Looking for some inspiration for your next watercolor painting project? Look no further than this comprehensive list of 51 watercolor painting ideas! Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced artist, these ideas are sure to ignite your creativity and help you take your painting skills to the next level. From vibrant landscapes to intricate portraits, this list has something for everyone.
So grab your brushes and watercolors and let’s dive in!
Watercolor Painting Supplies
The beauty of painting with watercolors is the bare minimum supplies you need to get started. Simple watercolor paints, a couple basic brushes and some watercolor paper is all you need. You can also keep an art journal and practice all your techniques and paintings in. That way you can see your progress and it keeps things nice and tidy.
You can also check out this watercolor painting supplies post by Thaneeya from Art is Fun to get the materials list and recommended products. Also be sure to check out this 7 watercolor painting tips post by Strathmore which will go over paint brush types, other materials and tips when working with this medium.
Now let’s get inspired with some awesome watercolor painting ideas!
51 Watercolor Painting Ideas to Ignite Your Creativity
Get inspired by this list of watercolor painting ideas designed for the beginner watercolor artist. These 51 ideas are easy, fun and totally do-able for anyone diving into this simple art-form.
Watercolor techniques make for easy ideas when starting with this medium. They're very simple and non-intimidating since you're not making a full composition.
You'll also get to practice with the properties of watercolor paints which will help you in future paintings. These ingenious ideas by Karo make for wonderful backgrounds too. Just add some beautiful hand letterring quotes over top, or use pens/markers for a fun mixed media piece, the sky is the limit!
Sunset's are an easy landscape idea to start with, and gets those watercolor paints flowing off your brush and onto your paper. Paint this beautiful and serene sunset with the help of this easy to follow YouTube tutorial.
Birds can seem intimidating but they are very do-able, even for beginners. Learn how to paint these meaningful and gorgeous birds as a pair: the male cardinal (red) and the female (brown/grey) sitting on a branch. Follow the detailed and well explained video tutorial by Diane to learn how.
Eagles are a sign of strength and bravery. Grow your watercolor painting skills with this brilliant step by step tutorial by the Art Sherpa. You'll complete this painting feeling much more confident and stronger all around. Cinnamon also includes a free printable eagle that you can use to trace before you begin (so don't worry about your drawing skills!).
Learn how to paint this blue morpho butterfly in this detailed step by step tutorial. Usually drawing and painting butterflies are challenging, but this tutorial breaks down the steps so it's do-able for all skill levels. You can use this butterfly technique with different colors and in different projects.
Love the nigh sky? Why not capture it's mesmerizing mystery in a 2 in 1 painting. Follow this YouTube painting tutorial to paint a couple versions of the northern lights. You'll learn how to layer when painting in the background and foreground elements.
Looking to paint something you can add to your decor at home, that's also easy enough for a beginner to tackle? This is the perfect project for you! In this tutorial you'll learn how to paint all the layers and jagged rings in this gorgeous agate art.
Looking for a pick-me-up painting that leaves you in a cheerful and happy mood? Then paint this beautiful daisy art piece with a vibrant and bright abstract background. Aaria will also show you how to add extra depth and dimension to each daisy petal with a simple mechanical pencil!
If you want real-life inspiration, one of the easiest objects to paint in a still-life style are apples! Follow this beginner tutorial by Erika and paint these apples that look so good you could eat. You'll only be using 4 simple paint colors too, which keeps with the simplicity of this painting.
Hop your way into watercolors with this beginner bunny tutorial. Start out with a basic sketch, then paint the layers of this cute bunny. Use it in Easter themed painting ideas or crafts -or just because! Hip-pity hop on over to the tutorial to paint this hare-raising critter.
If you're looking for a slightly more advanced watercolor project, this botanical painting will help "grow" your skill. Learn each step on how to recreate this gorgeous green leaf with all-the-details.
Ferns have a fascinating pattern that makes them a great botanical inspired subject matter to paint. It's also a fairly easy botanical to paint, that works for beginner watercolor artists. Check out this fabulous tutorial by Allison to learn how to paint these gorgeous ferns.
Landscapes are a very popular watercolor painting idea for beginners. This aesthetic and muted color palette would also look great framed and hung on your walls. Learn each step needed to paint landscapes in watercolor: background, middleground and background in this YouTube tutorial.
Another great landscape painting idea that beautifully displays theatmospheric perspective with some mighty and majestic mountains. This tutorial also shows you how to make a lovely sunset. Complete this painting with a couple of birds flying high up in the sky.
Painting portraits are another timeless and classic painting idea. And you won't need skills like da Vinci to paint this gorgeous portrait. Follow the steps in the tutorial by Daniel to learn that anyone can paint portraits. You can even challenge yourself and paint a self portrait to show yourself some self-love.
