Beautiful Watercolor Painting Ideas You Must Try

Are you a beginner wondering, "What should I paint with watercolors?" Perhaps you're armed with your canvas, brushes, and watercolor paints - now all you need is an idea! If you're searching for a step-by-step guide to help you start your first artwork, then you're in for a treat! 

An octopus artwork featuring vibrant watercolor colors

Water-Based Markers

In this blog post, we will delve into a treasure trove of watercolor painting ideas, ranging from easy projects for beginners to more intricate inspirations. Whether you're curious about how to use your watercolors or seeking beginner-friendly suggestions, we've got you covered with 10  watercolor project ideas that will unleash the artist within you! Let's get painting! 

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How Do You Start a Watercolor Painting?

Watercolor painting offers a wonderful way to express your creativity and bring your imagination to life. If you're new to watercolors, the process might seem a bit daunting at first, but fear not – with a few simple steps, you can start creating beautiful watercolor artwork in no time!

1. Gather Your Supplies

Before you begin, ensure you have all the necessary supplies. You'll need watercolor paper, watercolor paints, water, watercolor brushes (in various sizes), a mixing palette, paper towels, and a container for water.

2. Set Up Your Workspace

Find a clean and well-lit area to work in. Lay down some newspaper or a plastic sheet to protect your workspace from any potential paint splatters.

3. Stretch Your Watercolor Paper (Optional but Recommended)

If you're using traditional watercolor paper, consider stretching it to prevent buckling. To do this, wet the paper thoroughly and then tape it down to a board or flat surface. Let it dry completely before you start painting.

4.  Plan Your Painting

Before you dive in, have a rough idea of what you want to paint. It could be a landscape, a still life, or even an abstract design. Sketch a basic outline lightly with a pencil, ensuring it's not too prominent, as watercolors are transparent and can show pencil marks through the paint.

A gorgeous and vibrant watercolor palette swatch

Artists' Watercolor 24 Pan Set

5.  Mix Your Colors

If you're using a tube, squeeze a small amount of each color you'll be using onto your mixing palette. If you're using a pan, simply pick up pigments and transfer them onto a porous surface for mixing. Watercolors can be mixed to create a wide range of shades, so experiment and find the colors that work best for your painting. 

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 6.  Start with Light Washes

Dip your brush in water and then load it with the desired color. Start with light washes by applying a thin layer of diluted paint to your paper. This creates a foundation for your painting and helps you understand how the colors interact with each other.

7. Build Layers

As each layer dries, you can gradually build up the intensity of your colors by applying more concentrated paint. Allow each layer to dry before adding the next to prevent colors from bleeding into each other and becoming muddy.

8. Use Negative Painting Techniques

To create highlights and intricate details, you can use negative painting techniques. Instead of painting the subject itself, paint around it to define its shape. You can use masking fluid to help cover parts of your artwork.

9. Embrace the Flow

One of the unique qualities of watercolors is their fluidity. Embrace the unpredictability of the medium and let the colors blend and flow naturally on the paper. This can add a wonderful sense of depth and movement to your artwork.

A sketch of two cute houses made with watercolors

Fine Liner Pen Set

10. Finishing Touches

Once you're satisfied with your painting, let it dry completely. You can use a heat gun to speed up the drying process. After it's dry, you can add final touches using finer brushes or pens and add more concentrated paint.

Remember, practice makes perfect! Don't be discouraged if your initial attempts don't appear as expected. Watercolor painting is all about experimentation and learning from your experiences. With time and practice, you'll develop your unique style and techniques to make your watercolor artwork truly special.

10 Watercolor Painting Ideas for Beginners

  • Sunny Landscape: Paint a simple landscape with a bright sun, rolling hills, and a serene sky. Experiment with blending colors to create the soft gradients of a peaceful setting.
  • Floral Bouquet: Try your hand at painting a bouquet of flowers. Focus on capturing delicate petals and vibrant colors. Don't worry about perfect realism; embrace the fluidity of watercolors.

Two watercolor floral images

Watercolor 36 Pan Set

  • Whimsical Clouds: Create a dreamy scene with fluffy clouds against a pastel sky. Blend different shades of pink, blue, and white to achieve a soft, ethereal effect.
  • Fruit Still Life: Arrange a few pieces of fruit, like apples or oranges, and paint their forms and colors. This is a great exercise to practice shading and creating dimensions.

A watercolor painting of an apple hanging on a branch

Watercolor Brush Markers - Autumn Festival Set

  • Abstract Color Play: Let loose and experiment with abstract art. Paint bold strokes and splashes of various colors on the paper. Allow the colors to blend and interact, resulting in a unique and vibrant piece.
  • Silhouette Cityscape: Paint the silhouette of a cityscape against the backdrop of a sunset or a starry night. This idea allows you to focus on capturing the shapes and contrasts.

A four-panel image of a watercolor painting

Watercolor Paper Set (A2 loose sheets)

  • Underwater Scene: Create an underwater world with fish, plants, and gentle waves. Watercolors can beautifully capture the fluid nature of water, making it an ideal choice for aquatic scenes.

A beautiful watercolor painting of some trees

Watercolor Essential 12 Pan Set

  • Cute Animals: Choose a simple animal like a cat, dog, or bird and paint its portrait. Focus on the animal's features and expressions while playing with different shades.

A crane watercolor artwork

Zanzibar Dual Tip Pens (Water-based)

  • Sunset Sky: Explore the colors of a mesmerizing sunset. Blend warm oranges, pinks, and purples to create a stunning sky that fades into the horizon.
  • Autumn Leaves: Capture the essence of fall by painting colorful leaves. Experiment with various shades of red, yellow, and orange to create vibrant autumn foliage.

A beautiful artwork of some autumn leaves falling on the ground

Vibrant Watercolor Paints

Beautiful Watercolor Pan Sets for Your Artwork!

Create Your Own Wonderful Watercolor Art Today!

Overall, we hope that these watercolor painting ideas help fuel your creative juices! Remember, the key to watercolor painting as a beginner is to have fun and not be afraid to make mistakes. Each painting is a learning experience that will help you improve and develop your skills over time. Feel free to adapt these ideas to your preferences and style, and most importantly, enjoy the creative process! 

We hope you enjoyed reading the post, and if you'd like to read more art techniques, tips, and tricks, browse our ABCs of Art page! Happy painting!