Watercolor Milky Way Night Skies | Kolbie Blume | Skillshare

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Watercolor Milky Way Night Skies

teacher avatar Kolbie Blume, Artist

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

10 Lessons (1h 12m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Materials

    • 3. Techniques

    • 4. Trees

    • 5. Step 1: Night Sky

    • 6. Step 2: Milky Way

    • 7. Step 3: Stars

    • 8. Step 4: Stars, again

    • 9. Step 5: Forest

    • 10. Recap

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About This Class

Learn to paint a milky way night sky! This class takes simple night skies to the next level as you further advance watercolor techniques to create one of the most famous galaxies seen on earth from the naked eye. While this technique does draw on previous techniques, beginners can also succeed in this class! 

Meet Your Teacher

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Kolbie Blume


Top Teacher



If you're pretty sure you're terrible at art...

...you're in the right place, my friend. 



Hi there! My name is Kolbie, and I'm a full-time artist, writer, and online educator -- but up until a few years ago, I was working a 9-5 desk job and thought my artistic ability maxed out at poorly-drawn stick figures. 

In my early 20s, I stumbled on mesmerizing Instagram videos with luminous watercolor paintings and flourishing calligraphy pieces, and ... See full profile

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1. Intro: Hi. My name is Colby and you are watching this video probably because you are interested in learning how to create watercolor milky way night skies. I am so excited to get started with this class and teach you a few simple and easy techniques to create stunning pieces just like this one. Now, if you've taken classes from me, you met before, you may have heard my [inaudible] , which is up until about two years ago, I thought that I was not very good at art and then I would never be any good at art, and I wasn't really sad about it. It just kind of was the way that it was until several hours of YouTube and Instagram videos later, I decided I would try my hand at hand lettering. I mean, I wasn't able to stop. Now, I love helping people gain confidence and pride in their work, even if you're just a beginner, because I know that anybody can learn these techniques and every single piece of art that's stunning and beautiful starts with the basics. If I can learn those basics and I can learn how to create pieces like that milky way nights sky, I know that you can too. I'm super excited to delve into this class. Without further ado, let's go. 2. Materials: All right, so before we start painting, it is very important that we have all of the right materials to ensure our session is going to be a success. Because I've found that when I get frustrated with the painting, oftentimes it's not so much the techniques that I'm using that I'm doing wrong, but that I don't have the right materials. So let's talk about my favorite materials to use to create paintings like this. First, I'm not going to say any material is most important over another, but probably the first thing you should be thinking about is what paint brushes you have. I'm going to be using a round number 10 and a round number 0 paint brush. As we create these Milky Way night skies. You can use different sizes if you would like. These are the two for the size of the night sky that we are going to be doing, which is about seven by ten inches. These are the only paint brushes that I use to create Milky Way night skies of that size. Now, I highly recommend getting professional paint brushes. I prefer professional paint brushes that are synthetic sable hair brushes, which means that this isn't real hair. You may have heard the term sable, disable hair brushes or Colin's geese sable hair, which is the most famous kind. They usually use hair from squirrels or other animals, but I honestly, for water control purposes and detailing purposes, I like synthetic better. So this is Utrecht brand series 228. This number 10 brush, I got it from blinks art materials. This series of brushes is probably one of my very favorite, second favorite infact, only to the Princeton Heritage Series brush. So the Utrecht brush has a black handle and the Princeton brushes have a red handle. Again, that's Princeton Heritage Series. Both of these are synthetic sable hair and both of these are in the round shape. This is around zero, around size zero. I got both of these from Blake site. Those are my very favorite brushes, the ones I recommend the most often, and the ones that I'll be using. Next, let's talk about paint. I was specially when doing landscapes, I think professional water color paint makes a really big difference. They can be more expensive. That's true, but their colors are more vibrant because the pigments are more pure now. But it doesn't mean that you can't create stunning, beautiful pieces with student grade, you totally can. But I'm going to be using professional grade today. I like lots of different brands, today, I'm going to be using Daniel Smith extra fine watercolors that come in these tubes. I'm going to be using lamp black, indigo, probably pains, and probably paints gray. Other colors like a purplish color might come up there later on, but those are the main colors. Daniel Smith extra fine watercolors are the ones we're going to be using today. I'm also going to be using Dr. Ph. Martin's bleed proof white. For when we are going to create stars and other milky effects in our milky way. So you can get bleed to get white watercolor paint, it's important that it's opaque. So instead of having white watercolor paint, I would recommend either having white wash or this doctor Ph Martin's bleed proof white, which is very similar to wash. That's not wash. I said gouache, with a G. I believe that's spelled G-O-U-A-C-H-E, it's like watercolor, except it's opaque. It has similar characteristics of watercolor, meaning that you activate it with water and you