How to Paint a Watercolor Galaxy

Hey everyone, Katie here today with the long awaited galaxy tutorial! You may or may not know, but I’m basically obsessed with space related things, so I often paint moons of galaxies in my art!  I’ve had so many people ask me to do a tutorial on how I paint my watercolor galaxies so I finally decided to do one. It’s pretty simple, working with watercolors they blend differently every time, so every galaxy is different.

gm-KatieSmith-WatercolorGalaxy-01 (2)

Supplies: Watercolor paper, Paint Brush (I recommend a watercolor/mixed media brush as it will hold more water, but you can definitely use a regular brush as well), spray bottle with water in it, watercolors, salt, white acrylic paint, tooth brush, tiny paintbrush.

I have a variety of watercolor paints that I use, ranging from the cheapest pan sets to tubes of watercolors, and you can use any of them to paint a galaxy!  I do like to use the more expensive tubes of black, because I find them more richer and a deeper black, but it’s not necessary for your first galaxy.

How to:

1.Start by choosing the colors your galaxy is going to be, I’m using pinks and yellow for mine and I added a drop of water to any pan watercolors I wanted to use.

2. Mist your page with water lightly, you don’t want your page soaked, but slightly damp is good.

3. Take a really light color, like yellow or mint green and paint 2 swirly lines across your page about 1 inches apart.

gm-KatieSmith-WatercolorGalaxy-01 (4)

4. Immediately move on to your next color, for me that was fuchsia. Brush it on right along the outside of your first color, and it will run/blend in towards the first, as pictured below. My pink blended with the yellow to make orange in some places.

gm-KatieSmith-WatercolorGalaxy-01 (5)

5. Time for a darker color. I used an indigo blue and brushed it along the outside of the fuchsia. You want it to blend just a little bit but not turn everything black, so don’t use too much water when painting on the indigo/black paints. Right after this I also sprinkled a small pinch of salt onto the galaxy.

gm-KatieSmith-WatercolorGalaxy-01 (6)

6. Let the lighter colors dry. Once the yellow is dry, take black watercolor and brush it in between the 2 yellow swirly lines, filling in the gap, but not completely covering the yellow. You can add more salt to this if you want for a fun effect.

gm-KatieSmith-WatercolorGalaxy-01 (7)

7. Watercolors lighten as they dry, so if you want your galaxy to be more vibrant, you can add on more layers of color. As you can see in the next pictures, I added on a bit more fuchsia, yellow and black.

gm-KatieSmith-WatercolorGalaxy-01 (8)

8. Use black or indigo watercolors to fill in the rest (or not, I only did half) of your page to make deep space.

gm-KatieSmith-WatercolorGalaxy-01 (9)

9. Once completely dry, I add on stars! I do that by using a toothbrush to flick on teeny white stars and a paintbrush to paint on larger sparkling stars.

gm-KatieSmith-WatercolorGalaxy-01 (10) gm-KatieSmith-WatercolorGalaxy-01 (11)

It’s as easy as that, just experiment with your watercolors, adding more or less water to make them blend. Did you know that the Hubble has an online gallery? So if you need inspiration, here you go. They’re also all public domain, so if you’re not into painting galaxies, you could totally print one out to collage in your journal!

gm-KatieSmith-WatercolorGalaxy-01 (12)

Are you wondering what galaxies have to do with the season of Music? Well, I actually listen to a number of songs that mention space and galaxies, Like this one.

I’d love to see your galaxies and space themed pages, so if you make any please tag me on instagram- @katiebug92

Now go forth and paint!


Katie is an Artist located in Washington, USA. She loves anything and everything crafty- from scrapbooking and art journaling, to drawing, to quilting. Katie is constantly inspired by nature, outer space, and colors.


  1. Stephanie manic

    Oh Katie! It’s fantastic! I love so much your galaxies an thanks for the site! Waouh!!!

  2. Rebecca

    This is brilliant, Katie!! Really well explained – can’t wait to try it out!

  3. Melody Willoughby

    Love!!!! Can’t wait to try. That’s where you will find me today, all day!

  4. Vanessa Oliver-lloyd

    Thank you Katie! I am very excited to explore. And those Hubble images…wow!

  5. julia Thomas

    Such a cool technique – I am for sure going to try this out. I usually get carried away with all different colours and it can end up much more abstract, I’m super keen to try this more controlled approach <3

  6. Sienna Lim

    love it!

  7. CIndy Jacobs

    So excited to give this a try!! Thank you!