I initially contacted Holbein back in 2017 and now did so again, to see whether there might have been some changes to make their coloured pencils ingredients now suitable. Unfortunately, it hasn’t changed. Back then I was informed of the use of animal fats to disperse the pigments. As of now, they cannot give any guarantee.
No further information was disclosed.
So here is my up to date listing for my compendium:
currently no products free of animal derivatives available
cruelty-free level: no information disclosed
I am sorry about the disappointing news. I hope there will be changed in the future and I will circle back to them in some years.
Here is the new updated information on Faber-Castell. All the previously listed products are still free of animal derivatives, which includes the packaging. Additionally, I asked about the watercolours in pan format and starter set in tubes, Albrecht Dürer watercolour marker, grip fountain pens, converter, pastel toned and metallic textmarker, notebook A5 and A6– those are free of animal derivatives as well. Unfortunately I do not know whether this includes the manufacturing cycle just the finished products. Back in 2017, concerning Faber-Castell’s cruelty-free status, I received the reply, that they neither tested on animals nor commissioned animal testing; not in Europe and not anywhere else. A person in the chemistry department also mentioned back then (2017) for as long as they can look back – 30 years – to their knowledge, there hadn’t ever been commissioned such testing. It was also pointed out to me (again, 2017), that animal testing for painting -, drawing -, and writing supplies was forbidden by law in Germany.
Bearing the 2017 information in mind, I also asked about an update on the company status about the topic but unfortunately, I did not get any information about it this time, so I will place the cruelty-free status as undisclosed for now (because of lack of new information).
cruelty-free status: undisclosed for now concerning the 2021 update (in 2017, cruelty-free)
Here is my updated ( incomplete) list of products, free of animal derivatives (this includes the packaging; not known whether this extends to manufacturing cycle as well):
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:
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.
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.
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
transparent lip balm
baby face&body lotion
cotton buds (brand doesn’t matter, mine are vegan, waterneutral ones by Hydrophile)
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.