10 Easy Watercolor Ideas for New Artists

If you’re just starting out with watercolor painting, it can be overwhelming to decide on what to create. Here are ten easy watercolor ideas that are perfect for new artists.

First up is the abstract color wash, which is a great way to experiment with different color combinations and get comfortable with the medium. For those who love nature, botanical illustrations are a beautiful way to capture the delicate hues of flowers and leaves. Painting landscapes with watercolor is also a peaceful and relaxing pastime that allows you to capture the nuances of nature.

Still life paintings allow you to practice your observation skills and experiment with interesting shapes and textures. Animal portraits are another great subject matter to tackle, where you can practice creating texture and fur with watercolor.

If you’re feeling more experimental, you can try abstract compositions with geometric shapes or watercolor resist techniques. For more city-minded artists, cityscapes are a great subject matter to play with different techniques for representing buildings, streets, and people.

Those who love the impressionist style can try to capture the fleeting moment of a scene with loose brush strokes and color mixing. Finally, experimenting with the sky using wet-on-wet or layering techniques can be a great way to practice creating depth and atmosphere in your paintings. With these ten easy ideas, you’ll be well on your way to creating beautiful watercolor paintings.

1. Abstract Color Wash

Abstract Color Wash is a great watercolor idea for new artists. To create this, you simply need to experiment with different color combinations by creating an abstract wash. This way, you can explore color theory and get comfortable with the medium.

The key to a successful abstract color wash is to not overthink it. Simply apply colors randomly and let them blend together. You can try different techniques, such as wet-on-wet or layering, to create different effects. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, as they can often lead to unexpected and interesting results.

It’s important to remember that watercolor can be a bit unpredictable, particularly when you’re first starting out. This can be frustrating at times, but it’s also what makes the medium so unique and rewarding. With some practice and experimentation, you’ll soon be able to create beautiful abstract color washes that showcase your personal style.

2. Botanical Illustration

Botanical illustration is a popular watercolor subject that can help you capture the beauty of nature. Flowers, leaves, and other botanicals are perfect subjects for watercolor painting due to their delicate nature and soft colors. When painting botanicals, it is important to pay attention to shapes, shadows, and highlights. Experiment with different color combinations to create a unique and beautiful composition.

One tip for painting botanicals is to use reference images to help you get the details right. You can find references online or even take your own photos of plants and flowers. Use thin brushes to paint the fine details of petals and leaves, and layer colors to create depth and texture. Practice painting different types of flowers and botanicals to improve your skills and create a stunning piece of art.

3. Landscapes

If you’re new to watercolor painting, experimenting with landscapes is a great way to get started. The softness and subtle shades of nature can be beautifully captured with watercolor painting. Landscapes offer an opportunity to explore the basic techniques of watercolors, such as layering and color mixing. Start by choosing a simple landscape scene, such as a sunset or a quiet countryside. Then, experiment with different brush strokes and techniques to create texture for trees, bushes, and fields. Use colors to represent different seasons and moods. For example, use warm colors for a summer landscape or cool colors for a winter scene. Use layering to create depth and shadow, and remember that less is often more with watercolors. With practice, you’ll soon be able to create stunning landscape paintings that capture the essence of nature’s beauty.

4. Still Life

If you want to improve your observation skills, try painting a still life. This requires close attention to details, shapes, textures, and colors. Pick a few objects that inspire you, such as fruit, flowers, or household items. Take your time to experiment with different arrangements and lighting.

Start by sketching the outline of each object with a pencil. Then, use watercolors to add layers, shadows, and highlights. Be patient and layer the colors gradually to create depth and dimension. You can also try adding different textures using different techniques, such as dry brushing or splattering.

Remember that the beauty of still life painting is in the details and the composition. Use your creativity to play with the balance and contrast of the objects, and experiment with different color schemes. With practice, you’ll develop a better eye for the beauty around you, and improve your watercolor skills.

5. Animal Portraits

If you love animals and watercolor painting, then why not combine the two hobbies and create animal portraits? Watercolor is a great medium for capturing the softness and texture of fur. It allows you to create depth and shading with delicate strokes, resulting in a beautiful and realistic image of your furry friend.

To start, choose a clear photo of your pet as a reference. Study the photo carefully and observe the details of the fur, the texture, and the colors. Once you have a clear idea in mind, lightly sketch the outline of the portrait on a watercolor paper.

Next, begin to layer the washes of color onto the paper. Use a light wash for the base color of the fur, and gradually build up the darker shades with careful strokes. Pay attention to the direction of the fur and the patterns of the markings.

One of the challenges of painting animal portraits is creating the illusion of texture and depth. Experiment with different techniques, such as using a dry brush for creating fur texture, or adding highlights with a white gouache paint. Remember, practice makes perfect!

In conclusion, creating animal portraits with watercolor is a great way to practice creating texture and fur with the medium. With patience, observation skills, and a bit of experimentation, you can create beautiful and realistic portraits of your furry friends.

