Galaxy Lettering with Faux Calligraphy - Blending Brush Pens | Sarah Ensign | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Galaxy Lettering with Faux Calligraphy - Blending Brush Pens

teacher avatar Sarah Ensign, Hand Letter Artist

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (32m)
    • 1. Welcome!

    • 2. Supplies

    • 3. Testing blends and stars

    • 4. Sketching your word

    • 5. Adding color to your word

    • 6. Blending your galaxy

    • 7. Adding stars to your galaxy

    • 8. Variations and Class Project

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels
  • Beg/Int level
  • Int/Adv level

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Do you want to create beautiful galaxy lettering? In this class, I show you the easiest blending techniques using faux calligraphy. I use Tombow Dual Brush Pens, but you could use other waterbased markers. You are going to learn how to get smooth galaxy blends, what colors to use, how to add stars, and what variations you can do in your own galaxy lettering.

I'm so excited for you to join me in blending brush pens to get gorgeous galaxy letters.


Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Sarah Ensign

Hand Letter Artist


I'm Sarah Ensign, owner/creator of Ensign Insights, hand letter artist, lover of colors, and ice cream connoisseur. 

I believe that hand lettering and creating can bring joy to your life in any circumstance. My goal is to spread that joy through teaching and sharing my process.

I am passionate about helping you feel confident in your unique style. You can start exactly where you are with exactly what you have. You don't need to have any special talents or even a lot of money. Let's create together exactly as we are! And why don't we get some ice cream while we're at it!

