Here at Perfect Paper, we understand the importance of where the paper has come from, how it is sourced and how it is made. We also understand that you want to know the exact same thing so you can make the best conscious decision when choosing the right paper for your needs, especially when it comes to having a vegan-friendly paper. This Basic Breakdown Blog will explore some of the best vegan papers on the market and see how this type of paper is produced.
What's the difference between vegan and non-vegan paper?
Well… nothing much. Paper quality remains the same. The same ingredients such as the fibre (cotton or cellulose) that is used will be the same for vegan and non-vegan alternatives. The key difference is the size that is added.
What is size and why is it important?
We have a detailed Basic Breakdown Blog about this already that we highly recommend you read if you want to know more. However, in a really simple term. Paper fibres can be really absorbent when a size isn’t used - think of tissue paper, things like ink and paint can easily bleed through which might not be the effect you're after, however, some artists use this to their advantage. You add a size to prevent this from happening. This is done either when the paper is still being made and is a pulp mixture that has not been formed (internal sizing) or it is added after the sheet has been made and is fully dried (external sizing); you can also do both to one single sheet which is what some companies do like Khadi. A gelatine size has been used to do this for centuries, and this is when the paper no longer becomes vegan friendly.
Hahnemuhle Watercolour Toned Paper - A Vegan Friendly Paper
Is there an alternative vegan-friendly size?
Yes! There are now plant-based and synthetic sizing alternatives that are just as good as a gelatine size and can do the same job without harming any living animals in the process. It is added just as a gelatine size would within the paper making process. Some companies have started using alternative sizing on some products, some companies such as Hahnemuhle use it throughout their entire range.
As more people become conscious of what paper they use, more companies are producing products that fit into a more environmentally and animal friendly ethos. We have a large range of products that are vegan friendly that cover various different mediums. Here are some of the products we highly recommend.
For Watercolour & Alcohol Inks - Yupo Paper Pads
Yupo Pads are made in the USA using synthetic paper which is machine made. The sketchbook contains 10 pages of 100% polypropylene which makes it completely waterproof, exceptionally strong and acid-free. These sheets have no internal or external sizing which makes them genuinely vegan friendly.
For Pastels - Clairefontaine Pastelmat Paper
Pastelmat is the only vegan-friendly pastel card with specific retaining pigments. As far as Clairefontaine are aware their nearest competitors make this card with non-vegan friendly elements. This paper is PEFC certified from sourced, recyclable materials so it is very eco-friendly and has a unique mechanical strength and flexibility as well as being 100% natural. It is also available in single sheets and pads.
For Sketching - Seawhite of Brighton Eco Sketchpads
Seawhite Eco Sketchpads are handmade using high-quality materials within the UK. The pad is made with organic waste such as corn cobs using hydro-electric power, making them environmentally friendly paper. These sheets are ECO innovative ecological papers that are genuinely acid-free. If you are wanting a sketchbook that is not only vegan friendly but also eco friendly, this is one of the best on the market.
For Mixed Media - Pebeo Pop Art Canvas Pad
Pebeo Canvas Pads are designed to be used with various paints. They use a synthetic size internally and externally on paper that is made from 100% cotton. The paper inside the pad has been primed with a universal primer meaning it can take Oil, Acrylic, Gouache and even Watercolour Paints. As the paper is pre-primed the pad can be painted onto straight away. It is a brilliant starter pad to work with if you want to begin using canvas.
Our Recommended Brand - Hahnemühle
Hahnemühle is one of the most environmentally responsible art supply companies operating today. Their papers have a traditional, archival feel and are made with sustainable materials that are 100% responsibly sourced, in line with their Green Rooster eco initiative. They also have the biggest range of vegan and vegan friendly products in the modern art supply market which is why we are highlighting the brand as a whole and not one particular product, check out the range here.
Making sure the paper you use has been responsibly sourced and produced is something that can be highly important, but also a very daunting task to undergo yourself. We hope this blog has simplified this process. We have plenty of other vegan friendly products on our website, click here to see our range.