Space is the great beyond around our planet Earth. To our eyes, it looks black and empty, with stars and planets moving within it. Mankind has always been fascinated by the stars, sun and planets, and true space exploration began on Oct. 4, 1957, when the Soviet Union sent up its first unmanned, artificial satellite or orbital rocket, called Sputnik 1. You can paint your own space scene by recreating the black background of space. Then, add stars, nebulae, planets and other heavenly bodies found in space.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Drawing paper
- HB Pencil
- Prepared canvas
- Oil or acrylic paints
- Small plastic cups
Sketch a preliminary space scene for your final painting with pencil and drawing paper. Using reference material, like the NASA website, sketch planets, nebulae or any heavenly bodies you want in your painting.
Transfer your drawing onto your prepared canvas. Lightly draw with pencil onto your prepared canvas. Once you paint over it, you will not be able to see any pencil marks.
Paint the black of space first, but leave the planets blank for now. Space is a rich black; apply one coat of black to your canvas in the space areas. You will add stars later.
Choose colours for your planets. You can paint your own imaginary planets or use our Milky Way solar system as a reference. Most are solid colours with accents of other colours. Paint one coat of your planets.
Paint another black layer for your space. If it looks solid, then you do not need any more coats of black. Once it dries, you can add tiny, twinkling specks of white, yellow, orange, and light blue for stars. The patterns of stars are not evenly spaced. Paint groups of stars like our constellations. You can create your own start formations or use real constellations, like the Big Dipper or Orion, for your painting.
Add more layers to your planets to complete them. Add rings to some planets, like Saturn, using light colours. Also, add moons to some planets. If you want a nebula, or a newborn star, use a fan brush to lightly add colourful, glowing gas with specks of white or yellow.
Step back from your painting to see the overall composition, or the whole picture. You can add more details or cover areas that you don't want with black space and stars. Space is not packed full of planets and asteroids, but make sure you have twinkling stars.
Tips and warnings
- Create a whole series of space paintings to really experiment with this concept.
- Watercolour is not the best medium for space paintings because you do not tend to get rich solid black in watercolour paints.
- You can also add rockets, satellites or other space vehicles to your painting.
- Work in a well-ventilated room if you are painting with oil paints.
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