21 Watercolor Background Ideas

Watercolor is a beautiful medium to use when you want to create backgrounds for your paintings. There are so many ways you can play with the colors and mix them together that there are always watercolor background ideas out there for whatever mood or style you’re trying to convey. Watercolors are a great way to create backgrounds because they are easy to use, inexpensive and versatile. They also don’t dry out quickly, so you can keep your palette open for days without any worries of it drying up or getting contaminated with other paint colors.

If you’re looking for inspiration, this post is perfect. We’ve gathered 21 watercolor background ideas to help get the creative juices flowing. Whether you’re a professional artist looking to experiment with new techniques or an amateur who’s just trying to find inspiration, these watercolor background ideas will help you get started. Have fun creating your own masterpiece!

21 Watercolor Background Ideas

If you’re looking for some new and exciting watercolor background ideas, we’ve got 21 of them just waiting to be used. So whether you want a basic white or black backdrop color, an abstract patterned design with swirls and colors in every direction, or something more floral-inspired like roses and leaves, we have the perfect option for your project. Check out our list below and find one that suits your needs!

1. Dripping

Dripping watercolor paint

It requires a lot of water to perform this technique. Actually, I do not mean that you should swallow your journal in a full glass of water. You just need a little more than you usually do. Because watercolor paper does not absorb water like plain paper, this technique works best.

To begin, spray some water over your page. Afterward, let it fall freely. To remove excess water, place a paper towel at the bottom.

Next, take your brush and some watercolor and paint the top of the page once more. Did you notice how the colors follow the water down? As watercolor won’t adhere to dry surfaces, you can control the direction of drops.

It is recommended to use your brush and pull it down with a little more water if you want the dropping line to be longer. Additionally, you can combine colors to create a gradient effect.

Upon being satisfied with how it looks, you may either allow it to dry on its own or take a paper towel and dab it gently to remove the remaining excess. In this manner, you produce a washed-out effect.

2. Gesso and Dripping

Gesso and Dripping watercolor background

Is there a difference between this and the previous method? It doesn’t really change the look, but it does. How? You can make a textured background with gesso, for example. Simply spread some color on the paper and move it all around with your brush, a toothpick, or anything else that will leave a mark on the wet gesso.

As a result, dripping watercolor on this type of background causes it to flow differently. Since the gesso makes the surface smoother, the water drains faster. Nonetheless, a few gesso textures prevent the water from draining completely. The end result is a stunning backdrop.

You can also change the position of your page so that the water flows up and down. It’s a lot of fun to play.

3. Splatter

Splatter watercolor background

There’s something enjoyable about this background! It’s easy to create an abstract and lively background with splatters. Watercolor paintings can also be enhanced with splatters.

It is easy to create this watercolor background, and you can customize it to suit your style.

To begin, keep in mind that the amount of paint and water in your brush will affect the splatter. So, have fun with it and practice creating splatter. You’ll have a great time, and it’s also a great stress reliever for me.

The first step is to wet your brush and load it with paint. Make the brush dance across the page by tapping with another brush, pen, or pencil.

To get different-sized splatters, repeat the process using different pressures.

4. Watercolor Background Using Stencil

watercolor background in Stencil shape

For years, I used only stencils and acrylics, hoping watercolors wouldn’t bleed through stencils. However, watercolor, along with stencils, creates a stunning effect. That’s what makes it interesting: everything is smudgy and uneven. I think this is a beautiful way to embrace the beauty of a mess and let go of the perfect.

Here is a method for painting a watercolor background. The technique consists of placing a stencil on the paper and then painting with watercolor. Also, do not be afraid to use a lot of water when painting this. Using too much water will result in a lot of mess. It is advised to paint loosely and to take your time. In order to achieve a smoky look, I like to put gesso over it once it’s dried. Adding a little watercolor smudging to the top can only be a bonus!

5. Blot Watercolor Background

Blot Watercolor Background

Since you are lifting paint away, it could also be called lifting.

The blot method is how I create clouds and when I paint the ocean. There is a small difference between the type of paper towel I use and the results of my painting. In order to lift paint from your paper, you need to apply pressure to the paper towel, and you need to hold it in place for a very short period.

The first step involves painting the surface of the page. The background was merely a simple wet one.
It is important that you blot the paint with a paper towel while still wet. Your artwork will have different patterns depending on whether you are using a particular type of paper and how your paper towel is bunched.

