Easy Watercolor painting ideas

Engaging in creative activities is an experience many people try to check off their bucket lists. You can do the activity indoors and outdoors — mainly when your chosen activity is watercolor painting. A group of family and friends can enjoy watercolor painting together. Arts and crafts are beneficial for both kids and adults — painting provides people with learning and healing.

Aside from being a recreational activity, painting is food for the brain — your cognitive skills are enhanced by conceptualizing ideas and learning various painting techniques. Daily watercolor painting engagement can result in mastering the art style. If your goal is to take your skill to the next level, you can practice making simple watercolor painting ideas daily.

easy watercolor painting ideas with poppy in watercolor in background

Is Painting in Watercolor Easy For Beginners?

The easy thing about watercolor painting is that the materials are accessible to anyone. Moreover, art supplies are budget-friendly — making watercolor suitable for beginners, especially students. You can quickly find watercolor art mediums in the nearest art store in your vicinity.

The challenge is that you will take time to learn how to handle watercolor paint. Since the paint is in liquid form, it will be harder to control — you have to figure out the proper amount of water you need to use. Once you’ve applied a brush with too much water, it will take time before you can fix it. 

Even experienced-level painters encounter such difficulties with controlling watercolor paint. Painting becomes complicated when they adjust from acrylic to watercolor — or oil to watercolor.

Learning a particular skill will always have an easy and challenging side — daily practice is the key to taking your craft to the next level. Making consecutive mistakes and experiencing trials is expected, mainly when unfamiliar with watercolor painting. Enhance your ability in a fun way — learn at your own pace.

abstract watercolor of flowers with pen and color pallet

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What are The Main Techniques To Try in Watercolour?

Different techniques are essential to achieve the painting you have in mind. Watercolor painting has main techniques that you should learn as a beginner. You can learn these watercolor painting techniques until you can use one or two basic methods in one painting.

Splatter Watercolour

One fun way to add details to your painting is the splatter technique, and it will help you create dust, water spray, pollens, or sands. You splatter paint with a paintbrush — a toothbrush is also a great idea. All you have to do is pull the back of the paintbrush bristles with your index finger and snap it towards the watercolor paper. 

Video Tutorial: Watercolor Splatter Effects Basic Tutorial by Aunia Kahn & Create for Healing

Wet on Dry

To obtain more crisp and defined edges, you must apply the wet-on-dry technique. You can execute this method by coating the dry paper with wet paint — then applying another layer of paint after it has dried. The wet-on-dry technique is commonly used in tight watercolor painting, wherein the image is rich in realistic details.

Video Tutorial: Watercolor for Beginners | How to Use Wet-on-Dry by Jenna Rainey

Wet-on-Wet

Contrary to the wet on dry technique, the wet on wet method is brushing wet paint on damp paper. The watercolor painting technique is used loosely, making an image dreamier. Watercolor will be less vibrant when the paint dries out. The wet-on-wet approach is what you will do when painting sceneries — such as landscapes, seascapes, and skies.

Video Tutorial: Watercolor Tutorial // Wet on Wet Techniques by kelogsloops

grasses and poppies in watercolor

Dry Brush technique

You can create a rough texture on your painting by applying the dry brush technique — it is often called the dry technique. Ensure the paint is wet with ample water — blot the excess water with a paper towel. A dry brush is vital for this method — to create more delicate details and surface texture. 

Video Tutorial: Watercolor Tips: Dry Brush by Sandy Allnock

Using Salt in Watercolor

You must include salt in your art medium to create an exceptional texture. Artists utilize salt to create abstract artwork with watercolor paint. When sprinkled on watercolor paint, the element existing in salt will react — causing an unusual texture on the watercolor paper. The technique is a great way to make illusions and abstract elements in your artwork.

Video Tutorial: Using Salt | Watercolor Painting Ideas and Techniques for Beginners Art Journal Thursday by makoccino

Alcohol

There are different ways to enjoy liquor — artists can use alcoholic beverages as an art medium. Pick one from vodka, whiskey, or gin — if not available, you can use sanitary alcohol. The watercolor painting technique creates a bubble effect on the painting, and paint will push back when you rub alcohol on the surface — revealing lighter color on the paper. You can apply alcohol with a Q-tip, small pipette, or a clean brush.

