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 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.
Squid Ink, Sepia Ink, all ink from squids and cuttlefish
Animal Oils, Animal Fats, Animal derived Wax (used e.g. for dispersing pigments; shaping brush tips)
Ox Gall, Ox Bile
Gall and Bile
Rabbit skin, e.g. rabbit skin glue, animal skin
Any Kind of Glue made by animal parts
Kieselguhr/Diatomite (used e.g. for filtrating inks)
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 companydoes 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)
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.
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.
I started to send out inquiries again since yesterday.
Holbein US contacted me about information discrepancies concerning the information I got from Holbein Japan last year, so we will see how that is going to work out.
I wrote to :
Prima Marketing Inc.
Castle Art Supplies
I tried to contact Ohuhu, BUT trying to get on their main website and website/customer support triggered my computer virus protection programme. NOBODY TRY THE OHUHU WEBSITE IT’S INFECTED WITH A TROJAN ! That is what one gets for trying to get product information.
I will contact more companies, hopefully a bunch per day.
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.