Updated: May 3, 2019
Welcome to the first blog post from Art With Ethics! If you’re looking for reliable information on the best cruelty free and vegan art supplies, this is the place for you! I'll be giving you advice about which supplies are free from animal products and testing, ones to avoid and what animal ingredients are commonly found in art supplies. I’ll also be sharing techniques I use with different mediums, inspiration behind the pieces I’ve created, along with some information about the vegan organisations I support (a small percentage of profits are donated to various vegan/animal rights groups). My goal is to encourage other artists to choose the cruelty free options, and to show you the best professional quality vegan alternatives to help you create beautiful art. Check out the art supplies I use every day here.
I have been an active member of the animal rights movement in Northern Ireland for around a year now, regularly getting involved in events run by VKind and Anonymous for the Voiceless. The majority of my time, however, used to be spent sitting in a stressful 9-5 job that I absolutely hated. I desperately wanted to spend my time doing something worthwhile to help the vegan movement grow, which was why I started painting near the end of 2018. I had always loved drawing but never had any real motivation and struggled to find inspiration. I realised I now had something I was passionate enough about to create art!
I’ve always been an animal lover, even during my cognitive dissonance riddled pre-vegan days. When I went vegan and watched the documentaries (Cowspiracy, Earthlings, Forks over Knives) my world completely changed. I realised I had lived my life completely blindfolded. I was oblivious to the intense cruelty I was inflicting on these animals that I claimed to care about, just by buying things in the supermarket. The further I looked into it, the more I became aware that we torture and kill animals for our convenience and appetites on an unimaginable scale. Animals are abused for everything you can imagine, from makeup to cleaning products to paintbrushes. When I started looking for watercolour paints online, I thought, surely there are no animal products in paint? Oh, how naïve of me. Ox gall was the first thing I discovered, this substance taken from the liver of cows and is used to improve the flow of watercolour paint. Yes, many watercolour paintings contain cow liver juice. Lovely.
Luckily, I found some watercolour paints that were completely free from animal products - Kuretake Gansai Tambi Japanese Watercolours (see below). Some other sets were partially vegan, but many of the black pigments contained animal bone char. These Kuretake paints are amazing and very affordable. I bought the full 36 pan set which cost around £40 but the pans are huge, at least twice the size of other brands. They also come beautifully presented and the colours are heavily pigmented meaning you only need to use a tiny amount to get vivid colours - something that can be difficult when working with watercolour. I've been using this set since around November and I've barely made a dent so they're definitely a good investment. The colours flow perfectly and blend together really well. So clearly there is no need to use… cow liver juice… it just sounds ridiculous.
I hope you found this information useful, I will be posting a new blog every week to keep you up to date about the best vegan art supplies and to let you know what I've been getting up to. Which I nearly forgot to mention! I've recently completed my first coloured pencil pet portrait commission - let me tell you, coloured pencil work is for those who possess the same amount of patience as Earthling Ed had when he was talking to that girl from info wars - click here if you want to feel like screaming for 40 minutes. Check out the completed piece below! Contact me if you would like to book a commissioned piece of your fur (or feathered!) baby!
Thanks for visiting my website and my blog! To get notified about my upcoming events, new blog posts and my latest work, subscribe to my mailing list below. There is also a free digital wall art download for all subscribers, you get to choose from 10 options so you're sure to find one you love (hint - they’re all vegan themed of course!).