Paint Your Star Sign! | Watercolor Textures For Beginners | Imelda Green | Skillshare

Playback Speed

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

Paint Your Star Sign! | Watercolor Textures For Beginners

teacher avatar Imelda Green, Illustrator / Graphic designer

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

12 Lessons (21m)
    • 1. Hello & Welcome

    • 2. Your Project

    • 3. Gather Your Materials!

    • 4. Pick Your Colours

    • 5. Effect 1: Wet On Water

    • 6. Effec 2: Wet On Wet

    • 7. Effect 3: Water On Wet

    • 8. Effect 4: Adding Salt

    • 9. Painting Your Galaxy Background

    • 10. Preparing The Template

    • 11. Paint Your Star Sign!

    • 12. Final Touches

  • --
  • 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

Watercolor looks so pretty – but it is daunting to actually start it. What if it goes wrong?

In this class I’m leading you back to the basics and show you that you actually don’t need any prior knowledge to enjoy messing around with paint.

I will start by showing you the supplies I use, then a sure way to pick the right colors for a galaxy background, so you avoid mud colors.

Then I’ll teach you 4 different watercolor textures that you can use to create a galaxy background. They all produce a unique and flowing look, and it is practically impossible to go wrong with them.

You will then paint a background for your star sign, using one (or several ones) of these textures. The last bit is to add your actual constellation using a gold, silver or white gel pen (with the help of a template).

By the end of this class you will have the technical and creative skills you need to create flowing backgrounds in watercolor – as well as a lovely zodiac painting.

This class is great for beginners students of watercolor, especially if you find watercolor daunting or difficult to get started. No experience is required, all you need is the courage to get started.


  • 2 sheets of A5 size (or similar) heavy-weight watercolor paper (300gsm or higher is best)
  • a round, pointed watercolor brush (size 10 or similar)
  • watercolor paint
  • a silver, gold or white gel pen or marker (something that will show on a dark background)
  • a jar of water
  • a paper towel to control wetness in your brush
  • a hairdryer (not essential)
  • a printed template of your zodiac constellation that I attached to the course


I hope you can join me in this creative journey — see you in class!



My blog, all about watercolor and illustration:

My Skillshare course on Negative painting:

My Skillshare course in Colour mixing:

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Imelda Green

Illustrator / Graphic designer


Imelda is an illustrator specializing in watercolor, based in Budapest, Hungary. She's been working as a full-time freelance illustrator since 2018. Since then, she illustrated children's books, planners, and many other projects, but it has become her artistic phylosophy to consider the process of painting far more important than the actual result.

This is how she started teaching in-person watercolor workshops, which she is now also transferring to an online experience, so she can share the joys of painting with as many people as possible.

She also runs a blog all about watercolor and illustration, where she helps creatives get rid of the pressures society places on the word 'talent'.

