One of the most important investments you will make in watercolors is the surface you paint on. Arches is very popular brand among watercolorists and is readily available worldwide. Once you get basic command on the techniques, feel free to try other popular brands in the market for example – Winsor and Newton, Saunders, Fabriano, Strathmore, Canson etc. Different papers behave differently like texture ( Smooth[Hot Pressed], Medium grain[Cold Pressed], Coarse[Rough] ), number of glazes each can take, erasing/lifting, masking etc. Arches paper 140lbs Cold Press (sheets or block) is a good paper which should allow you to practice almost all techniques with ease hence it is recommended to the beginners.
A good round #2 and a #8 Red or Kolinsky Sable is a preferred choice. Sable imitation synthetic brushes as well as synthetic/sable blend brushes are also available in the market at lower price which are equally good if you are on a budget. You would need larger brush to tackle large sheet of paper. Squirrel Mops are popular for such techniques. Few popular brushmakers are – Escoda, Raphaël, Roubloff, Tintoretto, Winsor & Newton, Grumbacher, Princeton. Winsor & Newton SCEPTRE GOLD II series brushes are good blend brush choice if you donot want to stretch your budget but still like to achieve top finish in your watercolours.
A 3/4 Inch flat synthetic brush works great for straight edges and miscellaneous techniques.
A liner brush is helpful for smaller details and calligraphy work.
Winsor and Newton’s Student quality Cotman “tubes” are good place to start as almost all of stores carry this brand. Eventually you could invest in artist colors of popular brands viz. M.Graham, Schmincke, Rembrandt, Daniel Smith, Sennelier, St. Petersburg White Nights etc. Color or Hue is very personal for each person so start painting with your favourites or atleast a Payne’s Gray.
+ A board for watercolor paper support if you do not have paper block. Waterproof material like Coroplast, Lucite, Gatorboard cut and bevelled to size 14×17″ works great for half size imperial sheet.
+ A white Ceramic plate for a Palette or commercially available wc palettes. I use Enameled Butcher’s Trays.
+ A plastic cup for holding water. An empty yoghurt container or size 1-lb works great.
+ A cellulose artificial sponge to regulate moisture.
+ A hair dryer to fasten drying times.
+ Masking fluid. (Winsor & Newton – preferred Brand. Talens is also good, which has gray tone)
+ Painter’s masking tape to hold paper onto the support.
+ Retractable Craft Knife for scraping etc.
+ A regular HB pencil for drawing, soft pencils like 2B are easier to erase.
+ A good eraser Like Staedtler®-Mars.
+ A Mist Bottle.
+ A Ruler.
+ A Napkin Box Like Scotties® Facial Tissue.