Wet on Wet Watercolor Galaxy Using Brush Pens

design team - shannon painting Mar 14, 2022
How to paint a watercolor galaxy using wet-on-wet technique

Painting a watercolor galaxy is so much fun, but have you tried it using a wet-on-wet technique and brush markers? Today, that's exactly what we're going to do. It's a simple way that will allow you to create a stunning artwork - and you might end up making more of them (I can't blame you, galaxies are fascinating). 

Shannon here from The Pigeon Letters Design Team and I share a brand new tutorial on the blog every month! Today’s tutorial happens to be my favorite techniques! I love painting galaxies! The finished product is not only pretty to look at, but the process of blending the colors together is super relaxing. So let’s jump right into it!




For this tutorial, I’ll be sharing techniques for using Karin markers. I haven’t found any other brand of watercolor markers that these techniques also work for without possibly damaging the tips. The type of paper you use will also play an important role, so I’d highly recommend using Canson XL Watercolor paper. Of course you’re free to try this technique with which ever supplies you’d like but this combination will get you similar results to the one in this tutorial.


Prefer watching the tutorial instead?



Step 1: Prep Your Paper

Use your tape to mask the edges of the paper. This will also secure the paper onto your surface and prevent it from warping since we’ll be using a lot of water. Then use a large paint brush to wet entire the surface of the paper. 





Step 2: Paint the First Layer

Press the nib of the marker on the paper where you want the colors to appear. Always add your colors starting with the lightest first. I’m starting with Cerise and Turquoise.



Then use a paintbrush to spread and blend the colors on the paper. This part can be a little tricky because you can easily over blend and hide some of the colors. So to avoid this make sure your brush is completely clean before you start blending a new color.  



You should also avoid pulling color into areas that you want to remain white or light as it would be difficult be to lighten them later on.




Grab yourself some beautiful artist-grade, cruelty-free paint brushes.



Step 3: Intensify the Colors

While the paper is still wet, we’re going to start building up the colors. Use a large, round wet paintbrush to take some paint from the tip of the marker.  The amount of water on the brush will determine the intensity of the color (i.e. more water in the brush means you’ll get a light version of the color). Then, add the color onto your paper. I’m only using the Cerise, Turquoise and Violet Blue for this step.




Continue adding and spreading the colors until you’re satisfied with that layer or if you notice the paper has start to dry. When you’re finished, allow the colors to dry. 



Step 4: Paint the Second Layer

Re-wet the entire paper using the paintbrush from step 1. You don’t want to re-activate the colors from the previous layer so avoid pulling the brush across the page to many times. The TPL Wash brush holds a lot of water so I only hand to use 4 swipes. Your paper should be glossy without any puddles.



Repeat the techniques in steps 2 & 3 to continue adding colors. Alternate between using the marker directly onto the wet paper where you want the most saturated version of the color and using the paintbrush with paint to build up the colors. 

Then allow the colors to dry.  





Step 5: Paint the Final Layer

Re-wet the entire paper and use your black marker to add black to the areas on want dark in your galaxy. During this step you can also add the other colors where you feel need to be darkened a bit.




Step 5: Add Some Stars

Allow your galaxy to dry completely before splattering some white gouache or acrylic paint to create some stars. Remove the tape and you’re galaxy is complete!



I hope you enjoyed this week’s tutorial and as always, you can share your creations with me over on Instagram @byshannonlayne! 




Shannon is a freelance artist from a small island in the Caribbean called Barbados! She creates fun and unique content, whether it's with markers, watercolors, acrylics or on the iPad to inspire other creatives. Check out more of her tutorials here!