I did a Zebra water marble many months ago and have been wanting to try something like this ever since. I felt like black and white was a little too predictable and stark. I went with Jordana Chiffon and Zoya Petra. Petra is actually a dark, dusty purple, but looks brown on top of the tan Chiffon. I like the way it looks, but definitely think purple would look better. Does this look like a zebra to you? I see a zebra's back. They have a "spine" of stripes that runs up their back that other stripes come off of. I love this design. I find myself looking at it a lot. It looks very sophisticated to me. I think it's the color combo.
Back to the no tape thing, have you heard of using tape in conjunction with Vaseline to make clean up easier? Well how about using Vaseline instead of tape? I actually used Aquaphor ointment rather than Vaseline. I slathered my finger in it. I got it as close to my nail as I could without actually touching my nail. That way when I dipped my finger in the polish water, the polish didn't stick to my skin and I could just wipe it away with a cotton swab.
Around my cuticle, while the polish was still wet, I ran my shish kabob skewer (as opposed to a toothpick) all around the edge pulling the excess polish out as I went. I know, that probably doesn't make much sense. I did a video here that shows the technique. And there you go, you're fingers will be greasy, but there's a tape free, polish remover free water marble.
Try it and let me know what you think!