can use it the same way that you use watercolor. It's just not quite as transparent as watercolor is, which is why using white gouache is perfect for stars and other things that we do. So that's paint, along with your paints, I would always recommend having some palette to mix colors and test out colors. As you can see, mine is currently pretty dirty. Next paper. So as I said, with the brushes and with the paints, I would highly recommend using professional watercolor paper, which if you don't know the difference, professional watercolor paper is made of 100 percent cotton, whereas student grade watercolor paper is usually made with a mix of materials, often would pull then sometimes it's only like 10 percent or 20 percent cotton. So what that does is makes the professional watercolor paper a lot more absorbent. It lets it take multiple washes over and over again. Better than student grade watercolor paper. It's almost always going to warp in some way. It's always going to bend unless it's very heavy, but professional watercolor paper holds it up better. That said, professional watercolor paper is expensive as all professional art supplies are. So I prefer to do my practice sessions with student grade watercolor paper. Then when we get to the final round, when we get to making our final piece, I'll be using professional grade watercolor paper. I will let you know when I make the switch. Another important thing is to note the weight of the paper that you use. No matter what kind, if you use student grade or professional grade, it should be at least 140 pounds, and a 140 pound paper means that when you have a whole ream, so 500 stocks together, weighs 140 pounds or 300 grams. The purpose of having at least that weight is because, with this particular design, we will be using a lot of water, and we will be having a lot of washes of paint. So it's really important to have thick heavy paper. So both of my professional grade watercolor paper and my student grade watercolor paper are 140 pounds. Now, one thing I will know which leads to my next material is if you don't have professional grade watercolor paper or if you don't have it in a block, like I do see how this is a block of watercolor paper, which means that the paper is taped together on all sides. If you don't have a block or you don't have professional watercolor paper. You can also use painter's tape to tape down your paper to the desk, whatever desk you'll be using. That will keep the paper taut and it will buckle a lot less if you use painter's tape. Now you I wouldn't recommend using anything stronger adhesive leader the pavement painter's tape because it will tear up your paper. You want to be nice to your paper and painter's tape might even, it may tear up some of the paper a little bit. But if you use professional watercolor paper, it's less of a risk than student grade. Either way, painter's tape is important if you don't have a block. Next, I always have a paper towel, as you can see, it's currently being used. Then I always have two cups of water. One to stay clean and one to say dirty. Especially with this design, we will need the clean water. So I would always recommend having two cups of water and I usually use mugs because they're a little more stable if my hand accidentally goes over them, they won't tip over. Another thing important to have, I mean, not necessarily important to have I like to have handy whenever RD watercolor is Q tips because to mop up excess water and we'll likely be seeing that later on in the class. I think that about sums it up for the materials here. So without further ado, let's get started on the techniques video. See you soon. 3. Techniques: Welcome to our next video. This one is all about the painting techniques that we're going to be using to create our Milky Way night skies. Now, if you've taken any kind of watercolor classes, these terms probably are not strange to you. You've probably heard them before, they're very basic. We are going to be talking about the wet on wet technique and the wet on dry technique. As I define these techniques to you, I'm going to demonstrate what they mean. So the wet on wet technique means the paper or whatever kind of material that you're painting on is wet before you put the paint on. So the paint is already going to be wet because it is watercolor, that's how it's activated. But if the paper is also wet, that means you're using the wet on wet technique. When you use the wet on wet technique, you see how the paint blooms out into the water because it has a place to go. If you've wet the paper, then the paint has places that it can go on to the paper and it's going to, it's going to move. Learning how to control the wet on wet technique is one of the most important things that we are going to be practicing as we learn how to create Milky Way night skies. Because as much fun as it is to just let the paint go wherever in order to create a Milky Way effect. I'll bring out the example again. In order to create a Milky Way effect like on here, notice to create the Milky Way, you need to create some path, like the paint needs to make some shape and going a specific direction. But you also see how there aren't any defined lines between the sky and the Milky Way, it at all, it just looks like it's blended together. You only get that blended gradient style painting if you use the wet on wet technique. Using the wet on dry technique, which I'll show you in just a second, creates defined lines and doesn't get this all blended together look. So knowing that, we have to learn how to direct our paint using the wet on wet technique. That is a practice in water. Depending on how much water you put on the paper and is on your paintbrush, and is in the paint, is how chaotic your paint is going to be. If you use less water, then it's going to be, and I'll show you on here. If you use very little water. I'm going to put just a very thin wash of water on here. Again, and I'm going to pick up, over here, I have some paint on my palette. On the right side, I've put a ton of water on