20+ Easy Watercolor Painting Ideas For Beginners
Watercolor painting of flowers in a vase - Image by Lois Davidson
Creativity is an important attribute to have, but it's also one that many people struggle with. If you're looking for some easy watercolor painting ideas, then this blog post is perfect for you! There are 20+ different projects simple enough for beginners to work on. We categorized the projects into sections: animals, landscapes, botanicals, and abstracts.
A landscape painting of your hometown or another location around the world is both relaxing and rewarding. Painting landscapes allows you to express yourself creatively through vibrant colors and brush strokes.
1. The Night Sky
Watercolor painting of the night sky - Image by Earl's Art
The night sky is one of the most popular subjects for beginner artists since they usually deal with just 3-4 colors, and details like stars are easier to add with a sprinkling of white paint over the painting. While the night sky is simple to recreate, it's also one of the most dramatic watercolor paintings for beginners to make.
A watercolor painting of a river - Image by Lindsay Weirich
Anyone who loves the water element will love painting a serene river landscape like this one. Water is a very challenging element to paint since the play of the light and movement of water is challenging to capture. However, this particular scenery is easier to paint with proper brush control that you'll only get with practice.
3. The Moon
A watercolor painting of the crescent moon in a starry sky - Image by Whitehouse Art
Heavenly bodies are also excellent subjects for beginners on watercolors. A crescent moon in a starry sky is one of the most effortless watercolor paintings to do. The play of light and shadow makes it a very challenging task for beginners. But once you get started with your painting, it will be easier than you think.
Just remember to use the wet-on-wet technique while working on this project. Wet on wet is one of the beginner watercolor techniques to master if you want to improve your watercolor skills.
4. Mountain Scenery
Watercolor painting of mountain ridges against a sunset sky - Image by Ahmad Art
Another very simple scenery to paint in silhouette, thereby easy enough for beginners. One can choose to paint mountain ridges against a sunset sky or the view of mountains from somewhere else.
If you are unsure about your drawing skills yet, it is better to sketch before starting with watercolors. Just lay down some dark contour lines on paper and fill them in gradually as you work through this project.
5. Beach Scene
Watercolor painting of a girl on the beach - Image by Charles Evans
This simple watercolor painting is best for intermediate watercolorists but is easy enough for beginners to master their wash technique. Paint a gradient effect for the starting point to duplicate the ocean and the sand. The girl is the focal image in this painting, so the viewer's focus is not on the strokes on the water.
Still-life is another excellent way to practice your watercolor skills. You can use different techniques and styles with bright colors.
1. Monochrome Still Life
Monochrome watercolor painting of a white pitcher - Image by Yong Chen
You may think of still-life paintings as simple watercolor painting ideas, but this monochrome pitcher presents a bit of a challenge. Start painting on a thick watercolor paper, using at least 300gsm, so it doesn't get soggy when wet.
Be careful to add too much water by wiping the excess water on a paper towel before you start painting.
2. Common Things At Home
Still-life watercolor painting of an onion - Image by Hyun Jung-sook
Every artist gets inspired by lots of things. As a beginner, you may think that you only need exciting things to inspire you. A watercolor painting of onion or an apple (one of the most common subjects) is a great idea for beginners.
However, don't let the simplicity fool you. It's pretty challenging to capture all the details correctly and make your audience feel its texture through their eyes. Not an easy task for a beginner.
3. Realistic Still Life
Realistic still-life of a kettle and fruits - Image by Fine Art Academy
If you feel confident enough with your techniques, here's a way of improving them by painting realistic objects. It would be even better if the camera could capture their texture and details adequately. You can also learn brush control and watercolor mixing to create shades and practice color harmony as you improve your technique.
4. Still Life Of Art Supplies
Still-life painting of art supplies - Image by Shibasaki
You've been painting for a while but have you thought of using your art supplies as your subject. For example, this watercolor tube and jar of painting medium help you master your dimensional painting.
5. Cubist Still LIfe
Cubism still-life painting - Image by Moshin Hossain
Beginners will also love to explore other painting styles to improve their beginner watercolor techniques. One such style to try is cubism, popularized by Picasso. This deconstructed and abstracted style is easy enough for beginners to do.
If you want to try something more challenging, go for animals, fish, birds, and insects. They are one of the most famous paintings for beginners because it's relatively easy to paint without complex or curvy shapes.
1. Koi Fish
A watercolor painting of koi fish - Image by Emily Olson
Aquarium fishes, especially koi fish, are one of the perfect watercolor painting ideas for beginners. It not only looks exciting but also provides a great way to practice your watercolor skill. Use vibrant watercolor paints.
A watercolor painting of birds on a branch - Image by Diane Antone
Looking for an excuse to use bright colors for your watercolor projects? Why not try some birds. The good thing about a painting is the freedom from the convention so that you can draw a drab robin in vibrant greens, reds, or yellows.
Watercolor paintings of insects used on greeting cards - Image by MarenaART
Insects are a popular subject for watercolor painters. Choices are abundant, but the easiest to paint will be butterflies and moths, which you can find in just about any color imaginable. Try a snail, caterpillar, bee, or ladybird, etc.
