Watercolour Galaxy - Step by Step | Emily Curtis | Skillshare

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Watercolour Galaxy - Step by Step

teacher avatar Emily Curtis, Artist/Painter

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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

11 Lessons (19m)
    • 1. Welcome to the Class

    • 2. Art Supplies

    • 3. Choosing the Colours

    • 4. Wet-on-wet tutorial

    • 5. Final Project - Galaxy Shape

    • 6. Final Project - Building Colour

    • 7. Final Project - Creating the Gradient

    • 8. Final Project - Shading 1

    • 9. Final Project - Shading 2

    • 10. Adding Stars

    • 11. Class Project

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About This Class

Have you ever dream of walking among the stars? With this galaxy tutorial you'll be able to fill your life with vibrant galaxies!

In this class you’ll learn my technique for painting a beautiful night sky using watercolours. I'll guide you step by step through the process, from choosing the colours, to producing the final work. By the end of this class you'll have you're very own galaxy painting and all of the techniques you need to paint starry skies in any colours you like.

In this class you will learn:

  • How to select colours for a gradient.
  • How to use the wet-on-wet technique with watercolours.
  • Step-by-step process of painting a watercolour galaxy.
  • How to add stars and shine to a painting.

The class will be suitable for all skill levels from beginner to professional as everything is laid out easily for you to follow along.

If you like this class, please leave a review to help me improve.

Happy Painting!

E xx

Meet Your Teacher

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Emily Curtis




Hi there! I'm Emily Curtis.

I'm a full-time artist who specialises in acrylic and watercolour painting. I produce work which portrays atmosphere and emotion, often inspired by moments in nature and urban life.

My love of painting began as a child when I was mesmerised by the colours in the fields surrounding my home. I spent hours watching sunsets and soon became obsessed with recreating the beauty of the world on paper. Now, I use my art to prolong the moments that often feel too fleeting to be observed in everyday life.

I followed my passion into adulthood and gained a Fine Art Foundation Diploma from the University of Arts London. My art has also been seen in magazines such as 'World of Int... See full profile

