watercolor painting ideas for beginners

14 Easy Watercolor Painting Ideas for Beginners

Are you out of new ideas for watercolor painting, or are you lacking inspiration and creativity to fill up your paper with colors? Well, this is the place you were looking for. Here are 14 watercolor painting ideas that you can try as a beginner to unleash your potential.

Most beginners struggle with a lack of creativity and inspiration to start their watercolor painting journey. I have gathered some of the best watercolor painting ideas for you to start your journey right away.

Tools You’ll Need

Before I give you all the watercolor painting ideas, let’s make sure you have all the necessary tools. You’ll need: some watercolor paints, brushes, paper, a water jug, erasers, and tissue paper.

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watercolor paint set

Paints, any decent-quality watercolor paint would get the job done.

watercolor paper

Cold-pressed, high-absorbancy paper works better for watercolor.

watercolor brush

Different sizes of brushes

watercolor medium

Watercolor medium modifies the behavior of the paint, like the paint’s flow, transparency, or texture.

watercolor masking fluid

Masking fluid a liquid latex compound used to preserve areas of the paper while painting. You can also use a masking tape instead.

watercolor palette

Palette for mixing and diluting the paints.

Trust me, having good quality equipment can really boost your confidence and make your artwork shine. And, if some of these items seem unnecessary right now – once you start painting, you’ll realize just how important they are. So, let’s get ready to create some beautiful watercolor paintings!

Watercolor Painting Idea


Trees are an excellent idea to work on, especially when you’re a newbie. All of us have a somewhat distinct picture of trees in our minds because they are just everywhere. 

For a standard green tree, you’ll need sap green, olive green, undersea green, and brown watercolors. Don’t hesitate in the beginning. Just let your ideas flow and see for yourself what you can achieve without any assistance.


Another marvel of God, mountains are extremely easy to paint, yet beautiful and attractive when painted. Start by painting a simple sketch of a mountain. Once you are done with the initial draft, you’ll get a clear picture to move your painting in the desired direction.

As the quote goes by, “The sky is the limit”, you can add on whatever you deem suitable in your mountain drawing. I recommend the scene of a landscape mountain, as there would be a cushion to add valleys, rivers, and forests.

Distant misty mountains with some trees in front are very common scenery beginners make. Add a touch of a darker environment to make your painting more appealing.

Abstract Art

Abstract art is a type of art that does not have an existential reality, rather it is a way of expressing something through a combination of different colors, shapes, effects, and characters.

Abstract art frees you from the prison of limited thinking. You can take inspiration from your daily routine, a movie you recently watched, the experiences you had, or it can also be your imagination. Just take your brush and express it on paper.


Come on! You know how to crack this one, don’t you? We all have been making shapes since our childhood be it triangles, circles, crescents, crosses, hearts, and the list goes on. If you are still thinking about where to start, the shapes you remember can be a good starting point.

Watercolor Painting Ideas

One tip to remember while making shapes is to sketch out the boundaries of the shape you are making beforehand. In this way, you’ll have a clear picture before you start filling in the colors.

Outer Space

Outer space has always been the source of inspiration for writers, poets, and artists. The fine amalgamation of light and dark and the will to reach its natural boundaries have always sparked curiosity in the human mind.

A watercolor-painted starry night with constellations of galaxies will leave everyone in awe. For beginners, sketching outer space can be slightly difficult but with some practice, you can draw it really fine.


One of the most beautiful scenes of nature is the yellow sun drowning in the ocean. Isn’t it a beautiful sight to watch? Well, it’s time to paint this extremely beautiful scenery. You’ll need red, orange, black, and yellow paints for this task.

Draw the boundary of the sea and separate it from the sky. You can also try adding a shape of an island to make your painting more refined.

Blend the orange and red colors to make your sea and sky. Also, try to darken the portion of the sea away from shadow to give it a more realistic touch.

Bold and big brushstrokes are quite commonly used by artists to paint sceneries. If you are bored using the same regular paintbrush, try using a larger paintbrush. This brush will have bigger strokes than the normal ones and hence will result in unique styles and scenes.

These are quite relevant when you need a watercolor painting of a relatively larger size. You can make equally attractive and intricate patterns as you could do so with a regular paintbrush.

Autumn Leaves

Autumn is the time of year that is characterized by the leaves turning pale yellow, red, ocher, and red rusty colors. This is also the time of the falling of leaves, which is a spectacular sight in itself.

Artists commonly use the “wet on wet” technique for painting autumn leaves. In this technique, a base layer of lighter shade is applied on paper, and, while the paint is still wet, the second layer of a relatively darker color is applied.

You can also use the standard way of letting the base layer completely dry before adding the darker shades of red and orange.


These lights are most common in festivals and fancy open-air restaurants. Streetlights are very easy to paint and if you are short on ideas, painting streetlights can be your go-to option.

One creative idea here would be to use the inspiration of lights in string form or beaded form as it looks more appealing and attractive.

Below is a sample for you to get your ideas rolling.


Our Earth is full of spectacular wonders. One such wonder is a desert, and the miracle of a desert is a cactus. Technically it is also a tree, but pretty different from a standard tree. Due to its morphology, it is even easier to draw than a regular tree. 

You’ll need different shades of green to paint cacti. Also, if you want to make your painting more beautiful, you can try adding desert in the background.

Floral Designs

Flowers are a symbol of love and peace. And making flower paintings a piece of art can be fascinating.

If you are a beginner, try using soft colors, as soft colors leave a pastel effect and hence reflect a realistic picture of floral arrangements.

