Firstly paper and choosing the right paper for what you want to do. Let’s say you work in watercolours and your style is quite loose and you like lots of texture and the pigment to run to the edge of the water to get that interesting effect you can only really get with watercolours? Then you need a watercolour paper with quite a defined tooth on it - lots of texture. If you prefer to have a finer finish and maybe more control over detail (important if you are an illustrator), then you need a much smoother paper, and maybe one that is completely smooth. Fabriano make a range of completely smooth watercolour papers. It is hand-made in Italy and is beautiful to work with, but of course hugely expensive!
Likewise when you are looking at materials, not everyone wants that pigment edged effect to all their dabs of paint, but even colour may be required. The best way to get that is not to use watercolour paint at all, but inks. There are whole ranges of permanent inks out there in wonderful colours. Obviously it must be permanent ink, otherwise you’ll go to lay another colour down and your first will just ‘leak’ everywhere and you’ll soon have a mess. Inks can be diluted just like watercolours and so you can employ the same method. The advantage here is that because the colours are so intense to start with you only need use a tiny amount each time and so your stock of inks, if properly sealed each time and stored well should last a very long time indeed!
Next week I will post instructions on how to stretch your paper, prior to working on