it, so it's already liquidy, but on the left side it's where the paint is dried. So I'm going to pick up some pigment directly from this dried part, minimizing water. When I do that, I can create, it's darker but it's also more defined. Remember when I put the paint on this side, it just went everywhere. Here it's still spreading out like it's blooming out, like it's wet. But you can see that it's in a specific direction as opposed to, well now it's going to dry, so it's doing it here too. But using this, now having this knowledge is how we are going to create effective Milky Way night skies and how we're going to control the direction of our paint as we go along. It's learning how to control your water and learning how to do that using the wet on, you mostly using the wet on wet technique. In the opposite direction, the wet on dry technique is when you paint on a dry surface. You see how there are very defined lines when I've painted the papers dry, but the paint is wet. So I'm making really defined lines when I paint that way, it doesn't go anywhere except where I want to go. The only problem is when you have the defined lines, you don't get that. You don't get that soft blended mix of the night sky that we're going for. But we are going to use the wet on dry technique to be painting stars and trees at the bottom of this Milky Way night sky. That's the wet on wet and the one on dry technique. I want to talk about one more aspect in one more technique, and that is using water as a paint remover. Let me explain. You see how in the Milky Way you have, I mean, it's called the Milky Way because it looks kind of milky in the middle, like there's a stream where it looks almost it's a kind of cloudy and this milky cloud in the night sky. That's supposed to be stars. It looks like a Milky Way because it's like this stream of highly concentrated areas of stars right there in the galaxy. But from the naked eye, you can't always see all of the stars, and so it looks milky like that. You would think that to create this, you would need white paint. Well, you're right in some cases. We are going to be using white paint to help create this effect. But it's also with watercolor important to remember that in order to get white, one of the easiest ways and most common ways to use white in paintings is to utilize the paper. I'll show you what I mean. I just created a swatch on this piece of paper and I'm going to color it with paint right now. I'm painting this bottom right here. Let's make it a little darker so that this technique that I showed you is going to come through. Before when I started to schpeel on water, I said that water is going to be like paint remover. Let me show you what I mean. I've taken off all the pigment from my brush right here. It's just has water on it. When I put that water down on this pigment, do you see how the white starts to come through? Even if I just put a little dot right here, the pigment starts to move out from where I touched. For us to create the Milky Way night skies. All I'm, for the very first step and we're going to go into this in the next video in more detail. But I use my paint brush with water as if it's white paint. Now, the only trick here is, and I just do little dots, up and down, up and down. That's how I create the shape of the night sky, which again, we'll go through in two videos. The next video is going to be just painting the night sky and then two videos after starting the Milky Way. But an important thing to remember is using water as paint remover only works if you're using the wet on wet technique. It does not work if I'm using the wet on dry technique, see how if I paint on paint that's already dry, it moves it away. But in order to get the effects that we want, the sky has to be wet as you're using water to push away the paint and make way for the white paper, it has to be wet. What does that mean for you? It means that as you create these night sky's, you have to move fast to make sure that your paint stays wet. Not to worry if part of your painting dries, you can always rewet it with clean water, which is again, why having clean water is so important. As you practice these and get better, you'll be able to move faster and you'll be able to create the effects that you need to. But there is a video later on in this class that goes over what I do when I need to create another layer, but part of my painting has dried and what I do in those situations, it's definitely still salvageable, but it's so much easier if you're painting stays wet. Something to think about. If you notice that your paper is starting to dry, then you could rewet it right then. But in order to create the effects that we want, you have to move quickly and we're going to mostly be using the wet on wet technique. That is what I have for techniques in this video. As we move on, we are going to be using those techniques. If you want to practice first, I would practice experimenting with water consumption. As we talked about the wet on wet technique, when you have too much water, it's going to be in a puddle on your paper. When you put it on, it's just going to swirl on top instead of bloom out. That means you have too much water and that means you have to use a Q-tip to mop it up. Added another little technique there as a bonus. If you don't have enough water, then it's going to come off like you're using the wet on dry technique. As you practice before you go on to the next video or you can move on to the next video. But as you practice, practice water control and finding just the right amount of water to put on your paper so that you can determine which direction it goes. Also practice using water as paint remover. So using water to create white in your paintings that already have paint on them. That is your task until we move on. I will see you in the next video. 