Space Art Tutorial: Nebula Painting – NGC 6302; Butterfly Nebula

I recently got a space art commission from a collector in California for a Butterfly Nebula painting. I decided to take some work-in-progress shots along the way to give a tutorial as to how these nebula paintings are created.

I began with a dark purple/black/blue/green mixed ground, applied thickly all over the canvas. Then, with a 0 spot detailing brush, I began sketching out the shape of the nebula in burnt orange (made of cadmium yellow and napthol crimson), smudging it to create a wispy, cloudy effect. For all of the nebulaic areas at this point I mixed my acrylic pigments with a lot of Acrylic Glazing Medium to thin out the paint smoothly and apply glazes.

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After applying the first orange layer, I continued to layer thin glazes in different patterns over the orange layer using different colours, starting with phthalo blue.

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At this point, I added in a dark mix of dioxazine purple and payne’s grey to alter the shape and make the nebula more transparent and cloudy.

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I added in soft blue highlights with a dry brush and very little pigment.

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Finally, I painted in the stars using toothpicks and a spot detailing brush, as well as a signature. This picture is the only one in this set that doesn’t have terrible glare; the dark ground was quite shiny due to the medium I used. I plan to use matte medium in my background next time.

I used small toothpicks for the tiny stars, and a mixture of pink, yellow, blue and white in various stars, using various sizes and darker or brighter pigment to give the impression of distance. I did not use glazing medium for the stars.

Alizey Khan - NGC 6302; Butterfly Nebula - Acrylic on canvas, 12"x16" Alizey Khan - space art, astronomical art, space painting, constellation, nebula, constellation painting, space art painting, nasa art, hubble art, hubble painting, nebula painting, how to paint space, nebula tutorial, diy nebula painting, how to paint nebula, nebulas, astronomy art, astronomy painting, space art for sale, space art commissions, astronomical art for sale, astronomical art commissions, commission space art, stars, star field painting

Alizey Khan - NGC 6302; Butterfly Nebula - Acrylic on canvas, 12"x16"

 

For more of my space art, or to order a space art commission

3 Comments

  1. Nebula Paintings: Space Art by Alizey Khan | Art by Alizey Khan; Space Art, Astronomical Art, Astronomical Illustration, Pointillism · October 21, 2011 Reply

    […] Feeds « Space Art Tutorial: Nebula Painting – NGC 6302; Butterfly Nebula Nebula Triptych; Lagoon, Horsehead, Orion […]

  2. Space Art Links | Alizey Khan's Articulations · October 26, 2011 Reply

    […] Butterfly Nebula: Acrylic Space Painting Tutorial, Space Art Tutorial; Space Art, Astronomical Illus… Eight Nebulae and a Galaxy, Acrylic Space Painting, Space Art, Astronomical Illustration, Cosmic Paintings by Charleston, SC artist Alizey Khan Nebula Triptych, Horsehead Nebula Painting, Orion Nebula Painting, Lagoon Nebula Painting, Acrylic Space Painting, Space Art, Astronomical Illustration, Cosmic Paintings by Charleston, SC artist Alizey Khan The Pandorica Opens, Doctor Who, TARDIS Painting, TARDIS Art, Doctor Who Fanart, Doctor Who Painting, Doctor Who TARDIS Art, Pandorica, Whovian Art – Space Art Astronomical Illustration Cosmic Paintings by Charleston, SC artist Alizey Khan GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_bg", "ffffff"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_border", "dddddd"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_text", "666666"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_link", "026acb"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_url", "026acb"); GA_googleAddAttr("LangId", "1"); GA_googleFillSlot("wpcom_sharethrough"); Spread it:FacebookStumbleUponEmailTwitterDiggRedditPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. By vactuna 0 […]

  3. James · May 23, 2012 Reply

    Was looking all over for a space-scape tutorial that didn’t involve spray paint or photoshop! Been working on my first space-scape for a while now, and haven’t too much trouble with the planets, but getting the gas like effect of a nebula is driving me bonkers! Thanks for sharing and I hope your hints help!

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