Video Tutorial: Rubbing Alcohol Watercolor Technique by AhmadArt

How to use Cling Film?

Using this watercolor painting technique leaves a striking effect on backgrounds and landscapes. Spread ample water on the watercolor paper, then brush the surface with paint. Put the cling film on the surface — this will allow a crinkling effect. Exert weight on top of the paper with a heavy book or board. Wait until it dries out.

Video Tutorial: How to Paint Watercolors Using Cooking Paper and Cling Film – Painting Techniques by Jay Lee Painting

Scratch Off

Create vertical or horizontal marks to add more details to your artwork — by the scratch-off technique. It’s a simple method that requires a sewing needle or any sharp object to complete the process. Apply a layer of watercolor paint to the paper. Don’t wait for the paint to dry out — while the paint is still wet, drag the sharp object across the painted surface. The affected area will result in a darker shade than the rest.

Video Tutorial: Using Scratching in Watercolor for Cat Whiskers by Yong Chen

Flat Wash

This painting technique will be the first thing you will learn on the first try. Flat wash is simple and easy to understand. The method is to coat a large area with watercolor paint — making a flat image, hence the painting technique’s name. You basically do this technique when you start a new artwork.

Video Tutorial: Watercolor Flat Wash: Painting The Perfect Wash by Watercolor Misfit

pink hellebores in watercolor

Getting Started to Paint with Watercolour

Better jot down notes and remember tips that you will read in this blog post. Let’s start with the materials to create a watercolor artwork — including product recommendations.

Paint

Watercolor paint comes in two variants — tubes and pans. Aside from the difference in form, tubes and pans differ in texture, and tubes are moist and pasty, whereas pans are hard and need water to soften the paint. 

Windsor & Newton Cotman Watercolour Painting Plus Set of 12 Tubes

Arteza Watercolor Paint Set of 25 Colors

Paintbrushes

Artists must have a complete set of paintbrushes — each brush type helps execute various painting techniques and add more detail to the art piece. Most painters prefer soft bristles — like sable and goat hair brushes. As for the brand, you can determine it by personal preference.

Professional Artist Paint Brush Set of 12

Nicpro 15pcs Professional Watercolor Paint Brushes Set

Watercolour Paper

You can choose from hot-pressed, cold-pressed, and rough. At first, you can experiment with all three types of paper — to see what fits your preference and art style. The watercolor paper also comes in sheets, rolls, watercolor blocks, watercolor boards, and pads. 

Strathmore Ready Cut Watercolor Paper Hot Press Sheets

Bee Paper Rough Watercolor Roll

Arches Watercolor Paper Block Cold Press

Canson Plein Air Watercolor Art Board

Artisto Watercolor Pads Acid-Free Paper

Learn more about How to choose your Watercolor Paper

Backing Board or Mat

Since you’ll be using fluid paint, your paper will require a rigid back surface — to provide stability to the watercolor paper. A backing board is essential, especially when you are into landscape painting — that will go through lots of washes.

Mat Board Center Pack of 10 Acid-Free 4-Ply Thickness

Aside from watercolor supplies, you must fill your mind with painting ideas to practice daily. You can watch various tutorials on the internet, especially when you don’t have the time to attend a workshop or art academy. 

The following platforms have lots of Watercolor Tutorials to choose from as well :

  1. Youtube
  2. Udemy
  3. Skillshare
  4. Linkedin Learning
  5. Shaw Academy
  6. Coursera

Professional artists are also opening online workshops providing watercolor tutorials — to share experiences and painting techniques. You can enroll in these workshops and learn at home. 

  1. Domestika Courses
  2. Watercolour-Workshop
  3. Life After Breakfast

As for simple watercolor painting ideas, you can find excellent references at home, outdoors, or even on the internet. The great outdoors has a lot of references that you can use — especially in a rural area. You can also find lovely inspirations on the internet via social media — especially Instagram and Pinterest.

mixed media of grasses painting

20 Easy Things to Paint in Watercolor 

You can start painting as a hobby — practice ideas every day. Use this list of easy watercolor painting ideas as a checklist — create one artwork daily. 

