I’ve been asked several times so far, what do I use, what ink is it, what pens, what paper and so on. All the questions you get as an artist :)
I feel honoured people wanna know what I use, being so much information on the Internet, makes me feel, no matter what, they are my fans enough to wonder how I did that, so thank you for that! ♥
So, when approaching a watercolour I usually draw first super lightly with a light pencil, specially to mark the structure of what I’m going to draw and paint. Not too much detail but I want to have quite well the structure of the subject/object. I will then use ink pens. I cannot get here in Argentina everything I’d love to get, or as cheap as it can be in USA for example, so that adds some adventure in getting many of my fave tools haha.
The best paper for watercolour is the one from the brand ARCHES. That one, unless I get someone who travels to USA or Europe and brings one block to me, it's really expensive in Argentina. For sure 4 times the value in dollars (then you do the math with our local currency and such, it ends up creazy)
So, I usually use way cheaper papers, but yet pretty decent ones. Like Fabriano or Canson. Good ones also if you want to start with watercolours. The thing is that, for watercolours you really need a good paper. Really Good One. Period.
And that means among other things the paper MUST have tons or be pure cotton.
So, buy Arches if you can, else get something like Fabriano or Canson.
I work with PIGMA Micron pens for doing the fineline of ink in my watercolours. And I usually do it before colouring it. They won't bleed when you apply the water later upon the lines. I would use a Pentel Pocket brush if it wasn’t a bit expensive here (although I will buy one that I will cherish lol). The Pentel Pocket brush is a pen brush, that you can buy and change it’s ink cartridge. And you get a kind of ink brush ready to go. But that also would fall in my experimentational zone for now (and I haven't tried it yet so I can't tell if it will bleed later or not when applying the watercolours)
So, pencil first for the structure.
PIGMA Micron pens usually for doing all the ink line, and I use cross hatching a bit (inking techniques that I won’t discuss here so I don’t overwhelm you) and I do like organic gawky lines too.
I may erase a bit of the pencil lines after I’ve done all the inking.
Then I use upon all that, watercolours itself.
My fave watercolours because of their quality, colour duration, texture, and pigments itself, are the Winsor & Newton ones (they have many options). And for a cheaper version I use the Reeves ones too, that have a nice quality-price relation. But if I could have all of them Winsor & Newton.... I wouldn't hesitate at all :D
I love working watercolours in layers, and usually I use 3 layers (that meaning, I paint overall, let it dry, paint another layer, let it dry, and paint a last layer) of course sometimes the artwork needs more layering. But for sure it will have 3 layers at least. Layering is really key to build the shadows in steps.
I tend to use wet on dry techniques more than wet on wet (watercolours techniques).
When you use the wet on dry (brush is wet, paper where you apply is dry) you end up having a lovely border, an outline in the colour while you pass the brush, I love that).
When you use wet on wet (brush is wet, and you previously added a layer of water to paper making it wet, with a clean brush... or perhaps you're applying a new colour on a zone you already passed the brush and it's still wet) then you get this magical movements of the new colour in the wet surface, doing those happy accidents, that's how watercolourists call it :)
But I don’t have too many rules, I simply love and enjoy those splashy colours.
Personally I think that in becoming a great artist, under any tool or technique, you need to develop your eye and your hand. Your eye to see shapes. To see light and shadows. To see details and yet to see simple shapes. To see beauty in the ordinary. To see volume. Then you practice tons to train your hand to be able to manifest the things your eye sees.
I hope I've tempted you and you start painting with watercolours too ;)