3 Painting Ideas for Beginners

If you are thinking of trying out painting as a hobby, there are lots of ways to start practicing. Here are a few painting ideas to get you started.

Anime Glass Painting

Glass painting is easy for a beginner because you can use a photograph or a picture on your tablet to trace the outlines of the existing image onto the glass.

Find an image you like and want to paint. Anime and other cartoon characters are a good subject for beginners because they are fairly easy to trace and color in. When you have chosen a picture that you like, take a piece of clean glass (an easy way to get one is to buy a frame with glass in it, then you will also have a frame for it when it is complete), and place it over your image. Using a paint pen, a skinny, round paintbrush with acrylic paint, or a permanent marker, trace out the outlines of the picture.

Keep in mind that the completed image will be the reverse side of the one that you are painting on, so everything you draw or paint first will show up most clearly on the completed painting. Make sure that even your trace lines are clean-looking because they will show up clearly in your painting.

Once you have your outlines, do your best to find colors to match the colors in your original picture. Acrylic paints are opaque and will cover the glass without letting a lot of light through. Paint in your shapes, using the original reference piece to guide you.

When completed, flip over the glass pane and your painting should have solid colors, with no light shining through. If you need to, apply a second coat of paint to make your colors appear uniform. Put the glass back into the frame, with the shiny side (the side of the glass with no paint on it) facing out.

Potato Stamp Greeting Cards

If you like the look of simple forms and slightly abstract artwork, this is a great project for someone who wants to start learning to paint. Make yourself some handmade cards for Christmas, for thank you cards, or for a wedding. They’ll have a special meaning to you, and to the friends you send them to.

You can buy a linoleum printing kit if you want to spend a little more money, but if you want to make a very simple shape to print and embellish, a potato will work just fine for your printing block. A simple Christmas tree, a flower shape, a cactus, or a bird shape are all simple and easy to make for most people.

Cut your potato in half, and put the halves on a towel for an hour, to allow excess moisture to leech out. Cut out a shape that you will use to print on blank greeting cards or cardstock paper. Use either acrylic paint, watercolor paint, or printing ink to cover the stamp you have made, then press it evenly onto your card. You might want to practice on paper a few times first.

After your cards have dried, consider adding details or writing a greeting with a fine-tipped marker. You can also make a second shape to print out in a different color, over the first color you printed. For instance: you can add a star on the top of your tree, in a different color.

The Ubiquitous Still Life

Most fine arts students have to master still life painting early in their academic studies. Don’t let this seem like it’s an impossible task because you have never painted before. Keep your subject simple in shape, like a pear or an apple. Although grapes look nice, consider just how many round shapes with highlights and shadows will be involved in painting them, before you commit to it. Another thing that takes a lot of skill is draped fabric. Avoid this if you are just starting out.

Minimize your color palette to just a few colors, to further simplify the first few still-life paintings you do. Look up examples of limited palettes to guide your color choices, until you are more comfortable with painting. This will help you to focus on the overall composition, the contrast between mid-tones, highlights, and shadows, and the cast shadows of the object or objects you are painting.

The first rule of painting is: have fun! Don’t get tied up in trying to be perfect.