40 Easy Watercolor Art Ideas For Beginners [2023]

Watercolor art is a popular and versatile medium that is widely loved by artists of all levels, including beginners. If you are new to watercolor painting, it can be an exciting and rewarding journey.

40 easy watercolor art ideas that are perfect for beginners:

  1. Abstract Color Wash: Experiment with blending different colors into a soothing abstract wash.
  2. Sunset Sky: Create a vibrant sunset sky with gradient shades of warm colors.
  3. Ocean Waves: Practice painting gentle or crashing waves on a tranquil beach.
  4. Simple Flowers: Paint basic flowers like daisies or tulips with loose brushstrokes.
  5. Fruit Still Life: Capture the beauty of a bowl of fruit using simple watercolor techniques.
  6. Cute Animals: Try your hand at painting adorable animals like kittens, puppies, or birds.
  7. Leafy Branch: Paint a branch with leaves using varying shades of green.
  8. Rainy Day Scene: Depict a rainy day with reflections on wet surfaces.
  9. Mountain Landscape: Paint distant mountains fading into the horizon.
  10. Whimsical Clouds: Create fluffy clouds floating against a bright blue sky.
  11. Sailing Boat: Paint a sailboat gliding across calm waters.
  12. Cityscape Silhouette: Try a sunset cityscape with black silhouettes against a colorful sky.
  13. Simple Landmarks: Paint iconic landmarks using basic shapes and colors.
  14. Balloons in the Sky: Create a cheerful scene with colorful balloons soaring high.
  15. Cute Cactus: Experiment with painting a cute potted cactus or succulent.
  16. Rainbow Umbrella: Paint a whimsical scene with a colorful umbrella in the rain.
  17. Underwater World: Try your hand at painting fish and corals in an underwater setting.
  18. Hot Air Balloon: Paint a colorful hot air balloon floating above the landscape.
  19. Floral Wreath: Create a simple wreath of flowers and leaves.
  20. Lighthouse by the Sea: Paint a coastal scene with a charming lighthouse.
  21. Simple Landscape: Try painting a basic landscape with a sun, hills, and a tree.
  22. Coffee Cup: Practice painting a cup of coffee or tea with reflections.
  23. Abstract Geometric Shapes: Experiment with painting overlapping geometric shapes.
  24. Beach Chairs: Paint colorful beach chairs facing the ocean.
  25. Moonlit Night: Try a serene moonlit night scene with reflections on water.
  26. Cherry Blossoms: Capture the beauty of cherry blossom trees in bloom.
  27. Simple Boat: Paint a small boat floating on a calm lake.
  28. Farm Animals: Experiment with painting farm animals like cows, sheep, or chickens.
  29. Dandelion Seeds: Create a dreamy scene with floating dandelion seeds.
  30. Fairy Tale Castle: Try your hand at painting a whimsical castle in a magical setting.
  31. Rainbow Landscape: Paint a landscape with a vibrant rainbow arching across the sky.
  32. Sunrise Over Mountains: Capture the tranquility of a sunrise over mountain peaks.
  33. Garden Path: Paint a path leading through a colorful garden.
  34. Bicycle with Flowers: Try a bicycle adorned with flowers in a charming scene.
  35. Sailboat at Sunset: Paint a sailboat silhouetted against a colorful sunset.
  36. Kite Flying: Capture the joy of kite flying on a sunny day.
  37. Country Barn: Try painting a rustic barn surrounded by fields.
  38. Sunflower Field: Experiment with painting a field of vibrant sunflowers.
  39. Autumn Leaves: Paint colorful autumn leaves falling from trees.
  40. Snowy Cottage: Create a cozy scene with a cottage in a snowy landscape.

This article aims to provide you with an introduction to watercolor art, explain why it is a great option for beginners, and teach you some basic techniques to get started. We will showcase 40 easy watercolor art ideas specifically curated for beginners to inspire and ignite your creativity.

Whether you are interested in creating landscapes, still life, or even animal portraits, there is something for everyone to explore in the world of watercolor art. To help you begin your watercolor art journey, we will also share some useful tips to get started on the right foot. So, grab your brushes, paints, and paper, and let's dive into the wonderful world of watercolor art!

