Painting the Universe- Pinwheel Galaxy | Chris V | Skillshare

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Painting the Universe- Pinwheel Galaxy

teacher avatar Chris V, Artist, Designer, Maker

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

7 Lessons (38m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Tools & Materials

    • 3. Laying the Foundation

    • 4. Building Color

    • 5. Final Color Detailing

    • 6. The Stars

    • 7. Outro

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About This Class


The universe is a vast and beautiful thing.  With new discoveries going on frequently, it seems so much more relevant to our daily lives.  To me, it is the epitome of abstract art.  I started painting the universe to explore my definition of abstract art since I’ve always struggled with it.  As a result, I discovered a whole new adventure in digital painting.  

I hope you will join me in a series of classes, as I paint the universe on my tablet.  This class, a step by step painting of The Pinwheel Galaxy, is for beginners or advanced art students.  I invite you to follow along on your own tablet or computer, bringing your own unique perspective.  See you out there...

Meet Your Teacher

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Chris V

Artist, Designer, Maker



I'm Chris V., the creative behind, the online wonderland, where I've brought together all my art, collaborations, and other fun projects.  Art and illustration have been a life long passions for me, and I'm so excited to be sharing my knowledge, tips and tricks with you in my classes.

I have a no pressure learning environment, so share any project, question or comment without the threat of feeling like it's not good enough.  We all have to start somewhere.  I did! You might be surprised what you can do. I can't wait to see what you create!  : )

Want a a safe space for us to share ideas, challenge one another, and ask questions? Join my student Facebook Group.

