Watercolor Universe and Illustration | Elisa Ang | Skillshare

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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

    • 1.

      Welcome to Class


    • 2.



    • 3.

      Watercolor Galaxy Techniques


    • 4.

      Milky Way


    • 5.



    • 6.

      Northern Lights


    • 7.

      Galaxy Inspired Illustration


    • 8.

      Enjoy the Process


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About This Class


Watercolor Universe and Illustration is a class that inspires you to explore the wonders of the galaxy through watercolor painting.

Through this class, you will learn some interesting facts about galaxies, materials that you will use to get started, basic techniques to build your confidence in painting galaxies; and explore painting the Milky Way, nebula and the Northern Lights. Finally, you will use the galaxy painting techniques to create cool galaxy illustrations that will make your artwork interesting.

By the end of this class, paint a galaxy inspired by the techniques you have learned and turn it into a postcard, a bookmark, a paper brooch, or any items that you can use or send to someone and make his or her day special.

Meet Your Teacher

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Elisa Ang

empower you to make art inspired by your stories


Elisa Ang sketches and paints her life using pen and watercolour.

She believes that everyone is creative and that creativity is not only limited to the artist. Her desire is to empower others to make art inspired by their stories.

She teaches drawing and painting to children and adults. When she's not working, she likes to read, watch cooking/family shows, go to nature trips and take photos. She currently resides in Singapore with her husband.