40 Easy Watercolor Art Ideas For Beginners

Key takeaway:

  • Watercolor art is a great choice for beginners: With its forgiving nature and easy accessibility, watercolor art is an ideal medium for beginners to explore their creativity.
  • Learn the basic techniques: Understanding and practicing various watercolor techniques such as wet-on-wet, dry brush, glazing, and lifting can help beginners create beautiful and dynamic watercolor artworks.
  • 40 Easy Watercolor Art Ideas: There are numerous easy watercolor art ideas for beginners to try, including creating sunset silhouettes, floral bouquets, landscapes, still life compositions, butterfly wings, ocean waves, mountain ranges, animal portraits, cityscapes, and experimenting with patterns and textures. 

Why Choose Watercolor as a Beginner?

Watercolor is a great choice for beginners for a few reasons. Firstly, it is a versatile and forgiving medium. Unlike other art forms that require precision and control, watercolor lets beginners experiment freely and embrace imperfections. The fluidity of the paint and the ability to blend colors create unique and unpredictable effects.

Secondly, watercolor is affordable compared to other art supplies. With a basic set of watercolors, a few brushes, and some watercolor paper, beginners can start creating beautiful artwork without spending a lot of money.

Additionally, watercolor is portable and easy to clean up. It doesn't require a lot of setup or specialized equipment, making it convenient for beginners who may not have a dedicated studio space.

Lastly, watercolor offers a wide range of techniques to explore, including wet-on-wet, glazing, and dry brushing. By learning these techniques, beginners can improve their artistic skills and create stunning works of art.

Sarah, a beginner artist, chose watercolor as her medium to explore her creativity. She was drawn to the spontaneous nature of watercolor and its ability to capture the vibrant beauty of nature. Starting with simple landscapes, Sarah experimented with different techniques and gained confidence in her skills.

Over time, her watercolor paintings reflected her unique artistic style and earned recognition from her friends and family. Watercolor became a source of joy and self-expression for Sarah, allowing her to connect with others through her artwork. Through her journey with watercolor, Sarah discovered her passion for painting and continued to grow as an artist.

Basic Watercolor Techniques for Beginners

Basic Watercolor Techniques for Beginners - 40 Easy Watercolor Art Ideas For Beginners

Photo Credits: Homepointmedia.Com by Kevin Williams

Get ready to immerse yourself in the world of watercolor art! In this section, we’ll explore some basic watercolor techniques that are perfect for beginners. From the mesmerizing wet-on-wet technique to the intricate dry brush technique, we will uncover the secrets behind creating stunning watercolor masterpieces.

We'll also discover the versatility of the glazing technique and the art of lifting to add depth and texture to your artwork. Get your paintbrushes ready, as we dive into the exciting realm of watercolor painting!

1. Wet-on-Wet Technique

The wet-on-wet technique in watercolor painting is a method that involves applying wet paint to a wet surface. This creates soft, blended, and seamless effects in the artwork.

Here's a step-by-step guide to mastering this technique:

1. Prepare materials: To start, gather all the necessary materials including watercolor paints, watercolor paper, a palette, and a variety of brushes.

2. Wet the paper: Take a clean brush and evenly wet the entire surface of the paper with water. It's important to avoid any pooling of water on the paper.

3. Mix paints: Next, select the colors you want to use and mix them on the palette. This will allow you to create a range of values and shades.

4. Apply the first wash: Take a large brush and use it to apply the first layer of watercolor paint onto the wet paper. Use loose brushstrokes to achieve a fluid and relaxed effect.

5. Add more colors: While the paper is still wet, you can add additional colors to create depth and dimension in your painting. Allow the colors to naturally blend and interact with each other.

6. Create texture: For added interest, you can experiment with creating texture in your painting. This can be done by lifting some paint with a paper towel or by adding salt or alcohol to create unique textures.

7. Add details: Once the initial wash has dried, you can layer more paint on top to add finer details and definition to your artwork.

I have personally used the wet-on-wet technique to paint a serene sunset landscape. By wetting the paper before applying the colors, I was able to achieve a beautiful gradient of warm oranges and purples. This technique gave my painting a dream-like quality, making it one of my favorite pieces.

