Are You Embarrassed By Your Painting Skills? Here’re Easy Painting ideas & Tips!

Good painting is like good cooking; it can be tasted, but not explained.

… and so, in today’s blog post I will not get into the Herculean Task of telling you what a good painting is all about.

In this Guest Blog Post, Artist Deepti will help with easy painting ideas for beginners as well as easy sketching ideas for beginners. 

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions about Painting for beginners.

If you are traveling and creativity strikes, you can either Travel Sketch or dabble with water colours.

In one of our previous posts you will remember how we had covered Vietnam: Through a Sketch Artist’s Eyes!

Pablo Picasso said, “Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.”

Hope this Blog post helps you keep your Travel Diary with lots to Paint in!

Read more for Painting ideas.

Of all the media out there used by artists, water colors is perhaps the simplest and the most complex of all.

Ask anyone who has dabbled in acrylics or even oil painting and they will confirm what I just said.

Simple because the colors are fairly easy to use and complex because the colors can sometimes have a mind of their own.

It is because of these reasons that perhaps the artworks in watercolors can vary hugely between being totally abstract and then some of them look like the absolute real deal.

Mastering any medium can take time but it can only happen when one makes a humble beginning.

So if you are looking for ideas for painting for beginners, then you have come to the right place. 

Below you will find answers to some of the basic questions that may be stopping you from taking the plunge.

We will also attempt to give a wide view of the materials that you can start with and then move on to experiment with.

Lets start then, shall we?

11 Commonly Asked Questions by Painting Beginners

Below you will find answers to some of the basic questions that may be stopping you from taking the plunge.

We will also attempt to give a wide view of the materials that you can start with and then move on to experiment with.

Lets start then, shall we?

1. who can Paint?

The answer to this question is — anyone.

You may not be perfect in the beginning (even if you have used other media before) but with regular practice and the right tools, it’s not difficult to find your style of painting.

When I say your style, I really mean your own unique style.

There’s more than 10 ways to draw and paint the same object.

Some artists use pencils to lay down a proper structure and some start off with paint itself.

Neither of them is wrong or ahead in their art-venture (as I like to call it), they both just do what’s comfortable to them and most importantly, what they enjoy.

These are awesome sketching ideas for beginners.

2. Do I Have to Know How to Sketch?

While some experience in hand drawing, sketching etc is preferable, water-colours can be well used by absolute beginners without joining any expensive or extensive course.

Few more sketching ideas for beginners.

3. What Should I Paint On?

The reason why this is on the top of the list is, you guessed it right, that it’s the single most important thing to invest in.

The short answer is any good Quality Watercolor paper that fits in your budget!

Even if as a beginner you are on budget, we suggest you invest the maximum in getting your hands on good quality paper.

Watercolors require a heavy set of paper, a good weight is 270 GSM and ideal is 300 GSM.

With such thickness you will still find papers which are cold pressed (textured sheet, good for heavier use and techniques such as wet on wet) and hot pressed (smooth sheet, good for lighter washes or mixed media, even wet on dry technique).

Now within Cold Pressed type you will find paper which is 25% cotton or 100% cotton.

Both are Okay to use, with 25% cotton being on the cheaper side budget wise (you will be compromising marginally on the quality of your art however).

So to sum up a good paper to use is – 300 gsm, cold pressed, cotton paper.

I recommend two good brands to explore for these, readily available on amazon – Ayush Paper (they have affordable pretty looking drawing books which are easy to carry with you on your travels to the mountains or the sea) and Brustro (by creative hands artist’s materials and have not just notebooks but also loose sheets in various sizes and bundles).

The great news is that they are both Made In India.

Hurray!

Then there are brands such as Arches and Fabriano which come in blocks and various sizes, these are both also available on amazon but a higher price bracket.

As you go along, you will also want to try using various other papers such as khadi papers or handmade papers (try bluepinearts on etsy) or even seed paper, each of these are slightly more expensive but give such lovely textures.

I promise you that using the correct type of paper is the single most important step.

A silhouette of barbed wire across an abstract Indian flag.

4. What kind of brush should i buy?

The next thing you want to earmark in your budget is brushes (& colors).

These are both equally important so the decision is yours about which to invest in more.

The reason why I mention brushes before colors is solely unimportant!

There are two types of brushes in the market largely – synthetic bristles and natural.

With Water-colours you are free to use either. I Urge you to use cruelty free Natural Hair brushes or if you want, stick to synthetic, they are equally good.