4. Trees: One more short video about a technique that you're going to be using before we get started on our final milky way project. If you've taken other classes for me before, I have multiple techniques for painting pine trees, which is the main tree that I paint when doing these night sky paintings. But really quickly for those who haven't taken those classes before, I'm going to talk about the virgin, the technique I use for painting pine trees in my sample image. I usually lovingly call this the blobby technique. I am very good at naming my techniques as you can probably tell and assume for my general demeanor. Just really quickly, I'm only going to go over this technique if you're interested in learning other tree techniques, checkout my missy forest class or any of my forest classes, and I talk about those techniques. This is the blobby technique. In order to get pine trees, I usually, and you'll notice that my pine trees in these and these designs are very small because we want the sky to be the main event here. But you can do whatever you want. I'm going to first take some black paint and paint the trunk, very thin. I'm using my number 0 brush here and I'm barely touching my paintbrush to the paper. Then I start from the top, and I call this a blobby technique because basically, starting from the trunk, I move out and I create little blobby shapes on either side. I'm going to show you over here. I do that by like flattening my brush out and pushing it a little bit. I either push if I'm going to the left or I pull if I'm going to the right. I don't usually like term my brush and push it. I start from the trunk and I push and make little blobs. Push and pull. I just make little blobs and then sometimes I'll do like a big blob like that and then do some dots on top. This is more like an abstract pine tree, I guess, and sometimes I'll do a swoopy. This will be direction of my brush, so it goes down, so it's not just jetting out. The swoopy technique is actually a different version of the pine tree, but this is a combination of that. Putting my brush in that direction and then just making blobs with my paint brush like that. The reason honestly I called it a blobby technique is because there's no real rhyme or reason. I'm not deciding where the pine needles are going to go before I start, I'm just moving down and it is okay if it doesn't look exactly like you want it to at first. But this is one of my favorite techniques for painting pine trees because I like the abstract dish look. There you go. Just to give another demonstration of how I created those swoops. I start from the trunk, I put some pressure on my paintbrush and then I move out. If I need to fill in some spots, if it just looks weird like that, then I'll take my paintbrush after and I'll fill in some spots like that. That is the blobby technique and those are pine trees. Practice those. If you don't want to practice this technique, practice painting pine trees however you want to. Or if you don't even want to use pine trees as your silhouette at the bottom, which is going to be one of the last videos, you can paint whatever you want. You can paint mountains or a cabin or whatever, but I'll be painting pine trees. If you want to paint them the same way that I do, just practices technique and I will see you in the next video. We are going to get started on creating our milky way, which is going to be our final project. Up until this, I've been using student grade paper. For the next video, I will begin using professional grade paper. This student grade paper is Canson Montval. Let me show you Canson Montval watercolor paper, and then the professional watercolor paper I'm going to be using from the next video forward is Blick Premier watercolor paper. Let's get started. 5. Step 1: Night Sky: Step 1 of creating your Milky Way night skies, is to create the night sky. If you've taken my night sky skill short class before, this technique will look very familiar to you. We are going to create just a wash of blue. You can honestly, you can use whatever color you want. I don't care if the sky looks like it actually does. That's the beauty of art, but I'm going to be using blue specifically indigo, at first as we create our sky. So, one choice that I often do is start at the top and paint a wash of water going down. By painting a wash of water I'm essentially creating the night sky, using the wet on wet technique. You can also use the wet on dry technique, if you move very quickly. I'll show you that in just a second. For now, I've put a little bit of wash of water up there, and the key with these night skies is to remember that it should be darkest at the top. Usually, I would say to go lighter starting right around here. But because we're doing Milky Way, we want him to be dark up until like right here, and then go a little bit lighter, maybe a quarter of the way down. But for right now, we are putting down lots of paint, and so at the top I used wet on wet. Now I'm going to show you how to do wet on dry. As you do wet on dry, you have to move very quickly, because if you don't go quickly enough so that the paint starts to dry, you get paint lines, and the thing about using professional grade watercolor paint, is that the paint lines don't really go away. You can only cover them up. If you try to rewet them with water to make the paint blend away, it doesn't work, because professional watercolor paint is made specifically, so that you can paint in layers, because professional watercolor paintings are in order to get complex scenes with lots of subjects, and then with watercolor, you have to have paint that will hold its shape under her a lot of different layer. That's why professional watercolor is used with more pure pigment and a better binder and that's why when it dries, that's usually mostly how it stays, especially, if it's a light color or if it's a lighter value and it's dry. So as I've been talking, I've been making sure that up here, it's still wet. I told you in the other videos that a very important part of creating these Milky Way night skies is making sure that the sky always stays wet and that's true. I've gotten down to the bottom. Now, I'm going to make sure that it's as dark as I want it by adding more pigment. You see how much