6. Dab Watercolor Using Sponge

Dab Watercolor Using Sponge

As shown in the image above, you can use a sponge stamp or a small piece of kitchen sponge for this technique. Then just stamp the paper after dripping the ink into the watercolor.

First, you’ll need a watercolor blob to start.

As a next step, you will need to dip the sponge in water. When you have dipped the sponge in water, you can then apply it to a piece of paper. Next, dab another color blob onto the dab before the two colors are fully dry.

To make it lighter, use a paper towel to absorb excess water. This will lighten the color.

7. Watercolor Flat Wash

Flat Wash watercolor background

An even, a flat wash of watercolor paint is exactly what it sounds like. Large sections of watercolor don’t always go on smoothly and uniformly. You could end up with splotchy pools of color if you use too much water when painting with watercolor. So, don’t worry if you make a few mistakes along the way. Practice, as with anything, is the key to success.

The most effective tool is a flat brush. Make sure you have enough paint to cover the entire wash before you begin painting. A two-toned wash can be created by mixing more paint after stopping for a while, and this can happen if you add more or less water.

Flat washes are best painted on a tilt so that the top of the page is angled upward. This reduces the amount of water that pools up and provides a more even wash.

Using a side-to-side motion, slowly lower your brush from top to bottom.

Whenever you refill your brush, start at the bottom and work your way up to ensure that everything blends together.

8. Art Journal Spread With Watercolor Background

watercolor background ideas

This is easy, and it only takes a minute to complete. But the result is breathtaking.

To begin, place a blank page at the top of your journal. Use watercolors to create a single page of art. It could be the entire page or just a few covered sections.

Once you’ve finished painting, close your journal while it’s still wet so that the painted page touches the blank page. Leave it like that for just a few seconds, then separate the two pages.

If you want to build up layers of color, just keep going back and forth between the two steps. And the outcome varies from one spread to the next.

This is an excellent place to start for those who have no idea where to begin.

9. Gradient Watercolor Wash Background

Watercolor Background in gradient

Gradient washes are created by beginning dark and gradually getting lighter. To do this, start at the top of the page with a watercolor line and begin painting side-to-side, bringing the colors down from top to bottom.

Next, you will need to dip the brush in water and apply a little bit of paint on the edge of the wash before bringing the brush down.

Until you reach the lightest color on the bottom, you should continue to paint slowly down the page.

10. Blended Watercolor Background

watercolor background ideas

It’s a simple but beautiful background. Furthermore, it is highly versatile so that it can be used for various purposes. You can letter on top of this watercolor background if you want to give it a more whimsical feel.

In the beginning, load your brush with a substantial amount of water and paint. You can use a mop brush to hold a large amount of water, and then swoosh your brush around. Use a circular motion.

A second color may be added next to blend well with the first. The yellow and blue I chose are light colors that create a beautiful combination when mixed. The background has a very gradient appearance. It is always fun to paint loose watercolor gradients.

11. Dry Brushing Watercolor Background

background with Dry Brushing Watercolor

Rub some of the slightly wet paint off your palette using a dry brush. If you want to pick up some pigment with your watercolors, you can lightly activate them with a spray bottle.

A paintbrush can be used to scrub the paper’s surface using a circular and rubbing motion.

Creating a background with several different colors is an interesting way to create a texture.

12. Watercolor Background Using Coarse Salt

watercolor background ideas

Wet watercolor surfaces become enlivened with fascinating patterns and speckles after coating them with coarse salt.

Use your favorite watercolor hue to paint the paper. Sprinkling coarse salt over the watercolor while wet and drying it will create an interesting effect. After the salt has dried, rub it off.

13. Watercolor Abstract Blue Background

light-blue watercolor background

14. Watercolor Texture Background

vibrant watercolor background

15. Brush on Watercolor Background

light-purple watercolor background

16. Brush Shades Watercolor

colorful watercolor background

17. Drop Brushed Shades Watercolor Background

multicolor watercolor background

18. Drawn and Splashing Stain Abstract Watercolor Background

Abstract Watercolor Background

19. Vibrant Watercolor Background

vibrant watercolor background

20. Abstract Watercolor Brush Strokes Background

Brush Strokes watercolor background

21. Abstract Watercolor Texture Background

watercolor background ideas


That’s it! Get inspired by these 21 watercolor background ideas. These are examples of watercolor backgrounds that you can use in your designs. I hope this list has given you some inspiration for the next time you need a creative background to work with. Choose the one that speaks to your style or needs, and get started creating an incredible photo backdrop for yourself, family, friends, or whoever else might need a little inspiration today.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top