Have you ever taken a class where the instructor says, "Read this book, there will be a test next week". How about an Art class where the instructor says, as he/she holds up a photocopy of a random picture and says" Paint this!" I have and it's not fun. You start the class thinking ---- But ...what kind of paper, or paints or brushes...what should I use? And they just ignore you and say go to the art store and buy watercolor paint, cold press 140 paper, and a few brushes. Sounds direct and clear, until you get to the art store....and become overwhelmed. Then you come home with what you think is ok, and your painting sucks...not at all like the instructor's supplies.
That's when I began to experiment with supplies until I asked other artists what their favorite supplies were. What a difference it makes when you use good supplies. ESPECIALLY the paper. Many papers say they are cold press and 140lbs cold, but not are all alike. I do believe that the key to good watercolor paper is 100%cotton. It never hurts to do a little research of your own. My experience tells me to share my knowledge so you don't make the same mistakes that I made. I almost gave up painting, because my results were so awful. I think my determination in figuring out what was best for me was important. Not to advise you on exactly what I like, because you may have a different preference. I just want you to have all the facts, and then you can make your own decisions. I al always willing to try a new brand of paper, or type of paper, did you know that they make black watercolor paper? I attended a demonstration by legion paper and they had black paper. It seems very interesting, but I am not ready to try it...yet.
So again if you get that instructor that says "Paint this"....or "Read this"...maybe you should find another instructor. Tools of the trade are just as important as the skill itself. You couldn't change a tire if you only had a screw driver....it is a tool , just not the right one for the job.
Paints and brushes are a separate discussion. If you have any idea on watercolor paper you can always contact me via my website Bobbinsartwork.com.. Or even better take the free classes on supplies that I offer in RecolorYourWorld.com I make it easy...with some fun and silly. See you there xxxooo Bobbin