Want to paint... See full profile

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1. Intro : Hi and Chris. Welcome to painting the universe. Part two A Siri's where I will show you how to paint stars The moons of the planets Nebula at other wonders in the universe. In Part one, we did a step by step, realistic look of a sky full of stars. In Part two, I was showing you how to pay the pinwheel galaxy, located 21 million light years away. I'll show you the program amusing and all the digital tools that you're going to need, whether you're using your computer or a art. Abhimanyu tablets all my tips and tricks from the foundation of this painting to every detail all the way through. So I hope you'll join me on this adventure in the stars. All you have to do is click the enroll button. 2. Tools & Materials : some tools and techniques I use. For example, the art program is called Art Studio, and it's created by Lucky clan dot com. If you can't find this or you're not partial to and you already have a program or you want to look for a new program, I just Googled Best Fine art APS. Look for that in your system, and lots of really fantastic options come up that you can download onto your computer or onto your your tablet. So I'm just opening up my program, and I just want to show you up. At the top is a menu bar with an array of menus that you can drop down and look and see what's in. Those on the left hand side are on array of tools at your disposal, and on the other side you'll see color swatches, which will be using Aziz Well, now your program, whatever whatever it is, is going to have these things. They might just be in different places or different formats. Um, the 1st 2 will be using Super basic is that that pen tool and we are going to be. There's a slider at the bottom that you'll see that I can adjust the size. And also this other slider, the opacity, which I don't use much. But, you know, you can use yours. Um, way also have that back button. In case you do something, you don't want to be done, which will be your best friend at certain times. If you hold down your tool, your menu will come up on most programs. That will give you lots of options. Police select the smallest round brush that you have available. It will give you so many more options for adjustment and just make your life so much easier . So that's what what I use, um, again, I have that slider at the bottom of my screen. If you don't have that, you can still press and hold your your tool More than likely. If you don't have this option, you might want to try another program that gives you more options because we'll be needing that for sure. Ah, the eraser. You can adjust again just the size you get into small areas or make it large to erase very large areas again. You could reduce it to erase smaller areas. Um, that back button working again uh, digital painting. It's just makes things so much easier. Um, the paint bucket is what will be using to fill our background. I always use black, but you're welcome to use a navy blue. Whatever effect you want to make, this is your painting. So I just like to make mine as realistic as I can to see how close I could get. So mine is generally black. Now the paint tool. This is a paintbrush that you can use to fill large areas. You can see it's not super opaque, and I can make it. You know, I could change that opacity if I want to get Also change the size to make it smaller, Smaller marks and then I could hit that back button. If I don't want it, I can I can hit the forward button. If if you've backed up too far, you could just hit that forward button and fix a multitude of problems right there. So that option is super cool. Um, I honestly don't know what this brush is called. I call it my splatter brush tool because literally it looks like it's flattering little bits all over my canvas. Um, when you change the size of that one. It's still leave spaces in between the brush marks, but it's much smaller. So I used that a lot. It creates kind of a soft effect that I can blend, and I'm going to show you this blend tool. Next. Uh, so it's got a little finger icon, and it's just basically blending color to soften it to bring it together. Um, and it's going to be great for creating that spiral pattern that will be needing in this project for the pinwheel galaxy. But even in other areas, it works very, very well to kind of, you know, smudge color together. I'm gonna show you what happens when you add another color to that effect, going to paint some blue on top of this peach and then go back to that smudge tool and see what interesting things. If if this much to a small you can actually create lines a line pattern if it's larger than now, depending on how you move your finger, uh, you can create different effects. Now if I go in a circle, I've created a spiral. If I go up and down or side to side Now I'm blending the colors together more like a on actual physical smudge to a wood, too, Which is really fun on certain areas. Uh, certain instances. So back to our pentacle. And I'm going to just go over the star pattern very quickly. I did this in great detail in part one, and I like to use my stylist for this, but just because it's a lot more accurate, these dots are gonna be really small, so accuracy is key. But, you know, if you have your finger at your disposal and you want to use that, that is completely artistic license. Go for it. So this is gonna be when the, um reduce and enlarge slider is going to be really important because we're gonna be using 567 different sizes of of that pen that rest small, round penned Teoh make the star pattern. I'm just gonna quickly just create one for you. This is a refresher to part one of this series. Another size and pretty quickly it goes really quickly once you get the hang of how it works, Um, now there's also uninterested brush that's have spray paint icon on my program and it's got a very beautiful soft glowy effect. Um, I don't use it much in this program. I'm sticking with really basic tools, but you are welcome to use something like that again. Here it is in a smaller brush. Another really, really useful tool is going to be your pinch and zoom or pinch and reduce. When you reduce, it allows you to get to the edge of your canvas. You can't always reach because it's up against the side of your tablet. And then there's pinch and zoom to get into really fine detail, and that's gonna be super important. 3. Laying the Foundation : All right, let's start painting. I'm opening a new document, selecting file new and create, and then I'm going to change the orientation of the canvas so that its horizontal instead of vertical. I want this in a horizontal shape, going to still like black paint, bucket tool and fill my background. Then I'm going to select a creamy yellow color and my paintbrush, and we'll get started on the basic shape for the nucleus of our pinwheel galaxy. I want it in the center of the canvas, but I don't want it two large. I feel like I don't have it large enough yet, and this is a time where I really stop and take a look at the image and take a look at my canvas. I want to be sure it's exactly the way I want it, because this is going to be the foundation for our painting. I feel like it's really not large enough, but now I feel like it's to round. I want it more oval. So with the back button, I could just kind of get a new direction started with the oval, and I think I'm like you got a lot better with the spokes of the pinwheel shapes started on either end of the oval. I'm going to select the light gray and the splatter brush tool, and I'm going to start shaping those outer spokes of the galaxy around the top, just going to take my time and make sure it's where I want it to be on the canvas, because again, this is our skeleton that will will be building up for the entire painting. Now we can start the bottom. I do like the way this is looking. I'm just gonna build this up a little bit more, so it's a little more defined. I'm happy with that, and I'm going to select a darker gray, and I'm going to in large my splatter pattern and start to build up this pinwheel shape around the nucleus. So along the edges of the pin will that we have already painted. I'm going to start sort of thickening and broadening. What's gonna happen is, is going toe, have it more of a three dimensional look to it because you'll see the brighter bits will look closer and the darker ones will look a little further away. And it's just gonna have a lot of really rich volume to it. I'm even going to start going over the nucleus a little bit to start blending some of this gray into the center. I'm just looking at my photo. Uh, the image that I'm painting from and just doing my best to capture what is in the image now that I am satisfied with that. For now, I am ready to select a cocoa brown and start working on the spiral shape in the center of the nucleus. My first step is going to be to just paint some brown in a circular motion around the outside and we will continue the next step in the next video. See you there. 