6. Abstract Geometric Shapes

If you’re looking for a fun and easy watercolor idea, abstract geometric shapes is a great place to start. By playing with the contrast and balance of different shapes, you can create a dynamic and visually appealing composition. Experiment with different color combinations and brush strokes to add interest and texture to your painting.

One technique you can try is layering shapes on top of each other to create depth and dimension. Another technique is using negative space to create interesting shapes and patterns. Don’t be afraid to let your creativity run wild and explore different shapes and compositions.

Abstract geometric shapes are also a great way to experiment with color theory. By using different colors and color combinations, you can create a mood and atmosphere in your painting. For example, warm colors like red, orange, and yellow can create a lively and energetic composition, while cool colors like blue, green, and purple can create a calming and peaceful composition.

Overall, abstract geometric shapes are a fun and easy way to explore watercolor painting. With a little bit of experimentation and creativity, you can create a unique and visually stunning composition.

7. Watercolor Resist

One of the most intriguing ways to create texture in watercolor painting is to use a resist agent like white crayon or masking fluid. The resist agent resists the watercolor paint and creates interesting patterns and textures that can add depth and depth to a painting. This technique allows the artist to reveal the white paper and creates a unique illusion of light in the painting.

There are various techniques to experiment with resist agents and watercolors. For example, artists can use a white crayon to draw a design or pattern on the paper before applying watercolor paint. Alternatively, they can use masking fluid to block out specific areas of the paper before applying paint. Once the paint is dry, the resist agent can be removed to reveal the areas that have been protected from the paint.

Another way to create interesting textures and effects is to experiment with different compositions and techniques. For example, mixing colors or using a wet-on-wet technique can create stunning effects and unique textures. Additionally, artists can play with the amount of resist agent used to create different levels of texture in the painting.

Overall, using resist agents like white crayon or masking fluid is a great way to experiment with watercolor painting and create interesting textures and effects. By trying out different techniques and compositions, an artist can create a truly unique and eye-catching piece of art. So go ahead and give this technique a try and see what amazing textures you can create in your watercolor paintings!

8. Cityscapes

If you’re a new watercolor artist, painting a cityscape can be a fun and rewarding way to develop your skills. It’s a great opportunity to experiment with creating different textures and techniques for representing buildings, streets, and people. Start by doing some research and finding images that inspire you. Choose a scene with a lot of movement and activity to help capture the bustle of city life.

When it comes to painting buildings, try to create depth by using shadows, highlights, and different shades of the same color. Experiment with different brush strokes and techniques to create different textures and surfaces. For example, using a dry brush technique can create the appearance of brick or stone, while using a wet-on-wet technique can create a softer, more atmospheric effect.

For streets and sidewalks, focus on creating the illusion of perspective by using darker colors and thinner lines to create the impression of distance. Experiment with different colors and textures to create the appearance of pavement, gravel, or cobblestones.

Finally, don’t forget to include people in your cityscape. This can add a sense of movement and excitement to the scene. Experiment with different techniques for creating figures, such as using shadows and highlights to create the impression of depth.

Overall, painting a cityscape with watercolors is a great way to experiment with different techniques and develop your skills as an artist. Don’t be afraid to try new things and take risks – the beauty of watercolors is that they are forgiving and can be easily corrected or adjusted as you go along.

9. Impressionist Style Painting

Impressionist style painting is a technique that captures the fleeting moment of a scene through the use of expressive brushwork, bold colors, and an emphasis on light and movement. This style of painting is all about conveying the feeling of a moment rather than creating a realistic representation of a subject.

To create an impressionist style painting, start by choosing a subject that inspires you, such as a landscape or a bustling city scene. Then, experiment with different strokes and color combinations to create a sense of movement and energy on the canvas.

You can use a variety of techniques to create an impressionist style painting, such as layering different colors, using a wet-on-wet method, or using a palette knife to add texture. The key is to let go of perfection and focus on capturing the essence of the scene.

Some popular impressionist artists include Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Take inspiration from their work but don’t be afraid to develop your own style and techniques.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced artist, impressionist style painting is a great way to experiment with strokes and color mixing while creating a unique and expressive work of art. So pick up your brushes and start capturing the fleeting moments of your world in an impressionist style.

10. Abstract Sky

When it comes to painting skies with watercolors, there are various techniques to choose from. Two popular methods are wet-on-wet and layering. Wet-on-wet involves adding wet paint to a wet surface, allowing for smooth blending and soft edges. Layering involves building up layers of color to create depth and texture.

Whichever technique you choose, remember to start with a light wash for the base of the sky and gradually build up the colors. As you add layers, keep in mind the direction of the light source and how it affects the colors in the sky.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different color combinations and techniques to create unique and captivating skies in your paintings. Practicing realistic skies can also help you master the art of creating depth and atmosphere in your works.

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