Painting is a fun activity and creative outlet that almost anyone can try. Because there are several different types of paint, all with different qualities and advantages, you can find a medium and a style to suit your interests and skills.
If you’re a beginner, you might not know where to start, or which medium to try first. Check out these 35 easy painting ideas for beginners, which include watercolors, acrylics, oils, and gouache, as well as some easy canvas painting ideas for beginners in different paint media.
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35 Painting Ideas to Try as a Beginner
Watercolor Painting Ideas for Beginners
1. Color Mixing Dots
It’s important to learn how watercolor paints mix together when you’re starting out with the medium. Why not create an attractive work of art while you’re learning about color mixing?
2. Bold Botanicals
Artist Cat Coquillette show beginner painters how to make the most of watercolor paints’ unique properties to create colorful plants and flowers.
What are some easy things to paint? These colorful crystals!
4. Cat Faces
These three watercolor cat faces allow beginners to practice wet-on-wet, wet-on-dry, blending, and fur-like brush strokes.
Whether you use a photo for reference or you have the scene right in front of you, landscapes make a good subject for easy watercolors.
6. Maple Leaf
The dewdrop adds a touch of complexity to an otherwise simple painting, but it can be left out until you feel more confident with your watercolor painting skills.
7. Monochrome Landscapes
These monochrome landscapes are designed to look like painted Polaroid photos.
The way watercolor paints blend and bloom together makes them an ideal medium for painting galaxies.
9. Anemone Flowers
These anemone flowers look detailed but they’re quite easy for beginner painters.
Learning to paint shoes with watercolor paints will give you the chance to practice creating white space, which can be tricky with watercolors.
Acrylic Painting Ideas for Beginners
11. Impressionist Landscape
Wondering, “What should I paint as a beginner?” Impressionist landscapes are a good place to start with acrylics because you don’t need to worry about fine details looking perfect.
12. Easy Roses
These stylized roses are easy to paint with acrylics.
13. Puddle Pour Paintings
The puddle pour technique creates abstract paintings with acrylics.
14. Geometric Patterns
These striking geometric patterns were created using masking tape and acrylic paints.
15. Color-Blocked Tropical Leaf
Many artists love acrylics for the vibrancy of the colors. A color-blocked leaf project is a good way to practice using bold colors.
16. Cute Duck
By learning brush strokes specifically for acrylic paints you can paint textured scenes and subjects easily.
Acrylic paints are an ideal medium for painting a bold, bright sunflower.
18. Abstract Flowers
Not all flower paintings need to be figurative. These abstract peonies give the impression of the flower without getting bogged down in precise details. It’s one of the best easy acrylic painting ideas for beginners on canvas, but you can also paint it on paper.
19. Colorful Pineapple
This pineapple looks striking but is an easy project for beginners.
20. Whimsical Birds
By “inventing” your own birds you are free to paint them as you wish, without the constraint of trying to be too accurate.
Oil Painting Ideas for Beginners
21. Elephant Tree Scene
Some people are intimidated to try oil painting, but this easy flowering tree with an elephant is a good project to begin with.
22. Impressionist Flowers
Capture the impression and mood of these flowers with oil paints.
23. Finger-Painted Rooster
If you don’t mind getting a bit messy, have some fun finger painting this proud rooster.
24. Onion Still Life
Objects as ordinary as an onion can make for great oil painting subjects. When it comes to oil painting, this is one of the best easy canvas painting ideas for beginners.
25. Misty Forest
Oil paints are versatile and can be used to paint a range of effects, including a misty, cloudy landscape.
26. Cloudy Sky
Unlike watercolor paints, oil paints can be used to directly create white space and forms, such as with these textured clouds.
The rich tones of oil paints can be used to depict colorful natural phenomena, like sunrises and sunsets.
28. Mountain Landscape
Create depth, texture, and shadow in your paintings by learning how to paint mountain scenes.
29. Facial Features
Painting a full portrait can be challenging for a beginner oil painter, so start by focusing on one or two features in a restricted palette, such as this grayscale nose.
30. Puffin Bird
Oil paints were used to create this cute puffin, but you could also choose another favorite bird to paint.
Gouache Painting Ideas for Beginners
31. Still Life with Fruit
Gouache paints are favored for their strong pigments, and the vibrant colors of fruit are a good subject to paint when practicing with this medium. This is one of the go-to canvas painting ideas for beginners, but it can be done on paper, too.
Turn a seemingly ordinary and mundane object, like a teacup, into something special by painting it with gouache.
33. Cute Critter
Gouache is a good medium for illustrations and graphic images, such as this cute racoon that would be right at home in a storybook for kids.
34. Floral Bouquet
When painting florals, color combinations and composition are both essential. Illustrator Peggy Dean introduces three projects that get you practicing these skills.
35. Fantasy Creature
Let your imagination run wild by creating a colorful fantasy creature. It can be part alien, part octopus… whatever you’d like!
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