Marsh - Boat graphite on paper 4 x 6"
©2011 Katherine Kean
This drawing is being worked into a painting. I may have decided to change the direction of the boat, perhaps because it's the start of a new year, it feels like it should be sailing out instead of in.
One of the changes that I've decided to make in 2011 is to seek out and use vegan Art Supplies. At first glance this doesn't seem to be too much of a challenge, but a closer look reveals animal products used in a variety of products that I would not have thought of. Brushes made from animal fur and paint named "bone black" are obvious. Bone black is a component of Gamblin's Van Dyke Brown, Ivory Black, Asphaltum, Portland Greys, and Payn's Grey. Gamblin's website lists the ingredients used in their paints. That the sizing used in my favorite Arches watercolor papers includes gelatin derived from animals is sad news. I had been using their watercolor paper for both drawing and watercolor and I'm still looking for something to replace it with. I've heard that both Strathmore and Yupo use no animal products when they manufacture their papers. For drawing I might consider using Arches cover stock, which has no sizing.
The good news is that these days good synthetic brushes are available, so there's really no need for animals to be captured or killed to make a brush. I was also concerned that the oil primed linen that I like might be sized with rabbit skin glue. However it is not. Signature Canvas, who supplies my favorite painting surfaces considers rabbit skin glue as too unstable in humidity changes to use on linen, so they size instead with a synthetic glue. The gesso that they use for acrylic priming is also a kind that does not include any animal products. UPDATE: Signature Canvas is no longer in business. Most of the oil primed linen surface manufacturers I have contacted while sourcing substitutes have told me that they no longer use animal hide glues. Claessens pre-primed oil primed linen uses no animal products.
Updates: I've used Aquabee Super Deluxe Sketchbooks for about as far back as I can remember and I'm happy to report that the sizing used is cornstarch based, not gelatin or animal based.
Daler-Rowney Canford Drawing Papers are vegan.
Claessen's oil primed linen is vegan.
Recent correspondence with Golden about their gesso discloses that there is no rabbit skin glue in their acrylic gesso, or in any of their acrylic products. Here is a link concerning vegan use of their products: http://www.goldenpaints.com/animalingredientsanimaltesting.
If in doubt contact the manufacturer to ask. I have found all of them responsive and helpful with the exception of Arches.
I will continue to update this post as I find more materials. Feel free to share this post if you find it useful.