Vegan art supplies can be hard to find, so I want to make it easier with this list.
What’s not vegan about art supplies?
Art supplies have traditionally used many ingredients from slaughtered or trapped animals. For example, paints, mediums, and even papers may contain bone char, gelatin, ox gall, rabbit collagen, eggs, carmine, and shellac. Natural paintbrushes are made from the hair of sables, pigs, and squirrels.
Many higher end art supply companies use animal ingredients because these companies have been around in some cases for hundreds of years and use traditional recipes. But traditional doesn’t necessarily mean better. As you’ll see in this list, vegan art supplies are available in both student and professional grades.
A good artist can make do with whatever tools are available.
It’s up to all of us who believe that animals shouldn’t suffer so we can express ourselves, to use our consumer power to support vegan products, and to effect change. Not only can we make sure we only purchase vegan art supplies, but we can also contact companies and let them know there’s consumer demand.
Here’s the thing.
A lot of companies I’ve contacted aren’t sure whether their products are vegan. But as more and more customers have called or e-mailed with questions, these companies have started to look into their supply chains to check, was something tested on animals, was something refined with animal ingredients, etc.
The supplies on this list, to the best of my knowledge, contain no animal products and were not tested on animals. I’m gradually adding footnotes to the source of information for how I know a product is vegan. Due to the nature of changing formulas, I can’t guarantee that this list is 100% accurate, but if you’re interested in a certain product, you can scroll to the bottom of the page to see how recent the communication was from that brand, and judge for yourself.
I urge you to contact art supply brands to double check vegan status, or just let them know you’re looking for vegan products and don’t stand for vague answers.
This post may contain affiliate links.
Vegan Art Supplies: Jump to different sections on this page.
Vegan. Da Vinci Brushes website says “We recommend the da Vinci CASANEO assortment also to all those artists who prefer a vegan life style.” Made in Germany, certified green manufacturing with sustainable wood handles from European forests
I hope you found this list of vegan art supplies helpful.
REFERENCES – brands listed in alphabetical order.
Arteza – Reader forwarded e-mail from customer service 7/2/2021 – “We have confirmed with our manufacturer that our gouache paint does not contain animal derived products.”
Blick – Artists’ Acrylics – e-mail received 12/28/2017: “I can confirm that the Blick Paints are all vegan, once again save the Ivory Black, I will be responding with our animal testing policy as soon as possible.”
Canson – e-mail received 1/8/2018: “The only papers that have a gelatin sizing on them are the Mi-Teintes and Ingres pastel papers. Some conflicting information may have occurred when the Arches brand paper was formally distributed by us, as those papers had a gelatin size. Heritage has since been released by Canson in order to have a professional paper line of watercolor paper that did not use gelatin. Additionally, Canson does not test on animals.”
Chameleon – e-mail received 7/9/2018: “You’ll be pleased to know that our Chameleon Pens contain no animal-derived components and are vegan. We also we do not test on animals.”
Chartpak, Inc. – e-mail received 10/4/2017 included list of vegan products – awaiting animal testing info.
Chroma – e-mail received by reader 7/1/2020 from Chroma customer service saying that according to their raw material suppliers, the materials do not include animal ingredients and are not tested on animals.
Clairefontaine – e-mail received 9/4/2018 “I confirm you that our Pastelmat papers are totally vegan. We do not use any ingredients from animals. The sizing does not contain animal gelatin.” e-mail received 9/10/2018 regarding glue in the pads, “Actually, I meant the whole Pastelmat product is 100% vegan.”
Clearprint – e-mail received 10/4/2017 included list of vegan products – awaiting animal testing info.
Copic – e-mail received from Nancy 7/6/2018 in response to a question asking whether their inks and nibs are vegan and whether they test on animals: “Copics are vegan and do not test on animals.”
