How To Paint Galaxy Space With Acrylics
Learn how to paint a galaxy on canvas or on any surface! This step by step painting tutorial will guide you through the process of rendering the entire galaxy on any size canvas!
There are two parts to this tutorial. Part one is how to paint the galaxy background. I am leaving this part separate from part two only because there are so many creative things you can do with a galaxy background!
Instead of planets, you can write a quote, use the technique for the sky in another painting, etc. In part two, I will demonstrate how I did the planets!
I would also like to mention that this tutorial is a bit different from my others.
Instead of showing your exactly what to paint and where, I am going to (attempt) to teach you the “technique” of painting a galaxy.
I’ll let you know what colors and tools I used and demonstrate how I used the sponge for 80% of this painting.
Enjoy this tutorial! Happy painting artists!
Part 1 “How To Paint A Galaxy”
Jump to Part Two “The Planets”
What you need to know about painting galaxies!
A good galaxy painting starts with a great galaxy color palette! The colors that I selected are not exclusive to galaxy painting. There’s many different combos you can experiment with!
I do recommend that you limit your palette as much as possible so it doesn’t end up looking like a rainbow.
You can simplify those colors even further by selecting only two blues and one purple.
You really don’t need anything special to paint a galaxy! I think the most essential tool you’ll need for this technique is a sponge. It can be any sponge. I’ve even cut up a dollar store bath sponge before and used that!
I also used two different size brushes. One was a 1 inch flat brush (or 3/4″ flat) and the other was a tiny #0 round brush. The large brush was just to paint the entire canvas black. The small brush was to make bigger looking stars.
Finally I used an old toothbrush! This is to splatter those very fine white dots that resemble stars. If you don’t want to use a toothbrush, you can also use any thick shaped brush to splatter paint or get a special splatter paint brush.
I think painting a galaxy is all about the technique! I will present you the steps on how I did mine. However, you are more than welcome to go your own way with the galaxy painting!
Directions At A Glance:
Step By Step Photos:
1. After painting a canvas black with a 3/4″ wash brush, use a sponge to paint magenta and white!
2. Blur the paint by sponging over the color again with a dry area of the sponge (or the same area as the paint is drying on the sponge).
It will look blurry and dark! We will be adding multiple layers so stay patient! (Tip: it helps to press and twist the sponge. It’s almost like you’re wiping off the color with the dry part of the sponge to get it to be dimmer)
3. Use a sponge to paint deep violet and white.
Now sponge an area in the lower right corner with deep violet and a little bit of white. Make it blurry by sponging it over with a dry part of your sponge. I ended up making all my colors go in the same diagonal direction.
4. Use a sponge to paint cerulean blue hue, turquoise and white.
Again, sponge an area of cerulean blue and white. Also I added in a bit of turquoise to the blue.
5. Sponge an area of bright aqua green.
6. Sponge black lightly over all your colors!
This is the part that will make the colors blend more into the background. Basically I sponged black over the colors in clusters. You don’t want to cover all the colors. Just sponge enough to dim the colors. Also be careful & dab lightly because this black can take over fast!
7. Apply more layers of color!
Huh? So we dimmed the colors now we are adding more on top? I’m not crazy! The reason why I did this is because this painting has dimension! Galaxies have a lot of dimension! In order for colors to be in the distance, they have to be dim so we applied black over that! Now we are adding brighter colors on top! Basically, add white to the quinacridone and apply more paint and then blur with the sponge.
8. Apply a brighter layer of violet and blues too!
Continue on and add more brighter layers to all the colors specifically in the middle of those diagonal lines!
9. Dim the colors again with black!
So the “gist” of this is, more layers means more dimension. You can stop if you’d like! But I didn’t. I dimmed the colors again with black. Then I added more color on top! Again, emphasize the middle of all those diagonal sponged on lines being brighter with more white!
10. Splatter paint stars with a toothbrush.
This is that magic moment in galaxy painting! Dip the toothbrush in white paint and flick it with your finger. Experiment with it! When you splatter really close to the canvas, you get dense stars versus if you splatter far away. When you angle the brush you might get a line of stars. Also, try adding a TINY TINY bit of water to the brush. You will get more stars than if your brush is completely dry.
11. Use a tiny round brush to paint brighter stars.
To get a variety of stars, I used a tiny brush to paint some cluster areas of bright larger stars. Think “clusters”! When you look at the sky at night, the stars really aren’t in a uniform distant apart from each other. Some are close together, some are far, some are dim, bright or even different colors!
12. Paint a starburst.
I used that small round brush to paint a star burst. Basically paint an asterisk. Drag each stroke from the center out. Apply more white in the middle to make the middle super bright. As the white dries, apply more white until it is pure white and super bright. Basically, the more you layer the white directly in the middle of that starburst, the brighter it will get!
13. More stars!
You’ll see in the video that I went in and did more sponging over the stars. This allowed the stars to be different colors. Then I did more of the round brush stars in clusters. Just keep going with it and have fun! Also notice there is a new diagonal line of “phthalo turquoise” going the opposite direction.
14. Keep going with those layers, stars, sponging, splattering, etc. until you are content with your galaxy!
This is beautiful the way it is! But if you are here for the planets…continue on to part two!
That’s it! If you’re ready to paint planets on your galaxy background, go to part two of this tutorial.