See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • Exceeded!
  • Yes
  • Somewhat
  • Not really
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Welcome!: Hello. I'm Sarah from Ensign Insights. And maybe you've seen the beautiful watercolor Galaxies that air everywhere right now. Well, I'm going to show you in this class how to create beautiful galaxy lettering, so you have a little mini galaxy within your letters. This is a pretty simple process. Just blending brush pens. However, maybe you've tried a blending brush bins before, but you're not sure how to go about it the right way without fraying your brush pens. They always have the same problems with blending brush pens. You can give beautiful textured blends on a rough texture paper like watercolor paper or mixed media paper. But if I use my brush pin on that rough paper, they will fray. I want more control of my blends. Then you can get just by. Simply picking up a color from a different brush meant I definitely can't get the galaxy blends that I want. So in this class, I'm so excited to share the solution with you. It's the easiest way to create beautiful blends in your lettering because we're going to use full calligraphy and blend only sections of the letters at a time, so it's much more simple. By the end of the class, you will create your own galaxy lettering piece. You will need brush pens with a door tip I'm using tumbled to a brush pens, but you could use any water based markers. We'll show you how to choose the right colors for your galaxy and which ones to blend and not blend together. You'll need a paintbrush or water brushed mixed media or watercolor paper, a jar of water and paper towel and white or gold gel pens to do some stars. If you're ready to create gorgeous galaxy lettering, joined me in this class. Let's get started. 2. Supplies: the first thing you want to do is gather your supplies. So, like I said, you will need some water based markers that have the dual tip. The reason you want the dual tip is because that is the side we're going to use so it doesn't fray, and I'm using tumbled to a burst pens. If you don't have these, you can use a different water based marker. But you do want to make sure that the fine tip isn't too fine. Otherwise, it won't have enough ink toe lay down on your paper. As for the pain breast or water brush, you'll see me using my water brush. It's Keira Taki brand. If you feel more comfortable with a paintbrush, go for it. You just want to make sure that it has a fine tip because we are working in very small little spaces. For paper, you'll want mixed media or watercolor paper. I'm using mixed media because I like that it's a little bit smoother than watercolor paper , but you can play around with it and find the kind that you like. You just want to make sure that the water doesn't bleed right through your paper. That's why you want something thicker, and you will need a jar of water and a paper towel to clean your brush and to do stars and your Galaxies, you're going to want a white or gold gel pen or any other White or Gold Inc I have a security jelly roll gel pen and a pen tal sparkle pop. Those are the two that you'll see me using. You'll also want a black marker to do some outlining. And lastly, you want a pencil an eraser to do your sketching before the EQ. As for galaxy colors, there are so many different types of Galaxies that you can do for this classic, one that you see on the left. This is my personal favorite. So first you need a dark purple and then a black. And that is just for the outline and then a fuchsia to get the brighter purple and a pink pretty hot pink. And then a blue, which will blend with the pink to make purple. And then, lastly, the teal. This is a great accent color. I love this in Galaxies. It's okay if you don't have these exact colors, something similar to these will work. So with that, let's see how we can blend them together. 3. Testing blends and stars: the first thing we need to do is test our blends with the colors that you have chosen. So maybe yours air similar to us, Maybe a few different colors. But here I have my water paper tell this is mixed media paper, and I will be using the fine point of my tumble Dual Bushman's. So I'm gonna start with the dark purple because this is the one that I want to be kind of the overall color, and I am going Teoh, draw a rectangle. This is about how big my letters will be in the full A graffiti. Some might be shorter for smaller letters, but this is a good starting point and I'm gonna draw a couple of them so they would contest the colors. So my purple, Like I said, this is kind of the main color off my galaxy, and then the blue doesn't really stand alone. When it's mixed with the pink, it kind of turns into a different purple from this one, and then so does this kind of future color. It adds a bright purple and then the teal. I love the teal as the accent color and I'm gonna show you how to use an accent color like that, the Pinkham until, er kind of the accents. But they can be over taken by the other colors because the other colors are darker. And also these are almost complementary because it's the red in the green. These are different shades of them, and when you blend complementary colors, it will turn into a money brown. So I don't ever put these two next to each other when we're laying down our IK. All right, let's practice with some blends. I like to start with the future color, and I'm just going Teoh scribble. This in doesn't have to be perfect because we are blending it. So I'm gonna do purple. And then I'm just going to start coloring in different sections because in a galaxy, what makes it so cool is those different chunks of color. So that's what we're going to try and achieve with this. And I like to put the teal next on the blue because it hopes the Thiel's stand out more instead of just blending right 10 to the other colors. And there's really no right or wrong way. Teoh, lay down your colors. It's good toe. Lay them