9 Step-by-Step Painting Tutorials

Develop Your Painting Skills With These Simple Lessons

Learning how to paint can be exciting and fun. When you're just getting started, you can probably use a little help with technique and that is why painting tutorials are so helpful. Not only can they teach you how to paint, they can also spark ideas for your first pieces of art.

From simple still life objects to your first abstract painting, let's explore a few painting demos that will take you through the process on step at a time.

  • 01 of 09

    Painting a Sphere (Not a Circle)

    Woman painting
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    Painting a circle is easy, giving it another layer of dimension to create a sphere can be a little tricky for beginners. A quick lesson in going from a two-dimensional object to a three-dimensional one is a perfect place to begin.

    In this lesson, you will learn how to work with values of light and dark paint to give a simple shape depth. It's ideal for practicing the placement of shadows and highlights to capture great lighting, which is key to many great works of art.

    It seems like an elementary lesson, but you will find it useful in almost every painting you do in the future. When you're done, take this lesson to the next level and use the skills you learn to paint a simple apple still life.

  • 02 of 09

    Paint a Realistic Tree

    As you continue to develop your skills, you may want to tackle one of the most common objects found in paintings. The simple tree can be featured in landscapes or used in the background of any scene and there are correct ways to approach it.

    One of the things you will learn in this lesson is how to choose paints. Your tree should not be made up of greens and browns alone, but include a range of tones to really give it some depth. It also gives you the opportunity to practice mixing paints to create your own custom colors.

  • 03 of 09

    Wet-on-Wet Painting for Clouds

    Like the tree, painting clouds is not quite as simple as it seems. To create the most realistic looking clouds, you need more than a flat white shape and this lesson will demonstrate how to achieve that.

    Clouds have shadows and highlights that blend together. By using a wet-on-wet technique, you're blending wet paints together right there on your canvas. It's a fun process and a technique you will use in countless other paintings, far beyond fluffy white clouds.

  • 04 of 09

    Paint a Monet-Like Landscape

    Landscape paintings are among the most popular subjects for beginners. They allow you to capture what you see around you and there are endless sources of inspiration. As with any subject matter, there are some useful tips for landscape painting that you'll want to know.

    Monet's paintings of still water ponds, bridges, and lily pads are among the most famous landscapes ever created. This tutorial walks you through the steps required in painting a Monet-style scene. Layer by layer the details begin to pop off the canvas and it's fun to add your own twist to the work of one of the masters.

    Lighting is extremely important in landscapes. It is vital that you pay attention to the direction the light is coming from and ensure that it falls the same way on every object. By the end of this tutorial, you'll have a good grasp of its importance.

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  • 05 of 09

    A Chinese-Style Landscape Painting

    Chinese artists have a unique approach to painting landscapes and the results are often astounding. They are dynamic and filled with depth and life. It's almost as if you can just step right inside the scene.

    In this tutorial, artist Zhaofan Liu demonstrates his approach to the classic Chinese style of painting. From the reference photo and his initial sketch through the subtle pops of color in a rather monotone landscape, you'll see how he paints with ink to give us a fresh look at nature.

  • 06 of 09

    Painting Cats and Other Animals

    Whether you aspire to paint a friendly feline, a big cat in the wild, or a creepy crawly, painting fur, feathers, and scales is a compelling challenge. Animals are not the easiest subjects, but they are fun.

    A cat is a perfect subject for beginners because they have great expressions and unique markings to play around with. There are some tricks you'll want to learn, though, and a short tutorial will fill you in on those.

    Black fur can be tricky, remember that there is color in black animals and it has both warm and cool tones. It's often best to mix your own black paints for the best renditions of fur.

    Painting dogs are very similar to cats and other animals. Yet, you do need to study the breed carefully. Different dogs have very distinct features and dog lovers can pick up on the smallest inconsistencies.

  • 07 of 09

    Your First Abstract Painting

    Abstract art is a bit of a mystery. What does it mean to paint an abstraction? Quite often it's about shape, form, and color and viewing an object in a non-realistic way.

    Abstract painting ideas are endless and can be found everywhere around you. Some of the most popular abstracts are simple shapes, swirling colors, and captivating motion that lead the viewer to interpret the piece in their own way.

    That is exactly what you'll learn from this painting lesson. It's a simple painting filled with blues, purples, and sunset colors and it certainly is fun to work on.

  • 08 of 09

    An Abstract Landscape Painting

    Many artists choose to use nature as inspiration for their abstract work. These types of paintings tend to show the viewer what they're looking at, they simply reinterpret it into a fantasy-like world.

    The painting demonstrated in this lesson is a perfect example. It's an almost alien-like landscape with a bright sun and heatwaves in the background. Set starkly in the scene are two bare white trees with the slightest hint of dimension. 

    Though it looks simple, abstract landscapes require practice and great attention to detail. Yet, the results can be among the most striking pieces you will create.

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  • 09 of 09

    Painting Your Self-Portrait

    The self-portrait is a popular subject for painters. How do you see yourself today? Will that change in a year? What about 30 years? These are fascinating studies of life and self-interpretation and the best part is that your subject is always around.

    When you're ready to tackle your own self-portrait, this lesson will give you valuable tips for making it happen. Primarily, it gives you ideas for viewing yourself while you paint.