8 important tips to discover your painting style

Discovering your painting style… as a beginner not knowing how to find your painting style can make you feel out of place or lost.

Before you begin reading this article, let me just start by saying that finding your painting style is very personal and there is no right way or specific method.

Although, there are some things you could try that will help you!

In this post, I go through eight tips that will help you to find your unique painting style.

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How to find your painting style

Challenge yourself

As scary as it may be always try painting new things, use different colors, and try out new techniques.

Even if you’re not sure of the outcome try painting them anyway.

It can help to have an art journal in which you can sketch out your ideas roughly, this way you can also see the process as you develop your work.

It will also help you overcome the fear of white paper allowing you to paint confidently.

Remember, challenging yourself is how you discover new techniques and learn new skills thus growing your skill level.

Paint what interests/inspires you

If you see a beautiful scenery that you feel like painting then go for it.

However, if you’re not sure what you enjoy painting don’t panic.

This means you have to explore different possibilities.

Try painting different subjects for example buildings, mountains, flowers..etc. At some point, you’ll naturally gravitate towards your preferred subject of interest and you can go on from there.

Sometimes you may see a scene you like, but you’re not sure how to go about it.

It can really help to grab your art journal and challenge yourself to sketch that scene. You can always simplify the scene, leave things out, or move them to achieve a beautiful piece.

Paint different versions of one subject

If you really enjoy painting a particular subject, you can find your painting style by painting different versions of it.

In your journal, you could paint the same subject from different perspectives/angles or change the color scheme slightly.

You may even play with the composition until you find something that really suits you!


When you paint something new, take the time to observe the subject and make a few rough sketches in pencil or watercolor. Try to paint it over and over again.

This will help develop your skills by improving your ability to put your observations onto a piece of paper.

Not to mention you’ll learn what to look for when observing your subject, after all, painting is a way of putting down what you see.

If you don’t see any progress with your practicing, it could be because you’re practicing the techniques you’ve already learned. This can be a sign to try practicing a new technique.

Add your own touch

Remember that when you are painting, you can be free with what you paint in and leave out from your reference image.

Keep in mind that when using reference images, they are there to guide you and not tell you exactly how to paint your picture.

You can change the colors, omit certain elements or even add new elements from your imagination.

Adding your own touch is a way of including yourself inside your painting thus creating your painting style.

I say this because the way you arrange the composition of your painting can be different from someone else approaching the same subject.

Study-specific parts of your subjects

Practice your painting skills by making a study for your subject. For example, if you want to learn how to landscapes, instead of painting the whole piece, focus on smaller elements of that subject.

This could be the sky, trees, mountains, rivers…etc.

Grab your sketchbook and rather than painting a whole landscape start painting small sketches of trees with different shapes and colors.

Use a reference image. When painting from a reference image you learn to pick up on patterns and general rules that help guide you when painting from memory or changing the reference image itself.

Eventually painting that particular subject will come more naturally to you because you’ve done it so many times.

Follow multiple teachers

Watercolor is a spontaneous medium, there are so many ways or “styles” that artists express within their paintings.

So learn from watercolor tutorials or artists whose artwork you enjoy looking at.

But don’t just stick to one artist forever, try and learn from other artists too. You’ll find that you’re painting style will become a combination of techniques from different teachers.

Don’t limit yourself

Finding your painting style doesn’t mean it will always stay the same.

You could paint a certain way for a few months then get bored and decide to switch up your style and that’s okay.

Sometimes you may learn a few new things and this alters your style.

The best way you can discover your painting style is by not thinking too much about it. The more you learn, explore, and practice, the more your painting skills and style will develop.

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