I'm a professional watercolor artist who used Arches paper for everything only to find they use gelatin in the paper when making it. So I heard about this new paper called Yupo, which is made of polypropylene and is animal product free (and as far as I know not tested).
It however sucks.
My style is realism and Yupo is not responding to the realism technique very well at all.
Would I be a bad vegan to continue to use Arches? Maybe I wouldn't even be a vegan anymore at all, but a dietary vegan.
Oh that totally stinks! I use Arches too, always have, it never occurred to me to check the paper...
After a quick google search this is what I turned up, but I haven't tried any of these to date.
Fabriano Artistico Watercolor Paper is "externally and internally sized with a specially formulated, gelatin-free sizing that is odorless when wet." Strathmore also answers it outright on their website FAQ: "We do NOT use any animal products as part of our sizing process. We use plant-based and synthetic sizing".
Rag: You know, all we can do is our best. I don't worry about the "label" i put on myself or anyone else. Know that whatever steps you're making to reduce your impact on animals the rest of the world is more than what most people are doing. I consider myself vegan (again with the labels), but I, for instance, drink beer/alcohol that is not vegan. Does that make me any less of a good person? I don't think so. Personally, I don't feel the need to drive myself insane investigating every single ingredient of every object/food/drink I encounter in my life. But to each his own. Do what feels OK for you.
I have some Arches left to use up, then I will try some other options. I am actually more particular about paint than paper, personally. Sometimes paper that others feel is really junky I like because I want a certain piece I am working on to have a texture or impression of one that comes from a paper that is less refined. But there are those times when one needs a really great bit of pressed paper and it seems it may be tricky to find. Haven't had time to really peruse the paper at my fave art supply dealer here in Houston with my little one under foot. She is starting preschool soon! She is so excited and I am so conflicted, lol. Maybe having more time to paint will help with that.