7 Painting Habit Tips to Help You Start a Consistent Painting Habit

This article may contain affiliate links, please read my affiliate disclosure for more information.

elisabeth larson koehler demonstrating painting habit tips while painting on a large canvas

Fundamentals of Color Mixing [FREE] Guide >>

Get my Color Mixing Artist's Guide, with helpful tips for mixing colors you can start putting into practice right away!


Starting and maintaining a consistent painting habit and practice can be hard…

You know you want your art to improve, but sometimes it feels like you just can’t get motivated. Or even feel like you have enough time to be able to paint consistently – or sometimes at all!

You could watch more tutorials, read books on painting and art tips to get inspiration on what to work on… But how do you stay consistent once you’re inspired?

How do you actually put the lessons you learn into practice? Especially when you’re having a tough time with painter’s block…

Here are 7 helpful painting habit tips and time management strategies to help you start painting consistently!

Start by building painting habits

Painting consistently doesn’t mean you have to paint all the time for multiple hours in a day…

elisabeth larson koehler painting as part of her daily painting habit
Creating consistent painting habit tips, starts with figuring out how much you can realistically commit to painting − start small at first, once the habit begins to form you can build off of it!

Whether you only have 30 minutes or 2 hours per day, try starting a daily painting routine. It will not only help you practice and improve, but also help you to build a good habit of painting regularly.

Helpful Tip − If you’re not able to paint daily, then try at least to paint on the same days each week.

individual mixing paint daily on a palette as part of their daily painting habit
If possible try to have your painting materials at the ready when forming a habit, so that you can get started painting rather quickly during your times you’ve allotted.

Having a regular painting schedule is important if you want to establish a good painting habit. In this article I’ll show you exactly how you can make it work for your life situation.

Keep reading!

Plan your painting routine

First, think carefully about what would be the best amount of time for you to paint every day. It could be just 20 or 30 minutes, or it could be three hours… Whatever works for you is fine.

This part takes some self-reflection and truthfully answering yourself if you really have this much time available to paint consistently.

Individual working on his painting habit routine

Routine painting habit tips

All of us have routines and habits − some that you may not even be aware of…

Think about your daily habits and use them to your advantage!

👩‍🎨 If you’re a morning person perhaps plan your painting after your breakfast while you have a cup of tea or coffee.

☕️ Take a break in the afternoon and use that time to paint a little − taking breaks are one of the biggest keys to being productive that many of us omit and just “push through”.

🍷 Perhaps you feel more creative at night − turn on some music and unwind from the day. The beauty of this is it can help change the subject so to speak in your brain from the busyness of the day.

You want to keep it light, don’t overwhelm yourself with a demanding painting routine. Especially if this is your first step into starting a daily painting habit!

painting habit time management calendars for creatives
You don’t have to worry about being perfect with your routines, just be intentional and realistic about how you can utilize daily habits together.

For myself, I schedule my painting time to start at the same time each morning. This way I can build a consistent routine that allows me to be much more productive in the long run.

How to schedule painting time

If you are busy with school or work during the weekdays, weekends are probably easier to slot in some time for painting.

The action of writing something down and being specific about when you plan to paint is extremely powerful.

Write your painting schedule on a notebook or in your phone calendar. Use whatever works for you but make sure it’s where you’ll see it every day, so that you actually remember it. Also, writing it down keeps you more accountable and makes it real. At least once per week, look at the upcoming week and plan ahead.

I also find it helpful to write down my schedule in more detail for the next day every evening. That way, I don’t waste time during the day wondering what I should do next!

Painting habit action steps to help you stick with it!

Pretty easy so far right? But what will keep you going?

individual working on her painting habit by painting palm trees in the tropics

You want to build a good painting habit right? Building a good, consistent painting schedule is one of the best things you can do for your paintings if you really want to improve.

Steps to help create a painting habit:

  • Schedule fun activities during your “painting time” (I like to listen to audiobooks, music and podcasts when I paint). It doesn’t have to be all work, you can reward yourself for being productive with something a little extra.
  • Find someone to keep you accountable! If somebody is expecting me to show them what I was working on each day, I will try my best to deliver.
  • Make sure that the time you schedule for your painting is actually dedicated to just that: painting! Put your phone away and turn on some nice music.
  • Be persistent and consistent, don’t give up. 30 minutes of dedicated work every day really makes a difference in the long run.
  • And as always… Practice as much as you can! Don’t be afraid to try new things, keep on improving.

