Watercolor Galaxy Tutorial using watercolor pencils

Watercolor pencils are a really fun product to experiment with!Let's create super vibrant and dimensional art in this watercolor galaxy tutorial. After playing around with these curious pencils, I found my favorite way to use them: layer in scribbles! It’s satisfying to watch your colorful scribbly mess transform into a beautiful galaxy when you blend with water.

My Affordable watercolor materials

These are just materials I was gifted or purchased because they were cheap or they seemed to work well for other watercolor artists.

Galaxy Watercolor pencils

The watercolor pencils I used were gifted to me a while back, and for some reason I never really wanted to give them a try. So, I didn’t understand how they worked or if they would even look good in comparison to the usual paint tubes.

I use Mont Marte watercolor pencils among other random no-name brand ones I have at home! If you have a pack of pencils already, please use them! If you are looking for a great option, Mont Marte pencils are pretty great and they sharpen really easily.

Galaxy watercolor pencil colors

  • yellow/orange
  • pink/purple
  • light and dark blue
  • black, brown (optional)

White acrylic paint for the stars

I used crayola acrylic paint from my local dollar store. You could also use bleed-proof white, or white paint pens for the stars.

Old Toothbrush

 To apply my paint to the paper, I use an old toothbrush so I can get the job done in under a minute!

Watercolor Paint brush

I used a large brush with a fine tip to blend the watercolor pencils. I also used a Cotman round 2 watercolor brush to blend smaller areas.

Glass of water

Used for blending the pencil lines in our painting with a paint brush.

My Favorite Affordable Watercolor Paper

Since I love watching Let’s Make Art tutorials, and heard Sarah Cray say that she would rather use this paper than really expensive watercolor papers a lot of the time, I thought I had to give this super affordable watercolor paper a try. I find that it is thick enough and has enough cotton in its blend to hold water for painting galaxies.

If you want to read more about the materials I use, go here.

Watercolor Galaxy Tutorial: The Big 3 Steps

Here, I outline my 3 simple steps to using watercolor pencils to make a galaxy in a super fun way! Remember to have fun and trust the process as you create your art!

Step 1: Draw a Circle using a watercolor pencil

Use a bowl or circular tupperware to draw a circle on your watercolor paper. Use a watercolor pencil so that the line will blend out into your painting. I used a black watercolor pencil to draw my circle.

Step 2: Draw your galaxy outline, Apply Water, and Repeat!

Start by softly scribbling using a light colored pencil, and keep a white space towards the center of your paper. 

Introduce a light blue pencil around the edges of your light scribbles and apply more pressure to your pencil as you move outward.

light watercolor pencil strokes in yellow 

add light blue watercolor pencil

add light blue watercolor pencil and yellow

add light blue watercolor pencil

blending watercolor pencil

(first blend of watercolor pencils)

first 'scribbles' for your watercolor galaxy painting

Next, grab your darker blue colored pencil and apply more and more pressure towards the edges. Use lots of pressure towards your outer circle. Now for the fun part, blending your colors with water!

applying more watercolor pencil layers, this time darker

applying more watercolor pencil layers, this time darker

Blending watercolor pencil

blending and removing dark paint from the center of the galaxy painting

You can go back and re-apply more color on top of what you’ve already drawn on the page. Layering is highly encouraged, but just keep in mind what colors will blend together (for instance, blue and yellow will make a vibrant green, so try and keep these two separate unless that is your intention!). 

Adding black watercolor pencil can add a lot of depth to your painting. My suggestion would be to use it sparingly and focus the darkest colors around your edges.

scribble, blend the watercolors and repeat in action

Once you've blended your first layer of watercolor pencils using your paint brush, allow your painting to fully dry. If you are using the same paper as me, it should dry really quickly. I completed a total of 3 layers of colored pencils and water blending before proceeding to the acrylic stars step!

Step 3: Paint White Acrylic Painted Stars in 30 seconds

In our last step of the tutorial, Use an old (clean) toothbrush and apply a half and half mixture of water and white acrylic paint to the tips of your bristles as evenly as possible. Try not to get too much paint on your brush as it might drip really big drops onto your paper. You can test it out on a piece of paper towel to try before applying it to your painting! Get all valuables out of the area before flicking the paint. 

the galaxy stars "toothbrush method"

Focus on the lightest region of your painting, since this region will have the most population of stars.  

Final Tutorial Thoughts

And there you have it! You can create a beautiful galaxy using watercolor pencils and the acrylic toothbrush method. When you give this tutorial a try, please share it with us on social media by tagging us @watercolorminis and we will share it on our Instagram Story! 

If you liked this watercolor galaxy tutorial...

check out my other tutorial on painting watercolor galaxies using regular watercolor paint.

final galaxy painting

Happy painting!

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