Cranfield – e-mail received by reader 1/7/2020: Due to the rising interest in this area we have started investigating our supply chain in order to gain a better understanding of whether animal products may, or may not, be involved higher up the supply chain. In general terms our inks are made from Linseed oil and pigments (metal oxides, Carbons and synthetic organics), and we do not use beeswax, honey or animal gelatine. We don’t carry out animal testing on our inks, neither do we request or require any third parties to carry out any animal testing on our behalf, however; we’re not fully informed on some of our raw materials as they are processed through what can be a long and complex supply chain. To our knowledge our inks do not contain animal based materials, with the current known exceptions to being: Traditional Etching Bone Black BKC1824, Traditional Relief Silver & Gold, Traditional Etching Silver & Gold”
Da Vinci Paint Co. Watercolors – e-mail received from Da Vinci 11/11/2021: “Ivory Black has been discontinued and the PBk6 (carbon black) used to make Payne’s Gray, Lamp Black, Sepia and Davy’s Gray is vegan. Our supplier of PBk6 has confirmed that it is made from feedstocks of mineral origin and it is not made from feedstocks of plant or animal origin. Our entire watercolor range is vegan.” e-mail received from Da Vinci customer service 9/30/2017: “Our watercolors do not contain ox gall or honey or other ingredients derived from animals. The only colors using animal derived ingredients are the few which contain pigment Black 6 or 9 (PBk6 or PBk9). Colors that do not use these pigments do not contain animal ingredients. The pigment content is available under each swatch on our watercolor category page https://www.davincipaints.com/category-s/124.htm
Daniel Smith Watercolors – e-mail received from customer service 10/2/2017 said, “Thank you for your question. Our products are not tested on animals, nor contain animal derived ingredients except the colors that contain pigment pBK9. pBK9 is found in the following colors only: Sepia, Ivory Black, Payne’s Gray”
Dick Blick Heavyweight Cotton Canvas – e-mail received from Dick Black customer service 9/29/2017, “I have confirmed that our Blick Premier Heavyweight Cotton Canvas is vegan.”
Dr. Ph. Martin – e-mail from customer service received by reader 3/22/2020: “Nope! No animal ingredients in any out of products. We use a proprietary synthetic polymer to achieve waterproof properties most normally associated with shellac.” AND E-mail from customer service received by DCV 3/15/2019: “All our products are free of animal parts and animal testing. “
Golden – acrylic paint and animal testing statement here. (Last accessed 3/6/2021)
Grumbacher – e-mail received 10/4/2017 included list of vegan products – awaiting animal testing info.
Hahnemühle – Their website, as of at least September 2020, says “All papers are vegan. Hahnemühle fulfils this criterion when it comes to glue. We have been sustainable and pioneers in this field for a long time: we use exclusively synthetic glues and have been doing so since the 1970s. To explain: glue is in every paper. It binds the fibres (cotton linters or cellulose) and makes the paper paintable.” and “All Hahnemühle papers are vegan.”
Higgins – e-mail received 10/4/2017 included list of vegan products – awaiting animal testing info.
Holbein – After a reader claimed that the Holbein products we listed were not vegan, I went back and forth with the company, eventually corresponding with the US Vice President who double-checked with headquarters in Japan and confirmed (January 2018) that the paints we had listed were indeed vegan and they sent a product list, however they did not respond to claims from the reader of knowledge of animal products being used in the manufacturing process but not present in the final product. E-mail received 2/26/2018 from customer service says “I can only say that as far as we can confirm, the list is correct. However, it is possible that the ingredients or components may change in the future and we cannot guarantee it will be free of animal components.”
IPG – IPG did not respond to e-mails but Dick Blick heard back from them and e-mailed me 5/29/2018 and 5/30/2018 that the artist and kraft tapes are vegan and that IPG does not test on animals.
Khadi Papers – e-mail received 1/8/2018: “Thank you for your mail, the only papers we sell which are sized with gelatine are the cotton rag papers that weigh 210gsm and above. So the 100gsm and 150gsm cotton rag papers, Hemp, Lokta and Himalayan papers you mentioned are all gelatine-free!”
Koh-I-Noor USA – e-mail received 10/4/ 2017 included list of vegan products – awaiting animal testing info.
Kuretake – e-mail received 2/9/2018: “Regarding the Gansai Tambi watercolor, we can confirm that during the manufacturing process at Kuretake the products are vegan. However, it is not possible to accurately confirm back to the supplier of ingredients at a raw material level.” E-mail received 2/5/2018: “We confirmed that ZIG Memory System Writer is also vegan.” E-mail received 2/7/2021: “Please be noted that ZIG Brushables are not vegan, as they include animal derived oil as moisturizer.”
Liquitex – e-mail received 8/28/2017: “Thank you for your interest in Liquitex. Yes, all of our mediums are vegan and have not been tested on animals.” e-mail received by reader 1/14/2020: “None of our products are tested on animals. The following colours contain animal derivatives in our soft body range – Ivory Black,Paynes Grey, Neutral Grey V5, Per green Deep, Prussian Blue Hue, Hookers Green Deep Hue. In our Ink Carbon black, Burnt Umber, Iridescent bright Silver, Neutral Grey 5, Prussian Blue Hue, Raw Umber, Perm Sap Green, Transparent Raw Umber, Muted Turquoise, Muted Violet. Heavy body, Ivory Black, Paynes Grey, NeUtral Grey V5, Per green Deep, Prussian Blue Hue, Hookers Green Deep Hue and Basics, Neutral Grey, Black, Blue Grey, Parchment, Prussian Blue Hue.”