Watercolour Flowers

Painting watercolor flowers is indeed a therapeutic activity. Apply bright colors to the flower painting — it will relax your mind. Interpret the flowers independently — you can opt for an abstract painting for more depth and add green leaves for more colors.

Video Tutorial: Every Watercolor Flower You’ll Ever Need by Shayda Campbell

Night Scene

The night sky is a great way to practice painting with black color. Aside from creating a beautiful painting, you’ll be able to try out different techniques — such as flat wash, scratch-off, and splatter. Aside from the night sky, you can paint city night lights, the forest at night, etc.

Video Tutorial: Watercolor Night Sky with Stars – Easy Step by Step Tutorial for Beginners by MarenaArt

Pebbles

Paint pebbles on paper with different colors. Like flowers, watercolor pebbles are relaxing to paint as well. You can use masking tape to create the line markings on the rocks — the scratch-off technique is a good idea, too. 

Video Tutorial: Relaxation with Watercolor – Paint Pebbles on a Beach by Diane Antone Studio

Fruit

Do a still-life painting of fruits — a simple watercolor painting idea that most artists have practiced during their early years. The fruits can be in a bowl or basket, and sketch the fruit first before applying watercolor. You can start practicing with only just the use of primary colors.

Video Tutorial: Fruit Watercolor | Red & Green Apple | Banana | Primary Colors Only by Shaji Chaladan

Leaves

Practice capturing different shades of green and brown by painting leaves. It’s a painting idea you can do as a starting point — until you can complete a painting with different subjects. Find the right amount of water to achieve a darker or lighter shade of green and brown.

Video Tutorial: Watercolor Basics: How to Paint Simple Leaves by Caitlin Sheffer

Single Colour Monochrome

You can create a practice routine by studying a single color daily. Single color monochrome is an excellent idea for a person with beginner-painter level skills. It will help a beginner control the vibrancy and saturation of each color — by learning how to apply the proper amount of water for each shade.

Video Tutorial: How to Paint with One Color (Monochromatic Studies w/Watercolors) by PearFleur

watecolor poppies with brushes and watercolor tube

Abstract Watercolour

Abstract watercolor is a great way to do it when you need to pour your feelings into your artwork. Use various painting techniques for shapes, forms, lines, and colors. This composition will subtly portray the emotions that you exactly feel. It’s best to use the wet-on-wet technique for flowy and loose abstract art.

Video Tutorial: Large Watercolour Abstract Step by Step by Scott Swinson

Dot Painting

This painting idea is easy, and you can apply the technique to several artworks — mandala art is an example that uses dot painting. You will need a dotting tool or a Q-tip to create a series of dots on paper. There are available DIY dot painting kits in art supply stores — eCommerce platforms such as Etsy have a collection of these kits, and it’s selling well. Aside from mandala art, dot painting is a helpful method for making starry skies, snowy fields, and flowers and adding fine details.

Video Tutorial: How to Make Perfect Doodle Dots with Gold Watercolor Paint by creationsceecee

Simple Trees in Watercolour

You can quickly find a reference to create simple trees in watercolor. It’s a lovely painting scenery if you loosen your painting style — the wet technique applies to the tree’s leaves. You can feature grassy fields or a bench in your painting of trees.

Video Tutorial: Easy Watercolor Painting | Tree by SAGAK SAGAK

Wreath Painting

Wreath painting is a nice touch to invitations, greeting cards, journals, or letters if you want your designs to be personally made. You can fill the wreath with flowers or anything symbolic of the celebration — primarily during Christmas. The watercolor painting idea is a great way to gain extra income — sell your designs to create printable products.

Video Tutorial: How to Paint a Wild Watercolour Foliage Wreath by de Winton Paper Co.

Letter Painting

Alongside wreath painting, letter painting can be an additional design to greeting cards — and other seasonal decorations. You can also practice calligraphy at the same time. Apply various painting techniques to paint details on the letter. You can also think of a theme on which you will base your design — for example, the spring season, and you will add flowers to the letter. You could also paint quotes or short inspiring messages.

