Watercolor Inspiration: 30 Ideas for Novice Artists

Watercolor painting is one of the most accessible (and fun) ways to paint! You can practice your techniques with these watercolor painting ideas for beginners.

It’s not always possible to come up with ideas for what to paint. But with this long list of easy watercolor paintings to copy, you have tons of inspiration. 

So, browse through and take your pick. There’s a wide range of ideas to spark your creativity and get you painting. These suggestions will allow you to practice using basic watercolor techniques. You’ll become more confident in painting accurately, capturing the lighting, and mixing colors. 

30+ Beginner Watercolor Ideas

Here are more than 30 beginner watercolor painting ideas. This list will ensure that you never run out of ideas for what to paint next! Plus, I’ve carefully selected them, so they’re at the right level for a beginner or intermediate painter. 

Roses and Flowers

Any type of flower is a popular topic for artists, but especially roses. These elegant flowers are beautiful and romantic. So, you can create a stunning painting of them, even if you’re new to watercolor painting. 

watercolor painting ideas

When you paint flowers, you can try using different shades for the highlights and shadows. You’ll also need to observe where the light is coming from. So, it’s good practice before moving on to more complicated subjects.

An Impressive Landscape

A landscape can look beautiful but is also relatively easy. You could paint any type of landscape, from mountains to the sea or a rural scene. 

water paint ideas

Either way, you don’t need to focus too much on the details. Instead, you can use swathes of color to create the backdrop. Then, all you need to do is add a few defining objects like trees or boats. 


beginner watercolor ideas

As mentioned above, mountains make for a jaw-dropping painting. You can paint them by night or day, silhouetted or close up. There are many possibilities for how to paint mountains. But they are also a simple and effective subject for a beginner. 

Starry sky

easy watercolor paintings

A starry sky is beautiful and a great watercolor painting idea for beginners. You can depict the moon and stars against a deep blue sky.


Sometimes, it’s well worth slowing down and observing items around you. Find a few pebbles nearby, and then recreate them as closely as possible. You could paint them in a pile or each one separately. 

beginner watercolor painting ideas

Pay close attention to the light and shadow on the pebbles and any distinctive marks on each one. Often, you’ll find that stones have thin white bands on them. Once you’ve painted your pebbles in watercolor, you could use masking fluid to make these lines. 


easy watercolor paintings to copy

Leaves are another excellent subject for the beginner watercolor painter. They’re found in abundance and seem simple. But they actually have a lot of detail, from the exact shade of the leaves to the veins running through them.  


Clouds are perfect for when you want a quick watercolor painting idea. They aren’t too complicated, but you can create many different kinds of clouds.

watercolor painting inspiration

From whimsical fluffy white clouds to dark storm clouds, you can have a lot of fun with this suggestion. And it will come in handy any time you need to do a painting with clouds in it. 

City Skyline

If you’re looking for simple watercolor painting inspiration, try your hand at a city skyline. When painting a city at night, you can use a silhouette technique.

 watercolor painting ideas for beginners

So, you don’t need to worry about painting every detail of the buildings. Instead, they are basic black silhouettes against a vibrant night sky. 


A forest can be a mystical, enchanting place. You’ll find thousands of shades of green in trees and plants. The wind ripples through the leaves, and shafts of sunlight break through the tree canopy.

creative watercolor painting ideas

So, why not try your hand at a forest scene? You can make it as simple or detailed as you like, depending on your experience and confidence. 


Almost anything can make a great subject for a watercolor painting. But it’s even handier when your subject is easy to find around the home. If you have a lemon or two in your fridge, grab them and set them up.

ideas for watercolor painting

This simple watercolor project will brighten up your home. Add some leaves to your lemons – the contrast between yellow and green is striking! 

Autumn leaves

Autumn leaves turn gorgeous shades of yellow, red, and orange. And then, they ultimately fade to brown. Have a go at recreating the vibrant hues of autumn leaves by copying this painting.

Autumn leaves watercolor idea

Or, if it’s the right time of year, you can collect a few autumn leaves and use them as your inspiration. 

Balancing Zen Stones

simple painting idea stones

This simple painting idea will bring you tranquility as you paint and when on display in your home. If you fancy more of a challenge, paint the stones in water. You can try to capture the ripples of the water around the stones.

Watermelon Slice

slice of watermelon watercolor idea

There’s nothing more enticing than a juicy slice of watermelon. And its rich colors make it the perfect subject for a watercolor painting. The shape is simple, so you can focus on getting your colors just right. 


watercolor idea grapes

Grapes have rick, deep colors of red, purple, and black. Their small round shapes are a satisfying challenge for a beginner watercolor painter. Grapes also make a great subject if you want to practice your loose watercolor technique. 


ice cream watercolor idea

If you like to paint fun and whimsical things, have a go at a watercolor painting of ice cream. It will look just as delicious on the page as in real life! You can make it as realistic or stylized as you like. 


cactus watercolor idea

A cactus is one of the simplest plants to paint due to its simple shapes. For example, you could paint a close-up of a cactus. Or, consider painting a silhouetted cactus against a backdrop of a setting sun. 