Imelda enjoys painting botanicals, food and many other subjects, while she also f... 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. Hello & Welcome: Hello, and welcome to this super easy watercolor course. My name is Imelda, and I'm a watercolor illustrator. You might know me from my previous classes on negative painting and color mixing. Those courses, though not too complex, require some basic watercolor knowledge. But this time, I want you to create something that is suitable for people who haven't held a brush in their hands since school time. If that is you, you are at the right place. In this short class, we'll be covering some basic materials used for watercolors, how you can create beautiful color schemes, and four different water color effects that you can use to create exciting flowing textures. With this knowledge, we'll be painting our own zodiac constellation using the templates I've attached to this course. You really don't need any prior watercolor or drawing knowledge, all you need is enough courage to get started, and you're good to go. In this class, we are concentrating on enjoying the process of painting while also creating something that's beautiful and gives you enough motivation to continue on your painting journey. Hope you're ready my friend, because watercolor is one of the most relaxing techniques I've ever tried. So grab your brushes and let's paint together. 2. Your Project: During the next few lessons, I'll teach you some basic watercolor techniques. I hope you paint along with me and share your finished piece in the student projects section, which you can find under the video in the projects and resources section on the right-hand side. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them and I'll respond as quickly as possible. By the end of the class, you will have a page of four watercolor textures and the beautiful picture of your zodiac sign. To help you paint the constellation, I attached a template of all 12 star signs to the course, so you don't have to draw them by hand. You can also find this in the projects and resources section on the right-hand side. You can print yours on regular copy paper, which we will later prepare to use as a stencil. Now, before diving into painting, let's discuss the materials you'll need. 3. Gather Your Materials!: Let's talk about the materials you will need to start painting with watercolors. In this class, I'll be using Koh-I-Noor's Anilinky watercolor paint, two sheets of A5 size watercolor paper. We'll be practicing effects on one of them and paint the constellation on the other. I'm using Fabriano's 300 gram cold press watercolor paper. A size 10 synthetic watercolor brush, a silver gel pen to paint my constellation. For this you can use any type of pen that covers the surface in this light. White or gold is also a good choice. Some water, a paper towel, some regular table salt. A hair hair if you want to quicken the drying process, but this is not absolutely necessary, and the constellation tablet for my own zodiac sign, which is a Virgo. Of course, you don't have to use the exact same brands to complete this class, but to reach similar results, make sure you use watercolor paper, watercolor brush, and watercolor paints, because these materials react differently to excess water, than other types of art supplies. Using watercolor paper will make sure that the water stands wet on top of your paper for a couple of seconds, so you have time to work with different effects. We will be using quite a lot of water, and this is why I choose a 300 gram paper which is more resistant to buckling than lighter weight papers. You can still complete the project with a lighter weight watercolor paper, but be prepared for it to buckle slightly. As for brushes, I picked a watercolor brush because it is much softer than other brushes, and it is designed to hold the maximum amount of water. Anilinky, the brand of paint that I'm using today is just regular watercolor paint that includes anodyne. It is my favorite brand because the colors are super bright and vibrant, but you can use any watercolor paint that you have at home. I have created a PDF in the classes also section listing all the materials I personally use in case you find that helpful. It is now time to talk a little bit about colors. 4. Pick Your Colours: In this class we'll be using different colors to paint a galaxy background first. But how to choose right colors? Well, this obviously depends on the palette you are using. However, there is an easy way of choosing the right colors to create a beautiful galaxy background with the help of a color wheel. All you need is to pick at least three colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. You can paint beautiful galaxies using, for instance, a composition of different blues and purple, blue, purple, and red, or blue, green, and yellow. Of course, you can choose more than three colors, but it's important to make sure that you don't mix so-called complimentary colors. These are colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. Red and green, purple and yellow, and blue and orange are complimentary pairs. When you mix complimentary colors, they tend to be murky mud color. It is best to avoid pairing them when painting galaxy backgrounds. If you want to dive deeper into picking the right colors, I discuss this more in depth in my color mixing class here on Skillshare. Today, I'll be using a combination of this ultramarine, this peacock blue, and purple that are included in my palette. If you're unsure of the colors you want to use, you can create a little palette on top of your page to see if they fit. Now that you know what colors you'll be using, let's see our watercolor effects. 