You can see more of her works at her website, Youtube, Instagram




See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. Welcome to Class: I am in awe of the vastness and the mystery of the galaxy. Though seeing it with my naked eye is difficult, I am inspired to explore the wonders of the galaxy through watercolor painting. Hello, my name is Elissa and welcome to water color universe and illustration. In this class, we will learn some interesting facts about galaxies, materials to be used, basic techniques to the build your confidence in painting galaxies, step-by-step guide on how to paint the Milky Way, nebula and the northern lights. Finally, you will incorporate the basic galaxy painting techniques to create some cool galaxy illustrations to make your artwork Interesting. For your project, paint a galaxy inspired by the techniques learned in this class and turn it into a postcard, a bookmark, a paper brush, or any craft or items that you can use or send to someone and make his or her day special. I look forward to seeing you in class and let's paint galaxies together. 2. Materials: Let's talk about the materials that you will need for this class. First, is the water color paints. You can use watercolor sets where the colors are already chosen for you, or choose your own colors from water color tubes and squeeze them in pants or palates. All you need to do is to activate the pigments by spraying them with water. Some brands of watercolor paints that are good for beginners are Winsor and Newton Kaufman and Van Gogh. For artist grade paints, there's a lot of good ones like Winsor and Newton, Daniel Smith, Holbein, Sennelier, and many others. The colors that you will need in this class are any bright greens and yellows, like the greenish yellow, sap green and gamboge hue. Any kind of cool reds like permanent rose and magenta, warm blues like cobalt blue or ultramarine blue. Cool blues like Phaedo or Prussian blue. Finally, black and white paint. Most Chinese whites in watercolor is made of zinc white with a bit of titanium for a good capacity. You can also use acrylic white. You will need 300 GSM watercolor paper. It needs to be thick enough so that water can stay on the surface without being absorbed too quickly. Make sure the paper is acid free. Here are some of the good student quality watercolor paper that you can try. Here are the artist grade watercolor paper. If you're using watercolor block where the paper is glued on all four sides, you need to use any small knife like a pallet knife for example and insert it into the opening, then gently run the knife around the edges to remove the paper. The advantage of this kind of paper is that it won't warp during painting. For brushes, get the round brush size eight or 12, which is good for painting large areas. Brushes are made of Kolinsky hair, mix hair and imitation hair. Here are some recommended brushes according to hair types. Mix and imitation brushes are good for beginners. Brush size would depend on the brand that you're looking for. Make a comparison before you buy. You also need masking tape or painter's tape to put around the corners of your watercolor paper to prevent it from warping. Also a toothbrush or a paintbrush to create the stars. In the next video, I will demonstrate to you the basic watercolor galaxy techniques. See you there. 3. Watercolor Galaxy Techniques: Before we dive into painting galaxies, let's learn more about what galaxy is. NASA defines galaxy as a huge collection of gas, dust, and billions of stars and solar systems. It is held together by gravity. Earth is part of the Milky Way Galaxy. It was called Milky Way because the people from the old times saw a wide strip of white that resembled a milk path, this line of light, is the center of our galaxy. The Milky Way Galaxy is barred spiral. But the universe is far bigger than we can ever imagine. Because it houses more galaxies of many kinds. It is helpful to gather galaxy images that inspires you, this will help you to observe how it looks like. But don't forget to ask permission on copyright images. Watercolor is a great medium to paint galaxy, because of its ability to paint itself, thanks to water. Use masking tape, to tape the sides of the paper to prevent it from warping. I suggest to test the tape on scraps of watercolor paper to ensure there's no tear when removed. The first step on painting water color galaxy is to use wet on wet technique. Dampen the whole paper with water, make sure that you can see the shine as light is reflected on the water. If there's any pool of water spread it by brushing it across the paper. Galaxy usually has the brightest part where the band of dust clouds or cosmic dust can be seen. Choose one bright color, I use fellow blue. You can use any bright greens, yellows, pinks, or blues. Paint a circle without painting the inside, the unpainted inside will be the brightest part using the whites of the paper. I built the colors by adding magenta and permanent rose, followed by ultramarine, cobalt's and prussian blue as I paint outward. Observe how the paint slowly spreads and blends. Use darker color like cobalt blue for the night sky, you can alternate it with fellow blue or ultramarine blue and paint around the sky. Add a bit of permanent rose on top of the blues for some purple or you can also add orange on the side to create interest, have fun with it. Now, notice how the center has loosed the white of the paper because of too much paint. To avoid this, don't put too much colors near the center. I use a tissue paper to bring back the white, we can also use the brush to get a softer effect. Lastly, load the brush with black and paint around the edges of the sky. The black gives a nice contrast on the sky. We can also drop in cobalt blue or fellow blue on top of the black. Make sure the work quickly while the paper is still wet. Allow the painting to dry naturally and you can also start another galaxy painting while you're waiting. Some of the optional things that you can do while the paint is to add a few salt for texture. You can also try to put some alcohol on cotton bud and paint a circle on top of the wet paints to create planets. Once the painting is fully dried, it's time to add the stars. Spray the toothbrush with a bit of water, then brush it against the white paint, it helps create fine stars. You can also spatter stars by tapping one brush against the other. Whatever method you choose, make sure that the concentration of the stars should be on the dark night sky, the stars bring the galaxy to life. Practice painting a simple galaxy and share your efforts in the project gallery. When you're ready, hop onto the next video and learn how to paint the Milky Way. See you there. 