4. Building Color: So now that we have a little bit of brown in the centre of our galaxy, we're going to switch to the smudge tool on. We're gonna work on how we're going to create this spiralling pattern that's going on in the image, going to just increase the size of that smudge tool. And I think that's a little too much. So I'm going to back it down a little bit more and just continue this so we can do to create this spiral lead movement in the center. This takes a lot of trial and error and just jostling until you kind of get it where you want it. You can see I do this very slowly and just sort of think it out as I go. I don't like it. I can always hit the back button. But the main thing is to just dive in and see how different effects look, and I want more color to work with to create the spiral shape. I feel like I don't have enough brown in there to contrast with the yellow, so I'm just adding a little bit of a light speckle pattern in there to kind of help me blend a little bit more. I'm just gonna actually paint and a little bit of a circular motion to kind of help me out with the smudging casino have more contrast to work with. Oh, that's looking nice. And like the way that that spy was captured right there. I'm just gonna work on bringing outward into that pinwheel area, but not too much. I had to get on the other side. I'm gonna change my brush to a richer reddish brown to really start showing some of those contrast ing vain looking areas inside that yellow center area. And I'm gonna reduce my speckle brush down to a very small size and start laying down some of that brown circular accent in the center. And since there's going to be a lot of repetition here, um, I am going to speed up this play and let you enjoy the music a little bit, - you know? All right now, I'm going to switch to a white brush and enlarge my splatter pattern a little bit and start building up this star pattern on the outside. I am going to switch over to the pencil tool and we're going to work on creating that glowing effect in the very center, just enlarging my brush. Sometimes things go a little wrong. I don't know why that popped up, but not to worry. It's digital. Uh, just get rid of it and just keep on going happens to the best of us, - and I'm just going to change my color brush to yellow. To add to the glowing effect in the center. I'm going to add a darker gray to the, um, outer edges of the star patterns just to build a volume by adding another dimension of of gray. And I feel like I've added too much volume. So I'm going to select the Black Tool and just take away some of that volume that I feel like isn't really showing up in the image that I'm trying to portray. If you've missed any detail in the acceleration, just feel free to slow it down on that button on your computer, and I look forward to see you in the next video 5. Final Color Detailing: Welcome back. Now that I am really happy with the shape of this pinwheel galaxy, I'm going to start adding some of the other unexpected colors. If there's a very light hue of pink that I see just a hint here and there and I'm just going to add it in various places where just catch a glimpse of it throughout different spots. Now I'm going to add a bit of blue. In fact, I see more a little more blue than I do pink. I want to start with the pink because it wasn't quite as accentuated as the blue. So now I'm going to go ahead and lay down those blue highlights. - So now I'm going to switch to the smudge tool and I'm going Teoh enlarge in this smudge tool a bit. Teoh allow for the right. Look on here. I'm going to start kind of just softening these edges and smearing them together so they just look more swirly. You'll notice I'm doing this part with my finger and just feels more tactile. Just seems a bit more like a real painting when I'm doing it with my finger on this smudging portion. So feel free to use your stylists or your finger. Now I'm just going to take down the size of this smudge tool a bit and just sort of shimmy along the edges of the center. It just gives it that soft, fuzzy, hazy effect. So I'm going to go back in with the splatter brush and the dark reddish brown and re apply those veins over the glowy effect that I created in the center. And I'm going to be adding them throughout as well because it kind of spreads out all over - Now I'm just going to accent this with a darker brown, so it's just not flat looking. It's a little more three dimensional looking. - I'm switching to a dark gray, and I am just going to do some very final touches with this detail. Just soften some of the brown and mix it into the gray a little bit more, just to kind of really make sure it's blended well, switching back to black and again just softening those edges. This is just very final detail that I just want to just soften it on the outside of the painting, just a little more back to the yellow again just a few little tweaks, and I'm pretty happy with this. So we'll move on to creating our star pattern and finishing this off. See in the next video. 6. The Stars: Now that the painting is all finished, it's time to lay down the stars. I am going to switch to a right brush and the pencil tool, and I'm going to start with the largest stars on the painting. Gonna have to remove my toolbar there so I can see the edges from time to time. There's only a few really large stars. I'm just gonna make my brush smaller now and start going at it with the smaller size going to keep working my way down. There's a lot of stars to put down, so I'm just going to speed this up. And you can always slow it down if you want to see a step more clearly or play it over again if you want to see it done and repeat. So here's an example when I have to pinch and reduce so I can get to the edge is better. So now I'm going to change my brush to blue and just add some very small blue stars in this side area here, where most of the blue haziness we created is that's gonna bring a nice little accent. - Now I'm going to do exactly the same thing with the pink just not as much. And now that that's finished, I'm going to go back to white and really start filling in the sky. Okay, Now I'm going to change my brush to yellow, and I'm going to pick up some of those glowing yellow stars that are kind of scattered here and there now going to change to the smudge tool and just sort of smudged these larger stars a little bit so they don't look to perfect. I mean, not all of these masses are exactly round. It just doesn't look natural when they are too perfect time to create a very shiny kind of a sparkly effect with, um, some close up detail. Okay, so this wraps up the painting. We're just on the finishing touches here, and I look forward to see you in the next video to close this out 7. Outro : thanks again for joining me and painting the universe. Part two, a step by step digital painting adventure of the pinwheel galaxy. I am so looking forward to seeing how your project turned out. You can start your very own project in the your project section. You can post questions or comments in the community section and I would so appreciate your review so I can continue to improve my classes. Thanks again and see you next time.