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Watercolour paint contains two main ingredients: finely ground pigment (which provides the colour) and gum arabic (which acts as a binder). Manufacturers also add a wetting agent to facilitate flow and absorption, and a moisturiser to stop the gum binder from becoming brittle. Available in artists' quality and students' quality, artists' watercolours have a higher concentration of finely ground pigment with high permanence ratings. Students' colours may contain cheaper pigments and more fillers and extenders.

Your choice depends on your budget and your artistic aims. Artists' quality watercolour paint is obviously more expensive, but you get your money's worth in terms of permanence, intensity, and superior transparency.

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