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1. Welcome to the Class: Hello. My name is Emily Curtis. I'm a full time artist based in the UK, and I specialize in acrylic and watercolor painting. Today I'm going to show you how to paint a beautiful watercolor galaxy using the wet on wet technique. You don't need any prior knowledge of water colors for this class as I'm going to walk you through all the techniques, step by step. First, I'll give you a quick run through of all the equipment are going to need and any alternatives you can use. Then we'll go through an easy method of picking all the colors you're put in your galaxy. I'll also give a quick tutorial on the wet on wet technique. In the main section of this video, I'm going to do a step by step tutorial of everything you'll need to know to make this beautiful galaxy for your cast project. All you have to do is follow along with this tutorial and post your results down below. Let's begin 2. Art Supplies : before we start, I'll just go over the equipment we will be using for this lesson. Most obviously is watercolors. You don't have to have this exact set. Just use whatever you like best. I'll be using White, a critic paint for the stars if you don't have this. Alternatives include gouache, watercolor and pen. It's a good idea to tape your paper to the table because this will stop it from bending. When it gets wet. I recommend using Scotch tape, and then we have the standard water, pot and tissue toe. Wash and dry your brushes. You'll need to use watercolor paper for this tutorial. The paper I'm using is 300 grams per square meter, which can be bought in pads like this. I'll only be using two brushes for this whole class, which is this one. It tapers into appointed shape, and it's in size five and a big square brush like this 3. Choosing the Colours: the first thing we need to do is pick the colors we want to make our galaxy with. I'm going to be making a blue galaxy. But if you would like to use different colors than feel free because all of the steps are the same, this galaxy is made using five colors. The lightest color. No, I tried so hard to keep my head out of the shell out. The darkest color, the middle color, which is the main color the galaxy will be based on, and then to transition colors to link them all together. Transition one on transition to I want my darkest color to be black like we see in space. However, I don't just want to use my black paint because this could make paintings look gray, so I'm going to make my own by mixing blue and brown. The official way to do this is to mix ultra marine blue with burnt umber, but I've found that mixing any blue with a reddish brown will do. The reason it works is because ultra marine blue and burnt umber are on opposite sides of the color wheel. Any two colors on opposite sides of the color wheel combined will make black, which is why you can also use red and green to make black. But as I'm making a blue galaxy, it made sense to use a blue based black. If you're having trouble making it dark enough, then just mix in a little black Anyway. I won't tell anyone for my middle color. I'm going to use a really nice bright blue like this one. Do you do Do do de todo? I'm just trump. Fill in the awkward sideways goes okay, enjoy it while it lasts, because I've got music coming in the next few lessons and it's gonna get real repetitive. The transition. One color is going to be a color in between the middle and the lightest colors, so I'm going to start with a lighter blue than my mid blue. I'll make that by watering down my mid blue to make it lighter, and then I'm going to brighten it into a turquoise with some yellow, as you can see when I put this color into my chart, it is a nice midpoint transition to is between the middle and darkest colors. To mix this, I'm going to start with my mid blue and then add a little purple or red. If you don't have purple, this is going to make a really rich deep blue. As you can see, we now have all the colors for the galaxy. I suggest you keep your color chart knee you throughout the class for reference. 4. Wet-on-wet tutorial: the wet on wet technique is super simple. It just means applying wet paint onto wet paper. All you have to do is saturate your paper with water like this. Give it a moment to let the water sink in, then apply your paint and watch as it leads outwards. Try out things like dragging your brush right across the paper. See her father. Paint spreads out. Even if you just put a single dot onto the paper, you can even add more water over the top to really blend things in. If you are unfamiliar with this technique, then I recommend that you practice with this a bit to play around and experiment before jumping into the main tutorial. 5. Final Project - Galaxy Shape: The first step is to saturate the paper with water because this is what is going to allow us to use the wet on wet technique we've practiced. The best method for this is to apply water to the paper, then leave it for 10 seconds to give the water a chance to be absorbed. The figure the paper you're using, the more water you'll need to circuit. As I explained before, we're going to use the white of the paper for the brightest part of the painting. So the first color we're going in with is our transition one color. You can see how the wet on wet technique is making the paint further out and create its own Grady int as it bleeds into the white of the page. At this stage, I'm just mapping out the shape of the white areas, and as you can see, I'm using small side to side motions with my brush to avoid creating any harsh lines. If you make a mistake or want to light in any areas, then you can double way the paint with a tissue. Now that I've got the basic shape defined, I'm going back in with a second layer of turquoise to build up the color a little bit more 6. Final Project - Building Colour: this step is all about adding color to the galaxy. As you can see, I'm applying my middle blue color from the chart we made, starting off with a thin layer so that the blue will blend easily into the transition turquoise and then dragging the color all the way to the edges of the painting. By doing this, we create a foundation layer of blue that is going to tint all of the layers applied over the top and make those colors appear really rich and vibrant. Water color paint fades as it drives, so I'm going to add another two layers, following the same steps as before, to make sure the blue looks really bright once it's dried. 7. Final Project - Creating the Gradient: Now we're going to create the Grady int, and this is building up the colors in between the mid blue from the last lesson on my darkest color, which is going to be black. You can see the time going in with my transition to color, and I'm applying it to the edge of the painting and pulling it inwards toe. Allow the wet on wet technique to do the work and lead the colors together, you'll notice are not doing too much with the center of the painting. At the moment, I'm just darkening it up on defining the shape. Now I'm going to add another layer off deep blue and apply it using the same method as before, from the outside in. As you can see, concentrating the paint on the edges of the painting and allowing it to bleed towards the centre is what's creating a lovely, smooth, radiant in the middle. I'm creating Grady it, using the opposite technique by applying the paint, title the center and allowing it to bleed out with so that its darkest in the middle and gets lighter as it approaches the light source. Finally, I'm going over everything for 1/3 time exactly the same way as before. The reason I'm using so many layers is because when using the wet on wet technique, you start with concentrated areas of color where you first apply the paint, but that fades as it thins and spreads out. So if you want to have some dark areas, then you need to build those up through layering. 8. Final Project - Shading 1: the first step to adding the shading is to take the navy blue, which is the darkest color from my chart, and apply it using the same method from last lesson. Start from the outside and allow the color to bleed in words. It doesn't need to be super dark at the moment, because this is just showing where we want the shading to go and again using the same technique from last lesson in the middle and applying paint to the center of the dark area on letting it spread outwards. Repeat these steps as many times as you like to get the painting as dark as you want, then leave the painting to dry before the next step. 9. Final Project - Shading 2: Now the painting is dry. You can see that it's lightened up quite a bit, and there are areas of patching us on the left side. I'm going to fix this by first applying my mid blue over all of the left side to even out the color. Then I'm darkening the painting by blending the Navy blue into it. The right side doesn't have any patchy nous, so I'm just darkening it with another layer of Navy blue. Then I'm going to wash my brush and run it over where the Navy meets the start of the Grady Int to blend it in, leave it to dry again so that you're ready to add the stars in the next lesson. 10. Adding Stars: I'm using white acrylic paint to create the stars. You could also use gouache or white pen. I don't think pencil would be opaque enough for this, but you could always give it to go. If you are using paint than there are two main methods to creating, start first you want to water down the paint and then make sure your brushes fully covered . Then tap your finger against the stem of the brush, which will flick the paint onto the painting. This will create the illusion of big stars to make smaller stars. You want to flick the bristles of the brush with your fingers to add depth to the galaxy. It's best to have a mixture of big and small stars so that some look further away than others. If at the end you want to brighten up any of the stars, then you can just go over them again with the point of your brush for precision. 11. Class Project: Here is the finished piece up-close for your class project. Try creating your own Galaxy watercolor by following my tutorial. Don't forget to post your results down below, as I'd love to see them do leave a review as it helps me out a lot. And if there's anything you want me to do a tutorial on that me know, you can find more of my work on Instagram at E dot dot curtis And on my website, www dot MIT hyphen curtis.com. I hope you enjoyed this class and I'll see you in the next one.