If you follow these steps, you will see some good results after some time. After some weeks/months of painting regularly, I promise it will become more natural for you to paint daily (or however often you are able to), without having to schedule it!

girl listening to music as she works on her daily painting habit
Listening to music while painting can help tune out the distractions and even help set a mood for your work.

Building a consistent painting routine is much more valuable than painting a lot in one day. Taking one hour every day to paint is worth more than 8 hours in one day!

What to do during very busy seasons

We all run into seasons where taking out even the smallest bits of time to paint is nearly impossible. However, there are ways for you to keep up your painting practice even during these times.

Taking even five minutes to sketch out new ideas for paintings, is a great way to keep yourself moving forward. So that you have ideas to get started with when able to devote more time.

The important thing is to keep yourself motivated and moving forward. Even if it’s not as much as you’d like, anything you do on a daily basis will make a difference.

Balance is key! Having such an overwhelming time schedule that you don’t paint at all is not good either. Keep your motivation high and avoid letting yourself become overwhelmed or feeling guilty.

Know what inspires you

We all need motivation from time to time! That is why it is important to know what inspires you and keeps you motivated. So that you can work to build a consistent painting habit.

Your inspiration could come from; traveling, taking walks, visiting gardens, going to an art museum, or looking at art books. Practice the things that inspire you and you will naturally start to keep up your regular painting habit.

Take the time to look at paintings/images that inspire you, sometimes the best way to be productive is to get outside and be inspired and/or moved by what’s around you.

Create goals for your painting

Creating artistic goals another great way to keep yourself inspired and moving forward. If you are aimlessly working at something you will likely lose steam and stop painting. Set goals for yourself and your painting.

Know where you want to take your painting and what kind of paintings you wish to create. Doing this will help to direct your focus and ultimately make it easier to follow through with your painting habits.

So, get out a notebook and start writing down your painting schedule! Keep yourself accountable and let me know in the comment section below when you will be painting! 🙂

One of the best time management strategies, is to keep track of your painting habits by creating a schedule − make sure that your schedule is in a visible location where you will see it daily.

Helpful time management resource to help you build painting habits

I highly recommend the book, Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind. This book will show you how to manage your time and create consistency when it comes to your artistic habits. It was a great in figuring out my own schedule and setting in place, time management painting habits. I know it can also help you to set the building blocks of a great daily painting schedule and routine.

Manage Your Day-to-Day book cover that will help to build a routine and painting habit
This book is super helpful for helping to figure out your schedule and begin to create your own daily routine.

Want to remember this? Save How to Start a Painting Habit to your favorite Pinterest board!


Did you get your FREE color mixing guide?

Subscribe (free) to get my best tips, and Color Mixing Artist's Guide. With tips to get started mixing colors right away!

    We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

    Hello! I'm Elisabeth Larson Koehler

    Art Studio Life exists for you to be able to stay inspired, learn, and improve your skills.

    Elisabeth Larson Koehler creator of art studio life
    color mixing mater guide ebook preview contents

    My ever popular Color Mixing Master Guide, will help take the uncertainty out of mixing colors. With over 60 Color Mixing Charts − spend less time struggling with mixing color and more time creating the shades of colors you want for your painting!

    Get my special subscriber discount for the Master Guide, when you subscribe here<<


    8 thoughts on “7 Painting Habit Tips to Help You Start a Consistent Painting Habit”

    1. Hello Elisabeth
      I have been a little slow reading your latest posts; although I am thankful for this one, it is giving me a lot to think about, and to put into practice to help me get the best from my drawing/paintings.
      Many thanks and kind regards.
      Mike D

    2. I and many of my oil painting friends, put our paints in the freezer. We regularly paint together the once a week and our oil paints remain wet for weeks by freezing them. I just cover my pallet box and stick in the freezer. It defrosts very quickly and is ready to use. I rarely waste paint using this method.

    3. If I want to paint in oils every day, how do I keep the paints from drying up? Or do I have to clean the palette every day, so wasting expensive paint?

      1. Hi Mary, Good question. If you paint every day then you are less likely to experience your paint drying up quickly as you are using it up quicker. However, there are a couple of things you can do to slow down any drying that takes place no matter how often one paints! You could use a piece of seran wrap to cover the portion of your palette that has your colors. You can also put a very small amount of linseed oil on each color after each painting session to help it dry slower.

        There are also ‘palette garages’ (you can google it) that allow you to place your colors inside a tube and then easily slide it out for the next time you paint.

        I hope those tips help you! 🙂

    Leave a Comment

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