I am using 140 lb. watercolor paper. Remember that I am making these faces to practice. They are not being shown or sold. I want a nice surface, but I don't want to spend a lot of money. I buy the paper at craft stores when it is on sale or I have a coupon. I prefer the paper in pads rather than in a spiral notebook, because I like to spread the pages out and work on a few at a time. I can paint the background of one, and while that is drying, I can make the background of another.
I'm using Golden acrylic paints, About 95% of the paint I use is Golden. Sometimes I've gotten others just because I want another color, such as a neon. I like the way the Golden paints cover and have some light to them when they dry. I use both fluid and thick paints, but mostly fluid for these faces.
I use an old gift card to smear the paint around the page when I'm doing a background. Or not. Sometimes I use a paint brush or a sponge brush. I use acquarellable stabilo pencils to initially draw the face, as Dina uses in her class. These are grease-type pencils that can also write on photos or glass. They will smear with your finger or water, which is the point of using them here. They create a nice shadow effect on the lines.
When I don't want that smear, I experiment with other pencils. I like farb-riese color-giant by Lyra, and I like charcoal pencils.
Sometimes I use a spray bottle with water to create the backgrounds. Not that often with these, though, because then I have to wait for the paper to dry before I keep going. I don't like waiting. Usually I work on 3-5 faces at once, so when you can go from painting to painting, then you don't have to wait.