down differently throughout your words so that you get different pops of colors. So now I'm going to come in with my water brush. And this is a small water brush because I don't want a huge brush that I can't blend the small area with. And it is what? But you don't want it to be too wet, so kind of play with how much water it is. You'll know if there's too much water because you'll get a big puddle you want it to be what, enough So that you can drag your colors. So I'm going to start with the top color, start blending this one and then I'm just gonna blend two colors at a time. So instead of going over the whole thing, I'm going to blend this future and the pink. But I don't want to go all the way over the pink because the pink will start to fade and be more of a fuchsia. So I'm gonna clean off my breasts and come back in with the pink. And if you start in the pink, pull the pink up. It hopes to keep the bright pink instead of the fuchsia taking over seem as they come into the blue. The blue and the pink turn into purple very quickly. So just with these two colors, I want to make sure that I guess smooth line and then keep pulling them so you can see that pink is not as bright anymore. So if I wanted more of a bright pink, I would have to have a much larger section of pink so that it's not right next to the blue . So has a little bit of room to just be pink. Maybe I only want that little tiny pump of pink. So next with the teal, I like to start in the teal and pull it up into the blue, blending them evenly. By starting in the teal, it helps or to be more of the teal instead of it all turning the darker color. And then I'm gonna go ahead and start with the future on the bottom, blend that home, bring it up into the blue because I know this is going to turn a very dark purple, which will be really privy. But I don't wanna lose too much of my teal, So I'm gonna just slowly bring it up and clean off me brush and then come in starting in the teal to blend it down. And I do like having lighter in the center and then the darker purple coming around it. Okay, so there is one example. Here's a lot of pink up here. There's a lot of teal, the next one. Let's play with some different colors and see what else we can come up with because we're just finding what blends we like the best right now so that we know which ones to blend in her letters and which ones not to blend. Close it up with the blue. And then I think I'm gonna go with being so I can mix that blew on the pink to make a nice purple, then gonna induced fuchsia and finished it with boiled starting in the teal, going to bring it up into the blue. And then another reason. I like having this purple on the outside. There isn't any purple appear, but I could come in the very edge, grab some of that purple to make a little bit of a darker, because for our galaxy, we want it to be dark, especially on the edges. Who like how that till Turned out. Okay, so now I'm going to start in the pink, makes that a little bit and then put up into the blue. I want this to be that deep purple. I can kind of start bringing that up and around the edges to make those just even. Catherine, Let's go ahead and do another one. And with this one, I'm going to show you something to watch out for. You want to make sure that you are working with your ink wallets? What? So if you let it dry, so I'm gonna go ahead. Could have finished this. I'm gonna let that dry, and then I'm going to start from the bottom, and then I'll show you what happened up here. So this one, the teal won't be as big oven area because it was just on the edge. Gonna clean off my brush and then come back into the teal to blend that a little bit more. Okay, I got the break pink here. It's not quite dry it so I'm gonna leave that through the last one. So for the last one, I'll show you what happens if you don't go slow enough? You don't blend them individually. So if I don't go in and clean off my brush between then I'm gonna end up losing some of the colors. See how it kind of just turned into a dark purple, which is fine. That's what you want if you just want this big, long, dark purple. But then you lose the chunks of color, which is kind of what makes the galaxy so magical. With this one. It's just about dry if I go back in and I tried to blend this blue that I missed, but I stop So there's this water right here and this is all dry. So what's gonna happen as this starts to dry? There's going to be a really hard water line right there, because that's how watercolor works. So maybe you want your chunks of color toe have really hard lines in between them. But for the Galaxies that I love and that I'm creating, I don't want to see that really hard line. In order to avoid that, you just want to make sure that you were working quickly so everything stays. What while you're blending next for testing the stars. So I'm using my secure a jelly roll in white and then Pento sparkle pop in gold. Some people like to splatter with white paint. I found that with the tiny little area that I'm doing, I want to have more control of where my stars are. So that's why he was Jill pins. You can get creative with the stars that you do. I like toe have a lot of little stars on than a few bigger pops of stars, but the stars are really what makes it look like a galaxy on top of those colors. So here's just a few ideas for you, one with just white, one with to scold and then one with white and gold. And you can see I like to keep the stars simple because they're so small. It's not like it's a very realistic star, so I just do the tea and then the X, and that's my chunk of a star. But on this last one, I'm doing a different style of a star that's a little bit bigger, and then maybe even throw in a shooting star. You can experiment with all kinds of stars and find the ones that you like to complete your galaxy. So make sure you like the ones that you are coming up with practice as much as you need to . And then let's go ahead and move on to creating your word