Abstracts are my favorite painting style, because your focus is more attuned to enjoying every brush stroke and making something unexpected but meaningful, instead of fixating on every brush stroke in order to get it to look like the end painting in mind.. It can be more enjoyable for some right off the bat, while intimidating for others to just "paint abstractly" without directions. If you're the later or even if you just want to give abstracts a try, then following a well detailed step by step tutorial like this one, can make a world of a difference.
Thinking about making a pet portrait of your fave furry friend? But maybe you think it's out of your comfort and skill level to tackle such a project. Think again! You not only can tackle it but do wonders with it! Make your pup proud and head on over to this step by step tutorial and be guided through each step with ease.
What's more romantic than watching a sunset on a swing with your better half? Painting it together of-course! Plan a nice evening in with a couple of paintbrushes, one canvas and some paints and make this warm and fuzzy painting. This would also make a fab valentines day date night idea.
The beauty of watercolors is that they can be both technical and simple, depending on the project. At the simple end of the spectrum, kids painting projects like this adorable one make watercolors a great paint medium for any age.
Since watercolors can be so easy and versatile to work with (all you need are the paints, brush, water and paper) they work especially well as classroom crafts/projects with kids. Did I mention easy cleanup too? Head on over to this tutorial and inspire your kiddies to make this beautiful frame-able keepsake for their wonderful grandmas.
I absolutely love this painting idea! It's simple project to make while the tutorial will also impart important qualities and properties of this fantastic medium. You'll learn how to make watercolor paint flow and bleed by adding the right amount of water allowing it to flow on the paper by blowing it. Once the heart is dried, then you'll pick up a simple pen and write meaningful or inspiring words, quotes, sayings that are personal to you.
Paint a nice beach scene with this nicely detailed step by step tutorial. You'll learn how to make a beach landscape complete with soft sky, ocean water, waves, sand, tall grass and even some seagulls flying overhead. Jean will guide you through the painting each step of the way.
Another beautiful beach landscape for you to practice your watercolor skills with. Learn how to paint overcast fluffly clouds in the sky with the sun peaking through near the horizon. Then learn how to paint the blue ocean water sparkling under the southern sun. You'll complete this painting by learning to make sand colored paint and how to add detail to make the sand look realistic. You'll also learn to paint some realistic looking beachgrass in the foreground.
This forest landscape may seem like you need years of experience to make because of its magical yet mysterious look, but this tutorial will show you how to recreate it yourself.
You'll also learn how to manipulate the pigment and saturation of watercolors in order to create depth with the trees. You'll paint some highly translucent trees in the background then build up the foreground with more saturated and opaque paint. And when it all comes together you'll get that wonderful foggy forest effect.
Paint this lovely perspective painting with watercolors to practice the different elements of a lanscape. You'll learn the proper proportions of distant scenery elements like a sunset, mountains, horizon, ocean waves, etc. Then you'll add some foreground elements like this save cave opening that perfectly frames the sunset scene. You'll also learn how to create some pretty vibrant and punchy sunset colors in this tutorial.
Fruit is an easy painting idea that can also be fun and quick. In this tutorial you'll learn how to use masking fluid to create the pattern on the pinaepple's rind by creating a negative space effect. This effect by using masking fluid is a popular watercolor painting technique that many artists use. Check out the tutorial by Elise and paint yourself these tropical treats.
While this painting might not infuse your body with vitamins, it might inspire you to grab some of nature's candy to munch on while painting it. This excellent tutorial by Jenna will take you through how to create some luscious brushstrokes in order to paint a variety of fruits and veggies. Carrots, apple slices, blueberries, strawberries and lemons complete this painting. Head over to the detailed written and video tutorial and paint some wholesome goodness.
Practice some ingenious watercolor techniques with this tutorial. These ideas work well when you're pressed for time but still want to paint. Practice a technique or 2 when you have a few minutes to spare and your future paintings will show for it! Plus they make for nifty backgrounds for other projects too - quote art, mixed media art, etc...
Don't know where to start with watercolors? Read this post first. You'll learn all the materials and tools you'll need to start. Then try any of the ideas listed in this post to use your new paints on.
Watercolor paints tend to have a stepper learning curve compared to other paints like acrylic and oil, so taking a bit of time at the beginning to practice some techniques is a great idea- especially for beginners. Try these wonderful techniques for some fun but important lessons with this paint.
You can create some gorgeously vibrant and lovely backgrouds with watercolor paints. These backgrounds can be used in a wide variety of projects too! One of the simplest is using ink over top and stencilling on some designs, like this great tutorial that uses a simple flower stencil. If you don't have a stencil don't be scared to free hand some of your favorite doodles, quotes, drawings, etc...
