Not much news about Holbein

Recently I was asked about Holbein again and whether only the pigments for the coloured pencils get dispersed with a small amount of animal fats/ oils.

I looked up my correspondence from 2017 and from October and November of 2023.

Their reply of March 2017 does not conclude only the pigments in the coloured pencils were meant but the reply was about pigments used in their products.

In November 2023, they let me know, that back in 2017, they only considered the pigments in the coloured pencils not all the ingredients used in the coloured pencils. They confirmed in Oct and Nov 2023, that also the wax used in the coloured pencils was of animal origin (animal fat).

We cannot automatically deduce only the pigments used in the coloured pencils product line were dispersed with animal fat/oil. It was not specified in 2017 and in Okt and Nov 2023 there is only the comparison drawn that they looked only at the pigments in the coloured pencils not the other ingredients used for the coloured pencils.

They still are learning about what is vegan/ free of animal derivatives and the nuances. Back in 2017, being approached with the topic was new to them.

They used the past tense in their correspondence from late last year (2023), so I do not know, whether they have changed ingredients and the material used as surfactant to disperse the pigments.

A small side note: in March 2017, brush cleaners contained squalene from deep sea sharks (Brush Cleaner LT and Odorless Brush Cleaner); some products contained bone black, ox gall or animal based glue. (again old information from 2017)

Touching the cruelty-free topic, they stated in Nov 2023, they themselves do not test on animals.

Here is my Holbein compendium entry.


Source: Mail contact


Holbein update : no changes

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:

manufacturer: Holbein

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.

source: mail contact

New batch of inquiries send out

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.
  • Maimeri
  • Nevskaya Palitra
  • Tritart
  • Castle Art Supplies
  • Shuttle Art

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.


Information from last year’s correspondence with Holbein Japan: