Painting ideas

70+ fun painting ideas to save you from creative blocks

Photo: RossHelen Photos/Shutterstock

When it comes to painting, everyone starts out on an equal footing – those who paint well have developed their skills over time. However, it takes patience, and for you to put the brush on the canvas (or paper) and increase your aptitude stroke by stroke. We saw this happen in a drawing; a few years of drawing practice can make the difference between a sketch that is just Okay and one who demonstrates extraordinary talent.

What type of paint to choose?

Choosing a paint for your job can sometimes be quite overwhelming considering all the varieties out there. Some types of paint may be more durable than others or may completely change the look of your final artwork. The right choice of paint can be very important to achieving your artistic goal, depending on what you are creating. The different types of paint vary in style and properties, which greatly impacts your next paint quest. Some popular types of paint are watercolor, acrylic, oil, and gouache. Read our full list of paint types to get a better idea of ​​which is best for your project.

What supplies will you need?

Once you’ve decided on the type of paint you want to work with, you can focus on other supplies. Apart from your painting kit, you will need brushes, possibly a canvas or painting paper, and maybe even an easel if you feel like it. We have recommendations for three of the most popular types of paint. Check out our guides for the best watercolor paint sets, the best acrylic paint, and the best oil paints that beginners and pros alike will love.

Once you have your watercolor, acrylic, or even oil paint, you can start perfecting your art right away. But even having all the right supplies can’t save you from the dreaded creative block; sometimes you just can’t think of anything to paint! Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of over 60 prompts that are starting points for your work. The easy painting ideas are divided into two lists: one is inspired by life while the other challenges you to use your imagination.

As you go through the list, consider the following: What do you find fun to paint? What will motivate you to improve? Are there certain techniques you would like to try? A leafy tree, for example, gives you the opportunity to experiment with texture, while imagining these subjects in monochrome is a great exercise in understanding tonality, light and shadow.

Paint palette

Photo: Photos by Kuznetcov_Konstantin/Shutterstock

Painting Ideas Anyone Can Try

Easy painting ideas inspired by real life:

  • Your favorite coffee mug
  • A prickly pear
  • Your furry friend
  • A tranquil lake scene
  • Your eye and eyebrow (try observing from real life)
  • A leafy tree
  • Your childhood home
  • A piece of fabric draped over a chair
  • fluffy clouds
  • A bouquet of flowers in a vase
  • A cardinal on a branch…
  • … or a wise owl
  • A rolling ocean wave (check out Ray Collins’ wave photographs for inspiration!)
  • Copy a masterpiece from an artist you admire
  • A bowl of fruit
  • fish under water
  • A portrait of you when you were a child
  • Your hand or your foot
  • Your favorite collection of things
  • A building facade that you have always admired
  • Someone standing under an umbrella while it’s raining
  • A street lamp illuminating a dark street
  • The colorful plumage of a peacock
  • The Eiffel Tower, or any other memorable monument
  • Decorative tiles that you have admired
  • Your means of transport (car, bicycle, scooter, skateboard, etc.)
  • A reflective object such as an orb
  • your favorite insect
  • A collection of seashells
  • An old pair of shoes
  • Take your art supplies outside and paint an outdoor park
  • Your room
  • Painting the night sky
  • mountain landscape
  • The moon
  • The beach
  • A butterfly
  • A cherry blossom tree (with cotton swabs instead of a brush)
  • A pumpkin
  • The sunset sky
  • Paint on rocks instead of canvas
person painting on a canvas

Photos from

Great painting ideas inspired by the imagination:

  • A person with flowers coming out of their head
  • Create an image inspired by your favorite song
  • A majestic unicorn with a rainbow mane
  • Create a self-portrait in a cubist style
  • Reimagine a scene from your favorite Disney movie
  • Imagine that a dog could walk and talk like a human. What would they say and do?
  • Create your own repeat pattern…
  • … or a design inspired by mandalas
  • A cat in a fancy hat
  • Your dream house
  • Try painting with your fingers
  • The sky imagined in colored swirls like in Van Gogh Starry Night
  • A diver swimming in space instead of the ocean
  • A person made of balloons
  • Tiny people moving through a normal sized world
  • Create a repeating pattern of your favorite kitchen appliance
  • A spooky scene in the woods
  • Animals instead of humans
  • Interior inspired by Salvador Dali
  • live under water
  • Paint a fantasy garden of imaginative plants
  • Merge two of your favorite animals into one
  • Try painting in an Art Deco style, like Tamara de Lempicka
  • Imagine you can fly…
  • … or that you are a giant
  • A person whose skin cracks like porcelain
  • Create your own fairy tale
  • Merge day and night into one scene
  • An easy quote
  • metallic abstract
  • geometric art
  • splatter art

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