Try this super cool watercolor technique using wax to create negative-space designs. You'll first use a waxed based product (a simple white crayon works well) to draw on your design, then you'll use your watercolor paints overtop that'll, like magic, reveal your drawing! This is a fun project to do with kids as you can teach them that the wax in the crayons resists the watercolors.
Who says you need to use canvas or watercolor paper to pain on? Just go outside for a walk and find yourself a nice rock to paint! It's inexpensive, simple and fun. They make great keepsakes, gifts and you can also hide them around your neighbourhood, a part of the kindness rock project.
Experiment and get loose with watercolors by creating some fun, easy and colorful abstract art. Geometrical shapes are a great idea for abstract pieces. Check out the full step by step tutorial by Emy to find out how to recreate these vibrant paintings.
Here's another beautiful watercolor abstract painting idea. This one uses different shapes, patterns, markings and strategic use of white space that gives this painting a professional look. It would look great framed and hung up on your walls too!
This is an easy project for anyone just starting out with watercolors. Use basic pink, orange and yellow to create the beautiful blended look of the sunset in the background. Then paint some simple silhouetted palm trees with black paint for a tropical vibe.
Paint this serene sunset scene to calm the nerves. Learn what colors you need for a multicoloured sunset along with the strokes needed to create the trees. Finish this zen painting off with a sailboat in the distance.
Practice some florals with the help of this great tutorial. You'll learn how to paint roses, violets, peonies, daisies, lavender, tulips which you can use in any painting project. Frolic over to the tutorial for some floral frenzy!
This tutorial by Emily Olson Art is a must for anyone who wants to paint landscapes. Learning to paint clouds is an important subject matter to learn because they're often found in many painting scenes like blue skies, sunset skies, cloudy night scenes, or even an entire painting made out of fluffy soft clouds. The beauty of this tutorial also is that you'll only need 1 color to make a variety of cloud shapes, so no color mixing skills are needed here!
Sunflowers are a popular flower that beginners often want to learn how to paint. They have a very interesting shape, with bright and cheerful yellow petals that surreound a textured and round disk centr.e. In this video tutorial by Emma Jane you'll learn how to recreate this beautiful bloom along with sunflower stems and leaves that forms a lovely bouquet.
Feeling floral? Learn how to paint some watercolor flowers with some pale pastel tones and an arrangement of petal shapes. Paint a rose, peony, dahlia, anemone, and a variety of foliages. Head on over to the tutorial by Artists Network to master all these flowers.
These super simple flowers by Burlap and Blue don't require you to paint perfect petals or flower shapes. Simply lay some paint on your paper in a blob and then use your brush to form a rough flower shape. Once paint is dry then you can use a basic Sharpie marker to draw on the stems and leaf shapes.
Lilacs are another great flower to learn how to paint with watercolors. Learn all the details needed to paint these pale and muted colored flowers globules, with a small round detailing brush. Head on over to the video tutorial and Karina will show you how!
Looking to paint an aesthetic flower bouquet? Recreate this gorgeously fresh and vibrant flower arrangement. with watercolors. Smitha will show you how to paint the floral shapes and the lovely leaves that complete this frame worthy piece.
Poppies can be a simple flower to paint. Their petals are large and they have a distinctive black centre that's easy to recreate. In this lovely tutorial Varsha will show you how to paint forward facing poppies, side view poppies and poppy buds. Paint a poppy field or just a bunch! It's up to you how you want to paint these beaut's.
This beginner friendly tutorial by Karen and Meg will show you how to paint some basic flower shapes like a lilac, bluebell and a poppy. Fill up the rest of the painting with green leaves, flower stems and foliage. Head on over to the step by step tutorial to learn how!
Have you practiced painting basic flower shapes, but now ready to tackle some more realistic looking florals? These fantastic tutorials by Anna will show you how to realistically paint 5 different flowers: a sunflower, rose, bluebell, african daisy and hydrangea. Grab your paints and brush and head on over to the tutorials.
This wonderful tutorial by Emy will guide you through making these whimsical and simple flower shapes. Emy will also show you her color mixing techniques for creating a muted color palette. Color mixing is an important painting skill for beginners to start practicing, so be sure to check out this tutorial.
In this fabulous flower-powered watercolor tutorial Anna will show you how to paint flowers in different orientations: front and side views. She'll also share some tips on shading with watercolor, explain the property of dried watercolor paint versus wet paint, and provide closeup and clear pictures of each step. Check it out!
Practice your watercolor landscape skills with these 5 in-depth step by step tutorials by Emy. After completing the tutorial you'll have experienced painting an ocean, grassy fields, mountains, desert and a tree forest. Paint them all on one large watercolor sheet or make individual paintings for a landscape montage.