Creating Small: Miniature Art For Beginners

Alina Harvi
3 min readDec 30, 2020

Have you ever seen those miniature paintings and drawings, so small they can put them on the tip of your finder? I was always fascinated by the high level of detail possible on such a small scale. Isn't it simply breathtaking to see all kinds of landscapes, floras, and even portraits captured on such small surfaces?

With miniature art you can create more paintings or drawings in one sitting, you don’t feel that pressure as if when you are working with a big canvas, it’s a great practice and a challenge as well.

Creating miniature art can be both fun and rewarding, but it also comes with special challenges. In this article, I have gathered all the main information from my Miniature Art For Beginners course, to help you overcome those challenges, and find more ideas for your miniature drawings.

Miniature oil paintings

Tools & Materials

Let’s get started with some tools and materials you’ll need to create a miniature painting.

Miniature art covers all media and styles. The most popular mediums for miniature art are watercolors and pencils. Mostly because their very nature is perfect for small works of art, which makes them ideal for creating detailed miniature paintings. So you can use any medium you prefer, be that oils, acrylics, watercolors, or pencils.

What I also like about miniature art is that you can create a gorgeous painting with minimum medium and paper. And you won’t need too many brushes, just two or three will work just fine. I’m personally usually using one bigger synthetic brush of size 2. I am using it mostly to create the background for the painting. And for detailing, I tend to use two fine brushes of size 0, 000.

Here I’m sharing the full process of creating a simple yet colorful miniature painting of a lavender field.

Inspiration and ideas

Finding inspiration for miniature painting is an issue that many of us struggle with. Especially beginners.

Of course, there is no rule of thumb for finding inspiration in art. You can create whatever you like, one that makes you happy. Just keep exploring and keep creating.

The same applies to miniature art. So when it comes to creating a miniature painting, you can create anything you would create on a bigger scale. Remember that a small canvas is not a limitation for you, it’s a challenge and a source for new creativity.

It's always best to start with the idea that would minimize the challenge of creating miniature art, and consist of not too many small details. So that even if it’s your first time creating miniature art, it’ll be easier for you to start.

If you are a beginner and this is your first time painting small, I’d suggest you simplify your painting. So if you are looking for a reference photo, choose the one with a simple composition and fewer details. Simplifying your reference will minimize the challenge of creating miniature art and to get used to painting small.

How To Start

Start with pre-mixing! It may be overwhelming at first, creating miniature artwork. In order to minimize this challenge, I suggest you ‘set’ a palette before painting.

I prefer to pre-mix the paint for several reasons. First, I like creating several miniature paintings in one sitting. And as I want all of the paintings to look harmonically together, it’s best to have the same color palette.

Premixing even just a few colors, will save you time and effort. Because there’ll be no need to remix those colors during the painting process. It also will be easier for you to maintain consistent colors throughout the entire course. So before you start, identify the few main colors you want to use for your paintings.

Often when you see those amazing miniature paintings you might think that you need to have more skills or know special methods to create miniature art. I hope you now see, that to create a miniature painting, all you need is some inspiration, a cool idea, a few fine brushes, and a tiny canvas.



Alina Harvi

I love sharing my artworks and my knowledge, the process of creating art classes is something really inspiring for me.