what, basically all of the attached definition again. And my intention with the definition was for them also to safe time and to get all information needed, but you can’t help them, if they don’t (want to) read your explanation.

I have started my way through the ACMI (art and creative materials insitute) members list; send some companies I had correspondence last year  my information sheet (not mentioned in the list below) and I wrote to other companies I discovered or you wrote to me about. Holbein US also contacted me, I think I mentioned it in my last inquiry update. So here are some results and companies I wrote to:

  • Holbein US: they were suprised about animal fats/ oil being used for dispersing pigments; they were not informed about this before by the Holbein Japan and in March they will talk about this issue on their trip to Japan; also neither the Japanese customer service last year nor Holbein US this year gave me information about their cruelty-free status. This does mean necessarily they aren’t. It is just unknown and hopefully will swing our way.
  • Gamblin Feb 8th, 2018: they potentially have vegan-friendly products but they have no information about the supplier chain and the supplies being cruelty-free. And the material testing (->their SDS Safety Data Sheets)  is done by the suppliers. It will take some time to go through all the suppliers, but they thankfully started to inquiry about this matter.
  • Prima Marketing February 5th,2018: written to two given adresses – no reply yet (thank you for mention it to me, also thought about  contacting them previously but scrapped the started letter)
  • Nevsakya Palitra Feb 5th, 2018: written to two given adresses, no reply yet (thanky for telling me about this company)
  • Tritart– Feb 5th, 2018: had correspondence, told me all their products (except their animal hair brushes) are vegan-friendly but did not answer about the cruelty-free status; did not reply to my last mail about this. To be fair, it was apperent they did not really read my message properly, just “is … vegan-friendly” and not further, so their company status just remains unkown for now.
  • Shuttle Art– Feb 6th, 2018: filled out the online form twice, also tried another mentioned adress, did not work
  • Castle Art Supplies Feb 5th, 2018: no reply yet
  • Maimeri Feb 5th, 2018: no reply (thanks for telling me about this one)
  • Ohuhu Feb 5th, 2018: Trojan Virus infected website-can’t go on the website (tried it twice)
  • Vallejo Feb 8th, 2018: no reply yet
  • Pébéo Feb 25th, 2018 (wrote partly in French; as if writing in a company’s location’s native language would make a positive effect on giving a reply)
  • Maimeri Feb 25th, 2018: second try contacting them , this time in rusty Italian and English mix
  • Sakura Feb 25th, 2018: tried multiple times the contact form on their Japan site, which did not work, guessed an email adress (might have worked) and also contacted Sakura EU/ Royal Talens (did you know Royal Talens belongs to Sakura?)
  • Kusakabe Feb 25th : (thank you for telling about this one)
  • Home Lobby by 3l– Feb 26th: multiple tries contacting them through their EU site failed, so I tried the US one in the end
  • Above Ground Enterprises Feb 26th, 2018
  • Abralux Colori / Tommy Art Feb 26th, 2018
  • Aida Chemical Industries/ Art Clay Feb 26th, 2018 (I know the first name does not sound too good for a vegan-friendly product, but I hope for the best)
  • Alpha Art Materials: couldn’t contact them, did not find an adress
  • Alvin Feb 26th, 2018
  • American Art Clay Company /amaco – Feb 26th: First of all I got an immediate reponse but a short reply telling me to contact the marketing department (which I did immediately) and telling me to have a look at the Safety Data Sheets (SDS; which I did beforehand); I do mention this in the new mail to marketing, so I’ll see how they take my mail
  • Art & Frame of Sarasota Feb 26th, 2018
  • Boesner Feb 26th,2018 : they did not reply last year, so I hope now they will, I drastically reduced the products, I inquired about.

This is all from dizzy cranky old me right now. If you haven’t found information about a specific brand your looking for let my know (after having a go with the search box)

Here is my information sheet: definition_cruelty-free_vegan_veganartstuff_feb2018

Source: Mail contact

 

tip-to-tip: water-reservoir brush+watercolour crayons, sticks and co.

Instead of using watercolours in pans, you can use  watercolour pencils, sticks/gelatos and crayons  with a water-reservoir brush or stiffer regular brush, but in the way you would paint with pans.

Tip-to-tip transfer: Brush over your water-soluble crayon/stick etc. (use more strokes to intensify the colour) and then apply it onto the paper. Alternatively draw  with the crayon direcly on the edge of the paper or a separate paper and take the colour with the brush from there.

This way the colour application is much softer than drawing directly on the paper and going over the lines with a brush. You can colour a dainty little drawing or cover a DinA3 and larger paper with beautiful patterns.

If you don’t have a watercolour travel pan set, you can always take your pencils, crayons etc. and a water-reservoir brush pen. There will be no spills, it does not take up too much space and you have double the use out of the pencils. Using them with the brush and also drawing details directly with them.

It is also something different to go over the crayon/pencil with a wet brush than immersing the whole crayon/pencil tip in water, which can damage the lead.

I also went over a Faber Castell Pitt Artist Brush Pen with the water-reservoir brush to take colour and transfer to the paper. After drying the colour is going nowhere, because of the waterproof ink used in the pens.                                                                                                                                      Why would someone do this to an already brush shaped pen tip ? You can cover a bigger area this way than with the small, less flexible brush pen tip; you can gently glaze the paper and if your brush pens are older, you still get good use out of them without having to draw streaky (although I found it can make also nice effects).

Painting on wet paper with the laden brush  helps covering the paper surface quicker.

left side: tip-to-tip transfer, on wet surface; right side: paper-to-brush transfer+wet brush over applied colour

How to soften coloured pencils

By chance I found a way to soften the hardened lead of my coloured pencils. Here is how …

What you need:

  • a tin to store your pencils in (preferably not so tall as the one I use)
  • scissors (in case you have to cut the sponge down)
  • 100% cellulose sponge; it is plant based, reusable and machine washable up to 60 ° Celsius ; the sponge is slightly moist/damp; (I layered 3 sponges, so the pencils have a ~3 cm/1 inch cushion)

When you take the sponge out of the package, you will notice it being a bit damp/moist. This is probably what  softens the pencil lead.

If the tips of the coloured pencils are sharpened to the utmost, the  top of the tips might brittle a bit off (not much just a bit) , but they apply so much smoother and more vibrant on the paper. I noticed this especially with my metallic Polychromos. I could practically carve into the paper with Gold, Copper and Silver but I could hardly see any colour on the paper. Now they run smoothly over the paper and the colour is clearly visible without applying a ton of pressure.

Solvent Substitutes-blending coloured pencils with oils

Since last year’s solvent search flop (zest-it) I hadn’t really pursued other options. This January I was reminded of this again, (thank you Steve for writing to me about this topic). I have heard of people using baby oil as substitute. So I gave it a first try with coconut oil.

coconut oil first try on smooth sketch paper

I just threw randomly colour on smooth sketch paper (190g/m^2-90lbs; Hahnemühle sketch paper), transferred some of the coconut oil on the back of my hand and dipped my finger in it and was able to blend with it. This seemed to work so well, so I made my own little experiment the next day, with oils and other stuff I stumbled upon.

What I used:

  • mixed Media Paper (250g/m^2-169lbs; Daler Rowney) with a rougher surface
  • safflower Oil
  • coconut Oi
  • olive Oil
  • transparent lip balm
  • seed oil
  • baby face&body lotion
  • cotton buds (brand doesn’t matter, mine are vegan, waterneutral ones by Hydrophile)
  • coloured pencils (Polychromos, Faber-Castell)

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