Easy watercolour painting ideas

Not sure what to paint? Here are hundreds of watercolour painting ideas, from simple abstracts to subjects from the plant, animal and natural worlds, and even some science fiction examples too!

Abstract shapes and colours

Your paintings don’t have to have a subject! These are just some of my favourite abstract watercolour ideas.

  • Simple lines
  • Glazing effect
  • Circles
  • Triangles
  • Abstract mark making
  • Blown watercolour

Read my detailed guide for more abstract watercolour painting ideas.

abstract watercolour painting ideas

Everyday items

Paint what you can see! Take inspiration from the world around you and grab something nearby to paint.

  • Cup of coffee
  • Your house
  • A door
  • Houseplants
  • Stack of books
  • Sandwich
  • Your paints, brushes and palette
  • View from your window
  • Your bedroom (it’s good enough for Van Gogh!)

Basic watercolour flowers

Painting flowers is still my favourite subject. Grab a bouquet, head out into the garden or search for inspiration on Pinterest.

  • Basic five petal flower
  • Anemone
  • Daffodil
  • Daisy
  • Easy bouquet
  • Rose

Check out my watercolour tutorials for even more flower ideas.

liquid watercolour lightfast vibrant

In the garden

Head outside for some sunshine and inspiration from mother nature.

  • Dandelions
  • Ladybird
  • Butterfly
  • Garden shed
  • Potted plants
  • Gardening gloves

Fruit painting ideas

Raid the fruit bowl for bright colours, simple shapes and juicy painting ideas.

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Grapes
  • Watermelon
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Figs
  • Lemons

Want more fruit ideas? Take my class on painting watercolour fruits.

oranges fruit pattern in watercolor


Or poke around in your vegetable drawer for more earthy tones.

  • Tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Chilli peppers
  • Carrots
  • Aubergine

Skies and galaxies

Look up for inspiration, or find pictures of tropical sunsets and stormy skies.

  • Sunset
  • Sunrise
  • Northern lights
  • Colourful galaxy
  • Sky with clouds
  • Lightning strike

Space travel

  • The moon
  • Planets
  • Rocket/spaceship
  • Aliens

Essential landscapes

There are endless types of landscapes – here are some classic painting ideas to get started.

  • Mountain range
  • Desert with cacti
  • Beach
  • Tuscany hills
  • Harbour with boats
  • City skyline
  • Forest path
  • Garden gate

Take my beginner watercolour class to paint this simple mountain landscape, as well as a beautiful sunset!

watercolour mountain landscape painting

Summer holiday

Remind yourself of a holiday memory with these cute icons.

  • Pool flamingo
  • Ice cream
  • Swimming costume
  • Flip flops
  • Sunglasses
  • Parasol


Paint all the items you might usually pick up at the beach.

  • Shells
  • Seaweed
  • Pebbles
  • Sandcastle
  • Bucket and spade
  • Beach towel

Sea life

Sea creatures are so fun to paint, and great for a watery wet-on-wet technique.

  • Shark
  • Whale
  • Fish
  • Crab
  • Jellyfish
  • Seahorse
easy watercolour jellyfish paintings


Jungle plants and animals are vibrant, fun and full of colour!

  • Jungle view
  • Orchid
  • Monstera leaf
  • Bird of paradise flower
  • Monkey
  • Toucan/parrot


Bring out your spooky side and the black paint.

  • Pumpkins
  • Spider and web
  • Skulls – day of the dead
  • Ghosts
  • Witch
  • Bats
  • Cat
  • Dracula

Festive painting ideas

Get yourself in a Christmas mood with these holiday painting ideas, great for cards too.

watercolor holly and berries


  • Faces
  • Head and shoulders portrait
  • Holding hands
  • Eyes
  • Mouth
  • Hair/back of the head
  • Different skin tones

Colour schemes

Experiment with the same subject in different colour schemes!

  • Colour swatches
  • Monotone
  • Two-tone composition
  • Harmonious colours
  • Contrasting colours
  • Black and white
  • Negative painting


  • Brick wall
  • Dry brush
  • Salt on watercolour
  • Wax resist

I hope all these painting ideas can spark your inspiration, no matter what you’re in the mood for!

Download my free watercolour supply guide

Feeling overwhelmed and confused by watercolour paints, papers and brushes? Download my free guide filled with insider info, including a list of good supplies for every budget, and my complete supply list!