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The pigments used in creating watercolors are similar to those used in oils or acrylics; some are natural and some are synthetic. These pigments are ground and mixed with a natural sap binder called gum arabic.

Watercolor paints can be bought in pans and tubes. They are also available in concentrated liquid form that come in bottles with dropper tops. These are sueful for large washes but, because they are essentially dyes, they lack the subtle qualities available with pans or tubes.