2. Dry Brush Technique

The dry brush technique, also known as the dry brush technique, is a great way to add texture and detail to your watercolor paintings. If you want to try this technique, keep the following key points in mind:

1. Begin with a dry brush: To achieve more texture and control over your strokes, remove excess water from the brush using a paper towel.

2. Use a firm brush: For the best results, use a stiff-bristled brush that can create the desired dry texture.

3. Apply light pressure: By using light pressure, you can create thin, scratchy lines and add texture to your artwork.

4. Build up layers: Layering is crucial in the dry brush technique. Start with light layers and gradually add more paint to the brush to enhance intensity.

5. Experiment with different angles: Trying out different angles with your brush will produce various textures and effects, giving you more creative control.

6. Practice on scrap paper: Before applying the dry brush technique to your final artwork, it's recommended to practice on scrap paper to achieve the desired results.

By incorporating these tips into your painting process, you'll be able to effectively utilize the dry brush technique and create unique textures and details in your watercolor artwork.

3. Glazing Technique

The glazing technique is a popular method in watercolor art. It involves layering transparent washes of color to create depth and luminosity.

  1. Apply the glazing technique by starting with a light and even base layer of paint on the paper using a large brush.
  2. Allow the base layer to dry completely before moving on.
  3. For the next step in the glazing technique, apply a second layer of paint over the dried base layer. Use a different color or a slightly darker shade.
  4. Use a smaller brush for more control and apply the second layer with long, smooth strokes as part of the glazing technique.
  5. Add additional washes of color using the glazing technique, letting each layer dry before adding the next. This builds depth and richness in the painting.
  6. Experiment with different color combinations for desired effects when using the glazing technique.
  7. Make sure each layer dries completely to prevent excessive color blending in the glazing technique.
  8. Use a dry brush or lifting technique in the glazing technique to remove paint from specific areas for highlights or details.
  9. The glazing technique can achieve various effects, including transparent washes over textured backgrounds and subtle shifts of color.
  10. Mastering the glazing technique and exploring its full potential requires practice and experimentation.

4. Lifting Technique

The lifting technique, also known as wet-on-wet, within the watercolor art world is utilized to remove or lighten applied paint by using water. To execute this technique, start by moistening a clean brush or sponge and gently scrub the desired area in order to remove or lighten the paint.

Incorporating this technique into your artwork can allow for easy corrections, accentuate certain elements, and add texture to your masterpiece. However, it is crucial to exercise caution and avoid excessive scrubbing as it can potentially damage the paper or create unintended textures. To achieve the desired lifting effect, it is advised to experiment with various brushes, sponges, and techniques.

An invaluable pro-tip when employing the lifting technique is to patiently await the complete drying of the paint before attempting to lift it. By adhering to this approach, you can simplify the removal process and minimize the risk of damaging the paper. Don't forget to dedicate time to practice and explore different methods in order to enhance your watercolor skills.

40 Easy Watercolor Art Ideas for Beginners

Unleash your artistic side with these 40 easy watercolor art ideas specially tailored for beginners. From vibrant sunset silhouettes and delicate floral bouquets to mesmerizing landscapes and captivating animal portraits, this diverse collection has something for everyone.

Get inspired by the beauty of nature with butterfly wings and ocean waves, or venture into the urban realm with cityscapes and intricate patterns. With this array of creative possibilities, it's time to pick up that paintbrush and bring your imagination to life on paper.

1. Sunset Silhouette

The technique of painting a sunset silhouette is often chosen by beginners in the watercolor art field. By using active brushstrokes, one can effectively capture the mesmerizing beauty of a setting sun against a dark landscape.

To achieve this effect, it is essential to blend warm colors such as oranges, pinks, and purples to create a vibrant sky. Applying a base layer of colors using the wet-on-wet technique allows for seamless blending and the creation of a soft gradient.

When painting the silhouette, opt for a dark color like black or deep blue to portray the foreground objects or landscape. Employ the dry brush technique to add texture and intricacy to the silhouette, giving the impression of trees, buildings, or other elements.

Enhance the sky's colors' intensity or add depth to the silhouette by using the glazing technique. For precise and clean shapes, lift off any excess paint or make corrections using the lifting technique. To make your sunset silhouette stand out, experiment with various compositions and perspectives. Remember, practice and observation are the key elements needed to master the art of painting a captivating and unique sunset silhouette.

