How to Draw Stars in the Sky

Written by yuurei serai
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How to Draw Stars in the Sky
Creating star-filled scenes just involves a few brush changes in a photo-editing program. (stars on sky image by Marek Kosmal from

With digital drawings, scenery and small details can make a difference between a so-so image and an image with a "wow factor." Backgrounds can even set a mood with sunny days with sakura petals drifting by, creating a day-dreamy look, or a sunset for romance. A star-filled sky can indicate drama, romance, or dreaminess. In a digital drawing adding stars in a sky can create drama.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Photo-editing or digital drawing program
  • Computer tablet and pen

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  1. 1

    Open your picture in a photo-editing program like Easy Paint-Tool SAI or Adobe Photoshop. These programs work the best because they have various brushes available and brushes available for download on websites like Deviant Art and Brusheezy.

  2. 2

    Open a background layer and title the layer "base color." By naming the layers, you will prevent confusion when you have to switch back and forth between layers.

  3. 3

    Choose a medium to dark blue colour for the background, then select the paint can or "fill" option. Use the tool on the image and fill the entire layer with the blue colour.

    If you want to create a sunset skyline, choose the airbrush tool and set the opacity to 75 per cent. Put the brush on size 50 and choose purple and pink shades, adding them below the centre of the sky down toward the edge of the image. Next, choose the blur tool and change the density to 50 per cent. Blur the colours with the blur tool to soften the image.

  1. 1

    Create the stars in the sky by creating shadows and "milky ways." The deep shades and lighter areas will add depth to your image, creating the illusion of star fields.

  2. 2

    Choose the burn tool from your tool menu. Choose the maple leaf brush from the brush menu, and set the opacity to between 15 and 20 on the brush menu. Make sure the brush size is between 70 and 80 to achieve the correct effect.

  3. 3

    Use your drawing tablet and pen to move the leaf brush over the blue sky background. Darken some areas more than others to create deeper shadows. Do not use the burn tool in some spots, however. Keep some areas of the sky the blue colour you originally made the campus, as you will need a different tool shortly.

    When creating shadows, you can make as many as you want depending on how deep you want your sky to go.

  4. 4

    Select the dodge from your tool menu. Use the same maple leaf brush you used when burning the shadows. Set the brush size to any size between 60 and 75. In the light areas you left, create milky ways with the dodge tool, being careful not to add large areas of pure white, as this will take away from the stars when they are added.

  1. 1

    Create a new layer on top of the background layer and title it "stars." All of your stars will go on this layer.

  2. 2

    Choose a hard circle brush from your brush menu. You can pick varying sizes for your stars, so feel free to pick small or large brushes. Remember, stars are different sizes in the sky, depending on their distance from Earth, so with varying brush sizes, you can create this illusion.

  3. 3

    Use white for the stars' paint. Move your brush over the canvas and dot the stars where you wish them to be. Put the majority of the stars close or on the milky ways, since the milky way areas indicate where the most stars are. In these locations put a mix of medium and large-sized stars. In medium blue and dark blue shaded areas, use a small brush to create very few stars. In dark areas, less is more.

  4. 4

    Create a new layer and title it "shine." This layer will be used to create halos around your stars, creating the illusion of brightness.

  5. 5

    Use a soft airbrush and choose a soft, pale yellow for your colour palette. Set the brush's opacity to between 20 and 40 per cent and change the brush size so that it is slightly larger than the stars you created previously. Lightly go over each star to create a soft glow, completing the starry night.

    How to Draw Stars in the Sky
    Stars vary in size and glow, so play around with different brush sizes to create the look you want. (Blue snow star background image by Sophia Winters from

Tips and warnings

  • Vary your brush sizes throughout the entire image. If you want your sky to appear closer, use larger brushes; farther away, use smaller brushes.

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