watercolor galaxy tutorial

2 Watercolor Galaxy Ideas Step-by-Step Tutorial

In this tutorial, we are going to create two different easy watercolor galaxies using different watercolor techniques. Thanks, TutoDraw for this step-by-step guide for beginners!


Watercolor Supplies Used in this Tutorial

Of course, it doesn’t mean you have to use exactly the same watercolor supplies 🙂

  • 12-color palette by Winsor & Newton
  • Brush with a tank Rougier&Plé
  • Rubber Cement Rougier&Plé
  • Paper Stack Hahnemühle Harmony
  • Masking Tape
  • White Gel Pen Uni-ball
  • Back Liner Faber-Castell S

This tutorial was created by artists who have handpicked supplies just for you.
Click below to shop with a 30% discount.


First Watercolor Galaxy Idea: The Whole Universe in a Bottle

Today, we will paint a watercolor galaxy within a jar, but you can let your galaxy be uncontained if you prefer. Just skip the first few steps if you don’t want the ‘trapped in a jar’ effect.

As soon as your sketch is ready, it’s time to use the rubber cement. Use an old brush for this as the rubber cement is not good for new brushes. Dot the rubber cement in a pattern resembling a star cluster.

We will later paint over them and, in the end, we will rub off the cement, leaving little white specs which will be your stars. We also take the opportunity to make small reflections on the water’s edge; we call these highlights in watercolor painting.

Watercolor Galaxy: Sketch a galaxy in a jar with rubber cement
Watercolor Galaxy: Sketch a galaxy in a jar with rubber cement 2

Next, we’re going to take a little bit of blue pigment from the palette with the wet tip of our brush and paint it on the paper over the dried rubber cement. 

Then, we’ll blend some blue, red, and green pigment to create a galaxy-look. What you need to know is that the more water there is in relation to the pigments you take from the well, the lighter the color it will create. Conversely, the less water there is compared to the pigments you take on your brush, the more intense the result will be. Once we are satisfied with our mixture we let the paint dry.

Watercolor Galaxy: Add paint blue, red and black
Watercolor Galaxy: Add paint blue, red and black 2
Watercolor Galaxy: Add paint blue, red and black 3

When the watercolor paint is dry, scratch the rubber cement with your finger. This is a satisfying moment. There you have it, you have a beautiful galactic effect.

Watercolor Galaxy: Scratch the rubber cement

To put the finishing touches on this watercolor painting, first, we make a border around the jar with a black pen. Then, we add texture on the cap and some reflection effects on the glass.

Watercolor Galaxy: Draw lines with a black pen

You can add details to the cork and a lightly shaded blue over the jar.7

Watercolor Galaxy: Add details

We will add a few drops of paint on the outside to make it seem as if the galaxy has escaped the jar. To make these drops, just mix drops of two different pigments you’ve used before.

Watercolor Galaxy: Add few drops of paint

And that’s it, our first galactic creation is finished!


Second Watercolor Galaxy Idea: Galaxy Shapes and Frames

For this second galaxy watercolor idea, we’re going to use a geometrical shape. I chose a triangle. 

Start by using masking tape. This type of tape is easily removed at the end without damaging your watercolor paper. I place three strips to make a triangle and add a few strips to secure the area we’re going to paint.

Start by using masking tape

I start by drawing some elements with a pencil, like the end of a telescope and a small circle that will represent a moon. I protect the telescope and the will-be moon with rubber cement.

draw some elements with a pencil

I also put down some speckles of rubber cement to create stars like in our first creation. However, I add much more to create an even more intense galaxy effect.

Watercolor Galaxy: draw stars with rubber cement

Make sure to wait for it to dry, it’s super important!

I start by adding blue from the top. Then, I add glowing red pigment and a little emerald green. As long as it stays wet, the shades mix very well. I put several layers of color before adding a little black to darken the colors as a result. Then, let it dry.

Add paint blue, red and black
Add paint blue, red and black 2

Once it’s dry, take your time to remove the cement and tape.

It’s not ideal to do this after removing the tape, but I decide to darken the corners by adding a little black paint. 

I also do a little shading with a Faber Castell’s black S pen on the contours of my telescope and the moon.

do a little shading with a black pen on the contours
Watercolor Galaxy Telescope sketch
Watercolor Galaxy: Moon telescope

I want to add a little bit of detail so I make the blackened bottom edge into fir trees. It’s relatively simple to do on the top layer. I also correct the overflowing edges with a white pen and that’s it!

add a little bit of detail
Watercolor Galaxy: finishing touches moon telescope

I hope these two creations get you started! Feel free to get inspired by them and share your watercolor galaxy in the comments below!

This tutorial was created by artists who have handpicked supplies just for you.
Click below to shop with a 30% discount.

About the Author: Watercolor Classes

Hello, and welcome to our site. We've been passionate about watercolor for years and have learned a lot along the way. We hope our tutorials and tips will help you out on your watercolor journey. Let's make art together!

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