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  • Writer's picturezoe birrell

Vegan Miniature Painting

In this blog post I will be going over the concept of vegan miniature painting, what could make miniature painting not vegan, why Sedition Minis is a vegan miniature painting service and hint at why you might consider adopting a vegan miniature painting practice. The main focus ended up landing on vegan paint brushes and paint ranges but if there are other things you would like to know about please let me know.

This was not an easy mini essay to write as I really wanted to get the facts right and do a good job of it so I hope you enjoy reading it and find it useful.

Im really happy to announce that I have set up an affiliate account with my favourite supplier of vegan pain brushes as well which I am announcing in this post and will come back to in the section on vegan miniature painting brushes.

How Painting Miniatures Can Be Not Vegan

Many art supplies are derived from or use animal ingredients.

The main culprits of this we would use and come across in miniature painting are the brushes used for painting, pigments in paints and raw ingredients used to make different modelling clays and polymers.

At Sedition Minis I am all about vegan miniature painting and the painting studio is fully animal product free. Hopefully I can break down the why of a vegan miniature painting practice, provide some resources and encourage more people to have a fully vegan painting practice.

Why Vegan Miniature Painting?

Simply put the main reason why I run a vegan miniature painting business is that this is in line with my personal ethics and beliefs, which have for a long time made me, as much as possible, choose to avoid any practices that would contribute to the exploitation abuse and death of any other individual and the destructive practices towards the planet that supports our life.

I have not always been able to express that as eloquently but I have been vegan now since 2001 and although there are many reasons why they all come back to that one.

I see no reason to use brushes made from someone else’s fur or use paints pigments or materials that are derived from other animals. This is why I run a fully vegan miniature painting commission service.

There are so many top quality vegan paint brushes and artist materials that it’s not even a complicated approach to have unlike say finding a pair of decent vegan hiking boots.

At this point if you did not specifically do a search for vegan miniature painting you might be running for the hills or have a defensive troll bristling in your mind.

I am not reflecting on vegan miniature painting to come across as condescending or critical if this is not a way you live your life but rather I would love to meet people in a middle ground where maybe I can make you reflect on and find some easy ways to remove animal exploitation from your hobby.

If you are a vegan or living a plant based life hopefully I can give you some support and helpful links so you can find everything you needs to paint your minis without compromising your beliefs.

What To Look Out For If You Want To Do Vegan Miniature Painting

As stated previously the main things to think about when doing vegan miniature painting are making sure you are purchasing vegan synthetic brushes and the raw ingredients and pigments used in paints, putties and soaps.

In this blog post I’m going to spend some time talking about vegan paintbrushes for miniature painting, and add a link at the bottom to useful resources and other blogs I have found invaluable in learning more about this topic.

Vegan Miniature Paint Brushes

A lot of importance is placed on the quality of your paint brushes in miniature painting but to be honest the best brushes in the world won’t make up for lack of practice and painting technique.

It goes without saying that I am unapologetically biased on this subject but I will try and keep this concise and to facts so you can make your own decisions.

Many painters will swear by kolinsky sable brushes (specifically Windsor and newton series 7’s) and say that they are the best you can get and that you will never get the same results with synthetics.

Personally, I don’t buy this and even if it is true, it would make little difference as when there are very suitable alternatives for the job I see no excuse to kill or abuse another animal just so that my painting can be a wee bit easier.

I recognize that good tools make a difference, however there are amazing synthetic and vegan paint brushes made by some of the best artist paint brush fabricators out there. I often find that even other pro painters who do not have a vegan painting practice will only use synthetic brushes for most of the heavy lifting in their painting as if nothing else they are cheaper.

Kolinsky sable hair brushes (also known as red sable or sable hair brushes) are made from the tail hair of the kolinsky (Mustela Sibirica) a weasel species not actually a sable. The most expensive brushes will be made from male hair only (as it is longer) but most will be a mix of female and male tail hair. The bristles tend to be pale red getting darker towards the tips. The kolinsky weasels are not an animal that is raised well in captivity so most brushes come from the tails of kolinsky who where hunted in the wild. They are trapped in winter as at this time they have longer fur to cope with the harsh winter climates.

Kolinsky weasels have long bodies with relatively short legs and their tails are half the length of their body. They build their nest in fallen logs empty stumps, brushwood piles and exposed tree roots. They are generally only found in Siberia living in forested and open areas. Their preferred prey are rodents of small to moderate size. As they can be damaging to poultry and muskrat farms they are sometimes described as a pest but at the same time valued for their rat hunting in more urban areas it would seams.

Now I have spent far to long researching this topic which has inevitably ended me up on

some pretty grim threads on forums where people actually believe that people go out into the forest in the middle of winter humanely sedate them pluck just the fur they need for the brushes and release them back into the wild alive so no one dies for their paint brushes!?! A more accurate reality is probably that they are trapped and killed for their fur and the tails are sold into the brush making industry while the rest of their fur goes to the fur industry. I did not however find any information anywhere (which I would call 100% trustworthy) to confirm this is the way paint brush makers get the tail hair though so its an educated guess.

The most popular non-vegan brushes used in miniature painting tend to be sable however many other animals hair and fur will be used for making brushes. These include camel, squirrel, goat, badger, marten, hog or boar to name a few.

I should also be taken into account paint brushes are disposable items. Even if you take care of your paintbrushes if they have a lot of use they perish so unlike a fur coat which is the other main use people would have for fur it wont last you the rest of your life.

You can spend very little money or invest small fortunes on paintbrushes and honestly, in my opinion, it is debatable how much of a difference it makes to your final results. Tools are obviously important but skill technique and proficiency and familiarity with the particular tools you are using are big players in this.

Regardless even if the results where far better personally I would never knowingly use animal bristle brushes in my miniature practice. There is just no need.

Where To Find Vegan Miniature Painting Brushes

Top brush makers will clearly label their brush ranges and I will always favour brushes clearly labelled as vegan to ones solely labelled as synthetic as you never know what adhesives have been used.

My go to paint brushes these days are from Rosemary & Co and you can explore their range I have linked to below.

I’m happy to announce I now have an affiliate account with Rosemary & Co so by purchasing your vegan miniature painting brushes through the link bellow you can help me at no extra cost to yourself as I get a small kickback that will go towards me buying new brushes for the studio. In time if loads of people start using the affiliate link I might change where I spend the funds raised but for now as I don’t really get crazy traffic yet on there that seams like the best way to go.

You can also use this affiliate code at checkout: SEDITIONMINIS

Vegan Miniature Paint Ranges

This is all down to pigments with the most common pigment which is not vegan being made from bone char for blacks grey etc etc. (at least that is the impression I have from the limited research I have done into the topic).

Thankfully a lot of the major miniature and artist paint ranges are pretty good at listing on their websites if not labelling their paint ranges and materials as vegan.

Golden acrylics for example are really good at labelling what pigment are and are not vegan.

The alternative to this is contacting the companies yourself to find out. I have found this approach a bit hit and miss and it’s a faff so I tend to always just go with companies which clearly label their stuff unless I am really interested in a specific range.

Vallejo miniature painting ranges, Scale 75 artist range, and Kimera pigment paints are all vegan from the miniature painting ranges.

Useful Resources Compiled by Other People

Some fellow artist have done stellar jobs of drafting up lists of ingredients and materials and the following link will take you to my go to one.

Jackson art is a pretty decent online arts store and they have also done a blog post on this topic you may find interesting.

Thank you for sticking with me till the end hopefully you found some useful information about vegan miniature painting in it.

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