Black and white painting of a dog - Image by Cheap Joe's Art Stuff
Cats, dogs, and other pet animals are also lovely to paint. If you're painting pets, keep it simple with just the face or head of the animal, like our example, especially if you're a beginner. This painting is a black & white painting of a dog's face, and the painter used tonal values and contrasted to emphasize the dog's emotions.
Stylized watercolor painting of hedgehogs - Image by Nianiani
Adding a bit more detail to your animal painting can give it that extra special touch. Stylized animals, like these hedgehogs, make lovely card decors for all occasions and ages.
Paintings of flowers are also beautiful works of art that look great no matter what level you are at, even if you're just beginning with watercolor paintings! Some people find painting nature scenes easier than abstracts or stylized animals, so try out some flowers, a whole tree, or even leaves.
1. Study Of Leaves
A watercolor study of Monstera leaves - Image by Makoccino
Leaves are perhaps one of the most popular choices for painting with watercolors. They come in many shapes, sizes, and colors, and capturing them in watercolors is an excellent achievement for any beginner artist.
For this painting, the artist used different shades of green to paint the Monstera leaves. Though they may look straightforward, the different shades on these giant leaves make it an interesting study. Wait until the paint is completely dry before adding more layers or glazing the leaves.
2. Flower Doodles
Blue watercolor flowers beside a watercolor palette - Image by Nianiani
Flowers plus doodles? Make sure to use a waterproof pen for the doodles, but you can also use your paint markers to add more colors and highlights. Allow the painting to dry before adding the doodles completely.
3. Pot Of Lavenders
A watercolor painting of a pot of lavenders - Image by Nicola Blakemore
Potted lavenders (or any potted plants) are an excellent subject for your watercolor paintings, especially in large clumps. In the example, the artist did not add many details. This painting is very relaxed, a perfect style for beginners. To add details for texture and depth, the artist sprinkled some watercolor from the brush to simulate the lavender blooms.
Watercolor painting of white flowers on white paper - Image by Anna Bucciarelli
Floral painting is a great way to practice your watercolor skills. Flowers like roses, sunflowers, tulips, daffodils, etc., are all lovely beginner projects as they are pretty simple shapes that you can easily handle. However, painting white flowers on white paper is challenging, putting all the details needed to see the white flower visible against its light background.
Watercolor painting of a tree - Image by Sagak Sagak
Another subject for your watercolors is trees. You can paint them in the summer when their leaves are bright green or in autumn for that special colorful touch. The lovely colors are an excellent excuse to check your color theory, though we suggest using a palette to match your color combination.
An abstract is also popular among watercolorists, especially for beginners. It is an excellent chance to express yourself and be bold in your artwork. Abstract art allows you to paint an image that will not have a specific meaning for other people but give them the freedom of interpretation.
1. Abstract Flowers
Abstract watercolor painting of poppies - Image by Emma Jane Lefebvre
Flowers make great subjects for abstract watercolor paintings, be it a bouquet or a single flower. The abstract way to paint flowers offers you an opportunity to play with different shades and contrast colors suitable for this artform.
2. Random Shapes
A large-format abstract watercolor painting - Image by Scott Swinson
A good thing about abstract art is freedom. You don't have to make discernable shapes since any blob of color is enough for abstract art. Other artists even use several colors and random strokes to fill a canvas or watercolor paper.
3. Doodling Over Abstract Watercolors
Abstract watercolor with doodles - Image by Creations Ceecee
If you can doodle over other watercolor styles, you can also do so with abstract watercolors. Here, the artist used micron pens to add lines and curves to the abstract painting, enclosing some of the random shapes with several thicknesses of the micron pens.
4. Pop Abstract
Abstract pop-art watercolor painting - Image by Wonder Forest
Pop art is yet another lovely style to work on abstract watercolors. Add the background using the colors of a chosen palette, then add details once the bottom layers are completely dry. These designs are perfect for adding to greeting cards, or you can frame them for desk decors.
5. Watercolor Plus Stamping
Adding stamping to a watercolor painting is an excellent idea that comes in real handy when you're looking for something unique. You can draw or paint anything and while it's wet, use acrylic stamps on top of the design to add details. Adding a few spritzes of water or rubbing alcohol will also add character to your paintings.
Watercolor calligraphy on colored paper using metallic watercolors - Image by JetPens
Watercolor calligraphy is a great way to add text and images on top of watercolor paintings. It's especially nice when you want the image or lettering to blend in with what you've painted so far, but it also works well for adding accents. You can practice making calligraphy using regular paintbrushes, but if you prefer a fine-point brush, that works well for adding fine details too.
1. Calligraphy In A Circle
Calligraphy in a circle using black paper and metallic watercolors - Image by K Werner Design
If you're not confident with freehand lettering, try drawing your letters on paper first and once they are perfect, then trace them onto watercolor paper. In this example, the artist started with a circle, then used a fine-tip pen to add the design. Then using a fine-tip watercolor brush, she added the calligraphy and details using different metallic colors.
2. Abstract And Calligraphy
Greeting cards with watercolor abstract and calligraphy design - Image by Veronica Jane
Adding calligraphy to abstract art is an exciting way of adding more detail and making your art look even more enjoyable. In this example, the artist started with a background of watercolor splats, then added calligraphy using micron pens. Start by making a pencil outline, then add the abstract art. Let it dry before adding the calligraphy.