5. Effect 1: Wet On Water: So let's grab one of the two papers and see what our first watercolor effect looks like. We'll be painting four different bubbles on the page with four different effects. Make sure you have room for all four. Apart from that, you can paint fairly large bubbles because the bigger the surface, the more the paint can spread and you'll see the effect better. I call the first effect wet on water. It means that I paint a surface with clean water and then add paint to my wet surface. First, load your brush with a lot of water and paint the bubble on the page with clean water only. Don't be afraid to use plenty of water. Watercolor paper will take care of that. Now load your brush with one of your chosen colors and just dip your brush into the wet surface. If you hold your brush vertically and press very gently, it will leave tiny marks. If you hold your brush more at an angle and press a bit harder, your blots will be slightly larger. Now, load your brush with another color and repeat this process. Here I'm using my peacock blue. As long as your surface is still wet, the different colors are going to blend into each other. This is why I said at the beginning that you should use a lot of water so the surface doesn't get dry before you apply all your colors. Let's move on to the last color, which is going to be purple in my case, and repeat this process. You should bear in mind that these techniques are not really about control. The paint will do the work in the water and create this beautiful form. You really don't need to worry about any pattern. If you try to control the patterns, you might get frustrated because the paint moves on its own and you may not get the shape you originally intended. However, even without control, the shapes will be really beautiful. There is no need to worry. While you're waiting for this bubble to dry, let's move on to the second effect. 6. Effec 2: Wet On Wet: The next watercolor effect will be very similar to the first one with one exception. Instead of painting surface with water first, we are going to add a single color and add our blots on the wet surface. First, load your brush with one of your chosen colors and paint the entire bubble in that color, using a lot of water again. Now, the surface needs to be of a very light color for the other colors to be visible later. If you find that you accidentally added too much pigment and the surface would be too dark, just wash out your brush and spread the paint in a larger circle with your clean, wet brush. If you're done with painting the surface, wash out your brush again and take up another color. That's going to be purple in my case. Now just touch touch the paper with your brush again the same way as we did with the previous effect. As you can see, the paint spreads the same way as it did in water, however, this under painting of one color gives a certain tone to the whole surface. You can add a third color too, but don't forget that the effect only works on wet surface. If you are done, let's move on to the third watercolor effect. 7. Effect 3: Water On Wet: We will fill our third bubble with a watercolor effect that I call water on wet. Basically, this is going to be the complete opposite of the first one, so we're going to paint a bubble in one color and add clean water on it while the surface is still wet. Just load your brush with one color and paint the entire bubble. This time, the color can be pretty dark. The surface needn't be soaking wet but wet enough for you to finish the effect before it gets dry. Now, wash out your brush and touch the surface with your clean, wet brush. Depending on darkness of your color, this effect may take a couple of minutes to show. If everything goes well, the place where you added the water should get gradually lighter. If you can't see it, you can repeat the process and add more water. This effect is based on the fact that, in case of watercolors, darkness is defined by the pigment-water ratio. The more pigment you have, the darker the color. In this effect, we added extra water, which increased the water ratio locally, turning the color lighter. You can use this effect to create an interesting texture, but also to lighten the color if you accidentally painted something too dark. While this bubble dries, let's move on to our last watercolor effect. 8. Effect 4: Adding Salt: So in the fourth bubble, we are going to create these amazing crystalline textures using salt. We are going to paint our bubble and sprinkle a bit of salt on top while the surface is still wet. So load your brush with your favorite color and paint the surface. You can use a medium or dark color this time, the effect may be less visible with lighter colors. Make sure that the surface is not soaking wet but shining. If there's too much water on the paper, it will dissolve the salt and all you will have on the paper is salt water. Now sprinkle bit of salt on your bubble. You definitely don't want too much of this. If you add a thick layer of salt, then the water cannot evaporate and your painting will never get dry. This effect also need some minutes to act. The result may depend on your paper, the type and size of the salt crystals you are using, and how wet your paper is. But you should be able to see something happening in a few minutes. So acts in this way with water colors because it absorbs water. As pigments practically dissolve in water, the little crystals of salt absorb pigments along with water, and they lighten the surface where they meet the paper. You need to leave this effect to dry completely. Once that is done, you can just brush off the salt with your fingers. White paper is usually quite sensitive, so you need to be careful not to hurt the top layer of your paper. But once it is completely dry, you can actually be pretty rough. It will not damage your paper. You can check whether your paper is dry by touching it. If the salt sticks to your finger, it is not yet dry. You can use a hairdryer to speed up the process. But if you are not in any hurry, you can just leave it to dry overnight. These are the four watercolor effects that you can use to paint a galaxy background for your star sign. You don't need to pick one. You can make several ones. For instance, you can blend colors with the first technique and then add salt on top of it. One thing you should consider though, is that adding salt should always be your last step. If you paint over a salted surface, you don't only ruin the beautiful patterns, but you also add salt to your brush and paint, which can eventually damage your supplies. So let's move on to painting the actual background to our constellation. 