Video Tutorial: Watercolor Lettering Basics: this secret changed everything by Ensign Insights

Abstract Flowers

In your interpretation, paint flowers loosely to make a more abstract-themed art piece. It’s also a fun painting activity idea during the summer and spring. Watercolor flowers are good practice for mixing colors and controlling the amount of water you will use — to achieve a specific color.

Video Tutorial: 5 Minute Art: Abstract Flower Watercolor Tutorial (Easy Beginner Painting) by Wonder Forest

Autumn Leaves

The season of fallen leaves and pumpkins has beautiful combinations of color schemes — including warm greens, golden yellows, red oranges, and different shades of brown. You can create a compilation of autumn leaves or a landscape of trees during fall. Maybe you can try painting while sitting at a park full of fallen leaves — or watch it in your yard to inspire you more.

Video Tutorial: HOW TO: Paint Realistic Fall Leaves in Watercolor by Crystal Beshara

Simple Landscape

Using the scenery in front of you is a good starting point for watercolor painting. Paint a sea of clouds, a meadow of flowers, parks, or a playground. Suppose you don’t feel that scenery at the moment. In that case, there are various art inspirations on the internet — Pinterest can surely give you many landscape painting examples. 

Video Tutorial: Watercolor Landscape Painting for Beginners Tutorial by Nihar Debnath

Cat

If you love cats, you will love this watercolor painting idea. Cats or any other animal are fun to paint — you can create various studies of cats every day. Your pet can be the muse for the collection you are working on. Take a picture of your fur baby for a better and more stable reference — cats will move from time to time, making it hard to catch the details you need to paint.

Video Tutorial: How to Paint a Watercolour Cat by Emma Jane Lefebvre

watercolor abstract flowers

Bicycle with a Basket of Flowers

Paint something like from a movie scene — a bicycle with a basket of flowers is a scenic picture from a country farm. The watercolor painting idea is a relaxing activity — using vibrant colors in flowers can affect your mood. If you want to achieve vivid colors, it’s advisable to use the dry brush technique.

Video Tutorial: How to Paint Bicycle Basket with Flowers | Watercolour Painting by Paint with David

Sunset

One of the easiest painting references is the sun going down to make way for the moon. You can already create a fine art piece with just three colors — capture various shades of orange, red, and yellow. You can paint the sunset with the sea or mountain. Apply the ombre or gradient technique — to see layers of colors that change as the sun goes down.

Video Tutorial: Pink Sunset.Watercolor Tutorial by Ekaterina Sminova

Houses

Paint beautiful houses as your daily hobby. You can also challenge yourself — don’t use a house reference to paint an image; you can use your imagination. Think of a house design you dream about and transfer it to paper to make art. You can walk around your neighborhood to find the perfect inspiration if you are amidst a creative block.

Video Tutorial: Easy Loose Sketch Technique | Ink & Watercolor by Taria’s Sketchy Adventures

Potted Plants

Aside from a bowl of fruits, you can practice watercolor painting with potted plants. If you love plants but have a black thumb instead of a green thumb, displaying paintings of potted plants in your living room would be an excellent alternative. It’s a fun way to add decorations and greenery to your house — it can be a picture of indoor plants, flowers, or herbs.

Video Tutorial: Easy Potted Herbs Step by Step Watercolor Tutorial by Nianiani

Butterfly

Spectacular creatures such as a butterfly have always been an inspiration to various artworks. Painting butterflies is an effective practice for mixing colors, using different painting techniques in one painting, and applying mixed media art. You can do this idea with both ink and watercolor paint.

Video Tutorial: How to Watercolor Butterfly by Blushed Design

image of watercolor flowers and text easy painting

A final thought on Easy Watercolor painting Ideas – Watercolor may seem intimidating — fluid paint is much harder to control. However, if you successfully learn the correct technique to achieve a particular detail, you will love painting. Practice in a fun way. Watercolor painting is supposed to be relaxing — providing positivity to one’s mental health.

Learn at your own pace — no one creates a masterpiece instantly. There are various ways to enhance your painting skills, and you are always one step closer to improving with proper daily practice. 

I hope you enjoyed our post today – Don’t forget to view our other creative posts :

How to choose the right watercolor paper

Where do you start if you want to Paint Rocks for pleasure

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