The pencils I plan on getting, Faber-Castell's Polychromos, are certified ASTM Non-Toxic, the cedar casings are made from their own farmed cedars, and the oil-based cores are vegan, for those who care about that sort of thing. I try my best to be mindful of what I use, and how safe it is. However, I leave the making of my art supplies to the professionals.
I've come to accept that everything I do will make a 'footprint' on Earth. I still however try to use safe materials if possible and make sure to utilize health/safety precautions as needed. I've seen fellow artists do the worst to the environment and their health and I'm not about to follow suit. I specifically avoid varsols, high-toxin paints, etc.
Most of what I utilize is pretty low-toxic to me and my environment, esp if disposed of properly. I work with pencils, clays(Plym/PaprCly), paints (WC/Acrylc), and re-use my trash/clippings for dioramas. Old/used paint is dried before tossing in the garbage (not the drain!). I also utilize my computer for art, and dispose of any broken/old tech at special deposit sites.
Last spring I experimented a little with aerosols to make realistic trees for a forest diorama. It was a short-term project, and they turned out beautifully, but I haven't made any that way since - I'm still looking into a safer/better way to make them.
As for making my own paints...I've tried teas/coffees and am not a fan of them. The effort/time it takes to clean, prepare, cook/dry, etc is too much for me to handle, it still takes a lot of energy to cook/store, and I feel is safer to just buy what I need. I'm also only on Earth a short time; I'm here to make art, not an herbarium.
I've always regarded art as one of those pursuits that involves hazardous and environmentally unfriendly materials by it's very nature, and just roll with it.
Personally, I detest the idea of compromising my art through concern for the environment; if there was no difference in performance with home-mixed and 'eco' paints then I'd have no problem, but whenever I see some eco artist's work it looks like it's painted with mud. In terms of less toxicity I use Daler Rowney System 3 acrylics, which use entirely artificial pigments, so no toxic metals and stuff like that, although they are obviously made of plastic, and so are certainly not environmentally friendly.
Something to consider: most everyday activities are a lot more harmful to the environment than art. If you drive a car then there's really no point at all in worrying about using ecologically friendly art materials.
Making your own paints isn't any more environmentally friendly than buying paint from the store. But you can educate yourself about common pigments, and avoid buying heavy metal pigments when you can.
And please take notice: A "non-toxic" label has nothing to do with whether or not something is environmentally friendly. It just means that it isn't very harmful to humans. They can often still fuck up soil and water. Likewise, a lot of things that could make you sick are completely fine for the environment. What you want to look for instead are things that use natural materials--particularly minerals and organic compounds. These can usually be accepted back into the environment.
Blood and coffee, Ive heard are used. You could do some water color stuff with juice, coffee, food coloring, etc.
Plus also trash if your a sculpture artist.
I don't think most of the toxicity matters, but only oils I was concern about, because there is more time to take care of oils rather then acrylics. Acrylics tend to be less toxic, unless you get the highest grade ones. I realize this, because I bought a gesso from blick and phew, that gesso was toxic smelling.
But most paints you get, will have some sort of dangerous chemicals and some sort of danger. I don't know if its totally unadvoidable.
I've messed around with making oak gall ink, but just for fun, not because of any concern with toxicity or eco-friendliness. Some years are better than others for oak galls. You can buy them online, but once you've had oak galls shipped to you from overseas it seems like you've gotten kind of far away from the point. You can also make your own charcoal out of willow sticks, etc. You can also get pigment for black ink this way.
And you can make pens out of quills and reeds! Fun!
just being alive is dangerous. if you spend your whole life obsessing over minimizing danger, you're never really going to live it - meanwhile, you and everything you've ever known will die anyway, despite your concerns
But here's something worthwhile, because I like you so very much:
Minimizing exposure is not so much a quantity of life issue, but rather a quality of life issue. The materials that artists work with, specifically chemicals, can often build up in one's system to a point where allergies, cancers, and other chemical sensitivities can develop. These sorts of things may not kill you, and in some instance are likely not to kill you, or even really shorten your life. What they can do, however, is make it so that you can't be within sniffing distance of, say, cadmium without getting hives or feeling nauseated. That's a pretty crappy thing to happen to a painter.
At its heart, this isn't some dimestore philosophical issue. This is an issue of real concern to artists, because developing chronic conditions that make your life (you know, that part that comes before all the entropy and death and other favorite words of angsty 16-year-olds) pretty miserable just plain sucks. That's especially true, since most of the time these conditions are preventable by informing yourself and practicing proper workplace hygiene. Being flippant about it doesn't help a damned thing, especially when your response, which essentially amounts to #YOLO is completely off-point, and has nothing to do with material safety.
Look you are entitled to your views. I care about the environment and I try to do what little I can to preserve it for a tad longer. I am not trying to make you care about it though. I do realise that I will eventually die I would prefer for it to be later than sooner. Same thing with the planet, yes in a few billion years the sun will die and take the earth down with, doesn't mean that I need to help it along to its death before its time.
tempera is an odd paint. It's based much like watercolors in that they can be reactivated with water (some what), but I find that the pigment particles are far too coarse for any major project. I'm not a fan of tempera myself. It's a pretty cheap way to go and you'd be sacraficing quality.
Besides toxic levels are more about "are you going to eat it." Aerosol Propellents are about the most dangerous in the art supply world. You'd have to ingest paints for them to be harmful.
The toxicity in the paints is mostly in the pigments. Kids' paints use harmless pigments. Artists' paints sometimes don't. Although there's no need to get overly excited about it, because for the most part even artists' pigments are fairly harmless. Like you get yourself a tube of iron oxide red or something and it's like... rust. It's pretty hard to freak out about a tube of rust.
Here's a great pigment database which tells you all sorts of things about pigments: [link]
My husband mixes paint for me. It's not terribly complicated, although you need to wear a mask because inhaling pigment particles is bad, even if the pigment is harmless. It's fairly easy to avoid toxic pigments. Is it a heavy metal? No? Then it's probably okay. Look on the chart to be sure.
If you're thinking of trying oil painting you also have to worry about the solvents. I paint with acrylics and watercolours, so I don't have any solvents to worry about.
Don't flush heavy metals down the drain. Otherwise, the watercolour binder is just resin and most pigments are just finely ground dirt, which isn't going to do much. Look up the pigment numbers on your watercolours, check them against the chart, if it says they're harmless then don't worry about it.
I suspect that trying to make your own watercolours will be a lot more annoying than oils or acrylics because the binder isn't as readily available.