sadly, I just found out that Colors of Nature closed down. The cruelty-free Canadian company that flew under an ethical and environmentally conscious flag, manufactured and offered only vegan-friendly products ranging from watercolours, and oil paints in artist quality, … over to brushes, glass mullers and more. I feel as though I am writing an obituary and in a way I am. What a plight for our small world of vegan art supplies. Which leaves us with no more natural, eco-friendly oil paints ;and brands that offer non-pencil watercolours halved. I introduced the company on here in 2017. In all my correspondence with Lori Stryker and Mark, they were nothing but accommodating and nice. – I am sorry to see this business go, farewell Colors of Nature.
Faber-Castell ink : available in four colours: black, blue, pink and turqoise; the shades blue and pink are erasable; black and turquoise cannot be erased; the ink is not document proof; (the waterproof and lightfast alternative by Faber-Castell are the Graf von Faber-Castell inks)
Here is the list of vegan-friendly products by Faber-Castell:
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.
This is a list of cruelty-free companies and the vegan-friendly products they offer. If you don’t find the company you are looking for in this list, please enter the company name in the search box to see their status. If you still can’t find the specific company you are looking for, please let me know, so that I can contact them.
The Defet Brush Factory was so kind to send me a set of three brushes to try out. They are from their Casaneo watercolour brush range: a flat and squared top one (5898 No. 8) and two different sized ones (5598 No4 & 8). They are obviously synthetic brushes, but the brush hair is constructed to imitate squirrel hair. I never have used real squirrel haired brushes, so I can’t give you a comparison on this point. If you pay attention to the hair texture, you will see that it is slightly wavy.
Having never used real watercolour brushes (they really differ from the normal hobby and crafts one) before, this was my first. The brushes are so soft and have practically no resistance on the paper. They run smoothly over it and hit all the crevices of the structured watercolour paper (Hahnemühle). I tried them at first with gelatos, but that did not work as they are too soft to take colour from the gelato itself. Rubbing the gelato on the paper and trying to load up colour did not work either. Watercolour brushes really need a quantity of water to run so smooth, so I used my old Winsor & Newton watercolour paints and a couple of new ones from Kuretake (Gansai Tambi). With those the brushes’ flow was really lovely. I also tried the brushes with Finetec Pearlcolors. If you want to add some sheen to your watercolour painting, that works, but the colors get eaten rather fast using them with so much water. In the end, I also tried the small brush No. 4 with some drawing and calligraphy ink and small delicate lines were possible. I tried some writing with them and you might be able to use them as calligraphy brushes as well, although Defet also offers a range of calligraphy ones (set Nova). They have a versatile range of vegan friendly brushes.
To the conclusion: I really like them, although I had a not so even start, using the wrong watercolour paint at first and having never used specific watercolour brushes before as well as not being a landscape (loving) painter. With the bigger brush the background is painted in no time. And what I never realized before: they work like blenders. After drying a bit, I noticed some edges, so I went over again with the big brush and they smoothed out completely; they were gone.
I really did want to use vegan supplies for this paintings and this post, but again, I had to use my old Winsor & Newton ones, that I have had since I was about 10 years old. For my first attempt I used mostly the Gansai Tambi ones (pale aqua and cornflower blue). For the second attempt I drew my creature with a mechanical pencil and blue lead (Faber Castell) and then painted over it with the watercolour.