Watercolor Ideas: Top 50 Simple Beginner & Intermediate Pictures!

Watercolor IdeasWell, you’ve got your paints and your easel and you’re so excited that… well, you draw a blank on watercolor ideas! Don’t worry, it can happen. With so many choices out there, settling on a single thing to paint when you are simply itching to put those watercolors down on canvas can be overwhelming.

Relax, we’ve got you covered. Today we’re going to fire out a few ideas that you can use just for learning purposes or to help you get some ideas of your own for your next project. All we ask is that you pick one today and go with it! Even if you don’t find the subject completely exciting, it’s good practice and the textures and colors involved might be a lot more fun to shape and apply than you think.

The important part is to get you painting, so let’s get started with some creative watercolor ideas.

Mediums for watercolors

Watercolors typically are used on watercolor paper, but there are more mediums which you can put those paints on if you are feeling like doing something a little less traditional. Here’s a list of mediums which you can also use instead of watercolor paper whenever you feel like spicing things up:

  • Papyrus
  • Leather
  • Plastics
  • Fabrics
  • Vellum
  • Wood

Now that you know what you’ll be painting on, here are a few ideas that can get you started. We should note that difficulty level will vary, but if you see something that calls to you then we think you should go for it. Experimentation often produces some of the most amazing results, so if you like an idea but you aren’t sure that you can pull it off, just do your best.

You might surprise yourself with the results!

1.    Starry skystarry sky galaxy

Starry skies are a standard in painting and for good reason. Dots make up those stars, you can add in a moon if you like or something strange in the sky, with a silhouette below pointing at it… just use your imagination. Even on it’s own, a starry sky is pleasant to look at and helps to teach you composition in your works, so it’s worth the time to paint one if you’ve never done it before.

2.    Flowers

watercolor flowersAnother standard that you get is flowers but remember, you are the artist, so you decide how they are actually going to come out. Maybe your flowers are decaying, for instance, or resting against a headstone. Maybe it’s a handful of flowers, stems-severed, and held in what is obviously a child’s hand. Have a little fun with flowers because you can learn a lot from them, with their glorious curves and colors.

3.    A Leafwatercolor leaf

A single leaf, magnified on canvas can actually look quite striking, so as far as watercolor ideas you could do a lot worse! There are veins and rich green (or autumnal colors) that you can paint in to show the world something that they otherwise take for granted. If you’ve ever looked at a leaf under a magnifying glass then you know what we are talking about it. There’s a lot to capture in this seemingly basic idea so why not paint an interesting leaf, maybe even with a drop of dew on it?

4.    Anime characters

watercolor animeAnime characters are fun to draw but they are even more fun to paint. Typically, they have ‘punk rock’ hair colors like cotton-candy pink or blue and as they are normally drawn and colored in inks then seeing an anime charactered rendered in watercolor can be quite the treat. So, if you already have a little practice in drawing anime characters than give one a whirl with your watercolors. It’s a great way to give your own spin on them and a pleasure to paint. (click here to see some great ideas for drawing simple cute pictures in chalk)

5.    Mandalaswatercolor mandala

Hindu and Buddhist Mandalas are fun to paint. They range from simple to quite complex and the combination of colors along with the geometric symmetry can make them an addictive subject for painting. You can find some great examples online and if you like, you can use image transfer methods to get yourself a framework to work with.

This one is definitely worth a whirl, as the end results can be quite stunning.

6.    Hummingbirds

hummingbird near flowerHummingbirds have a lovely combination of colors and you can also depict one that is feeding from an exotic flower as well. This gives you some interesting shapes and colors to work with and its a less-common subject for painting than many other projects. Try Googling ‘types of hummingbirds’ and find

“This gives you some interesting shapes and colors to work with”

one whose colors you find appealing and see if you can render it in watercolor.

It’s a great exercise and you might find that you want to paint a few more, for the sheer pleasure of it. Watercolor ideas don’t have to be fancy, just colorful and pleasing to the eye!

7.    Cat’s eyeswhite and black long fur cat

Try painting a cat’s face, but not all of it. Just a small portion which includes the eyes. This lets you play with some fur textures for the areas that surround those slit-orbs and you also get to paint in a ‘liquid’ effect that comes with all eyes. This is one of those ideas that sounds simple but actually teaches some useful texture painting in the process. Just a little something to consider!

8.    Dystopian landscapes

dystopian landscapeIf you like science fiction or you’re simply tired of painting ‘normal’ landscapes then why not go a little dystopian? An example of a dystopian landscape that you’ve seen in cinema would be the world in any of the ‘Mad Max’ movies. You are going for a landscape where little or nothing grows and where buildings, vehicles, and other technology is slapped-together or falling apart.

Pick a place in your town or city that you like and draw up a sketch of it, spending the next few days adding a few hundred years to the buildings and vehicles in your sketches. This is more of an intermediate project, but it’s a lot of fun, and after you’ve ‘aged’ that sketch then try to render it in watercolor on the canvas and see what happens. Don’t be afraid to cut loose and add an extra moon or to while you are at it, as that sort of thing is the best part about painting a fictional landscape!

9.    Sandwichessandwich example to paint

Stay with us here. If you want to learn a little about arrangement and color play a delicious exercise is to make up a sandwich and to paint it(or make two, so that you aren’t hungry while you are painting). Sandwiches are a fun exercise because the lettuce, tomatoes, and leaking sauces give you a variety of different things to paint into the same picture. You’ve got the shine on the breadcrust, the shreds of meat… lots of different shapes in colors, all in one tasty package.

So, while it sounds like a funny suggestion, there’s a lot of learn in painting a sandwich. Plus, when you are done you can eat it!

Now that your creative juices are flowing…

This concludes our little list of ideas and we hope that you’ve found one or more that appeals to you be it for practice or for constructing your own unique take an interpretation. Remember that no idea is boring if you look at it the right way. Art is about colors, textures, and interpretations… so take any of the ideas or try each one and give your own unique expression of the subject matter.

Show us what it looks like through your eyes. Until next time, we wish you the best!

If you don’t find what you are looking for on this list, we’ve posted some pictures below that might just help. So, scroll down and see if something strikes your fancy and get that paintbrush on some canvas TODAY!


white and orange cat painting










green and red fruit painting







black and white pen on white printer paper










painting of brow nhouse










people on beach near bridge during daytime







red and green floral paintin










orange and green leaves on white wall







white and brown mountain under white sky during daytime








blue and green mountain painting










mountains near body of water painting








abstract art painting







Watercolor Ideas: Top 50 Simple Beginner & Intermediate Pictures!










yellow and blue apparel










woman with blue and red hair painting










watercolor art










orange and white abstract painting







red flower arrangement on white table










green-leafed trees










multicolored abstract painting










brown sand with blue water










sunflower with clear glass vase on gray table










blue brown and black abstract painting










watercolor art painting










woman in blue dress illustration










blue and black bird on tree branch










blue and white floral logo










green and white floral wall decor










pink and white flower painting










watercolors abstract










gray concrete surface










Watercolor Ideas: Top 50 Simple Beginner & Intermediate Pictures!










orange and yellow floral textile








brown and white bird print textile










multicolored flower illustration










black, pink, and blue abstract painting










pink and green bokeh lights








abstract watercolor striking










red and yellow abstract painting










blue and pin abstract painting










red painted wall










white flowering plant artwork







Watercolor Ideas

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