View Full Version : Sepia ink aka squid ink

11-07-2013, 11:13 AM
Hello! I joined this forum so I could ask this question but I'm not sure of the best place for this...so I hope you can help.

My question is about sepia ink, the squid and octopus kind, not the color itself. I'm anaphylactic allergic to fish and seafood, I can't touch or even smell seafood without a reaction.
I've learned that sepia was used more in the past in art products but it is still used in some products today (according to everything I've googled).

Does anyone know which products would have the real thing in it so I can avoid it? I can't find ingredient lists on the internet that give that information, just toxicity information.

Also, I read that some companies use, or have used, fish oil in some paints. Does anyone know if this is true, I have student grade watercolors and I want to upgrade but I don't live near an art store so I have to order online.

I've spent hours and hours googling every combination of words I can think of to get this info, including specific companies, but can't fiind much. The closest I've come was a site listing vegan products, which helped some but they weren't specifically about art products.

Thanks, Hanwi

11-07-2013, 12:42 PM
You might contact the makers of the products themselves and ask for an MSDS....In that you will find all the ingredients of the product. Some companies have MSDS sheets available on line on their websites. MSDS will tell you of ingredients and toxicity.

11-07-2013, 12:43 PM
Sorry, I didn't see an edit button... it's mainly cuttlefish ink used as a pigment, but I've seen squid and octopus listed somewhere also. I wrote this before the right amount of caffeine in my system.

11-07-2013, 12:51 PM
Thanks Hazartist, I did see some MSDS sheets but I didn't see the pigments listed, unless I got lost in the wall of words. It looked like a sheet that shipping would need, they looked like the same sheet no matter what color I typed in.

11-07-2013, 01:48 PM
MSDS's have a (generally) standardised format - and can look a bit like a shipping list.

So far as I can guess, you need to check the colour index name code for the colour (pigment or dye) used in your media, and avoid any than may prove dangerous for you personally.

Certainly avoid natural brown (NBr9 http://www.artiscreation.com/brown.html#NBr9 ),which is cuttlefish dye.

Mangenese Brown (PBr8 http://www.artiscreation.com/brown.html#PBr8) may also sold as sepia. While I have some concernes about manganese, it *should* be OK from your allergy stance.

If a manufacturer (sp?) does not declare the colour index of the pigment/dye used, then avoid their browns.

Standard discalimer - I take no responsiblity for any action or inaction taken as a result of this post.

11-07-2013, 03:41 PM
Use inorganic transparent Iron Oxides. No organic content - no allergy.

11-07-2013, 07:58 PM
I have never seen a paint made with squid or octopus ink. I think you are safe, whatever sepia you buy.
Sepia is a color name that has lasted through the ages while undergoing many changes of formulation. Lots of colors have gone through the same metaporphosis, changing content while keeping the same label name: carmine, alizarin, Hooker's green, ivory black, the list goes on and on. The color name often bears no relation whatsoever to the actual pigment content, the name sepia is a mere relic of a former time. A very former time..

11-08-2013, 12:36 AM
Thanks for the responses and information :) , I like the color sepia and so far I haven't had a problem but the materials I have been using are mainly colored pencils and cheap acrylics.
I had read on a site for severe allergies about sepia and hadn't realized before then that it was the name for a cuttlefish and they mentioned using the ink as a dye and pigment. So I googled it and I couldn't find much info on it other than a few sites that had conflicting information. A few said it wasn't used much anymore and a few others made it sound like it was widely used so I was ???? The products I have now aren't likely to contain any but the few that said it was used were referring to professional products. I wanted to upgrade my watercolors especially since they are student grade and are at least 20 years old ( two high needs kids = no time). While trying to find info on the sepia ink I also came across a site that said sometimes fish oil was used in watercolors, so I tried to find that online also. Some companies seem to like to keep there formulas secret...or so it appears sometimes.
Thanks again for the help and information. If anyone knows right offhand of a line of watercolors (or inks) that for sure do not have any fish products please let me know. ( or if you know of something that does have fish products that no one would think does please also let me know) I will be still researching though, since I like to try new products. There doesn't appear to be much information out there about allergens except for in food and even that isn't always listed, as I discovered a few times....

11-08-2013, 03:44 AM
I have Artist grade watercolor Sepia, it's formulation contains Gummy Arabic, Honey, Ox gall, antiseptic Phenol and three different pigments. Pigments are PR102, PR187, PbK7. No sea fish products there.