water and how much paint I'm putting on this piece of paper. As I mentioned in my last video, this is professional watercolor paper. This is a blick premier watercolor block. A block means it's taped on all sides. It's glued on all sides. Then there's a little slit on the side of the block where I can cut the paper out of the block once the piece is done. But we want it to stay in the block, while painting the piece to avoid as much damage to the paper as possible. But if you can't see it on the video of the paper is still buckling. It's not just going to stay completely straight. It's definitely still buckling. But having it adhered on either side, on all sides prevents it from buckling as much as it would, if it was just free, if it was just standing alone. This is, I'm about done. As you can see, I hope you've been doing it with me or just watching intently. Because sometimes it can be tricky to get a really smooth blend and a really smooth gradient on here. But I've just been putting watercolor down and making sure that the top is very dark. So I'm putting more up here. Now in order to get a gradient, so that the top is dark and the bottom is light, it's important to remember, that you can always make something darker, but it's very hard to make something light. What am going to do to smooth this gradient out, is start from the bottom, and I started with a clean brush and I'm just moving from side to side, so that I have smooth paint strokes and moving the paint up like this, all the way from side to side and there we go. So, that is step 1. Now, move on to step 2, where we began to create the Milky Way. Important to remember, this needs to be wet, when you do step 2. If you are practicing along with me, I would hurry and go on to the next video. See you soon. 6. Step 2: Milky Way: Welcome back. We are going to continue working on our wet night sky piece, and we're going to start by making our Milky Way. So as you can see in my sample video, I kind of have a going in a little curve like that. Starting from the bottom and going to the top, and that's exactly what we're going to do. Now if you recall my techniques video, we talk about using water as paint remover and how to create white in paintings like this. That's exactly what our next step is. I am using my round number 10 brush, and it's only has water on it right now. I'm going to start a little off-center here, and then move in a curve to end up a little off-center on the opposite side. That's what I'm going to do for my milky way. You can do whatever you want. I have water right here, and I'm just going to start from the bottom and just tap and make a white path. So occasionally I have to re-wet my paintbrush, because as I tap with the water, it's going to pick up the pigment that's already on the paper. So in order to not corrupt the line that I'm making, I'm going to make it more blue. I am going to periodically go back to my cup and take out the pigment, because this first step of creating the Milky Way we just want to create some white spots. I usually do two lines going up like this, and if it's thicker at the bottom than it is at the top, that's usually what I like to go for. But it shouldn't be like huge everywhere. It's supposed to be like this, slightly chaotic but also definitely formed path like line of stars. That is the first step of my Milky Way. Now, the next step after I have created, I'm going to paint that a little bit because I put some water down, and so it created this spot right here. Some of my paper is drying. So I'm just going to do long strokes like that to get a little bit more wet and just to make it a little bit even. We've created some of the white that we need. I might make it a little bit more white over here by putting more water down. Again, I'm using water as paint remover. The next step is to create some dark spots of contrast. Now because I used the water to push away the pigment, it's already created some very natural dark spots which is awesome, less work for me. But in order to make it just a little bit more contrasting, I'm going to manually add in some dark spots. Instead of using indigo, which is what I use for the night sky, I'm going to use payne's gray, which is a little bit darker, because I'm pretty sure payne's gray is indigo mixed with black. I'm not going to be using tons of it everywhere. I just want to create some dark spots of contrast throughout the Milky Way. We're going to continually blend these together, which is also why it's important that this remains wet. I made a little bit up here. I'm going to tap just a little bit on the side over here, and on the side over here. Now, I'm trying to go where the white is already, and we're going to be blending this in. You might be looking at this thinking,"I'm really sure how this is going to work, Colby. " But don't worry, just a second. So we've put down some dark spots and now we are going to use our clean brush to blend these dark spots into the night sky and into the Milky Way. In order to maintain the whiteness of the Milky Way we already created with the one in the middle, sometimes I like to take some clean water and just tap it, to let the pigment blend with itself naturally, just tap it down like that. So to blend this dark spot in the middle of the Milky Way, I'm taking water on my brush and tapping it on the pigment, so that it starts to blend a little bit more naturally. Then with the ones on the sides, I'm going to blend it in with the sky. You have to move very quickly on these. Otherwise they're going to dry like that, and we don't want them to dry like that. I'm just blending these together. We just wanted to create a few spots of contrast in the Milky Way. As you notice, as you'll keep painting, you may see a need to add more contrasting spots. You also may be asking yourself, "Colby, how do I know where to place the contrasting spots?" That is a good question and one that I always have to ask myself as I'm painting these. Usually I go along where the line, I'll go a little bit in the middle, and then along where