Water media is my medium of choice. Here’s why I love working in all things watercolor and the art supplies I use.

The sheer amount of tools you have to make art grows the more you browse social media and YouTube. After years of playing with everything from clay to acrylic, I found a home with water media.

I’m at the point where I’m trying to master a fixed number of mediums vs. trying to experiment with many. For professional work, it takes a load off of you to simplify the tools you use. Water media to me gives this spiritual, ethereal look and feel to art that I love to absorb.

If you can’t decide what medium to focus on, I go over different types of water media and how I use them. Everyone's preference will differ and you should still explore all options first-hand.


Getting Fixated

Three years ago, I got rid of my pastels, colored pencils and graphite. I made a decision that only the following tools would be in my kit: watercolor paint, gouache, Tombow markers, ink pens, and watercolor pencils.

Some may say that even that is too many. For me there’s more than enough variety here for both experimentation and mastery.

Conveying A Mood

When I look at art in different mediums, they in and of themselves give different vibes. For me, watercolor feels foundational, distant, and spiritual all at once. Gouache feels more tactile, tangible, and grounded. Each medium has its personality depending on who’s using it and how. I love being able to share this fluidity in water media.

Translating to Digital

I’m still developing my digital art skills. Regardless of whether it’s painted by hand or on my Wacom, the style will convey the look and feel of water media. I’m starting to appreciate how digital art can do this while making things a bit faster for me as well.

Practicing with my Wacom tablet in Krita.
Practicing with my Wacom tablet in Krita.

Lessons Learned


I’ve played around with each tool listed and found that you can start with basic sets and still make good work. You will need to work harder with cheaper tools to get the effects you want. But there’s no need to start with expensive, professional-level tools. They all also complement each other very well.

A piece that was started with a watercolor wash and then filled in with watercolor pencil.
A piece that was started with a watercolor wash and then filled in with watercolor pencil.

Mixed Media

My favorite mix is to use watercolor paint or Tombow markers as a base. Then I will add layers of gouache for depth and then ink pens and watercolor pencils for line work and texture. I don’t always do this but it’s crazy how all these tools work so well together.

Learning Curve

Watercolor paint is not easy to use. It requires a lot of patience and study for how the water behaves with the paper (the paper is key). There are many techniques and also many ways to mess up the results you want. I recommend reading Everyday Watercolor by Jenna Rainey if you’re new to watercolor.



If you plan on selling your art the paper is where you should invest the money. Using mixed media paper or anything other than watercolor paper will disappoint you. I learned this the hard way.

I use Canson brand papers as well as Strathmore.

Canson watercolor art boards and watercolor paper.
Canson watercolor art boards and watercolor paper.


For my paints, I use the Winsor and Newton watercolor basic set and the Holbein Gouache paint set. The Winsor and Newton has gone through extended use and lasts so long, that it also has rich color to it.

The Holbein gouache is creamy, thick, and also very vibrant. I’m still dabbling in gouache and haven’t dived into all it can do yet.

Holbein gouache paint tubes.
Holbein gouache paint tubes.

Pencils, Markers, and Ink

I have a set of Faber Castell watercolor pencils I need to expand. They work well and make for quick substitutes for watercolor when you’re pressed for time.

The Tombow markers are my favorite out of all my tools. The colors vast and beautiful, giving the same amazing effects of watercolor. Being able to switch between it only as a marker or highlighter and a paint tool is the best of all worlds.

Tombow markers with a few colored pencils.
Tombow markers with a few colored pencils.

Last but not least I use colored fine liner pens that are water-soluble for line art. They are inexpensive and work well enough on their own but can also enhance any other work.

Your Medium

What is your favorite medium to use? Let me know in the comments why you log the tools you choose.