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Animal-Based Ingredients in My Art Supplies?

The following article was written by Keegan Baur.

Art is about self-expression, beauty, and stress relief. But, in my opinion, it can only be those things if no animals were harmed as a result of an artwork’s creation. Unfortunately, I haven’t produced many drawings or paintings since my college days (which were before I went vegan), but I’d like to get back into the hobby. As a result, I recently pulled all my old supplies out of a dusty corner in the back of my closet and wondered if they were cruelty-free. The products themselves didn’t seem to contain any ingredient lists, so I became even more curious. I then began doing some online research and quickly discovered how careful one has to be when purchasing art supplies! Just take a look at this abbreviated list of vegan and nonvegan products:

Animal-Based Supplies                  
Cochineal (scarlet dye)                  
Ox gall (watercolor paints)          
Rabbit skin glue (sizing oil-painting canvases)     
Gelatin (gesso and watercolor papers)                         
Sepia ink                     
India ink or Chinese ink                          
Bone charcoal               
Natural hair brushes                   
Oil pastels                     

Cruelty-Free Supplies
Conte Crayon
Walnut ink
Damar ink
Yupo paper               
Raw fabrics
Synthetic brushes
Soft pastels

You can check out the complete list at

I was relieved to see that soft pastels and most Krylon fixative sprays are cruelty-free, as these were my preferred medium while I was in college. However, if I decide to expand my repertoire and purchase new oil or watercolor paints and brushes, I will certainly have more research to do and lots to keep in mind! As a vegan and fledgling artist, I know that I’ll only be able to find beauty in my future creations if my arsenal of art supplies is free of animal products.

Is compassion part of your palette? What are your favorite cruelty-free art supplies?

Commenting is closed.
  • Jenina Carriaga-Lambert says:

    Thank you for your article and the link. I am an artist and wondering if anyone knows where I can get vegan prints of my work made? Thanks in advance

  • Earthlover says:

    FYI – Not all raw fabrics are animal friendly. Raw silk or any other form of silk is made by boiling silkworms, which are actually caterpillars.

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