Easy Watercolor Zodiac Constellation Tutorial
Hello, again friends! It’s Torrie from Fox + Hazel writing today, and man, it seems like you can’t turn anywhere without seeing some zodiac constellation art! I love all the star & sky themed artwork. I’m drawn to them, even though I don’t entirely buy into astrology.
I’m a Capricorn and only identify with about 20% of the so-called traits of my zodiac sign. But I do think they’re fun to read up on, sort of like personality tests. And even though you can buy some fresh zodiac artwork, it can also be fun to make it! In this watercolor tutorial, I’ll walk you through this zodiac constellation art project. There’s even a handy zodiac reference sheet for you!
I often get asked by watercolor beginners why their paintings are not coming out as “watery” as the artwork they see from other artists. All of their work is coming out too dark, too flat and without the variations in shade that makes watercolor so lovely.
Here is the big tip for working with watercolors: Work in layers and work lightest to darkest.
Watercolors are meant to be used in layers upon layers where you slowly build up the color and intensity in your artwork. So often people end up going too dark right off the bat, which leads to their work being too dark and the color too flat. This project is good practice for this technique of layering! You will build up the night sky of your zodiac constellation art in 3-4 layers of paint. Make a note of reading the instructions to see how I achieve this lovely dark and varied background!
So, before we dive in, let’s see what supplies you’ll need!
Supplies for Zodiac Constellation Art:
- hot press watercolor paper
- indigo watercolor (any brand – I’m using Winsor & Newton here)
- large round or mop paintbrush
- small 1 round paintbrush
- gold or silver acrylic ink (you could also use a Coliro Mica Watercolor Set)
- white ink (not pictured – oops!)
- jar with water
- paper towel or old rag
- paint palette or small dish
- zodiac constellation reference sheet
Squeeze out some of the indigo watercolor paint on your palette (or load your brush with paint from your set and brush it on your palette.) Next, get your large round or mop brush wet. Mix a bit of paint into the water, so it is just a very light hue. Then take your brush and paint with wide brush strokes to create an organic shape. Something like a circle/oval but not that exact. The best way to achieve this is to work with brush strokes back & forth across the page. Doing so will give you rough edges and help create the organic shape. This is the first layer of the background. Let it dry completely before moving on. You can let it air dry, or use a heat tool to speed up the process. Either way, you must allow your layers dry completely before going on to the next one.
Once the first layer is dry, you can apply the second layer of paint. First, mix a bit more paint into your water again, so this time the indigo is 2-3 shades darker. Paint over your sky background again, trying to add more of the paint in different areas. Also leave some areas unpainted, especially the edges so that you can see the first layer. This helps create variety in the background and adds to the organic feel. Let this layer dry completely.
Our last layer! Again, mix even more paint into your water on the palette, so this layer is quite deep – 2-3 shades darker. Paint this over your background shape, and again, try to have some areas quite saturated with others showing the layers underneath. Let this layer dry completely. Your background is complete. Now on to adding some zodiac constellations!
Print off this handy zodiac constellation reference sheet and find the constellation you’d like to use. Using the reference sheet, lightly draw the zodiac constellation of your choosing. I chose Libra for my oldest daughter, whose birthday falls in October!
Next, choose either gold or silver acrylic ink to paint over the constellation. You can use either ink – they both look great! I went with gold. If you don’t have acrylic ink, you can also use mica watercolors, like Coliro, or fluid acrylic paint (like Golden Paints.) First, you’ll want to paint the dots or stars on your zodiac constellation. Then using a steady hand, paint the lines connecting the stars. You may have to go over the lines two times to get the ink opaque enough. Let it dry completely!
Now, I recommend doing this step BEFORE you paint your constellation on. I forgot to as I was photographing this tutorial! You’ll want to get a white ink or acrylic paint, and water it down slightly, so it is quite fluid. Dip your paintbrush is and gently flick the paint on your page to great some stars in the sky. I’m covering my constellation because I didn’t want paint on it. This is why it would make sense to do the white splatters before you paint in the constellation!
This step is optional, but you can brush letter the zodiac name underneath your starry constellation! First write it down lightly in pencil – this is so you can make sure you have the placement and lettering style you like. I am by no means a master hand-lettered (I’ll leave that awesome skill to Dawn!), but even I can manage to write a little script word. After you’ve penciled it in, you can go over the writing with your 0 round paintbrush and the indigo watercolor. Or gold/silver would look great too!
You’re done! That is it – you’ve made a lovely zodiac constellation art! Super easy and so cute to make. I love easy watercolor projects that end up looking polished.
Now, if you’d rather print these zodiac constellation art prints, I can help you out with that too! You can head over to Fox + Hazel to download these paintings as 8×10 art prints. Be sure to check out more posts over at Fox + Hazel below!
Meet Torrie, the artist behind Fox + Hazel. She is an artist, graphic designer, wife, & mother of three kids 5 and under. She shares her artistic endeavors on Instagram and YouTube and shares free art + design goodies on her blog. Through process videos, blogging, and teaching online workshops, Torrie is passionate about sharing her creativity in hopes of igniting that passion in others. She loves art journaling, painting, punk music and would have a coffee IV if they existed.