To begin with, any locally bought brushes are good. One thing you have to remember is to pick ROUND POINT bushes.

These are bulkier in the middle and have a fine tip which ensures that in one sweep in the water container, your brush picks up enough to ease up our work.

You will also want flat brushes for background washes or more complex techniques.

You can also explore and purchase one slant brush for certain effects.

I recommend faber castell tri grip brushes for absolute beginners, their set of 13 is reasonably priced.

Slightly more advanced may want to purchase a set of Bomega Round artists brushes (available at K D Art store in Rohini, Delhi or on their website.

5 brusheswith red, green, orange, yellow and blue bristles and colours

As you go along, you must try using Cruelty free Mop Brushes from BRUSTRO, available on amazon but since these are hot sellers, you may have to wait some time.

The good thing about these is that they are comparable in quality to their more expensive counterparts elsewhere around the world but they suit a beginners budget very well and are Made in India!

One more exclusive brands of brushes to explore are silverbrush.

I urge you to explore locally handmade brushes on your travels, some places like Paris and Germany offer drool worthy handmade brushes as well as colors!

With that, lets chat a little about colors!

easy paintings of nature

5. Which watercolors should i buy?

Which water-colour to buy? – the one topic that is truly endless.

In a blogpost about watercolours, that’s to be expected. However, I would attempt to break it down as simple as I can.

Help me God!

To be completely honest, I started with camlin kukuyo, set of 24 cakes without any issues as such. I would recommend this for painting for beginners.

I found that these were nicely pigmented and so easy to use and carry because they are a simple box not bigger than the palm of your hand.

Any shade that I did not find in the box, I made up using my knowledge of color theory. So you may want to quickly read up on this and refer whenever you feel stuck.

They are affordable (read: cheap) and available at most corner stores and for this reason, I recommend that an absolute beginner start with these.

You can then move on to the tubes, the way to use tubes is that you can take them out in your slotted palette, let them dry overnight (or if they take longer) and then use them as you would use the cakes.

Camlin Kukuyo are good at rewetting and can be kept in a palette with lid.

Another brand which I recommend is BRUSTRO Artists’ Watercolour Set of 24 Colours X 12ML Tubes, these are available only in tubes (at the time of publishing this blog).

Now the difference here is that they are to be used straight from the tube.

So you take a tiny amount of the pigment on your brush, make a desired puddle in your palette and use it.

These do not need to be dried before using. Once done, you can wipe off any remaining pigment with a wet rag (save water!) or wash off your palette, so no hassle of storage either.

They are also available on amazon like all of creative hands artists materials, is reasonably priced and beautifully pigmented.

A little further in your journey, I recommend you try Prima Marketing Watercolor Confections Odyssey, now available on amazon india!

Prima packages their colors in half pans and are available in set of 12 under various categories like pastel dreams, complexions, odyssey etc.

These are more expensive than the first two (I am going price wise if you noticed) and a good investment from artwork point of view.

These also happen to be my current favorites because they re-wet easily, are beautifully pigmented and compact to carry.

You will walk down further this alley of water colors and then you will be glad to meet sennelier or holbien.

These are both amongst the costliest brands available and I am the proud owner of Holbein 60 watercolor set and let me tell you that it’s an absolute pleasure to work with them!

There’s not a lot of mixing I need to do to create new shades and the vibrancy of the color even after they have dried, is superb.

These are also now available on amazon india or pick them up on your next international vacation.

If you are on a budget and still want to explore the best quality paints, then Sennelier l’Aquarelle French Artists’ Watercolor has a palette with just the primary shades which is reasonably priced.

Purchase a color wheel and you are good to go.

This is also one of the best ways to really develop your own shades of colors to use. So then you won’t just develop your own style of painting, but also your own signature colors.

How amazing is that? Some other brands to try are Winsor & Newton, Daniel Smith and Viviva color sheets.

For Painting for beginners I highly recommend exploring handmade, organic watercolors from Blue Pine Arts, available on etsy.

Easy paintings for beginners step by step

6. Should I use palette?

As insignificant as it may seem, palettes are actually an artist’s best friend.

When used intelligently, apart from getting you the right mix of color, they can help you in curtailing wastage of those precious colors.

So the first thing is that if you are using cakes or half pans, you can use a flat unslotted ceramic plate as a palette and go on to purchase slotted ones for finer work.

However, if you are using watercolor tubes, a palette with a lid is a good idea.

