Tombow Markers – Review For Watercolour

Landscape Painting Tombow Marker Review | Whims And Fancies



Last month, quite unexpectedly, Mother Nature treated me to a weekend of rain. The sound of rain is like the calls of the mythological Sirens for me. Re-purposing John Muir’s quote – “The rain is calling and I must go”, and go I did. I put on my raincoat and my waterproof pants and went for a 4+ mile run, all the while feeling the rain on my face. I was so happy and full of energy after coming back, I painted this little scene.



Landscape Painting Tombow Marker Review | Whims And Fancies



Early this year in January, I got some art supplies for my birthday from my husband.  These markers were a part of it.

This review is specially for my Paint Party Friday peeps and anyone who loves watercolour or wanting to plunge into that crazy world.


Tombow markers are available loose, but they also offer a few sets.



Landscape Painting Tombow Marker Review | Whims And Fancies



The landscape set included 9 colours and a blender. 

They are water-based markers, so very easy to blend with a wet brush. I found the included blender to be useless.  It actually scuffed my paper when I used it directly on paper.

The markers only have numbers on them.  I found a chart on Tombow’s website which translates the numbers to standard colour names.  It’s a circular chart not ordered by number, so it was a bit tedious to find the names.



Landscape Painting Tombow Marker Review | Whims And Fancies



I applied the markers directly on paper, then used a wet brush to create the swatches.

There is no yellow in the set, that would have been useful.

A lighter blue would have been nice too.  The included blues diluted make very nice light blues. However, directly used on the paper, the initial strokes are too dark.

The colours change hue as they dilute.  So swatching them was very useful.



Landscape Painting Tombow Marker Review | Whims And Fancies



The markers are full of pigment.  A gentle dab on the porcelain palette deposited a lot of paint, which I was able to dilute into a much lighter shade.



Landscape Painting Tombow Marker Review | Whims And Fancies



I created a small sheet noting their behaviour.



Landscape Painting Tombow Marker Review | Whims And Fancies



1st row –

    • The markers blend very easily to create new colours.   Colours blended on the palette are less vibrant than the colours mixed directly on paper.

2nd row –

    • For wet on wet, I used a wet brush on paper and then added colour from the palette. The pigments move very freely.
    • To see if I can achieve a lighter shade directly on the paper, I drew 4 lines, and used a wet brush. While most of the paint diluted well, there was  still a faint hint of the lines on the paper.

3rd row –

    • When I needed to paint vibrant dark areas, it worked really well to use the markers on the paper directly, and then use water to move the pigments around.



Landscape Painting Tombow Marker Review | Whims And Fancies



1st row –

    • Here I applied paint from palette to dry paper, resulting in a softer application.
    • The markers themselves don’t work well on wet surfaces. They start fading very quickly.

2nd row –

    • I used brush-tips to write with two colours.  Blending them directly on paper with a wet brush created a beautiful effect.


The markers did stain my fingers.  The colours came off after a few washes.  If you are going to make food after painting with these markers, I suggest being a bit more careful when using them.



Landscape Painting Tombow Marker Review | Whims And Fancies



I first painted the scene on a Stillman & Birn paper. I couldn’t quite get it to work the way I wanted, specially with the tree.  The colours didn’t move very well.  They either got soaked in or lifted off.



Landscape Painting Tombow Marker Review | Whims And Fancies



I painted it again on a Strathmore 400 series watercolour paper. I really liked the way the markers behaved on that paper, it was a more fluid application.

Which one do you like better?


Overall I really liked them. They are full of pigment so a little goes a long way. Even on rough watercolour paper, a gentle application was all that was needed. Gentle touch also protects the marker-tips.

If you are thinking about learning watercolour, I think the Tombow markers would be great for that. You can start by drawing with the markers and then add water to blend / dilute the colours. For a softer shade, drop some paint on the palette, then use that with a wet brush.


Endless fun possibilities!!


Happy Painting!




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Creating Idiosyncrasies While Creating



We are making a few changes in our lives.  It’s all good news and hopefully I will be able to share more very soon.  In the meantime, I came across these photos of WIP paintings I have not shared here before.  I was experimenting with photographing cropped views of paintings.  While I shared the finished paintings before, I rather like the WIPs too, and I hope you do as well.  

I will also share a few of my habits with these photos.



Old York street light with Sennelier watercolour | Whims And Fancies


Purchase Old York Pub


This one is a painting of the a street light in the old city of York.  You have probably guessed by now that I love painting weathered stone structures and walls.  On these kinds of paintings, I typically draw every single stone before I start painting.  It tends to give me a lot better overview of the perspective.





Remember the Steampunk Fleur de Lis?  I love the challenge of figuring out how a steampunk mechanism might work. This was my planning sketch.  I use old scrap pieces of paper for the planning phase.  I should really use a drawing sketchbook, but I like using paper that would otherwise end up in the recycling bin.



Sketchbook 2017 - Steampunk Fleur De Lis Painting Marker & Winsor Newton Ink | Whims And Fancies



Once I was satisfied with the steampunk mechanism, I drew and painted on my good sketchbook paper.





Ink and markers are my favourite quick painting tools.  The days I don’t feel like dragging out paint, brush, water, rag, etc., I fall back on markers.  Painting is quite therapeutic as is, but markers bring out the child in me.


I am a stickler for straight lines even when I am drawing rocks.  During my college years, I fell in love with my husband’s Rotring set-square and I promptly wanted one for my classes too. He obliged, and it is still my favourite tool.  Unfortunately it has since been discontinued by Rotring, so I better take care of mine!



Science Inspired Art - Sea Stacks And Star Trails | Whims And Fancies


Sea stacks and star trails


I love rain. I love to be outside when it rains, specially when it is a rain storm.  I love to hear the sound of rain on the hood of my rain jacket or on my umbrella.  If I am not outside and if I am not reading while it’s raining, I paint.  This was one of those paintings.





A lot of people draw out quick sketch with very little detail, and add those details while painting.  I really stink at that.  I like to draw in quite a lot of detail before I feel comfortable enough to add paint.  Sometimes I paint over some of the details, while other times I let the pencil marks show through the painting.



Crumbling Stone Castle Watercolour Painting | Whims And Fancies



Unlike the first painting, I didn’t paint it stone by stone from my drawing, but used them as a general guide. In retrospect, I didn’t need to draw that many stones.  Hopefully I will remember that next time.


I have never actively thought of developing creative idiosyncrasies, but now I realise I have formed quite a few.  Do you feel the same way too, while creating?


Until next time,


I am linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page.  Please pay a visit to some of them.



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