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

 

I have taken some companies off my list

So I have taken some companies off the list.

Royal Talens- why: I wrote to them last year about Ecoline brush pens and inks; I got the information about the products not being tested on animals and no animal ingredients in the products. But why not say “we don’t test on animals” and not just” these products weren’t tested on animals”. So I would have to contact them again for a clearer response; in the meantime I took them off the list. I hope I get a reply though, when I’ll write to them again, because I got no response for my Sakura inquiries this year and in the past. (Royal Talens is the European distributor of Sakura and belongs to Sakura since 1991). Overall I got the vibe that they aren’t interested in offering vegan-friendly art supplies.

Kuretake, why: First I was assured that Kuretake is cruelty-free but then later, I was informed there is a problem due to a language barrier in understanding what cruelty-free/animal testing is and they had to look into this matter. A considerable amount of time has passed and I am none the wiser. So I had to take them off the list; it does not mean they do but, again no clear answer here.

Schmincke: They wrote that they have no information about animal testing through suppliers/ sub-suppliers&raw material suppliers. Although most ingredients used in art supplies have already been tested decades ago, and might not be tested again, this is not certain. Therefore, I decided to take them down.

I always struggle with how far I should go with my definition or whether I should adapt more. In our daily life we come into contact with non-vegan-friendly things and things that might  be tested on animals all the time and we don’t even know. I am not talking about medical treatment but things we haven’t thought about, like keyboards, remote controls, cutlery, clothing (the dye used; the pesticides used for cotton)…, basically everything. We just strive to the best of our knowledge, but nobody can be 100% (maybe a hermits, making their own clothes, gathering food, making their own clothes, …)

I don’t always know how to evaluate the information I get. Is it too much to ask for raw-materials not to be tested on animals by suppliers? Some companies (not listed)  have no idea on the stance of their suppliers concerning this issue and some even wrote they would contact their suppliers now for the information; others have the knowledge of theirs that they don’t.  My inquiry form hasn’t changed, I only structured it better with my information sheet a couple of months ago, but it contains the same definition including animal testing through suppliers.

If materials have already been tested decades ago on animals, why should it be done again today, if the information is already available? I think “no animal testing through suppliers”  has to stay part of my inquiry and information sheet.

I just don’t have an explanation why some companies have this knowledge about their suppliers and others, even if they are small businesses, don’t. Do they ask no questions about where the raw materials come from and if they use the safety data sheets from their suppliers, don’t they wonder how the data is collected? Is it the easy way out to say they don’t know, instead of asking questions? Or do they know and don’t want costumers to know? Is it really about not having enough resources to check?

But we have to ask companies those questions, so they start to ask themselves those questions and they have to turn to their suppliers to address this matter.

 

Source: Mail contact

 

 

 

Inquiries sent out to:

Here is an update on inquiries  sent out:

 

Here is my compendium :   https://www.veganartstuff.info/compendium/

 

Source: Mail contact

Derivan – vegan-friendly products

Australia based  Derivan  is a cruelty-free company with an array of different products.

Except the one colour Ivory Black in the Matisse range, all Derivan and Matisse branded paints are vegan-friendly!

Here: http://www.derivan.com.au you can find all of their products, e.g. cadmium-free acrylics, different types of acrylics, acrylic based inks, mediums, screen ink, block ink, watercolour, fabric paint, face and body paint, glitter glue, liquid pencil, …

Matisse is Derivan’s professional acrylics range: http://matisse.com.au/products/.

Source: Mail contact

Cranfield Colours

Cranfield do not test on animals and don’t commission other parties to do so. However, they “are not able to comment on anything beyond” their “own remit and cannot with assurance say no instances of animal testing will have been used in the development of raw materials that are supplied” to them. To their products: they “do use occasional animal derived products“, for example beeswax.

Source: Mail contact

Charvin not vegan-friendly

Unfortunately the brand Charvin is not vegan-friendly. After an initial short reply implying that the oils could be vegan, I asked about more details and highlighted parts in my information sheet about what vegan-friendly and cruelty-free are. After this I got the  reply that  they meant to say “they can’t be”. The reply does not hold the clue  to what it applied; to the vegan part or the cruelty-free part or both. I think they probably read the information sheet more properly after my second inquiry and then had to say no.  Nevertheless they did reply, which I  appreciate even if it is just to know that their products are not suitable for vegan-friendly minded people.