So you pour the colours out of the tube into the smaller pans and set them to dry overnight and then use them as you would with normal watercolors sold in pans/cakes.

Another thing you can do is buy small tin boxes and empty half pans and set out the colours from the tubes in the same way as above.

These are then easier to carry when you travel.

Once you have mastered the colour mixing and developed a basic style, you can then play around with these pans or palettes as you like.

For eg. I use half pans for my Holbein tubes and I also have a palette where I have about 20 shades of green which I developed by mixing different shades of green, yellow, blue and red.

7. Which Pencils should I use?

Apart from the regular HB & B type pencils, you can also purchase Graphite Aquarelle pencils.

These are water soluble pencils and as such the drawing you have laid down on the paper disappears with the touch of water.

However, you will have to master the pressure on this pencil because they do not always mix with little water and may show through lighter shades.

You can also check out Cretacolor supplies for aquarelle pencils.

15 colour pencils well sharpened placed next to each other
Image by padrinan on Pixabay

8. Which Pens should I use?

There are several brands of technical pens (in various sizes sold as a set) which are water resistant.

These pens can be successfully used in creating mixed media sketches on top quality.

Some popular brands are micron and brustro (both available on amazon).

I have used Brustro technical pen for the painting Silent Night (here on this blog) to draw the silhouette of the power cables (find a small easy tutorial at the end of the post).

For this same artwork, I have used Sakura white Gel Pen to mark the stars.

You may even find these at the local stationers or art supply store.

9. What else do I need?

You may also need the following – erasers, rulers, set squares, painters tape, masking fluid etc. 

How to Use Masking Fluid In Watercolor Painting

Creative drawing ideas for beginners

Masking Fluid is one of the key supplies to any watercolorist kit.

However, using it can be a bit tricky.

In this video by Watercolor Misfit learn how to and how not to use masking fluid in watercolor painting.

Don’t Forget a Mason jar!

You will need a mason jar (for water, preferably an old clean jam bottle or so) and an old piece of cloth to clean your brushes.

Put some good music on and let your brush and paint help you bring alive your imagination on canvas!

10. Where Should I Begin?

A good place to start is by looking at the works of other artists.

Keep a wide range between the styles of painting and years of experience.

Sometimes you will find that a beginner artist can paint like they have been doing this for years and then another you will find has improved by been diligent and sincere towards their practice.

easy paintings of nature

11. What are some popular styles of painting with watercolors?

There are some popular styles of painting with watercolors :

  • Botanical illustrations (these are scientific painting of flora and fauna with high level of precision),
  • Tight well formed style (where the basics of shape and form are followed but not scientifically to scale or proportion) and
  • Loose floral or plein air style.

Loose or plein air styles are more to do with the perception of the shape of the object than the actual subject, in these style a green blotch in a floral bouquet may signify a leaf without actually even being in the shape of a leaf!

Such is the beauty and versatility of watercolors.

At an experimental stage do not get bounded by themes or preferences as much as you may want to.

There is plenty to be learnt from all styles and themes (nature, still life, floral, landscape etc).

One more use of Watercolors is in Mixed Media art.

Urban sketching is hugely popular and the use of waterproof pens with water colours looks phenomenal.

At times when I hit a creative block, I have noticed inspirational quotes pep me up! 

5 diy easy painting ideas for beginners Step by Step

Now that we have warmed up to the idea of painting here are few easy painting ideas you can totally DIY.

1. Oh so sweet Peter rabbit!

Once upon a time there were four little Rabbits, and their names were–Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail, and Peter

The first DIY easy painting is dedicated to this everloving character – Peter Rabbit!

Very light wash of ochre added to the pencil sketch of peter rabbit. An equally light wash of blue for his blazer as well.

For step 1, we add a very light wash of ochre to the pencil sketch of peter rabbit. An equally light wash of blue for his blazer as well.

Shadows added to earlier painted fur of peter rabbit and his coat make him look more real and move to add finishing steps.

In step 2, we add shadows to the fur of peter rabbit and his coat.

This step makes him look more real. Let’s move to add finishing steps.

Peter Rabbit dressed in a proper blue blazer. Behind him is a small picket fence.

Final Outcome: Cute and naughty Peter Rabbit dressed in a proper blue blazer, ready for adventures to follow.

Behind him is a small picket fence to add that little detail!

Easy paintings for beginners step by step

2. Silent Night

So surreal and yet easy to paint this painting is.