that you're gonna put your galaxy into. 4. Sketching your word: getting started with your word. The most important part is to sketch it out. I know it's tempting to just want to get right into the ink and the pens. That's the fun part, right? But if you have a solid foundation with your sketch, then the rest will be so much easier. So we're just lettering the word. And we're doing full calligraphy because we need to leave the down strokes open. So as your lettering your word, you want to leave it pretty wide so that you have enough room to come back in and add the down strokes if you don't know what folk calligraphy is. Basically, it's just lettering a word and then coming back in Teoh, add the thick down strokes. That way you're getting the thin of strokes and the thick down strokes. You're just adding the thick down strokes manually instead of with a brush pen and the thicker. You can get your down strokes the better, because that means there's gonna be more color, more space to fill in those Galaxies. You also want to erase any of the cross lines. So like the tea it normally would cross through the down stroke of the tea. But you're going to erase that because you want those down strokes all to be open, and you can play around with it a little bit, too. Maybe you want a thinner down stroke, but really tall. And that's where your color is gonna be. Or maybe it is shorter and wider. This is just one of the variations that you can do. But having that sketch a race as many times as you need, because it will be so much easier having that solid foundation. And once you get it, how you want it, you like the look of it. You've touched up any little areas that you need to change. Then I go back in with a needed a race there, and I lightly erased so that it's not as strong when I come in with the ink. So I don't have as much to erase after I've inked it, and with that, it's time for the color 5. Adding color to your word: just like we did in our blending tests. I'm starting with the dark purple, and I'm just going to trace over my pencil sketch because this gives me a good outline. If you want to have black as your outline, I would do it after. So start with a different color and then trace over the outline in black at the very end. Just because, like I said, the black tends to take over all of the colors so the purple is okay because it's ah, color that's in my Galaxies. If I were to do black, it might just make everything block, and you don't have to outline it. At this point, you could just start blending because you can see with your pencil where the sections are that you're going to blend. However, I found that I like having the outline to give me a clean line as I'm blending because if my brush kind of goes outside the line a little bit, it's just easier to stay inside that line, having the outline of the color already there. And if you make a little mistake, as you are doing the outline like I did in that T I wanted it to be a little bit of a smoother curve. It's OK if you had a little bit, because remember, it's all going to be blended. And just like with our skits, we're not gonna do the purple inside the sections of blending. So crossing the T, we're gonna leave that open, and you could if you wanted to have a lighter color on the outside, you could do like the pinker, the teal, and just trace over with a darker color in the end. Because, remember, with Galaxies, we like having the dark around the edges so it looks like it's encasing those little chunks of color, and then we're just gonna go in and start filling in the chunks of color. You want them to be different throughout your word, so the chunks of color are mismatched, and it's easier if you stop after adding color and blend that section before moving on to the rest of your word. The ink stays a little bit more wet for easier blending, and also it's nice to see the planned you already have. So as you're adding the colors and the rest of your sections, you can see if you have a pink on the top that maybe you wouldn't want a pink on the top of the next one. Seeing the finished blending result can help you decide on the colors in the next letters. So now with this finished section, let's go ahead and start blending. 6. Blending your galaxy: with your web brush but not too wet. You're going to come into the letter and start blending just like we did in the practice. In your word, you now have maybe a curved area or skinnier areas than you had in an actual rectangle, but the process is the same. It does take a lot of patients as we have to just blend two colors at a time and go slowly over them so that we get the chunks of color that we want. It is really fun to see how the colors blend together because you can only control so much with watercolor, and once that dries, it might be totally different from what you expected it to be. So sometimes if I'm not totally happy with the result, I let it dry first, and I want at the time that fixes it. Also, if there are portions that you're not happy with the blending how it turned out for some reason you can cover that little section with stars, so don't worry too much. It doesn't have to be absolutely perfect, and it is such a small section that once you zoom out a little bit, you probably won't notice the tiny little detail. And having those little imperfections in your galaxy can make it even more magical as you're looking at this nice guy and you're like, Wow, how did the colors do that, right? Even though I mean this is not the night sky, this is your word, but it's that same idea. So, like I said before, I do each sex in Eve's a letter, one at a time, adding the color and then blending and then moving on to the next letter so that I can see how it turned out before moving on. So in some of the shorter letters, I decide this one is going to be mostly purple or this one. I want to be mostly teal or pink in such a short section, like the E in the A. You can't have really long sections of both of your accent colors, so you