4. Milky Way: [MUSIC] As you gain confidence by practicing painting a simple galaxy, you will be able to apply the same techniques as you learn how to paint the milky way. Use the tip of the brush and slowly paint the strip of the Milky Way using a mix of magenta and ultramarine blue. Make sure your brush is not too wet and is not loaded with too much paint. You can bargain the strip of the paint by adding ultramarine blue or copper blue. Keep using the tip of the brush to create some wisp on the edges for a more natural look. I use phthalo blue to paint the sky. Then dropped the ultramarine blue on top. I also use magenta and ultramarine blue and mix them on paper. I darken some of the colors, then proceed to add more colors, like phthalo blue and greenish, yellow. I also added [inaudible] and bright orange at the base of the milky way to draw the eye on the horizon. To darken the sky, I use prussian blue mixed with black. I also use the same mix of colors to darken some parts of the Milky Way. I use the edge of the tissue paper to gently dab on some parts of the Milky Way. This creates a nice cloudy effect. I wanted to darken the sky a little bit for a nice contrast with the Milky Way. I use a bit of water with black paint, then softened water to create a blended effect. Then I added the more black on the wet background and soften again with water to void any hard edges. Make sure painting is dry before glazing it with another color. I like the contrast of the dark sky against the light of the Milky Way. If you're happy with your painting, stop and don't over work on it. But if not, never be afraid to edit your paintings and learn from every moment you paint. 5. Nebula: A nebula is a cloud of dust, hydrogen, helium, and other gases and it's where stars are created. They come in different sizes and shapes. Before painting the nebula, I wet the paper first. You will notice that wet-on-wet is painting is one of the most commonly used technique in painting galaxies. I paint a dark mix of bright orange and magenta at the center of the nebula. I kept painting it in small circular motion so that the paint will slowly spread. I softened the edge a bit with water, then drop in magenta and ultramarine blue. The paper seems a bit dry, so I re-wet the paper again. I use phthalo blue and the liner brush to paint a thin circle. Then I move the brush back and forth in the flicking motion to create race. I repeat the previous steps by using a mix of phthalo blue and greenish-yellow. Using the tip of the size eight brush, I move back and forth to create thin lines around the circle. I use potent blue to paint the sky and then add black on the edges. In the next lesson, you will learn about Northern Lights and how to paint them. See you there. 6. Northern Lights: The Northern Lights or the Aurora Borealis is the bright dancing lights. They happen when there's a collision between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the Earth's atmosphere. They appear in many colors like red, yellow, green, and blue. Pale green and pink are the most common. First, I draw a horizon line to separate the sky from the sea. I use wet-on-wet on the sky first. Using a mix of more lemon-yellow and a bit of Phthalo blue, I painted the first band of color. Then adding a bit of Phthalo blue to the mix, I painted another color on the side. I also use greenish-yellow and vary its intensity with either touches of lemon-yellow or Phthalo blue. After that, I painted magenta and bright orange. I use the belly of the brush to paint it in a swirly, slanted manner to create an illusion of lights dancing. Then I dab the brush on the tissue paper for a slightly damp brush, then using the tip, I flick it in a swift back-and-forth motion using light pressure to create a subtle disperse of light. I use Prussian blue with a touch of magenta for the sky. At times, I would also add a bit of water to encourage the flow of colors. I use a mix of black and Prussian blue to paint some clouds, and because the sky is still wet, the clouds paint itself. I use the edge of a tissue paper to create some highlights on the clouds. For the reflection of the light on the sea, I wet the paper first, then use the colors from the Northern Lights to paint a reflection in a downward sweeping motion. I also use water to soften some of the colors. I use a diluted Prussian blue and black to paint a distant mountain. I decided to spatter some stars as I wait for the mountain to dry. I use black to paint the silhouette of the foreground mountain. Then using a diluted black, I create some shadows reflected from the mountain. I also darken some of the colorful reflections as well. I hope you're enjoying the galaxy painting demonstrations. In the next lesson, we will create some cool illustrations inspired by the colors of the galaxy. 7. Galaxy Inspired Illustration: After learning about the basic techniques in painting galaxy, and trying your hands in painting Milky Way, Nebula and Northern Lights, let's have some fun by creating illustrations inspired by the galaxy. It would be helpful to brainstorm some ideas, I thought of sketching a huge water droplet. My idea was to draw a girl mesmerized by the wonders of the galaxy. Applying the basic galaxy techniques, I started with Phaedo blue for the highlights of the galaxy, then dropped in cobalt blue and Prussian blue. I added touch of magenta on top of the blue to create some purple, then finally, painted the corners with black. Now, that the painting is dry, I sputter some stars using a toothbrush, then I use my white pen to create the illustration. I really like the effects of the white pen against the dark of the sky. For the second illustration, I thought of a bouquet of flowers. I drew the flower wrapped in paper first, then painted the whole shape of flowers with the galaxy background using the same colors used previously with touches of green. Once the painting is dry, I drew different kinds of flowers. Two illustrations is done and I'm still enjoying the process, so I decided to sketch a simple portrait. I wanted to create a dual personality, so I painted the right side while leaving the left side unpainted. 8. Enjoy the Process: We have come to the end of the class. But first, I wish to encourage you with a quick story. Before making this class, I have done contest practice of painting at different kinds of galaxies. I have experienced failures and dissatisfaction with my work during demo, was frustrating. But what kept me going was a desire to share my excitement and learning process with you on how to paint watercolor galaxy. Practice make us better in the work that we do. So keep going no matter what and enjoy the process. I hope this class gets you excited to explore painting the beautiful galaxy in watercolor. Let's learn from one another by sharing your galaxy paintings in the project gallery. I will also be around to answer questions and give feedback to your paintings. Thank you so much for learning with me and have fun.