1 to 3 Steps shown from left to right of how to paint an Evening star-studded sky using Black, Prussian blue and violet, pink and turquoise colors with the silhouette of electric poles.

Step 1 to 3

From left to right:

We start by adding black, Prussian blue and violet.

Then add pink and turquoise.

Once the layers are dry, we draw our preferred silhouette in black and Mark stars with a white gel pen.

Voila! A lovely evening sky is complete. 

easy paintings of nature

3. Purple is my favourite colour

what do you think of this? Easy ain’t it!? These lovely easy to paint violet coloured magnolia flower were made on Ayush Paper. 

Creative drawing ideas for beginners

4. A rose is a rose is a rose!

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet 😉 

5. easy peasy lemon squeezy!

“Easy peasy lemon squeezy” just like its name is easy and simple to make and yet so pleasing to the eyes.

A pencil sketch of two lemons and 3 leaves

Step 1

Lay down a light wash of yellow on the lemons, leaving a small nearly-white spot.

With this spot we set the base of lemons in a light yellow wash.

In step 2 we add shades of A bright yellow and brown to show light and shadow in lemons.

Step 2

In step 2 we add shades of A bright yellow and brown to show light and shadow in lemons.

Add the next two colours while the base layer is still wet.

In step 3 we add shades of green to leaves and a little drop of red to brighten them up.

Step 3

In step 3 we add shades of green to leaves and a little drop of red to brighten them up.

water colour painting of one full lemon and one half cut lemon with three leaves with shade card

Step 4

We go on to complete all leaves and mark the veins with a toothpick.

I hope this blog answers  some basic queries you may have had about watercolors or even pursuing art as such. I hope it has also given creative drawing ideas for beginners.

As a final word I would like to say to each of you that it is very satisfying to see yourself progress each day once you start learning something new.

Especially when it’s something as personal as sketching or painting, which always remains unique to everyone.

So even if a 100 people were to simply draw a mountain and a sun, you will find some difference in all.

Just imagine what would happen if the possibilities were endless.

If the brush was in your hand and a fresh sheet of paper in front of you, one day it will inspire a masterpiece.

India is full of awesome places to visit and I urge you to remember to carry your Travel color Kit.

I hope you all find that sweet spot of sukoon under the sun the way I found mine.

Tata!

PIN NOW TRAVEL LATER

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24 thoughts on “Are You Embarrassed By Your Painting Skills? Here’re Easy Painting ideas & Tips!”

    • Hello Hayley! I am delighted you find the tips helpful. Why don’t you try one the DIY and let us know how it turned out?

  1. This is so informative and some great tips for helping me get back into painting, I have saved this post to come back to!

  2. I am a terrible painter- or artist of any kind unless we’re talking writing with words! But our boys LOVE to paint and draw- we never go on a trip without a fresh new drawing pad for each of them!

    • It’s best to start early and what better subject than Mother Nature! I hope you invest in some travel palettes and this post comes in handy for your boys 🙂

  3. Some great tips and tricks for some like me who knows nothing! Maybe one of these days i’ll Actually get the time to paint while I travel

    • Hello, Jayne! Make some time and start with the fastest DIY in our series. Try the silent night artwork. It takes around 15 minutes (without drying time) and is so simple. You’ll be amazed at the result 🙂

  4. Your post is so informative, loved the tips and especially the quotes (the cooking and painting one!). For a terrible artist like me, these tips will surely be helpful in making my travels memorable through sketching and painting.

    • The best kind of reply is when someone says they are inspired to try 🙂 I am simply delighted that these small pointers are helpful.

  5. Loved the tips! I used to sketch and paint a lot before but gave up around high school due studies. And never really got back to it, I need to get back at it.

    • It’s always good to get back to art! Takes you back to memories you don’t even remember you had 🙂 happy exploring!

  6. Seriously saying my painting skills are very bad but I try new things. I have never think about painting while traveling but this is so informative and some great tips for helping me get back into painting to capture some stills.

    • Hey Rahat, have you tried watercolors? They are so forgiving! You can almost always improve with this medium. So don’t judge them or yourself just yet. Give these a try and you never know! All the best 🙂

  7. I’ve never been an artist but painting is something I’ve always wanted to learn. This is a great guide and push to try again!

  8. Loved the post. I used to paint with black ink on a brown diary which I lost somewhere in Kodaikanal. I love the painting ideas you shared too! I stopped travel painting since blogging is a lot of work and I treat photo editing as painting 😀 but this post has inspired me to think of restarting this again.

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