A tree is one of the more advanced ideas for watercolor painting. So, it’s a good idea to have a reference image you can work from. Or, you could head outside with your supplies and paint a real tree nearby. 

tree watercolor idea

There are many different species of trees, so you could create a whole series of these paintings if you like. Painting the leaves and getting the light and shadows right is tricky but well worth it! 

Misty forest

A misty forest is one of the most creative watercolor painting ideas. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to test using different shades of colors. You’ll need darker colors in the forefront, fading to lighter shades as it becomes mistier. 

misty forest watercolor idea

This subject lends itself well to watercolor painting. You can use your new techniques to create that misty atmosphere. 

Abstract art

Sometimes, you’re not in the mood to paint a specific subject. But you still want to get creative and have fun with your watercolor paints. In that case, you could play around with abstract patterns and shades. 

abstract watercolor idea

You’ll still practice using color and form, shadow, and highlights. But you won’t have the pressure of creating an exact reproduction of another image.

Flowers in a vase

flowers in vase watercolor idea

Flowers are popular subjects for artists. But there are many different types of flowers, so you can take your pick – from tulips to lilies to an orchid. You can also make your painting as detailed and realistic or simplistic as you like. 

Garden Vegetables

vegetable watercolor idea

Anything can provide inspiration for your art! Choose a selection of garden vegetables to paint for a wholesome painting. Think about using vegetables of different colors to create a nice contrast. 

Winter scene

winter watercolor idea

You can create very atmospheric paintings that will evoke certain feelings. Create a snowy winter scene to transport people to the depths of winter. You might even make them shiver! 


Apples are a common fruit you’ll often find in the home. But they also make for an excellent subject for a still-life painting. Pay close attention to the apple’s colors, lighting, and shadow.

apple watercolor idea

You can also gain more confidence in capturing proportion and shape. With practice, you’ll become more observant. And as a result, you’ll find it easier to paint more complicated things. 

Colorful Balloons

baloon watercolor idea

There’s nothing more fun and whimsical than a bunch of bright and colorful balloons. There aren’t any tricky details to worry about in this painting. So instead, you can work on getting the shapes, lighting, and color just right. 


lighthouse watercolor idea

A lighthouse is a striking subject for any painting. There are many ways you could paint a lighthouse – at night, by day, silhouetted, etc. So take your pick and have a go at creating your own beginner watercolor painting. 

Cup Of Tea

cup of tea watercolor idea

It’s helpful to paint household items when you’re a beginner watercolor artist. And there’s beauty in everyday objects, too. You can set up a cup of tea in front of you and paint what you see. 

Lavender Plant

lavender watercolor idea

Take inspiration from nature and paint a lavender plant. It has a simple form, making it a good choice for beginner watercolor artists. Plus, its gorgeous blue and purple colors are calming and tranquil. 


sunset watercolor idea

Sunset is a gorgeous thing to paint with bright, rich colors. You can practice mixing your colors smoothly to create a realistic sunset.

Misty Waters

Misty waters are an excellent opportunity to practice blending colors together. You’ll need a palette of blues and grays for this painting.

misty waters watercolor idea

You don’t need to worry about perfecting the details, as the mist makes everything blurry anyway. 

Lone Boat

lone boat water color idea

A lone boat on the sea makes for an impactful (and simple) painting! It’s also pretty simple and straightforward, even for a beginner. 


dandelion watercolor idea

A dandelion is a nice idea for beginner painter. You can capture the dandelion seeds as they begin to scatter in the wind. 

Water Color Paint Ideas FAQ

Is watercolor painting good for beginners?

Watercolor painting is an excellent method for beginners. It’s affordable and easy to start, even for beginners. You’ll find it simple to mix colors and create simple paintings. My list of beginner watercolor ideas has suggestions for what to paint when you’re just starting out!

What is the easiest thing to paint in watercolor?

Watercolor painting is a great medium that allows you to create beautiful images without having to master complex techniques. The basic tools include a palette, brushes, paper or canvas, and water.
There are several ways to start painting. One of them is to choose a subject matter that interests you. Then, look at the colors around you. Choose a color scheme that matches the mood you want to convey. Finally, add details to your image using brush strokes.

The Wrap Up

Now, you have lots of beginner watercolor painting ideas. So, all you need to do is grab your paints, paintbrush, and paper and start painting! Let me know how you get on in the comments below!

Follow Proactive Creative on Pinterest for more arty tips, reviews, and tutorials! 


Outmane is the founder of Proactive Creative. He is an artist/designer.

You may also like these articles

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.