2. Floral Bouquet

Here is a table of floral bouquet ideas for beginners in watercolor art:

Sunflowers and Daisies
Roses and Baby's Breath
Tulips and Lilies
Peonies and Hydrangeas
Orchids and Calla Lilies


A pro-tip for painting floral bouquets is to start with a light pencil sketch to outline the flowers and leaves. Then, layer and blend the colors using wet-on-wet, dry brush, and glazing techniques to create depth and dimension in your artwork.

Experiment with different color combinations and bouquet compositions. Remember to let the watercolor dry between layers to avoid unintentional color mixing. With practice and patience, you can create beautiful floral bouquets.

3. Landscape with Trees

To paint a landscape with trees:

  • - Sketch the outline of the landscape, including the main tree shapes.
  • - Apply a light wash of green for the tree foliage.
  • - Add darker tones to create depth and dimension.
  • - Use a dry brush technique for texture on tree trunks and branches.
  • - Add details like leaves or small branches with a fine brush.

Suggestions for painting a landscape with trees:

  • - Experiment with different shades of green for foliage variation.
  • - Try using different brush sizes to create varied textures on the trees.
  • - Use reference photos or real-life observation for accurate tree details.
  • - Practice blending colors for smooth transitions between different landscape areas.
  • - Embrace the unique qualities of watercolor and don't fear making mistakes.

4. Still Life with Fruit

Still life paintings of fruit, such as still life with fruit, have been beloved and cherished in the realm of watercolor art for centuries. These timeless pieces allow artists to delve into the vibrant array of colors, intricate textures, and enticing shapes that various fruits possess.

When embarking on the creation of a still life painting with fruit in watercolor, it is vital to consider and implement the following techniques with utmost care and precision:

  • Composition: Crafting an intriguing and visually pleasing arrangement of the fruit is paramount, as it involves finding the delicate balance between elements such as contrast, focal point, and overall harmony.
  • Colors: Utilizing a diverse and exquisite range of hues is key when aiming to realistically represent the various fruits. Attention must be paid to capturing the subtle variations in shades and highlighting their inherent beauty.
  • Light and shadows: Carefully observing how light cascades upon the fruit and creates shadows is essential for infusing depth and dimension into the painting, thereby lending it an alluring quality.
  • Wet-on-wet technique: This technique involves skillfully applying a wash of water and incorporating watercolor pigment while the paper is still moist. It allows for the creation of gentle and seamlessly blended backgrounds or specific areas of the fruit.
  • Dry brush technique: Employing a dry brush technique, which employs only a small amount of pigment, enables the artist to capture the texture and intricate details present in the fruit's skin. Controlled and precise strokes are essential for achieving the desired effect.
  • Layering: To attain an exquisite sense of depth and opulence in the depiction of the fruit, it is crucial to build up layers of colors. Each layer should be allowed to dry fully before adding the subsequent one.

Implementing these artistic techniques allows artists to fashion captivating watercolor paintings that truly showcase the inherent beauty, as well as the astounding realism, of still life with fruit.

5. Butterfly Wings

Beginners in watercolor art can explore the subject of painting butterfly wings. The delicate details of butterfly wings provide an opportunity to practice various watercolor techniques.

When painting butterfly wings, it is important to observe the shape, symmetry, and color patterns of real butterflies for a realistic representation. Take note of the vibrant and gradient colors found on the wings.

To capture the unique beauty of butterfly wings, it is suggested to experiment with different brushes, techniques, and color combinations. This will help in adding creative touches and making the painting your own.

In terms of watercolor techniques, there are several options that can be utilized. The wet-on-wet technique can be used to create soft and blended backgrounds. The dry brush technique is perfect for adding texture and details to the wings.

The glazing technique allows for layering transparent washes of color, which can result in a luminous effect. Lastly, the lifting technique can be used to remove pigments and create highlights.

While creating watercolor artworks of butterfly wings, it is important to practice patience and persistence. It may take several attempts to achieve the desired result, but with continuous practice, your skills will improve and stunning watercolor artworks can be created.

