One of my favorite things to do to relax (and in general!) is to create art. Especially the last 6 months or so (maybe a certain global event had something to do with this..) it’s really something I can find tranquility in! However since my lifestyle became more aware, my look on art supplies also became more critical. So I thought it would be nice to share with you my favorite sustainable art supplies to draw inspiration from!
Firstly, what makes an art supply sustainable can be looked at from different perspectives. Animal cruelty, durability and materials are all things that can be looked at. If something is made from plastics, but it lasts a lifetime, you can still look at this as a sustainable choice. I am sharing 4 products that I like to use as a sustainable option for different reason, but please share your views down below!
My number 1 favorite art supply in general, happens to be pretty eco. If you’ve never written with a fountain pen before, the closest thing to compare it to, is writing with a fineliner. What makes this a sustainable option is that if you buy a decent fountain pen, it can last you a lifetime. I actually inherited a gold nib Waterman fountain pen and its literally the only thing I write with! You can use (plastic) cartridges to renew the ink or, the most sustainable option, you can buy a glass pot of ink and use a converter in your pen which you can refill over and over again. A jar of ink should last you a very long time so the only waste that you’ll have is a glass jar every few years or so, depending on how much you write, which can be recycled! With this little waste I think it’s such a great sustainable option compared to plastic disposable pens and fineliners.
Elephant poo paper
My other favorite art supply? Elephant poo paper of course! It’s made from 30% elephant poo and 70% recycled paper like old newspapers. So 100% materials that would’ve been waste otherwise! Other sustainable benefits of elephant poo paper are that it uses much less water and energy to make, it contaminates the air way less and as a bonus is that it’s made Fairtrade! Check out this blog post to read more about it. I love using elephant poo paper to draw on (with my fountain pen!) or to print artworks that I made with ProCreate… enter my next favorite sustainable art supply:
Of course this isn’t something I’d recommend straight up if someone would ask me how to start creating art more sustainably since it’s quite a large expense, but I do think it’s worth to mention. I love using my iPad and Apple pen in combination with ProCreate to draw. What makes this a sustainable option in my opinion is that you can work on one art piece and redraw lines over and over again, trying out all sorts of pens, inks and paints, without actually “wasting” any paper or materials. When the piece is all done, I still like to print it on a sheet of elephant poo paper, but only needing a single sheet! If you love to draw/paint/sketch a lót and are quite serious about your art journey, I highly recommend purchasing an iPad with an Apple pen.
Let me make clear that paint isn’t the most sustainable art supply in general and often times the colors aren’t toxic free or vegan either. If you want to work with paint though, I think watercolor is the best way to go. Most watercolor set consist of “pans”. If you run out of a color, you can simply replace the pan, so there’s very little waste. Watercolor also lasts very long because you are literally watering down the product! If you want your paints to be vegan, you should contact the brand you’re buying from to check which colors are so, since this can vary from color to color. There’s also small brands out there, that create sustainable, handmade and natural watercolors, like @Aafkedraws does, who I found on Instagram!
Note that watercolors don’t work well on elephant poo paper.
Any item you already own
This might sound a little contradicting… but if you happen to own a bunch of art supplies already that might not be sustainable, just getting rid of them and replacing them with “sustainable” options isn’t actually very sustainable. Cherish what you have and use it. Once they’re used up and you know better you can always replace them with a sustainable option, but trashing perfectly fine materials is such a waste!
Don’t get me wrong, I think creating art should be fun and you should never feel guilty for “wasting” paper on a drawing-gone-wrong ;-). That’s simply the process you go through as an artist. However if you do care about sustainability ánd are creative, I think it can be really fun to see what kind of steps you can make to make your art supply collection more sustainable!
Let me know down below what your favorite (sustainable) art supplies are!