How to Paint a Night Sky Tips & Night Sky Painting Tutorial

Painting anything has always several ways of doing it, and it can differ in a lot of aspects from the colors you choose and the material of paper you do it on. The art of painting something as beautiful as a night sky sounds harsh, but anyone and everyone can produce it if you want to create the starry night sky just like we see outside at night-time.

The night sky painting has always been a part of the wondrous world of artists and their work, and it has always made everyone filled with awe and shock, but there are several charming things we still do not know about the universe above us. There is something about the night sky’s secrecy that the splash of colours and shades sounds too scenic to be created on paper.

Different Types of Art Styles

Under this title, we can discuss some of the main art styles which a lot of artists use to paint and express their art to people. Let us use the medium of a night sky for each of these so that it could be also a reference for you when creating a night sky painting for yourself. We can use the famous painting of Vincent Van Gogh, The Starry Night for referencing and explaining each style.

1. Abstract

Night Sky Painting

An abstract painting means to detach something from another thing and have its own separate identity. Abstract also means where a painting does not attempt in portraying realistic expectations but rather is showcased in using shapes, marks, colours, etc. to show its speciality individually.

This term can not only be applied in the form of art, but also in the image of objects, landscapes where we can help in simplifying the mentioned item. This type of style is often said to be simple and in order strictly. 

When creating The Starry Night using the abstraction style of art, you must remember the art is already moderately abstract as the night sky except for the landscapes and the trees and everything you can depict which is not a separated object.

While painting this, you can focus on giving the art some detailing where each part of the painting is recreated created in a way that it is in order. The most important part of The Starry Night is the wind swirling, the uniquely created stars, and the moon so it is a great idea to create any abstracted work with the use of these colours and wind and the stars.

2. Realism


Realism is a term that was created in the 1840s and was created for the first time as an artwork by the painter Gustav Courbet. The art style of Realism is just simply just a depiction of artwork just like everyday life and they are also called naturalistic. When you are practising this type of art style, the subject of depiction is numerous, and it is meant to be the normal scenes of the daily lives of people.

In the beginning, the art was created to showcase the experiences of the peasants and the working classes and how their lives were; then it gradually showed the lives of every class and the life of people in cities, cafes, the human body, and even the matter of treatment and sexualities and the sexual activities of people to frankly speak. 

When creating The Starry Night in this style, it is also a known fact that the famous painting is half realistic as well as the landscapes, the lights of each house under, the lighthouse, etc. each has a real story, and Van Gogh expresses it brilliantly. What we can do in making the painting completely realistic is painting the night sky in a way that people could familiarise it with the normal beautiful night sky we see every night.

Although you would think that it sounds plain without the jaw-dropping colour palettes used in Vincent’s painting but if you watch how the night sky change colours and the number of stars over creating pretty patterns, you will be able to produce it on paper as beautiful as it is in real life!

Other art styles include Surrealism, Expressionism, and Modernism, etc. which are just as important as the ones explained above and you should always try different and new styles to find your comfort and hard point to improvise.

Different Types of Art Supplies and Their Tutorials

The works of artists throughout the history of famous paintings have the night sky in existence, which is all so many differences in style, colours, aspects, etc. and these are all very important to note so that it is easy to find your favourite art style in the process. Therefore, let us discuss the different type of art supplies which can be used with what type of canvas and/or paper to use with them. 

1. Acrylic Painting (Beginner)

Acrylic Painting (Beginner)

Acrylics are one of the main modes where you can use to make any of your work looks picturesque. Acrylics paint dries up faster and is soluble in water and when it is dry, it can resist water. Here is a basic tutorial on how to create a night sky painting with acrylics, in this we use a square canvas of any size you prefer.

To start with this, let us begin with the colour choices whatever you prefer. For this tutorial, we have decided on purple, Prussian blue, light purple, black, and white. Firstly, starting from the top segment of the canvas, we will be painting the sky starting from that space. The first colour of choice is Prussian blue and then the second one under the blue would preferably be purple.

After this, we must be patient to blend out these two colours together. The next colour we use is the light purple in the below part and then we blend the colours to make it look like a blue palette. In the last part of the canvas, we use white underneath and there you go, we have our beautiful night sky.

After letting the painting dry, we can decide on creating the stars and we can create them with the help of an unused toothbrush and the colour white and water. While keeping the brush a bit closer to the canvas, by rubbing the bristles the paint will start flicking onto the canvas.