6. Ocean Waves

There are various techniques to create ocean waves in watercolor art:

1. Wet-on-Wet Technique: Wet the paper and apply colors in a loose, flowing manner to create movement and depth.

2. Dry Brush Technique: Use a dry or slightly damp brush with minimal water to create texture and details. Apply quick brush strokes to mimic crashing waves.

3. Glazing Technique: Build up transparent layers of color to create the illusion of translucency and depth. Start with lighter colors and add darker shades for different tones.

4. Lifting Technique: Apply a wash of color for the base of the ocean. While wet, use a damp brush or paper towel to lift off some paint for highlights or foam.

Fun Fact: Ocean waves form when wind blows across the water surface, generating ripples that develop into waves as they travel.

7. Mountain Range

To create a realistic watercolor painting of a mountain range, you can use techniques like the wet-on-wet technique, dry brush technique, glazing technique, and lifting technique.

The wet-on-wet technique allows for soft and blended colors in the sky and distant mountains. Apply a wet base wash and quickly add different shades of blues and purples for depth and dimension.

For the dry brush technique, use a dry brush with very little water to create texture and ruggedness in the mountains. This technique is perfect for capturing rocky surfaces and individual peaks.

To enhance colors and details, use the glazing technique. Apply thin layers of transparent paint over dry layers to build up hues and create a more realistic look.

The lifting technique is ideal for correcting mistakes or adding highlights. Use a clean, damp brush or sponge to lift off some paint and reveal lighter areas like snow-capped peaks or sunlit spots.

Remember to practice and experiment with these techniques to achieve the desired effect in your watercolor painting of a mountain range.


8. Animal Portraits

When creating animal portraits in watercolor, it's important to keep a few techniques in mind. First, select a high-quality reference photo that captures the desired details and expressions.

Next, lightly sketch the basic shape and features on the watercolor paper as a guide. Gradually build up layers of color to add depth and dimension. Pay close attention to unique details such as fur texture and eye shape, using smaller brushes for finer details.

Implement the wet-on-wet technique to achieve soft and blended effects. To create a realistic look, incorporate highlights and shadows with lighter and darker colors. Experiment with various brush strokes to create texture and convey movement. Lastly, make sure to practice and enjoy the process of creating lifelike animal portraits in watercolor.

9. Cityscape

When painting a cityscape, there are various options available. One option is to capture the beauty of an urban skyline with tall buildings and skyscrapers. Another idea is to depict a busy street, filled with cars, pedestrians, and the hustle and bustle of city life. For a different atmosphere, you can create a cityscape at night, incorporating the glowing lights of buildings and street lamps.

A waterfront cityscape provides the opportunity to include elements such as bridges, boats, and reflections on the water. You can also choose to paint historic buildings, capturing their architectural details and charm. Each of these ideas allows for different techniques and perspectives, offering a unique and creative way to portray a cityscape in watercolor.

10. Patterns and Textures

Patterns and textures play a crucial role in watercolor art. They bring depth, dimension, and visual interest to paintings. By incorporating various patterns and textures, you can craft one-of-a-kind and captivating artwork. Here are a few ideas for patterns and textures to experiment with in your watercolor paintings:

1. Stippling: Utilize small dots or the stippling technique to create patterns and add texture to objects such as leaves, flowers, or backgrounds.

2. Cross-hatching: Make use of intersecting lines to establish depth and shading in your artwork. This technique works wonders for adding texture to objects such as trees, buildings, or fabric.

3. Splattering: Introduce texture and movement to your paintings by splattering paint onto the paper. This technique can be utilized to create rain, snow, or a textured background.

4. Dry brushing: Apply a small amount of paint to a dry brush and utilize quick strokes to produce texture. This technique is ideal for creating the appearance of fur or feathers.

5. Sgraffito: Scratch through layers of paint to reveal the underlying color or texture. This can bring intriguing textures to your paintings, particularly on surfaces like wood or rocks.

6. Salt technique: Sprinkle salt onto wet paint to create a unique texture. The salt absorbs the water and generates interesting patterns as it dries.

7. Masking fluid: Use masking fluid to cover areas before painting and create textured regions. Once the paint is dry, remove the masking fluid to unveil the textured areas.

