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5 Best Watercolor Mediums | Guide + FAQs

The Winsor & Newton Granulation Medium is one of the best high-quality options to add depth to your artwork. The QoR watercolor medium by Golden is a close second and can help you increase the luminosity of your painting. On the other hand, the Holbein Ox Gall Medium is best for working with painting techniques like wet-on-wet.

Best Watercolor Mediums

Sometimes, a good watercolor medium is all you need to elevate your paintings.

A medium helps you alter the properties of your wet paint. For instance, you can play with the consistency, texture, and drying time of your paints by mixing them with a suitable medium.

However, which one should you go for and why? In this article, I will tell you about the top 5 watercolor mediums in detail.

5 Best Watercolor Mediums

1. Winsor & Newton Granulation Medium - Best For Adding Depth And Playing With Textures

Winsor & Newton Watercolor Medium, Granulation Medium, 75ml...
  • Increases the granulation of color, giving a mottled...
  • For maximum effect dilute colour generously with medium...

The Winsor & Newton Granulation Medium is a must-have for every watercolor enthusiast. It can help you add a decent texture and depth to your paintings. All you need to do is use your best watercolor markers or pencils to sketch your drawing and mix this medium with your choice of watercolor paint or ink. This way, you can easily experiment with a granulated effect!

The best thing about this medium is that you get to work with various textures. You can achieve anything from subtle changes to bold transitions by adjusting the granulation medium you add to your paint.

For instance, when I wanted to paint a house using watercolors - I used the granulation medium to create textures that resemble that of bricks or wood. Or, if I wanted to create elements like a leaf, this medium helped me achieve a textured and mottled appearance for the same.

It is important to note that the Winsor & Newton Granulation Medium is a little runny in texture, which is great if you want to create a soft blended look in your painting surface. However, you can find better options if you are looking to paint precise details in smaller sections. 

Color: Clear | Finish type: Matte | Form: Liquid |Package: Bottle | Volume: 75 ml or 2.5 oz.

2. Qor Watercolor Medium- Best For Enhancing Luminosity  

Golden Artist Colors QoR Watercolor Medium, 2 Oz
  • The concept of QoR Modern Watercolors does not end with...
  • A general purpose medium used to increase the transparency...

If you like adding a transparent, glossy texture to your paintings, the QoR medium by Golden might be the best option. It can be used to create a variety of glazes and textures and is suitable for both beginner and professional watercolor artists. 

You can adjust the glossiness of your painting by varying the amount of medium you add to your paint. For instance, I used to add a normal amount if I wanted my artwork to shine brightly and fewer drops to achieve a more matte finish. 

The QoR medium also allows you to enhance the intensity of your watercolor pigments, which is why it is popularly used to work with vibrant colors. I used this medium to add beautiful elements like a flower, tree, or sky to my paintings. It also helped me create a smooth and even dry wash, which helped me further elevate my art piece. 

This medium has a dropper, making it very easy to use. However, you can also use a brush or spray bottle to apply it as per your convenience.

The only drawback with this product is that it comes with no instruction manual, which might be a problem for beginners who rely on such manuals to learn product use. Other than that, the QoR medium is definitely worth a try.  

Color: Clear | Finish type: Gloss | Form: Liquid |Package: Bottle with dropper | Volume: 59 ml or 2 oz.

3. Holbein Ox Gall Medium - Best For Using Wet-On-Wet Technique 

Made from the extract of cow bladder, the ox gall medium is popular for increasing flow and transparency of watercolor paints. The one sold by Holbein is a great option, especially if you are looking for a medium to prevent blotching on your watercolor paper

The Holbein ox gall medium allows artists to create smooth and even washes in their artworks while giving them great control over the flow of watercolor paint. All these features make this artist-grade wetting agent an ideal medium for the wet-on-wet watercolor painting technique. 

Using this medium, I could easily create smooth transitions, gradients, and hues in my watercolor painting. It also prevents the paint from drying out quickly, which helped me paint for long hours without needing to constantly re-wet my painting. 

However, the Holbein ox gall medium has a strong odor. If you are sensitive to strong smells, there might be better options for you. 

Color: Clear | Finish type: Matte | Form: Liquid |Package: Bottle | Volume: 60 ml

4. Sennelier Watercolor Binding Medium - Best For Creating Custom Watercolor Paints

Sennelier Watercolor Binding Medium, 200ml Bottle, 6.76 Fl...
  • Contains gum arabic, honey, water and a preservative
  • Thin with water

The Sennelier watercolor binding medium is easy to use and best for artists who want to avoid sticking to a particular watercolor paint pigment or consistency. It has a smooth and consistent texture and blends decently well with watercolors. 

This Gum Arabic-based medium enhances the flow and transparency of watercolors, which is why they are popularly used while painting with certain techniques, such as glazing and layering. Apart from that, you can mix this medium with your watercolors to create your custom palette or use it to modify the existing properties of your paints.

If you like purchasing only high-quality art tools, the Sennelier watercolor binding medium will not disappoint you. It comprises ingredients, such as gum arabic, honey, and water. As a result, the medium works well to help enhance the overall quality of your artwork. 

This medium comes from a very reputed brand and is a little costlier than other mediums. However, a great quality product seldom comes at a low price. 