Different floral designs and arrangements you must try while watercolor painting is watercolor tulips, roses, peonies, etc.


Long stretches of land with mountains at the distant end make perfect scenery for watercolor painting. Additionally, you can add a river or a pond to the beauty of your painting. Trees and tiny homes in the background can be a good option too.

It might be difficult for newbies, but try using your imagination, and don’t shy away from experimenting. Eventually, you’ll achieve your desired landscape watercolor painting.

Snow Fall

There might hardly be anyone who doesn’t love snowfall. Frosty ice flakes covering the entire body of Earth is a breathtaking sight itself. You can use this snowy winter inspiration in your new watercolor painting project.

Pine trees can add to the beauty of the painting’s ambiance. Try using darker colors for the painting and blend colors to a point that the overall theme is dark.


Well, if we are talking about the bounties of nature, why not discuss fruits? There are hundreds of thousands of different kinds of fruits which you can inspire to make your new watercolor painting. Most of them are extremely easy to paint.

There is so much diversity among fruits themselves that practicing and drawing one daily would take years for you to completely draw all the fruits. 

Pears, mangoes, watermelons, apples, guavas, and oranges, are a few of the many fruits which you can try watercolor painting as a beginner.


A simple yet vibrant painting that looks excellent on paper. You can’t go wrong with sunflowers. The basic watercolors you’ll require for painting sunflowers are yellow, orange, dark brown, and black.

As usual, first sketch out the sunflower. Then start by filling in the yellow color in its outer region. For experimenting with different shades, you can play around by adding orange and rusty red colors.

For the center, you should use dark brown watercolor. Add some strokes of black color here to complete the painting.

Frequently asked questions

Here are some of the frequently asked questions by every beginner, click on any question to reveal the answer.

What supplies do I need to start watercolor painting?

To start watercolor painting, you’ll need watercolor paints, brushes (preferably a variety of sizes and shapes), watercolor paper, a palette for mixing colors, water containers, masking tape or fluid, and a pencil for sketching. Optional supplies include a spray bottle, paper towels or rags, and a palette knife.

How do I choose the right watercolor paper?
Look for watercolor paper specifically designed for water-based media. Cold-pressed or rough textures are commonly used for watercolor painting, as they have more tooth and absorbency. Aim for a heavyweight paper (at least 140 lb/300 gsm) to prevent buckling and warping.

Should I use tubes or pans of watercolor paint?
Both tubes and pans have their advantages. Tubes offer more intense and vibrant colors as they contain a higher concentration of pigment. Pans are portable and convenient for outdoor painting. Consider starting with a basic set of either tubes or pans and expand your collection as needed.

How do I control the amount of water in my watercolor painting?
Water control is crucial in watercolor painting. Experiment with different water-to-paint ratios to achieve desired effects. Use a spray bottle to mist the paper or your palette for controlled wetting. Practice with various brush techniques, like dry brushing or blotting with a paper towel, to control the amount of water on your brush.

What are some basic watercolor techniques I can learn as a beginner?
As a beginner, you can start with basic techniques such as wet-on-wet (wetting the paper before applying paint), wet-on-dry (applying paint to dry paper), layering (building up colors with multiple washes), and dry brushing (using minimal water for texture). These techniques will give you a good foundation to experiment and explore further.

How can I avoid muddy colors in my watercolor paintings?
Muddy colors often occur when colors blend together too much and lose their vibrancy. To avoid muddy colors, allow layers to dry completely before applying new washes, use clean water and brushes when transitioning between colors, and practice color theory to understand how colors interact and complement each other.

What should I do if I make a mistake in my watercolor painting?
Watercolor is forgiving, and mistakes can often be corrected or incorporated into the painting. You can lift off excess paint with a clean, damp brush or paper towel while it’s still wet. If the paint has dried, you can try scrubbing the area gently with a damp brush or using a lifting agent. Remember, mistakes can lead to unexpected discoveries!

Do I need to stretch the watercolor paper before painting?
Stretching watercolor paper helps prevent it from buckling or warping when wet. It involves soaking the paper in water, taping it to a board, and allowing it to dry before painting. However, some artists prefer to work on pre-stretched or heavyweight watercolor paper to avoid the need for stretching.

How do I achieve vibrant colors in watercolor?
To achieve vibrant colors, use artist-grade paints with high pigment concentration. Layering multiple transparent washes of color allows you to build depth and intensity. Additionally, painting on white or lightly toned paper enhances the brightness of the pigments.

How can I fix mistakes in watercolor?
Watercolor is a forgiving medium, and there are a few ways to fix mistakes. You can lift off excess paint or make adjustments while the paint is still wet using a clean, damp brush or a paper towel. If the paint has dried, you can try scrubbing the area gently with a damp brush or using a specialized lifting agent.

How can I preserve white areas in watercolor paintings?
There are a few methods to preserve white areas in watercolor. You can use masking fluid or tape to cover the areas you want to keep white. Another technique is to paint around the white areas, leaving them untouched by the paint.

How can I increase the drying time of watercolor paints?
To increase the drying time of watercolor, you can use a watercolor medium like a retarder or a glycerin-based additive. These slow down the drying process, allowing you more time to work with the paint.

Start Painting

Now that you have all the ideas, it’s time to start the action. Just gather your stuff and start working on your dream watercolor painting project. Don’t hesitate to try new things and explore more drawing styles.

You might lose motivation in the beginning, but be patient. As the saying goes by, “Good things come to those who wait.” 

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