8. Wet-on-wet technique: Apply wet paint onto wet paper to create soft, blended textures. This technique works well for crafting skies or watercolor washes.

9. Lifting technique: Employ a damp brush or paper towel to lift off some of the wet paint. This can generate fascinating textures and add highlights to your artwork.

10. Collage: Incorporate materials such as tissue paper, fabric, or textured paper into your paintings to create unique textures and patterns.

By integrating these patterns and textures into your watercolor paintings, you can elevate your artwork and create visually stunning pieces. Experiment with different techniques and explore the vast possibilities offered by patterns and textures in watercolor art.

Tips for Getting Started with Watercolor Art

  • Investing in quality supplies is essential. Begin by purchasing good quality watercolor paints, brushes, and paper for better results and an enhanced enjoyment of the process.
  • Starting with simple subjects is recommended. Choose to paint flowers, fruits, or landscapes as they allow you to practice techniques and build confidence gradually.
  • Experimenting with different techniques is highly encouraged. Give wet-on-wet, dry brush, and glazing techniques a try to achieve interesting effects in your paintings.
  • Color mixing practice is a must. Blend primary colors together in order to create a wide range of hues and add depth to your artwork.
  • Utilize tutorials and online resources to enhance your skills and get inspiration. Take advantage of the various tips and techniques shared by experienced artists in those resources.

When I initially embarked on my watercolor art journey, I had my doubts. However, with regular practice and by following these helpful tips, I witnessed significant improvement in my paintings.

The exploration of different techniques allowed me to discover my own unique style. Consequently, watercolor art has become an incredibly rewarding and enjoyable hobby for me.

Some Facts About 40 Easy Watercolor Art Ideas For Beginners:

  • ✅ Watercolor painting is a calming and enjoyable activity that can be pursued as a career. (Source: Our Team)
  • ✅ Beginners should practice more watercolor paintings to build confidence and improve their skills. (Source: Our Team)
  • ✅ Easy watercolor painting ideas for beginners include floral compositions using soft and pastel colors, landscape paintings to learn about light and natural objects, still life paintings to understand the effect of light on different objects, and painting simple shapes like squares, rectangles, and circles. (Source: Our Team)
  • ✅ Painting water and creating ripples can be challenging but fun, and it helps in understanding color consistency. (Source: Our Team)
  • ✅ Silhouette compositions, whether of humans, animals, or trees, are easy to paint and can create impressive effects. (Source: Our Team)

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can you suggest some easy watercolor painting ideas for beginners?

Beginners can try painting floral compositions using soft and pastel colors, landscapes to learn about light and natural objects, still life compositions to understand the effect of light on different objects, and simple shapes like squares, rectangles, and circles.

They can also explore silhouette compositions of humans, animals, or trees for impressive effects.

2. What are some important tips before starting a watercolor painting?

It is recommended to work quickly before the paint dries when creating gradations or wet-on-wet effects. Using masking or washi tape can help achieve clean edges, and using a pen, marker, or acrylic paint can provide more precise control.

Beginners should also ensure they have a neat and absorbent canvas for watercolor painting.

3. Where can I find watercolor painting images for inspiration?

You can find watercolor painting images on various platforms, such as online art communities, social media platforms like Instagram, and art websites. These images can serve as inspiration and guidance for beginners.

4. Are there any specific techniques beginners should apply while painting with watercolors?

Beginners can try wet-on-wet techniques by applying water on the canvas before applying wet paint. Wet-on-dry techniques are used for more defined shapes. Other techniques include creating the ombre effect, different color gradients, and precision painting that requires attention to the boundaries of each object.

5. Can you recommend any art supplies for beginners in watercolor painting?

Some recommended art supplies for beginners in watercolor painting include Canson Watercolor Paper, Sakura Koi Watercolor Kit, Sakura Gelly Roll White Pen, Sakura Pigma Micron Pens, and washi tape. These supplies can enhance the painting experience and help beginners create beautiful artworks.

6. How can I become skilled in watercolor painting as a beginner?

To become skilled in watercolor painting, beginners should practice regularly and explore various compositions and techniques. It is also beneficial to observe and learn from experienced artists, as well as experiment with different styles and subjects. With consistent practice and experimentation, beginners can progress and develop their skills in watercolor painting.

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