Waterhouse was proficient in both oils and watercolour, though his best known work was in the former. Artworks such as Lady of Shalott have established themselves at the pinnacle of British art of the 19th century.
Whilst regarded by most as a Pre-Raphaelite artist, this movement was more of just an influence on him as his career peaked many years after the Pre-Raphaelites had come and gone.
There were, however, certainly similarities between his later work and that of Holman Hunt and Rossetti.
Waterhouse would use professional models for much of his portraiture work, particularly later on as his career had built momentum. He re-used his favourites, just as Mucha had with Sarah Bernhardt and John Everett Millais with Elizabeth Siddal.
The artist's early training in art techniques was via his father, and artist himself. Sculpture and painting inspiration came from helping out in the family studio. Later he would specialise in oils, with occasional watercolours.
The Roman mythology theme which occurs in certain periods of his career was inspired by his time living in Italy as a boy as well as frequent return visits to freshen up his creative juices.
Despite these international inspirations, the major body of his work is fundamentally British is style, incorporating Pre-Raphaelite portraiture which itself had followed on from French impressionism.