9. Painting Your Galaxy Background: Now let's take a deep breath and start painting our galaxy background. This can be daunting if you're not a practice painter, but don't worry, you just cannot mess it up. Take your second sheet of watercolor paper. It is time to decide whether you want to add some text underneath later. If you do, you can position your background on the top 2/3 of your paper so you can add text later underneath. If you don't want any texts, you can paint it in the middle. I'm picking the first texture for the moment. I'm painting the background in plain water first. I'm painting this cyclic kind of shape, but I'm not too worried about it being a perfect circle. Now let's add the colors. First, I'm adding the blot in peacock blue. I haven't decided anything in advance. I'm just adding these blots spontaneously and then moving on to purple. But I can always go back to peacock blue later if I decide that is the color that is missing somewhere. I'm trying to make sure that the water is evenly spread on my surface. This can be a little tricky, especially if you're using a lighter weight watercolor paper as they tend to buckle and the water is likely to sit in the valleys. In this case, you can wash out your brush, dry it on the paper towel, and dip it in the puddle. Your dry brush should act as a sponge and soak up the excess water. You might have to repeat this process a couple of times, but it is the best way to protect your paper. If you ever tried an eraser on wet paper, you will know that wet paper is extremely sensitive and brushes the best way to make sure that the top layer of your paper won't peel off. Now, this might sound like a force, but it is always better to use too much water than too little. Because once the paint gets dry, the colors will not blend and you can never fully reactivate the paint. In the meantime, I've moved on to my third color, which is ultramarine in my case, if you find that your background is a little too light, you can always darken it by adding another layer of pigment. Now, let's just sprinkle a little salt on top. Now it's time to wait for a background to dry. If you like, you can just put it aside and move on to the next lesson to prepare the constellation templates. Or you can dry it with the help of a hairdryer. Hairdryers usually blow rather hard even at the lowest setting. You need to be careful not to blast the wet paint off your paper. To prevent this, you should wait until the puddles on your paper dry naturally. Once that is done, you can start drying it. You should hold your hairdryer at about two feet from your painting first. As it gets drier, you can move it closer and switch to a higher speed. It is advised to blow vertically downwards instead of using it at an angle. Because this also minimizes the chance of blowing the paint off your paper. Now that your galaxy background is dry, let's move on to the constellation. 10. Preparing The Template: Before we can finish our piece by adding the constellations, we need to prepare the template for our constellation. The idea is that you create these holes on the template with the needle and make them large enough for your gel pen or marker to go through it. Then you can put the template on top of your galaxy background and paint through the holes. Once you remove the template, you have the exact place of the stars. The size of the hole you need to make will depend on the pen you are using. For me, that's a silver gel pen, so I don't need to make them particularly big. I just make the hole with my needle and use these circulating movements to make them a little bigger then I repeat the process with all the other stars. With this, our template is ready to use. 11. Paint Your Star Sign!: If you haven't done so yet, remove the salt from your galaxy background. Now let's place the template on top of the dried painting. You can turn it against the light or put it on a light box to make sure that the constellation is in the middle. Now let's place the two sheets on the table again and use the gel pen or marker to track the stars. As you can see, I have the spots where my stars are going to be. I'm going to look at my template to know where the lines should go and I just connect the dots. Now I'm doing this just by hand without the help of a ruler or anything, but if you're not that spontaneous, you can use the side of your other watercolor paper to draw straight lines. We're nearly done. I'm just going to enlarge my stars a little bit. I'm just painting little dots, but you can paint little x's or star-shapes or whatever you like. Larger dots are supposed to mean brightest stars. You are now nearly ready, only a few finishing touches are left. 12. Final Touches: Before we can call this a finished piece, I'm going to add some stars around my conservation to make it a little more natural. I'm trying to place these randomly and add smaller and bigger dots as well because the real sky is also full of different stars. I'm also going to add some text underneath. You are welcome to use any lettering technique you know, but your handwriting is also great. With this, we are ready. Thank you so much for taking this class. I really hope you enjoyed it. I hope it was helpful and you are now a bit more confident with your watercolors. You can use these for textures, not only to paint galaxies, but also to make larger surfaces look more interesting, like skies, the sea or big plant leaves. Don't forget to share your pieces in the student project section, I'm super excited to see your work. Also, if you share them on social media, please tag me so I can promote your work. If you have any questions, please share them in the class discussion section, I'll do my best to answer you quickly. Otherwise, you can reach me through social media. I use Instagram the most. I also run a blog full of useful articles about multi-color. If you're interested in this technique, please take a look there. Thank you again for painting with me today. If you like this class, I would really appreciate a thumbs up and a good review. All right, so this is it. Take care guys and happy painting. Bye.