Eco-Art Guide: Tips for Sustainable Artwork
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 7 min read


  1. Choose eco-friendly materials
  2. Reuse and recycle materials
  3. Create art that raises awareness
  4. Avoid toxic paints and glues
  5. Reduce waste
  6. Use natural and renewable resources
  7. Practice energy efficient art making
  8. Support local and ethical suppliers
  9. Share your sustainable practices
  10. Become part of the eco-art community

Embracing eco-art doesn't just spell out a love for Mother Earth—it's a step towards aligning your creative expression with the planet's wellbeing. As eco-artists, we have the power to influence sustainability in art, one brushstroke at a time. This blog will guide you through how to create artwork that's kind to our planet, from choosing eco-friendly materials to joining the eco-art community. Let's dive in!

Choose Eco-friendly Materials

First things first: materials matter. The materials you choose can make a big difference in the environmental footprint of your artwork. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when you're picking out your art supplies:

  • Opt for natural pigments: Synthetic colors can harm the environment. Instead, consider using natural pigments. These are derived from mineral, plant, or insect sources. For instance, Indian Yellow is a pigment that's made from mango leaves, while Red Ochre comes from iron ore.
  • Choose biodegradable canvas: Traditional canvases are often treated with chemicals, which isn't great for the environment. Swap them out for biodegradable options like hemp or organic cotton. Your eco-art will look just as stunning on these natural fabrics.
  • Go for eco-friendly brushes: Instead of brushes with plastic handles, opt for ones made from bamboo or other sustainable woods. And look for brushes with animal-friendly bristles—there are plenty of synthetic options that mimic the feel of traditional brushes.
  • Use water-based mediums: Oil paints can release harmful fumes and require harsh solvents for clean-up. Water-based paints, on the other hand, are less toxic and easier to clean up with just soap and water.

Remember: making sustainable choices for your art supplies is a great way to start your journey in eco-art. Every little change counts!

Reuse and Recycle Materials

Did you know even your waste could become a masterpiece? That's the beauty of eco-art: you can transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. It's time to give those discarded items a second chance to shine.

  • Repurpose old fabrics: Turn your old clothes or bed sheets into canvases. Not only does this reduce waste, but it also adds a unique texture to your artwork.
  • Recycle paper and cardboard: Instead of buying new sketchbooks, create your own using recycled paper. You can also use cardboard as a base for your artwork. It's sturdy, versatile, and easily available.
  • Upcycle found objects: Transform objects from your daily life into art. Bottle caps, buttons, broken jewelry—these items can breathe new life into your eco-art pieces.
  • Use natural materials: Rocks, leaves, twigs, shells—nature provides an endless supply of art materials. Plus, they're biodegradable and add a unique touch to your work.

So, next time you're about to toss something in the trash, think again. Could it be the star of your next eco-art piece?

Create Art That Raises Awareness

Creating eco-art isn't just about using sustainable materials—it's also about sending a message. And what could be a better message than raising awareness about our planet's health?

  • Showcase environmental issues: Use your art to highlight the challenges our planet faces. Depicting images of deforestation, pollution, or endangered species can help spark conversations and inspire change.
  • Celebrate Mother Nature: Our planet is full of wonders. Paint vibrant landscapes, sculpt majestic animals, or sketch delicate plants. Let your eco-art serve as a reminder of what we're striving to protect.
  • Illustrate solutions: It's not all doom and gloom. Your eco-art can also demonstrate how we can make a difference. Illustrate concepts like renewable energy, recycling, or conservation to inspire others to take action.

Remember, your eco-art has the power to influence and educate. So why not use it to advocate for our planet?

Avoid Toxic Paints and Glues

Creating art should never harm the environment or your health. Unfortunately, many traditional art supplies contain harmful chemicals. But don't worry, eco-art offers a green alternative.

  • Look for non-toxic labels: Many art supply brands are now producing non-toxic paints and glues. These eco-friendly products are safer for you and the environment. So next time you restock, look for the non-toxic labels.
  • Understand the ingredients: Some products claim to be non-toxic but still contain harmful ingredients. Do a little homework and learn about the common toxic elements in art supplies. This way, you can make informed choices.
  • Explore natural alternatives: Nature offers a wealth of art supplies. For example, you can use natural pigments for paints or plant-based glues. These are not only eco-friendly but also add a unique touch to your eco-art.

So, when it comes to your art supplies, choose wisely. Your health and the planet will thank you.

Reduce Waste

Waste reduction is a key pillar of eco-art. By minimizing waste, you not only save resources but also contribute to a cleaner and healthier environment. Here are a few ways you can reduce waste in your art practice:

  1. Plan before you start: When you plan ahead, you can avoid unnecessary waste. Sketch your ideas first, and calculate the materials you need. This way, you reduce the chances of overusing or wasting art supplies.
  2. Save your scraps: Don't throw away your scraps. Small pieces of fabric, leftover paint, or even a piece of wire can be reused in future art projects. This is a great way to recycle and reduce waste.
  3. Invest in quality: High-quality materials last longer and perform better. Although they might cost more initially, they can save you money — and waste — in the long run.