I contacted more companies, but haven’t heard back yet and it is probably fair to say, they won’t reply at all. If brands I contacted already over a year ago and now for a second time over a month + ago show no response, they just won’t.

I fill you in with the new batch of companies I wrote to in the next post and in the meantime will contact more companies.

 

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?)
  • Kugasabe 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

 

Definition update: what’s cruelty-free and vegan-friendly to me

Here is an update of my definition for cruelty-free companies and vegan-friendly art supplies:

  • A product can be considered vegan-friendly, if the entire product itself does not contain animal ingredients, byproducts/ derivatives and none of those are used in the manufacturing process, g. the use of animal derived oils and fats in surfactants for the dispersion of pigments and animal oils and fats are not used to form the tips of brushes; kieselguhr/diatomite is not used for filtration.
  • For a vegan-friendly product, the “entire product” has to be free of any animal derived ingredients; This includes all that contains the art supply, e.g. pans, paint tubes, the body and nibs of a marker, a pencil’s wooden body as well as lacquer, adhesive used for binding of paper pads, books, brushes and envelopes.
  • The manufacturer does not test on animals or commissions other parties to do so and do not use material data collected through animal testing done or commissioned by others such as parent-/ sister-/ affiliate companies, other partners as well as suppliers.
  • (Raw) Material used in the products and the production process may not be tested on animals by the company’s (raw) material suppliers and sub-suppliers, nor be commissioned by those.
  • There is no animal testing done/commissioned abroad for products to be sold abroad. This applies to the company and the company’s distributors.

Everything which comes from an animal origin/source, everything what is part of the animal and its anatomy and what the animal produces (beeswax, honey, milk, eggs) is unsuitable for vegans.

 Definition of the term “animal”:

  • All Vertebrates:
    • Fish
    • Amphibians
    • Reptiles
    • Birds
    • Mammals
  • All Invertebrates, e.g. sea urchins, sponges, sea stars, jellyfish, squid, lobsters, crawfish, crabs, earthworms, spiders, snails, slugs, clams, insects, sea anemones, sea gooseberries, sea urchins, corals, …

Animal derived ingredients are e.g.:

  • Beeswax, Honey
  • Charred Bones, Bone Ash, Bone Flour, Pigment PBk9
  • Bone Charcoal
  • Casein
  • Gelatine
  • Squalene
  • Squid Ink, Sepia Ink, all ink from squids and cuttlefish
  • Sepia
  • Silk
  • Tallow
  • Animal Oils, Animal Fats, Animal derived Wax (used e.g. for dispersing pigments; shaping brush tips)
  • Ox Gall, Ox Bile
  • Gall and Bile
  • Cochineal
  • Rabbit skin, e.g. rabbit skin glue, animal skin
  • Any Kind of Glue made by animal parts
  • Shellac
  • Kieselguhr/Diatomite (used e.g. for filtrating inks)
  • Natural sponge
  • Natural animal derived Hair and Bristles, e.g. of sable, marten, squirrel, mongoose, horsehair, hair from animal snouts and ears (for example Ox), pig bristles

 

The criteria that apply to vegan-friendly art supplies apply also to vegetarian-friendly art supplies, with the exception that beeswax-, milk- and egg-derived ingredients may be part of the product itself and used in the manufacturing process.

For vegan-friendly art supplies, neither the product itself may contain animal-derived products nor may they be used in the production process.

A Cruelty-free company does not test on animals nor commissions others to do so and does not use data provided through animal testing by other facilities or affiliate companies. Not only the production of the product and the finished product must be free of animal testing but also the supply chain. The (raw) materials and chemicals used may not be tested on animals by the supplier nor may the supplier commission animal testing for the material.

Note: I am  aware that once (most) raw materials and chemicals were tested /had to be tested on animals (several decades ago)

PDF of my definition: definition_cruelty-free_vegan_veganartstuff_feb2018

 

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.