made us have to choose one accent for those short little areas have been on the longer sections, like the tea in the eight. Maybe those ones are going to have a lot more of the teal and a lot more of the pink. I also want to mention that I spend this video up to time speed. Since you don't need to watch the whole thing, you might be interested to see the different bloods that I'm using. But this whole word took me about 20 minutes, so I sped it up so that you wouldn't have to sit here for 20 minutes. It's time for you to experiment on your own word and see what you can come up with. Just know it might take you 20 minutes to dio. Ah, full word. If it's a long word, maybe you have a three little word and it it doesn't take that long. But just be patient as your blending them, turn on some music and just enjoy the process and watching what happens as each of these colors blend together. In some places you can see I just did the coloring straight across, and in some of them it's kind of at an angle or a diagonal. Sometimes that doesn't show up in the blend, but sometimes it does, which makes kind of cool blend to have it more diagonal, just giving that in perfect feel of where a random color would be in the actual galaxy. The longer letters can be more fun because you have more room to play with your colors in the shorter sections. It's OK if they kind of turn mostly purple, since you'll have the rest of your letters to go with it. If the word you're doing doesn't have any of the ta litters than maybe you want to make your letters tall to begin with or really wide so especially white letters or especially tall Attar's so that you have more room to add those blends with the eight. As I was blending, I did go out of the lines just a little bit on that left side. And so I just used the brush and carefully went above below a little bit too blended out and add a little bit of extra edge on it so that it looks all cohesive. I was able to do this because it was still wet at the top. If it wasn't wet, then there would be a line on the edge of my age, that hard water line. So now, once you have finished blending your whole word, wait for it to dry. The beginning of the word is probably dry by now, and then it's time to add stars, which is what we'll do next. 7. Adding stars to your galaxy: adding stars is where your galaxy will really pop. For this word breathe, I decided that I just wanted to use white stars instead of the white and gold as I tried in the tests. Sometimes I like to add the larger star where it's lighter in the section or in the letter , because it kind of makes it look like the star is brightening up that area. And then sometimes I like to have the bigger star in a darker section because it's such a nice, bold contrast between the light and the dark. So play around, find what you like, and maybe you want to try doing some splatters instead of adding them with a Joe Penn. There are so many variations that you could try so many ways that you can make it unique to you. And there are all different types of stars, so I like having the little dots. But maybe your little dots are just little lines, so they're a little bit bigger. Maybe you're bigger. Star is a four point star or a five point star. There's a lot of room for error in these Galaxies, especially when it comes to the stars you really can't go wrong with your stars. I'm really excited to see what you will come up with because the possibilities are endless . So with that, let's talk about the class project. 8. Variations and Class Project: This is how my final breathe turned out. I decided to leave it purple on the edges. But for your class project, you get to come up with the variation that you want to dio so letter a word. If you can't think of a word, you can just choose this word galaxy that you see me doing here. Make sure you sketch out your word in detail first so that you have a good starting point before adding color and then create the blends and your letters and at the stars, choosing whichever way that you want to do the stars and finish it up by either leaving it with like my breathe was just the purple on the outside with galaxy you're going to see. I do add black around the edges, and I think the black really adds a net extra little pop to it makes it stand out a little bit more because there is more of a contrast. And with the galaxy, we do want tohave the darker edges with the lighter chunks of color on the inside. So that's another variation that you could do for your own galaxy lettering. Next, you might add a quote to it. So normally I only do one word when I do galaxy lettering because it does take so long. But if you want to do a whole quote like in this when I'm doing, the quote says, The darkest nights produced the brightest stars, and I just did stars in the galaxy. I did add white and gold stars, and so I decided to bring in the quote a little bit. I added a gold shadowing with the rest of the quote, and I don't know if that turn now as I wanted, but it's okay. I tried it. I like having the white and gold stars in the word star. And in the last variation, I want to show you. This one's not even full calligraphy. This is just print style. And then I am filling in the entire letter with the galaxy, which I think this turns out really cool, and it's still works because you're just working with one letter at a time, instead of needing to pull into the entire word and keeping the whole thing wet. So this is a great option. If you want to do the whole letter, do it in this print style and this one, I decided to outline it with gold, which I think was really cool touch and adding the white and gold stars as well. So there are some variations for you. I'm really excited to see what you come up with. Share them in the class project section. Thank you so much for taking this class. If you liked it, you could help me by giving it a positive review or telling your friends about it. Thank you for being here, and I will see you in the project section.