I wrote to Léonard (brush manufacturer) because they brought out brush sets labelled “vegan”
to Coliro (Finetec Pearlcolors) for an update
to da Vinci (Defet; brush manufacturer) for an update
I think those are all at the moment that I’ve written.
Although I am working my way through updating all my entries (please bear in mind that if I didn’t attach any date to an entry in the compendium, the information could reach back as far as 2017), I am open to hearing from you any companies you want me to write to. I’ll put them first. I know what time of year it is and if you are looking present-wise for your wishlist or someone else, or just because you need to let out your creativity, tell me about the company (maybe mention what product range as well, if they offer many); of course we need also to factor in the time it can take a company to reply. So the sooner, the better.
Uni Mitsubishi (Signo gel pens) and Pilot did choose not to disclose information about their products and companies (information on Uni : 2017; newest information on Pilot: 2021)
Faber-Castell is a distributor for Uni Ball and informed me (April 2021) that all the Uni Ball products they distribute, are free of animal derivatives; however, this concerns only the materials not Uni’s status (concerning the cruelty-free topic);
Speaking of Faber-Castell, these might work for you:
Pitt artist pen in white (my opinion when I got them when they came out: not very opaque; buildable, for small highlights , best stored horizontally)
watercolour pencils e.g. Albrecht Dürer; wet or dry application; of course pencils will last you practically a lifetime
gelatos – watercolour in stick form; blendable with finger;
oil pastel in white – should be very opaque
white pastel stick or Pitt pastel pencil; lovely over watercolour and alcohol markers …
Those are just examples (information from 2021); of course you can use any gouache or acylic paint (or pens, pastels, …) free of animal ingredients; my other brand informations on e.g. Culture Hustle (Stuart Semple), Liquitex , Golden Paints, Qor Watercolors and others are older (2017, 2018) , but you might want to look into them.
It depends also on what surface and other medium you are working with. I for example used gelatos in the past on canvas and like Pitt pastel pencils over watercolour and alcohol marker.
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:
I recently stumbled upon Faber-Castell’s Ecco Pigment Pens. My favourite is 0.05 . Just like the Pitt Artist Pens, they are waterproof and have maximum lightfastness.
It is incredible how small you can draw with the 0.05 – that is why I like the pen so much. In the following pics I have added some coins for size comparison. (coins: 2 Czech Koruna, 20 pence, one dime & one cent)
I am happily suprised by the white Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens in B, 1.5 and C. Last week I stumbled upon the set containing those three and a black pen in S. A couple of years ago I bought the big white pen with the rounded tip, but it was just too big to do highlights and I didn’t know there were other ones as well. I really do like the 1.5 for highlights. Not to bash the other two, because I like B and C very much . On my doodle below you can see all the white Faber-Castell pens and pencils on black paper. You can layer them to bring them out even more. I’d pick them over gel pens any day; they can be layered, they don’t scratch of, they go on top of coloured pencils, etc. (without giving up), they apply evenly, they are more reliable (my comparison: white uni ball signo gel pen).
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:
Bone Black Pigment PBk 9 from burnt animal bones
(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.
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.