MaimeriBlu – e-mail received 10/2/2017: “I can assure you that we do not test our products on animals and in the Maimeriblu watercolour range only one pigment in the Maimerblu range is not suitable for vegans, i.e. Pbk 9 which is contained in 484 Van Dyck Brown, 486 Sepia, 514 Payne’s Grey and 535 Ivory Black.” Note, that at first one person wrote back that the watercolors were not vegan but another person then chimed in who seemed more up to date on the current formulas.
Mijello – Mission Gold Watercolors – e-mail received 10/6/2017: Unfortunately, they do currently contain honey, which as an animal byproduct, is not vegan-friendly. A full list of ingredients is available on our website, www.mijelloart.com, in the MSDS link under the “resources” tab.”
Nitram Arts – re: charcoal, e-mail received from customer service 8/1/2018: “Thank you for your inquiry – you are not the first to ask this. Yes, you can be assured that it is 100% vegan.”
Pacon – re: Tru-Ray Construction Paper – e-mail received from Blick customer service 10/1/2020 – “I was able to confirm that the Pacon Tru-Ray Construction Paper is vegan”
Pebeo – list received from customer service 9/21/2021
Royal Talens – e-mail received 2/5/2018: “Regarding Rembrandt watercolor, the lab said: Only color number 702 contains boneblack pigment in the Rembrandt watercolor assortment. All other colors are free of any animal ingredients.” E-mail received by a reader 1/20/2020 and forwarded: “No finished product or ingredient composed of the latter has been tested on animals.” “As for animal by-products, I should also include along with the pigment PBk9, we use shellac as a binder for our Talens India Drawing Inks.” E-mail received by a reader 10/3/2022 and forwarded: “All products under the Royal Talens umbrella (including Amsterdam, Cobra, Ecoline, Fine-Tec, Rembrandt, Talens Art Creation, Van Gogh, etc.) are considered vegan-friendly and cruelty-free, with the sole exception of our Talens Indian Ink & Talens Waterproof Drawing Ink, which uses the secretion of a specific beetle in the formulation of the shellac. Otherwise, no animal products or by-products are used in any of our products, and no testing on animals is ever done.” Royal Talens blog post published 6/30/2020, retrieved 2/8/2023: “All of the glues in the Royal Talens range have a synthetic base and are therefore vegan, except for Rembrandt 100% cotton watercolour paper.”
Schmincke – product list and e-mail received 1/8/2018: “Our AKADEMIE ranges are totally free of animal products.”
Speedball – e-mail received 3/4/2019: “In talking with our technical team, I have confirmed that our Pen Cleaner would be classified as vegan, but that our Super Black India Ink would not as it contains shellac.” E-mail received 3/5/2019: “I have confirmed with the technical team here that the Super Pigmented Acrylic Inks are vegan.” E-mail received by reader 1/7/2020: “I checked with our lab and all our relief inks and fabric block printing inks are considered vegan. They contain no animal products and are not tested on animals. The Printmaster range inks have been discontinued and are no longer available.”
Stillman and Birn – e-mail received 1/8/2018: “All of our papers are made with vegetable-based sizing and so the papers can be considered vegan. However, all of our binding processes — hardcover, softcover and wirebound — are made with some for of animal-based adhesive.”
Stockmar – Their website includes a vegan FAQ accessed on 1/26/2021.
Strathmore – vegan FAQ on their website here. (Accessed January 2019)
Utrecht acrylics – e-mail received 12/29/2017: “After contacting our manufacturer I can assure you that save the non-vegan pigments the paints are free of animal products and are not tested on animals. Regarding the Blick brand the same holds true but because we are a general retailer we do not currently have a model for animal testing and each item we carry defers to the manufacturer’s policy at this point in time.”
Utrecht statement about watercolors here. Also e-mail received 7/23/2021, “Utrecht Artist Watercolors are vegan with the exception of the colors Ivory Black and Payne’s Gray.”
Utrecht oils – e-mail received 7/23/2021 “Utrecht Studio Oils and Utrecht Artist Oils are not vegan…”
Wee Can Too – as of 1/2/2018 – company website says “All our art supplies are edible, dairy free, vegan, and do not contain artificial dyes or chemicals”
Winsor & Newton – re: charcoal – e-mail received from customer service 8/1/2018: “Our charcoals are made of willow wood. No animals or animal bones are used in the process.” And, re: brush cleaner – e-mail received from customer service 2/28/2019: “BrushCleaner is manufactured wholly from synthetic or manufactured materials and does not contain any raw materials produced from or substances derived of animal origin. The manufacturing process does not use any ingredient of animal origin nor does this product come in contact with animal products during storage and transportation.”
Yarka Watercolors are NOT vegan – e-mail received from Dick Blick customer service 9/29/2017 about several things: “…however the Yarka Watercolors are not [vegan].”