30+ watercolor painting ideas for beginner to advanced painters


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Watercolor painting is one of the easiest creative activities to learn. You only need a few supplies: a set of paints, paint brushes, paper and water – and there are only a handful of essential techniques you need to know before putting pigment on paper. This brilliant simplicity means it’s a cinch to start and finish a watercolor painting on the same day. So what are you going to paint?

Deciding what to paint can sometimes be the most difficult part of the entire design process. Do you want a topic that will test your skills? Are you looking to perfect the way you portray realism, or are you interested in testing the limits of your abstraction? What types of watercolor techniques would you like to use in your project? Making these decisions will prove to be vital for what you decide to paint, but they can seem overwhelming and leave you in awe.

If you need some watercolor painting ideas, fear not! We’ve come up with a myriad of concepts ranging from easy to difficult, and they all lend themselves to the carefree fluidity that characterizes the medium. We recommend that you choose a few ideas that you like and, if applicable, make a sketch of what you would like to paint. When you’re happy with the composition, start applying color and watch the watercolor work its magic.

Check out over 30 watercolor painting ideas below.

Need something to paint? We have over 30 watercolor painting ideas for you to try out today that range from simple to complex concepts.

The advantage of many of these ideas is that the simpler concepts can evolve into more difficult concepts. With flowers, for example, it is relatively easy to paint a daisy or a tulip. When you’re ready, try adding a rose to your bouquet.

Easy watercolor painting ideas

Photo bank by Ekaterina Iatcenko / Shutterstock

Easy watercolor painting ideas

  • Experience! Try out different colors and experiment with a variety of watercolor painting techniques.
  • Washes that look like the sky: try painting the sunset with the wet-on-wet approach.
  • The starry sky. Try to keep your whitepaper with masking liquid.
  • Mountains or hills.
  • Put your ride on the iconic rainbow.
  • A decorative motif. Make sure you start easy and move on to more complex designs.
  • A single fruit like an apple or an orange. To make your composition more interesting, try cutting it in half.
  • A daisy or a tulip.
  • Your favorite Disney or video game character.
  • A tranquil lake scene or a beach – bonus if you include a boat, animal or parasol.
  • A ladybug on a leaf.
  • Your favorite pairs of shoes.
  • An aerial view that you would see from an airplane.
  • An interesting tree that you saw on a recent hike.
  • Your morning cup of tea or coffee. Use the fluidity of watercolor to capture the steam that escapes from the hot drink.
  • Balloons and confetti. Learn how to create vibrant hues with pigment.
  • A fluffy cat or dog using stained watercolor washes.

Next: More Watercolor Painting Ideas

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