the line of the white is supposed to end, I'll add some contrasting spots. Adding those spots just makes the white look even more white because it's right next to really dark paint. I feel like I've blended most of these spots and pretty well. Now I'm going to back with my water filled brush and add in more white spots with the water, to make it just a little more milky, and make sure that we have all of the spots that we need. I did white first, and I don't want the white to look like a specific line. So if you ever start to do and it's like, "oh, I've made lines. " We still want to blend it in. Then I would take your paint brush and just tap around, and that blends it a little bit more naturally than if you're just stroking it like that. If you just tap with the water, you have enough water, it's going to blend in naturally. Next, to make this Milky Way look even more milky, we're finally going to bust out our white paint. I usually with bleed proof white, I like to use the lid as a little palette. This is why it's super important that we have clean water, because if there's any color in your water, which if you're using dirty water there will be, then it will turn this paint into a tint of whatever color that was. A tint is what you get when you add white to something. Bleed proof white and gouache are both pretty thick, so you definitely have to add water to it before you use it. We don't want this to be opaque. We want it to be milky, kind of translucent, which is in-between opaque and transparent. So I would definitely add more water, if you've used bleed proof white before, then I would add more water than you usually do to get it to be the kind of opaque that you want. We just want it to be kind of milky. Now that I have this, I'm going to start from the bottom again. I'm using my smaller brush though I might need to use my bigger brush first. We're taking some of those white and starting from the bottom. We're just adding another line of milkiness. Now, as you see as I go along, it gets more and more colored. It's the same problem that we had with the water. Our paint brush's picking up the wet pigment that's already on the paper. You'll need to periodically rinse your brush and then do it again. We're going to go in and blend these things together at the end. Similar to how we did with the contrasting color that we did before. If you're worried about that, don't worry about a thing. I'm just putting down a whole bunch of white right now. Be on the lookout for puddles. We have our queue tips nearby. If you see any of your paint starting to puddle, I see mine starting to puddle in the middle here. Just mop up some of the water. You have a better palette to work with. I've put some of my milky stuff here. Some of this bleed proof white. Now I'm going to go back and blend it. The same exact way that we did with the contrasting colors with a clean brush. To blend it in with this night sky, I'm just going to tap with some clean water, so that it all looks blended together. The contrasting spots with the milky spots and everything in between. I want to leave some spots that are very white and some spots that aren't quite as white, and some spots that are very dark. You know what I mean. Now, if you're also thinking to yourself, "Colby, it doesn't seem like you have much of a plan." You are right. That's because the kind of painter that I am, especially when I'm painting nature, I am of the opinion that nature's post to be chaotic and also watercolor and painting isn't supposed to be exact. I'm not the kind of fine artist who paints super realistic things. I like to paint, I wouldn't say abstract necessarily, but this isn't. I use photographs if I want to take pictures of things so that they look exactly like they're supposed to look. I've blended in my night sky all the way. But as you can see, the sides of my night sky have started to dry, and I'm not quite done yet. Because I want the sky around the milky way To be even darker. This is a tricky part. But I know that you can do it. The middle of my milky way is wet. It's very wet because I've been blending in lots of pigment together, but the sides of my sky are not. What I'm going to do first is, I'm taking clean water, and I am starting at the edge, where it's dry, and I am painting to meet where it's wet. Because what we know about the wet on wet technique is, in order to get to be blended as well, it has to be a continuous stream of water. The water has to have a place to go. If there's any dry spots, the paint is going to stop wherever the dry spot is. It's going to leave a line, and we don't want that. I'm carefully re-wetting the sides of my night sky, not doing it so that it completely messes up what I did here. Otherwise, I would just just go over everything. But because I want it to be continuous blend, I am carefully re-wetting the dry spots and moving it toward the wet spots. Now I'm in perfect position, and I'm going to use Payne's gray. Maybe like a mix of Payne's gray and indigo. But I'm in the perfect position to put more pigment on the sides of the night sky and meet where the milky way is. Up here, I'm using Payne's gray, and I'm just moving from the size of the night sky to where I meet the milky way. Watercolor isn't supposed to be super solid. It can still act like watercolor, which means it's not just like a solid line of blue that I'm creating here. We may have to go back and do some blending in here manually. But for now, I'm just painting in the size of the night sky to meet with the milky way. I'm getting lighter as I go down. Now I'll do the other side. Where I start at the top with Payne's gray because I want it to be the darkest at the top. Then I move in so that the sky is really dark. If the sky is really dark, that means the milky way is going to be even brighter. That is our goal folks, to make the milky way brighter. Because working with white can be so hard in watercolor. The trick to getting what you want isn't so much to add more white. It's to make other colors darker so that the white looks even more