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Paint a Galaxy with Watercolors

Paint a Galaxy with Watercolors

It's easy to get fascinated by space. All the stars and the far away galaxies are a perfect painting inspiration, they look like they have been splattered into the sky with some bright white paint. Are you surprised that this is exactly what we'll be doing in today's tutorial?

Hi, Vanessa here from @vanessa_paints_ and today I'll show you an easy way to paint a beautiful watercolor galaxy. We'll even add in some stars, too!


Pssst...want to watch a video walkthrough instead? 




Cruelty-free paint brushes are a must in every artist's kit, grab yourself a set here.


Step 1:  Sketch a Spiral

Very lightly, sketch a loose spiral on watercolor paper.  Start with a center point and draw curved lines radiating from the center.  You can make as many or as few as you’d like.  Remember, this is only a sketch and is considered more of a guide! 


Step 2: Wet Wash

Thoroughly wet your paper.  You can cover more ground with a flat or wash brush, but really any brush will do.  If you are using rough, textured paper, go over it a few times to make sure that every nook and cranny is filled.  When you are done, you should be left with a nice sheen across your entire paper.  No puddles!  If you see any puddles forming, especially along the edges, soak them up with a clean dry brush.


Step 3: Let the Tracing Begin

With a round brush and a light blue color, trace the spiral that you sketched.  Use the tip of your brush for finer strokes and the side of your brush for thicker stroke. 


Step 4: Deepen the Spiral

Use a darker color to go over the lines from the previous step.  Blend out the edges with a clean, semi-dry brush.  When you blend out the edges, you will see both colors peeking through.  


Step 5: Bring in Depth and Dimension

Using a mixture of a medium toned and dark toned blue, paint the outer edges of the watercolor paper, continuing in towards the edges of the spiral. Once the outer portions are painted, start bringing paint directly into the spiral.


Step 6: Add a Fun Color

Add some liveliness to your spiral galaxy by throwing in a touch of color.  Add a spiral accent with purple (or another color of your choosing) to the tops of a couple of spirals.


Step 7: Deep Space

Deepen the space outside of the spiral.  Add Payne’s Grey to the blue and make the outer edges as dark as possible. Bring some of the deepness into the spiral itself.


Step 9: Lighten the Center

Lighten the center of the spiral by lifting the paint.  With a clean, damp brush, gently scrub the middle of the center of the spiral, always wiping the brush clean when it gets saturated with paint. 


Step 10: Splatter!

Splatter white stars across the paper, concentrating on the darkest areas.  Use any white medium (watercolor, gouache, acrylic, ink) and tap the paint onto your paper gently.  Use a small brush!  The bigger the brush, the bigger the splatter.  And with that, the spiral galaxy is complete!


Vanessa spent 16 years as a social worker and originally began experimenting with watercolor as a form of self care and it became a profound passion.  With the encouragement and support of her wife and 3 daughters, she became a full time artist and small business owner.  She now shares her passion through workshops and online tutorials. Check out more of Vanessa's tutorials on the blog!


Want to paint this beautiful galaxy later? Pin the post!


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