Everyone has a creative streak, and for many people, that streak materialises best on canvas. If you’re a keen artist, you’ll almost certainly have heard of Cass Art – the art supplies shop making waves across the UK. Cass Art has shops in almost every major city, from Manchester to Glasgow and Bristol, and is where you’ll find a selection of art essentials. Plus, if you also follow a vegan lifestyle, you’ll be pleased to know that Cass Art shops offer a wide range of supplies that are free from animal products.
Here, we share everything you need to know about Cass Art, the vegan art supplies available to buy, and our top tips for finding high-quality yet cruelty-free brushes, paint, ink and more.
Cass Art, founded by Mark Cass, is one of the UK’s most popular art supply shops – but it’s so much more than that. At the very root of Cass Art is a mission to fill every town with artists and “realise their creative talents by providing the world’s top quality materials at the guaranteed best prices.”
The very first Cass Art shop opened its doors to Charing Cross in 1984 and today, you’ll see its iconic black and white shopfronts in many of the UK’s best and brightest cities – including Birmingham, Brighton and Liverpool.
With over 10,000 product lines at Cass Art, there’s something for every artist! Cass Art shops only sell products from the most trusted suppliers, including Faber Castel – which is known for having a 100% vegan pencil range.
What’s more, Cass Art regularly features vegan artists on its website. If you’re looking for inspiration on how to pursue your passion for art without using animal-based products, you’ll find plenty of it here. We recommend starting with this interview with vegan artist Liesel Thomas.
For vegans, Cass Art shops offer plenty! This is all part of the company’s focus on sustainability, which also sees it use exclusively recyclable e-commerce packaging and promote reusable tote bags. Founder Mark Cass also notes that more and more people are preferring to use vegan art supplies, given the rising popularity of animal and planet-friendly lifestyles.
Below, check out some of the vegan products available at Cass Art.
These faux sable paintbrushes are a must-have addition to every artist’s box of tools. They use a completely synthetic alternative to sable hair while offering the same look and feel, meaning you’ll achieve the same stroke without the ethical cost. Available in a pack of six, these vegan paintbrushes are ideal for a variety of techniques.
Winsor & Newton has a wide range of vegan art products, including its Willow Charcoal. Ideal for shading or smudging, these sticks of charcoal are perfect for bringing depth to drawings. Charcoal is naturally vegan, meaning you can buy it from most brands without worry. This isn’t always the case though, so it’s worth double-checking each time.
Gouache, a water-based blend similar to watercolour paint, is typically vegan – but there are some exceptions to the rule. Luckily, the Akademi Gouache range from Schmincke is 100% vegan and therefore a must-have for all vegan painters. With a gorgeous selection of tones, from Vermillion to Phthalo Green to Burnt Sienna, Schminke’s Akademie Gouache range is second to none.
These are just three examples of vegan products from Cass Art, but shopping for cruelty-free art supplies isn’t always as easy. Below, check out our top tips for doing so.
Whether you’re shopping at Cass Art or another art supplies shop, here are our top tips for finding and using vegan products for your next art project.
You may be savvy when it comes to checking food labels for animal products, but what about art supplies? Animal-derived ingredients are commonly found in paints, crayons and brushes, including the following:
- Hair - Many paintbrushes are made with mink, hog and horse hair, so be sure to look for synthetic hair brushes.
- Casein - Some brands use casein as a binder in pigment and glue, often in pencils.
- Gelatin - Gelatin can be found in everything from paper to paint.
- Ox gall - Ox gall is regularly used in the production of watercolour paints.
- Cochineal - Otherwise known as ‘carmine’, cochineal is regularly used as a red dye.
Unfortunately, even this isn’t an exhaustive list. Check out The Ultimate List of Vegan Art and Craft Supplies for a more comprehensive description of what to look out for.
One of the easiest ways to make sure you’re buying 100% vegan products is to purchase from brands that make cruelty-free ingredients part of their promise. You can do this by searching for vegan and eco-friendly sellers on Etsy, for instance, or by shopping from sustainably focused providers, such as Natural Earth Paint.
Contacting manufacturers directly can be time-consuming, but it’s a great way to find out if a product is vegan or not. When you email a product’s manufacturer, they’ll be able to send you a detailed list of all the ingredients and any accreditations they have, which can make shopping for vegan art supplies a whole lot easier.
Another great idea is to get creative and make your own art supplies! If you’re already in the mood to create something beautiful, why not add a couple of extra steps and whip up your own paints, dyes and brushes? Lots of natural, cruelty-free ingredients can be combined to make gorgeous colours, and making your own supplies is a great way to ensure everything’s 100% vegan.
Here at Vegomm, we’re passionate about connecting vegans everywhere to only the most helpful guides and product recommendations. Whether you’re just starting out on your plant-based journey or you’ve been a vegan for as long as you can remember, you’ll find all the information you need to live compassionately and consciously on our website. Don’t forget to get in touch to let us know what you’d like to see more of!