white next to it. I've been adding a mix of Payne's gray and indigo to the sides of this milky way. Now I have gotten to the bottom. Now I'm going to look for any spots to see if I need to blend anything together. How you know if you need to blend something is if it just doesn't look like it's a natural blend. I don't know that I necessarily need to blend anything in here, but I do want a little more white right here. I don't want to leave it like that. I want to blend it together, so it looks natural, so it doesn't look like just a splotch of paint. That's what I mean. This is supposed to be part of the night sky down. I mean part of the milky way down here. I'm going to make that a little bit more. Because parts of it has to be the milky way, and parts of it has to be some of the sky peeking through. That's why you need both dark and light in this milky way and everything in between. I'm just blending together. At some point, though, you have to stop because you can overdo it. Right now, I feel like I may be at that point. We are going to call this our milky way and move on to the next video to learn how to create some twinkling stars. This still needs to be wet. I know that it's been wet for a long time. You are almost done with this very first wet layer, and I hope that your paper is held up okay. Because if you've been doing this along with me, we have put a lot of water and a lot of pigment on here, and this has been a long video. Thank you for seeing me through. Let's go on to the next one to create some twinkling stars to go with your milky way. Remember, stay wet. 7. Step 3: Stars: Welcome back. We've created our night sky. We've created our Milky Way in the middle of the night sky. While we were doing that, made the sky even darker so that the Milky Way comes through even more. Next, we are going to create just one or two twinkling stars and then we'll move on to how to create the rest of the stars. But to create stars with watercolors so that they look like they're shining. There's almost an aura, a glow around them. They're glowing. We do it in two layers, and the first layer has to be using the wet-on-wet technique. So that's why I said to leave your sky just a little bit wet. I'm using bleed proof white here. When we use bleed proof white to create stars, we do want it to be very white. It needs to be liquidy enough so that you can paint with it, but we're not adding as much water as we did with the Milky Way because we do want this. We want our stars to definitely be more opaque. I'm going to put my twinkling star right here. I would tap down maybe three or four times to create a white spot right here and then maybe I'm going to do another twinkler, a small or twinkling star right here. We've created our white spots. We need to blend in this white with the background. This is going to be what makes the star look like it's shining. Is this blended white? Is supposed to be light radiating from the star. One thing about light when you paint is, wherever the light is the brightest there should be very little color. It should be white basically. We're going to be careful. We want to keep the middle white and afterward I may even put another drop of white in the middle to keep it as white as possible, but we still want it. This one is smaller and I just put a drop in the middle to make the paint spread outward. Using the wet-on-wet technique, it spreads outward naturally. I'm going to take some white and put another drop of white in the middle. That for sure. Whatever is in the middle is very, very white because that's where the star is going to be the brightest. But as I have blended it out first, it looks like this star. This is oddly shaped, so I'm going to blend it manually a little bit more. Once we paint the star on top of it, it will look like it's shining in the night sky. There are my twinkling stars. Those are just step 1 of the twinkling stars. Our next technique for stars is going to be splattering stars on here. I'm going to splatter some while it's still wet, so that I can have some of these shining stars in the galaxy as well. It creates an ethereal look when you have some of these blurry shiny stars in addition to the other stars. One thing important to remember with the Milky Way is that the Milky Way is made up of stars. When you're painting the Milky Way, you want the stars to be mostly concentrated here. We want stars all throughout the night sky. That's true. I know with splattering it's hard. If you can, try to put more stars in the center where we painted our Milky Way to be. I have done some of my ethereal wet-on-wet splattered stars, and I'm going to dry this piece. We're going to talk more about exactly how I splattered these stars in just a second if you haven't done that with me before. But first, I'm going to dry this piece manually with my dryer thing over here. I'm not going to subject you to listening to that. In the next video, I'll show you how to splatter the stars and draw them on. But if you're wondering how I do all of this at once, it's because this is traditionally used to emboss. But it's a heat tool and when I turn it on, it dries my paper. I hold it like this close and I dry my paper with it. It's loud, so I'm going to do it off the camera. I will see you in the next video for stars Part 2. 