Whether you want to create realistic figurative art or something more abstract or impressionist, watercolors are up to the task. Here are 35 inspiring watercolor painting ideas, easy to advanced.
35 Inspiring Watercolor Painting Ideas
Get inspired with these references. Find a suggestion that meets your skill level and work your way up, or head back to the basics at any time.
Watercolor Paintings for Beginners
1. Watercolor Sketchbooks
Many professional artists will have a sketchbook they take everywhere with them, and this is a good habit for hobby and aspiring artists to get into, too. Paint what you see around you with a portable watercolor set, and embellish with pen and pencil.
The properties of watercolor paints lend themselves to a galactic scene. Although it looks detailed, this is one of those easy watercolor painting ideas that anyone can attempt.
3. Colorful Peacock
Kids and total beginners can learn the basics of planning and painting a watercolor painting by working on this peacock project.
The colors and details of these butterflies are a good way to learn watercolor basics, but they can also be rewarding for more advanced painters.
5. Garden Vegetables
Almost anything can be a subject for watercolor painting, such as these colorful carrots, which allow beginner artists the chance to practice core watercolor techniques.
6. Shaded Donuts
Looking for easy watercolor painting ideas for beginners? Painting these semi-realistic donuts is a good way to practice light and shadow.
7. Fall Leaves
These fallen autumn leaves are painted using wet-on-wet, light to dark, and lifting watercolor painting techniques.
8. Delicate Roses
Flowers are a popular subject for watercolor paintings, as soft hues capture the delicacy of roses perfectly.
9. Vivid Colors
Not all watercolor paintings need to represent real, naturalistic colors. These animals are painted using a vivid palette.
10. Pine Tree Night Scene
Pine trees are distinctive but quite simple to paint and can be incorporated into day and night-time landscapes.
11. Hibiscus Flower
Careful use of color blooms, a characteristic of watercolor paints, creates this multi-hued hibiscus flower.
12. Starry Night Sky
The colors of the night sky can be painted with watercolors, and the white flecks for stars added later.
13. Rainbow Monstera Leaf
Using modern color combinations and carefully placed white spaces, it’s easy to paint fresh, on-trend botanicals.
Watercolor Paintings for Intermediate Painters
14. Snowy Scenes
Utilizing white space can be a tricky part of painting with watercolors, and painting snowy scenes is a good way to practice.
This fox is created using the watercolor techniques of blooms and salt on wet paint to create texture.
16. Doors and Windows
Whether you’ve observed them in your home town or on your travels, striking doors and windows have a magnetic appeal and can be captured in watercolors.
17. Abstract Watercolor Painting
Out of watercolor painting ideas? Try an abstract watercolor painting, using both a freeform and a planned technique.
18. Abstract Floral Watercolor
If you’ve practiced painting figurative flowers, why not have a go at painting more abstract floral scenes?
19. Beautiful Landscapes
You don’t need advanced watercolor painting skills to paint beautiful landscapes, such as this one by artist Milan Glozic.
20. Mixed-Media Mushrooms
Combining watercolor paint with pen or other media can enhance your artwork and create depth and detail.
21. Pet Portrait
Capture your faithful cat, dog, or other pet in a cute and realistic pet portrait.
22. Watercolor Paper Collage
If you’ve been painting for a while and have lots of scrap paper washed with watercolor, upcycle them into collages. You can create the colored paper from scratch, too.
23. Misty Mountain Landscape
Learning to paint a misty mountain scene will give you the chance to practice blending paint colors and tones.
24. Loose Florals
Watercolor painters who have mastered the basic techniques can develop their floral painting skills and try these loose, impressionist-style florals.
25. Floral Galaxy
Galaxies are a good beginner-level watercolor project, but intermediate artists can take them to the next level by adding details and layers with white paint.
Watercolor Paintings for Experts
Portraits of people don’t need to use realistic colors to be effective. Experiment with colors and shadows.
27. House Portrait
People aren’t the only worthy subject of a portrait. Significant houses can be a great subject, too.
28. Travel Scene
Remember your travels with detailed watercolor paintings of beautiful scenes, based on photos.
29. Wet-on-Wet Cat
The wet-on-wet technique makes the most of watercolor paints’ unique properties, creating a fuzzy, misty effect, as seen in this painting of a furry cat.
30. A Crystal Vase
Capturing the colors, light, and tones of a crystal-cut vase is a great project for advanced watercolor painters.
31. Realistic Landscape
Watercolors can be used to paint detailed, realistic-looking landscapes, such as this one of the sea, forests, mountains, and sky of the Inside Passage.
32. Impressionist Scene
The 19th-century Impressionists were renowned for their use of light and shade. Experienced watercolor painters can learn some of their techniques.
33. Hamsa Hand
The Hamsa is an ancient North African spiritual symbol representing protection, power, and strength. Experienced painters can design and paint a Hamsa using watercolors.
34. Fashion Figure
Whether you have ambitions to be a fashion designer or not, watercolors are a good way of depicting the color, detail, and drape of clothing.
35. Watercolor Painting to Digital Pattern
Experienced watercolor painters might like to experiment with digitizing their paintings, such as with this repeat pattern created on an iPad.
Choose Your Watercolor Paint Wisely
Don’t underestimate the importance of finding the right tools to guide you on your watercolor adventure. There’s no need to worry though – our Skillshare teachers have you covered with their recommendations for your next watercolor session.
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