Remember, every little bit counts. Even small changes in your art practice can make a big difference in reducing waste.

Use Natural and Renewable Resources

Switching to natural and renewable resources is another effective way to make your art practice more sustainable. Let's look at a few ways this can be done:

  1. Opt for Natural Materials: Natural materials such as clay, wood, or stone not only add unique textures to your artwork, but they are also more environmentally friendly. They are abundant and do not require extensive processing, saving energy and reducing pollution.
  2. Choose Renewable Resources: Renewable resources, like bamboo or wool, are materials that can be replenished over time. By choosing renewable resources, you are not depleting the Earth's finite reserves.
  3. Consider Plant-Based Paints: Traditional paints can contain harmful chemicals. Opt for plant-based paints instead. They're made from natural pigments and are a safer choice for you and the environment.

By incorporating natural and renewable resources into your art, you're not just creating eco-art. You're becoming part of the solution to our planet's sustainability challenge.

Practice Energy Efficient Art Making

Energy efficiency isn't just for appliances—your art studio can benefit from it too! Here are a few strategies to help you incorporate energy efficiency into your eco-art practice:

  1. Make the Most of Natural Light: Arrange your workspace to take advantage of natural light. It'll not only help you save on electricity but also give you a better view of your artwork's true colors.
  2. Switch to LED lights: If you need additional lighting, LED lights are the way to go. They consume less energy and last longer than traditional light bulbs.
  3. Unplug Equipment: Even when turned off, plugged-in equipment can still draw power. Remember to unplug your art tools when not in use.

By making these small changes, you can help reduce your carbon footprint while creating your eco-art. And who knows? Your energy-saving habits might just inspire your next masterpiece!

Support Local and Ethical Suppliers

It's one thing to create eco-art, but what about the supplies you're using? Here's a thought: why not support local and ethical suppliers? Let's break down what this means and how to do it:

  1. Go Local: Choosing local suppliers can significantly reduce the carbon footprint of your art supplies. How so? Well, transportation alone accounts for a large portion of carbon emissions. By going local, you can cut down on these emissions and support your local economy too. Win-win!
  2. Choose Ethical: Ethical suppliers are those who ensure that their products are made sustainably, and that workers involved in the production process are treated fairly. By choosing these suppliers, you're voting with your dollars for a more sustainable and equitable world.

Remember, every purchase is a chance to make a difference. So why not make your eco-art even more impactful by supporting local and ethical suppliers?

Share Your Sustainable Practices

So, you're creating eco-art and supporting local, ethical suppliers. That's fantastic! But why keep all that goodness to yourself? Sharing your practices can inspire others and spread the love for eco-art even further. Here's how:

  1. Show and Tell: When you finish a piece of eco-art, don't just show it off—tell the story behind it. Share how you used recycled materials, avoided toxic substances, or sourced your supplies locally. You'll give your audience a deeper appreciation for your work and might encourage them to try eco-art themselves.
  2. Teach Others: Consider hosting workshops or tutorials to teach others your eco-art techniques. You'd be surprised how many people are eager to learn about sustainable art practices!
  3. Use Social Media: Platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are great places to share your eco-art journey. Post pictures, share tips, and engage in discussions about sustainable art. Who knows, you might even start a trend!

Remember, eco-art isn't just about creating sustainable artwork—it's about creating a sustainable art community. By sharing your practices, you're opening doors for others to walk through. So, ready to share?

Become Part of the Eco-Art Community

So, you're making eco-art, and you've started sharing your sustainable practices. The next step? Becoming a part of the broader eco-art community. Here's how:

  1. Join Local Art Groups: Look for art collectives or groups in your neighborhood that focus on eco-art. This not only gives you a platform to showcase your work but also allows you to learn from like-minded artists.
  2. Attend Eco-Art Exhibitions: Participate in or visit eco-art exhibitions. You can learn so much from seeing other artists' work—new techniques, fresh perspectives, and perhaps even a little inspiration!
  3. Volunteer: Many eco-art initiatives need volunteers. Whether it's helping to set up an exhibition, teaching a workshop, or cleaning up a local park for a community art project, there's always a way to lend a hand.

Being part of the eco-art community means more than just creating your own sustainable artwork. It's about supporting others, learning from them, and growing together. So, are you ready to dive in?

If you're passionate about creating eco-friendly art and want to explore sustainable techniques, the workshop 'Classical Painting in the Modern Day' by Eric Drummond is a great resource. This workshop not only focuses on classical painting techniques, but also incorporates sustainable practices for artists who are conscious about their impact on the environment. Dive in and learn how to create beautiful, timeless art while being kind to our planet.