8. Step 4: Stars, again: I still think it looks good, I still think it looks okay. We are going to leave it at that and my best advice for you when you want to know when to stop is, I don't know, if your hand gets tired, you should probably stop. I usually like more stars than less. I mean, take that for what it's worth. I probably usually do like tenish rounds of tapping, sometimes 15 to get as many stars as I want usually. That's what I have for you there. For the final step, we are going to create our tree line. If you'll move on to the next video with me, we are almost done my friends, almost done. 9. Step 5: Forest: Welcome to the final painting step of our Milky way night sky where we are going to create our tree line that will truly make it a wilderness scene. I'm using lamp black to create my trees. Like I said when we did the tree technique, you can create trees or mountains or whatever you want. I'm creating trees, because I like them. As is probably apparent if you have looked on my Instagram, I really like painting trees. I'm trying to decide, I think this is going to be one of my tall is trees right here. I never usually look at it and decide until I start painting where I went my tree line to go. It's probably going to go a little bit down over here, like maybe into the milky way a little bit right here, but I think this giving my tallest tree, you don't necessarily have to make the tree line go all the way across and I might not do that, I'll probably just do it in a little bit in clumps. As I mentioned, I'm using my blobby technique where I'm just creating blobs on either side of the trunk. When you're creating tree lines like in a landscape, like a vast landscape like this. It's important to think about what trees are in the foreground and what trees on there are in the background. If you have taken, I misty forest class you know that are really important. Characteristic to note for trees that are farther away is that they're usually lighter. However, we are creating a silhouette, so it's hard to determine, you can't really make things lighter when you're doing a silhouette. I mean, you could, but for the sake of ease and simplicity, we're not going to. The only way that we can determine distance with trees is to make them smaller. We're going to make some very tiny trees so that they look like they're in the distance. This is very similar to if you took my simple night sky class, which is a lot similar to this, it just doesn't have the milky way or the twinkling stars. This is like a more advanced class, but I still think beginners can learn how to do a too. I always make sure when I paint my tree line, I always make sure to have some small trees on either side usually. To have to make trees go really small, I just make little lines right here. I'm going to paint more trees like saying to myself sometimes, so maybe that will happen sometime as you watch these classes because I'm just kind of talking to myself as I'm painting. That's how I like to teach. Explaining to you exactly what I do while I do it and being myself, which includes singing to myself like a weird. Enough talking about me. Like I mentioned before, I don't really have a specific plan. In general, I think it's good to have a few really tall trees and then mostly shorter trees but you should never have trees to all look exactly the same because that's not how nature is. Nature has variants and diversity. Not all of your trees have to be super full, either, let me make them a little more full actually. It's nice to have one or two that are really full like a Christmas tree, but they can definitely be sparse like this little guy is pretty sparse. See that's really just a whole bunch of exact blobs right down there, and a few right close to each other to fill in the gaps. No rhyme or reason here, we're just kind of go and where my paint brushes, sides to paint. I like this mentality of when you're painting in nature, not really deciding where to place anything ahead of time, just going for it. Believe me, oftentimes it does not look the way that I hoped it would, but the more that you are vulnerable with yourself and you just allow yourself to "Fail" even though it's not failing at all when you try something new and it doesn't quite work out. I think that's brave. The more you do it, the better you will get us spotting how you do like it but you won't figure that out unless you try. I'm going to actually make this true over here then my tallest tree. I think that was one of the biggest things that terrified me about painting was, well, how do I know where to paint anything and what to do? What if I'm not very good at it, I never went to art school, I didn't learn all these rules. Well I'm sure there are all these rules, I mean, the way that people made up those rules is by trying. You'll surprise yourself, I think if you just let yourself try and be okay with failing, because you know that failing is really just one of the most important steps to success and growing and truly understanding what you're doing. I'm going to get off my soapbox, that's the [inaudible] painting here. Art has taught me a lot about life, it turns out. That is my tree line, I finished up. I decided to make this one pretty full and tall. I like to work in threes or odd numbers. I have three different clumps with trees and they're not suit, they're not really even. But we're done this is it. If you have done these steps with me, you have successfully completed a milky way night sky. Congratulations, and I will see you at the recap. 10. Recap: You have done it. You have completed your milky way night sky and hopefully it looks a little something like this. I hope you had a good time. I love creating. I just love creating. If you do too, if you love this class, I would love to hear your thoughts about it. If you want to leave a view that would be an honest review. Honestly, I'd love to hear any kind of thoughts you have about it. That would mean a lot to me. You can also share your work on Instagram. Make sure to tag me. My handle is this writing desk and if you tag me, you may get featured in my Instagram Stories. Also make sure to post your finished, your final project in the final project discussion board place. I would love to give you my comments and show you some love and be your favorite cheerleader. I wholeheartedly think that trying something new and developing new skills is so much easier when you feel like you have someone cheering you on and I want to be that person for you. Thank you for taking my class. I hope you had a great time. Again, I would love to hear about it. If you feel like you have things to say about it, feel free to leave me a review. If you loved the class, please give me a thumbs up so that other people can take this class too. All right. See you next time.