Continue this until you are happy with the number of tiny stars you have made and after this, we keep the painting dry again. To finish up, we will make a moon however you want to and then add trees where you can them tall and branch out. Make some cute birds, flowers, or whatever you want to add to your finished painting.

2. Oil Painting (Intermediate)

Oil Painting

When using oils while painting, you must make sure you have your preferred shades of colours which are several in number. Simplifying our palettes before starting is very important in this procedure and it is a great choice if you are using a big canvas for the night sky painting.

Prepping the canvas in comparison to the mixture of colours and the reflection of the lighting is also another way to make the painting look exquisite. Both the palette and the canvas should receive the same lights or the darkness in the room where you are creating it.

It is always a great idea to have a reference while painting something on a canvas as big as this one. You can go outside and set up there itself or click some beautiful landscape at night as it can be helpful to give a full picture of how your work will look like. We start by of course creating the night sky and the moon in this tutorial. You can start by however you are comfortable.

When we are painting the moons below part, there is a big chunk of the sky where you focus on and only from there the light is rising so we must make sure to make the casted light to be blue, comforting, and bright in the process of going up. For the sky, we can use a mixture of warm shades of greys, violets, and blues; this gives off a greater and vivid view in a night sky painting rather than using complementary colours.

Since the colour appearing at night is less heavy and more intense in comparison to the day’s, we should be careful in mixing the palette lighter than what is visible to our eyes. When we are focusing on painting the night sky, always notice that you are using white as little as you can and it should only be used for mixing neutral colours or to give it a higher value.

If you remember to create the moon farther away is painted to get in the sky, the value of the colour is darker as it should be. By surrounding the darker parts of the sky and focusing on the halo glowing part of the moon which surrounds it moon, we can showcase that the moon is radiating in the night sky. 

3. Watercolour Painting (Advanced)

Night Sky

Using the medium of watercolours is said to be hardest compared to acrylics and oils because we are using water, and this could go any way that we cannot predict. The trick is to work faster on your painting than any other medium as when we mix colours when it is still wet, it will help in the painting look good in the end.

The best way for the painting to work is the wet-on-wet technique which is something a lot of artists use when using not only watercolours but also other mediums. Always use the right watercolour paper so that it would not ruin the painting and you can easily do the wet technique as if you are going to use normal paper instead of a 200 GSM paper, it will end up collapsing, unlike the right paper which helps in absorbing the paint and water together.

Another important material when you are just a beginner is masking tape which helps in keeping your work from being spilled away if you end up using excessive paint or water and it also helps in keeping the sheet in good mobility and stabilized. The tutorial is a beginner one if you think you cannot paint with watercolour.

First, we must start by sketching a circle and outlining it with the use of a pencil in the centre of the sheet, after this you can make a horizon on the below of the circle. Use your masking tape to close all the ends of the sheet so that the work would not spoil in the end.

The next step is to start underpainting where you can work on the inside of the circle with colours while adding wash colours for the underpainting which gives the night sky painting a special touch of the base colour. Depending on the style you want to make the painting look, you can choose the colours for each of the aspects of the work.

For this tutorial let us start by using blue, purple, and even pink as the night sky is filled with several colours. In any case, the colours fall out of the outlined sketch, we can fix it and you do not have to worry about it at all as we can always lift the excess colours in the painting for this medium.

Let us start using the darker colours now which are very important for a night sky painting as it adds to the beauty and makes it more prominent. You should add the darker shades of colours on top of the base colours which gives off a design that is vibrant, but you always must ensure that you are working with a wet surface.

If you want consistency in your work while using watercolours, you can work will more paint and less water. For the next step, we add elements to show texture for the colours, and for that, you can spray rubbing alcohol or sprinkle some salt on the painting which helps in making the painting look more crystallized and unique.

In the end, you can work on the lower part and over the tapes of the painting. You can fill the areas with your preferable colour whatever it is and start detailing on the horizons and the sky however you want it to look like with the help of a finely tipped paintbrush!

Other types of art supplies and mediums where you can experiment on to create your gorgeous night sky painting are Pastels, Mix Medias, Digital Art, etc. and these are all completely valid just like the ones explained above and it is a great way to find out what works for you after using all these mediums.

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