Color: Clear | Finish type: Semi-gloss | Form: Liquid |Package: Bottle | Volume: 200 ml or 6.8 oz.

5. Winsor & Newton Aquapasto - Best Gel Watercolor Medium

Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolor Medium, Aquapasto,...
  • A translucent gel medium that reduces flow
  • Thickens watercolors and gouache to give an impasto effect

Sometimes, all your painting lacks is a little opacity - and that is exactly what the Winsor & Newton Aquapasto watercolor medium provides you with. Its gel-like texture medium allows you to create a sense of depth in your artwork and play with several effects. 

The consistency of this watercolor medium is quite thick but can be thinned out to achieve your desired texture. It blends with wet paint easily, and there are no hassles even when using the Aquapasto medium with acrylic paint sets. 

Using this blending medium, I got to work with a huge spectrum of effects. It helped me create everything from smooth and glossy effects to rough textures. Like any good blending medium, it slows the drying time of your painting - thus making it easier to paint for a long time. 

The Aquapasto is well-known for its thickening abilities while working with watercolors and gouache. Hence, you can also use it to create an impasto gel medium effect in your painting. 

However, if you prefer using luminous paints in your artwork, you might not love the Winsor & Newton Aquapasto. It makes watercolors appear slightly lighter and less transparent.  

Color: Transparent | Finish type: Matte | Form: Gel |Package: Tube | Volume: 60 ml

Quick Comparisons Of Watercolor Mediums

Watercolor MediumsColorFinish TypeFormPackageVolume
Winsor & Newton Granulation MediumClearMatteLiquidBottle75 ml or 2.5 oz.
Qor Watercolor MediumClearGlossLiquidBottle with dropper59 ml or 2 oz.
Holbein Ox Gall MediumClearMatteLiquidBottle60 ml
Sennelier Watercolor Binding MediumClearSemi-glossLiquidBottle200 ml or 6.8 oz.
Winsor & Newton AquapastoTransparentMatteGelTube60 ml

Factors To Consider While Buying Watercolor Mediums

1. Quality

The quality of mediums you use can make or break your artwork. Hence, only go for high-quality ones made up of ingredients like gum arabic and cellulose. Also, ensure that they are acid-free to prevent accidental damage to your paintings (and to yourself!). 

2. Type Of Medium

Depending on the type of your painting, you may require a specific kind of medium. You can choose from various mediums, such as gesso, varnish, and masking fluid while looking for one. Further, it is best to go for gum arabic-based mediums if you want a binding effect in your paintings. 

3. Compatibility 

You need to ensure that your art tools are compatible with your choice of medium. For instance, applying a medium that needs water for activation on watercolor sketchbooks that can only hold a small amount of water is not a good idea. Doing so may lead to the paper getting damaged. 

4. Budget 

Finally, you should find a medium that suits your budget well. You should carefully assess the functions you need your medium to serve and then decide on a budget that doesn't strain your wallet.

FAQs Related To Watercolor Mediums

  • What are the different types of watercolor mediums available in the market?

    The different kinds of mediums available on the market are texture medium, granulating medium, permanent masking medium, lifting preparation medium, and so on. You can also go for an iridescent medium or a varnish, depending on the type of your painting. 

  • How do watercolor mediums differ, and which one should I use for my painting?

    The mediums differ in texture, consistency, and their effects on the watercolors you combine them with. You should choose one based on the blending techniques you will use in your artwork and the textural effects you wish to create. 

  • Can I mix different watercolor mediums to achieve a specific effect?

    Yes, you can mix different mediums to achieve a specific effect. However, check their compatibility first to see whether they will work together. You may also experiment with their proportions and apply them to your artwork.

  • How do I store my watercolor mediums properly to ensure their longevity?

    You should store your mediums properly in a cool and dry place to ensure their longevity. It is best to keep them away from direct sunlight exposure and extreme temperatures. Additionally, make sure to wipe the cap of your medium bottle using a paper towel so that it is sealed properly. 

  • How do I apply watercolor mediums to my painting, and how do I know how much to use?

    You can apply mediums to your painting by using tools like a wet brush, sponge, or spray. The amount of medium that you use should depend on several factors such as the kind of finish you want in your illustration and the consistency of paints that you are aiming for. 

  • What are the benefits and drawbacks of using watercolor mediums in my paintings?

    A good medium (binding medium, lifting preparation medium, etc.) can help you increase the vibrancy of your paints and enhance their transparency. You can also use a medium to create a wide range of effects, such as adding gloss or creating an iridescent medium. However, certain watercolor mediums can alter the color of your paint by either lightening or darkening its hue – thus making it difficult to achieve your desired shades. 

  • Conclusion

    It is best to experiment with different mediums to find which one suits you best. Additionally, you should apply them in layers to increase depth and add texture. Following these tips can help you create stunning artwork. You can also go through a tutorial on sites like Skillshare to practice your skill of medium application.

    The Winsor & Newton Granulation Medium is one of the best options. It provides much room for a creative experience, and you can add a lot of depth and texture using this medium.

    However, if you like a glossy finish in your paintings, the QoR watercolor medium won't disappoint you. The Holbein ox gall is the best medium to create wet or dry washes and works well if you like creating smooth transitions.

    And with that, I have reached the end of this blog post. Goodbye!

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