How to Paint a Galaxy Night Sky
Are you craving to learn how to paint a galaxy night sky? But you’re scared it’s too hard for beginners or you don’t know where to begin? This tutorial (including a full length YouTube video) will show you, step-by-step, how to paint an easy galaxy night sky – zero painting skills required! And the secret is in a simple tool that I’ll share with you below…
What Colors Make a Galaxy?
One of the first question you might have is what colors should you use in a galaxy?
Black is the first color that comes to mind when you think of galaxies or space. But galaxies also contain some vibrant clouds of dust and gas which are known as nebulas. The colors in nebulas range between red, magenta, blue, teal, green and white.
Galaxy Painting Colors
- Black/Dark Blue
Need Galaxy Night Sky Inspo?
One of the best ways to get galaxy ideas is to look at high quality pictures from professional photographers.
Using a picture as inspiration can help you add some interesting features to your own painting. This can also help you with the shapes/proportions and even colors of your painting!
Tips on How to Paint a Galaxy Night Sky With a Sponge
Remember I was mentioning using a simple tool to help blend your galaxy?
It’s a sponge!
In this section I will go in depth on how to use your sponge to blend. For the full step-by step tutorial check out the guide at the end of this post.
Using a sponge is surprisingly easy and a great tool for beginners. Sponges will help you create foolproof and AMAZING blends without much effort. They are especially useful for beginners who might find it challenging to blend paint with a normal brush. I find using a sponge to blend paint is way easier and requires less skill than using a brush.
And it’s fun to use.
Types of Sponges For Blending
What kind of sponge works best?
You can use this type of artist sponge , which is what I used in this tutorial. But if you don’t want to spend extra $$ then you can use a simple kitchen sponge (a clean one of course). They will both yield the same effect, but the artist sponge will just be more of a smoother looking blend.
Before using the sponge, you’ll use a 1 inch flat brush to put your paint down.
You don’t have to be perfect here (nor do you have to blend), since we will be blending with a sponge in the next step. Just have fun and get your paint on the canvas as messy as you’d like! The order of the colors are (from outside edges, inward): black, blue, purple, pink and light pink at the bottom
How To Blend with a Sponge
Now for some fun sponge blending work!
Using your sponge of choice, blend the borders between each color. Start with the lightest and work your way to the darkest (order below). To blend with a sponge use a light up and down dabbing motion like you’re stamping. Don’t press too hard or you’ll remove paint from the canvas.
Here is the blending order (to keep dark colors from muddying the light colors).
- Light pink with pink
- Pink with purple
- Purple with blue
- Blue with black
Try to use a clean part on your sponge for each color blend. Once the sponge no longer has clean areas, rinse it off with water.
If you don’t have a sponge, you can blend with your brush using the same order above. You can clean off your brush with each blend.
This first layer gives you the shape and color of your milky way galaxy sky. For the rest of the painting steps check out the full tutorial below.
Tips of blending with a sponge
- Work with lightest colors to darkest so you don’t darken the lightest colors.
- Use clean parts of sponge with each color blend
- Rinse sponge when all areas are covered with paint
- Blend by lightly dabbing your sponge (up and down) along border of colors
How To Paint Stars in a Galaxy
One you have your base colors of your galaxy night sky done, you’ll want to add some stars. There are a few different ways you can do it.
The first way is to splatter them (in tutorial below), flick them with a toothbrush and finally if you want more controlled where they go you can hand paint each one with a small round brush.
How Do You Flick Paint for Stars?
First you’ll want to thin down your paint. How do you thin out acrylic paint? Simply mix 1 tablespoon water with 1 small dollop white paint. The consistency should be a thin liquid (like skim milk).
Then you’ll simply dip any brush (I use a wide flat brush) in the thinned paint. Next you’ll hold the brush over your canvas and start tapping it on another brush. You’ll want to move your brush around your canvas to create splatter stars all over.
The first few flicks will give you bigger stars. The more you tap your brush the smaller the stars you’ll get(as the paint runs out on the bristles). I was able to get all the stars below with just one dip of my brush in the liquid paint.
For very small stars splatter stars you can also dip an old toothbrush in the thinned down paint. With your toothbrush faced bristle side down, use your thumb to flick the bristles back and forth. You’ll get tiny splatters of paint on your canvas.
One thing I like to do after using either the flick method or the toothbrush method above, is to add in extra stars with a small round brush. This will allow you more control and add in stars in your sky where it’s more bare.
Full YouTube Video Step-By-Step
Below is the full YouTube Video if you prefer video instructions.
How To Paint A Galaxy Night Sky Step By Step
- 9x12 Canvas
- Masking Tape
- Mars Black
- Dioxazine Purple
- Ultramarine Blue
- Quinacridone Magenta
- Titanium White
- Artist Sponge (or regular sponge)
- 1" Flat brush
- 1/4" angled brush
- Moon stencil (free download below)
- For the full length YouTube tutorial, click here
- Add masking tape to your canvas . Measure and mark the half way on the bottom side of canvas. Measure and mark 7" down from top, on either sides of canvas.
- Using a flat brush (1" or smaller) add your first layer of galaxy sky colors. From outer edge to inner in following order: black, blue, purple, pink, light pink. It doesn't have to be perfect, just slap the colors on canvas. Please refer to the sections above for more details.
- Take your sponge and blend each color starting with the lightest colors (light pink/pink, pink/purple, purple/blue, blue/black). Please see section above for tips on how to blend with sponge.
- Let dry/semi-dry
- Since the first layer will be very thin after blending with a sponge, we are going to add a second layer of paint. Repeat step 2-3 with adding all the colors (black, blue, purple, pink light pink). Then blend as above
- Using your brush add in some pure white into the middle of your milky way. Blend very lightly with the sponge. It will look more light pink after the blending
- Take a small amount of light pink straight on your sponge and dab it in some nebula clouds around the sky. This will look very dimensional and pretty when all the stars are on top.
- Optional: If you want even more dimension in your milky way, Add some more pure white in the middle of your milky way and lightly blend with sponge.
- Take 1 Tbsp water and mix it with a dollop of white paint to thin it down. Take a brush, dip it in the thinned paint and start flicking it over the galaxy night sky ( more details on how to flick stars in the section above).
- After stars are dried, use a 1/4" angled brush (or flat brush) with some black paint and paint on the silhouetted trees. If you thin down the black paint a bit it will be easier to paint with.
- Cut out your moon stencil (download in post below). Place it in desired location. Apply some thinned white paint (from stars) to 1/2 of the moon. Use a sponge to blend.
- Optional: Add some white to to the top of your trees using your angled brush or flat brush (moonlight reflecting off tree tops)
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Scotch Rough Surface Painter's Tape, 1.41 inches x 60 yards, 2060, 1 Roll
ZEM Brush Golden Taklon Angle Shaders Brush Set Sizes 1/8", 1/4', 3/8", 1/2"
Princeton Artist Brush Select Synthetic Brush Flat Wash 1" Width
Royal Brush Synthetic Artist Sponges, 3/Pack
Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint, 4-oz tube, Quinacridone Magenta
Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint, 8.45-oz tube, Dioxazine Purple
Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint, 8.45-oz tube, Ultramarine Blue
Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint, 8.45-oz tube, Mars Black
Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint, 8.45-Oz Tube, Titanium White
MOON STENCIL DOWNLOAD
Save the image below to your computer and print it out on standard 8.5×11 printer paper. There are 4 moon stencils per sheet. Cut along the dotted lines to get your moon stencil.