Art Inspirations | Blog

How to Paint a Galaxy Bug in 9 Easy Steps

An easy step-by-step tutorial that will help you to create a magnificent and long-lasting home decor piece. Try this mixed media technique to create your magical galaxy bug!

Studying insects could be very inspiring and fun. Practising to sketch and paint little insects will enhance your artistic skills and help you to improve your focus on the small details. This technique will teach you how to layer acrylic colours, create depth and highlights for your galaxy bug.

To paint a galaxy bug you will need:

    • Faber Castell Watersoluble HB Sketching Pencil
    • Daler Rowney Graduate Filbert Brush number 6
    • Daler Rowney Mixed Media Artboard Pad A4 
    • Daler Rowney System 3 Crimson Acrylic Paint
    • Daler Rowney System 3 Deep Violet Acrylic Paint
    • Daler Rowney System 3 Phthalo Blue Acrylic Paint
    • Daler Rowney Graduate Titanium White Acrylic Paint
    • Uniball Posca 1MR Extra Fine White
    • Uniball Posca 1MR Extra Fine Black 

Note: If you do not have some of the products, feel free to use whatever substitutes you have.

Step 1

Start by gathering your supplies, then begin sketching the shape of your bug. Draw the biggest shapes first before adding in any detail using an HB water soluble pencil.

Top Tip: Faber Castell water soluble pencils are great for sketching! They are especially useful for painting techniques. When you start painting the unwanted pencil marks will dissolve when mixed with paints and water.

Step 2

Dip clean brush into water, take some phthalo blue paint on your brush and start painting the bug with a thin layer of blue. At this stage, the brush marks do not really matter. Just distribute blue on the bug’s back, head and legs. Add a second thicker layer of blue around the bug’s right edge and middle of the back. Leave some areas lighter, this way it will be easy to make beautiful highlights on the insect’s back.

Top Tip: Acrylic paints tend to dry very fast. Do not wait until the painted surface dries out before adding a new layer of paint. The point of this painting technique is mixing colours straight away in the painting as you go along.

Step 3

Wash your brush and take some crimson paint. Then layer crimson colour alongside the left edge of the insect and a little bit on its head alongside the contour lines. The crimson colour will give your painting different shadows, shades and depths when blended with the rest of the colours later.

Step 4

Wash your brush, take deep violet paint and start applying it to the insect. Apply this colour to the head, body and legs. Keep on adding deep violet and blending it with the rest of the colours. Blend those colours until you can see a soft and smooth transition between the shades.

Top Tip: Make sure to keep your brush semi-wet when painting. Keeping it semi-wet will help you to blend the colours.

Step 5

Use a clean brush to apply a thin layer of titanium white on the insect’s back and head. Blend it with the rest of the colours. Apply a thicker layer of titanium white paint on the right side of the back to create a reflecting light illusion.

Top Tip: When blending with white colour, the insect might eventually lose depth, shades and become a bit washed out and bland. Do not be afraid to take some more phthalo blue or deep violet and apply where it is needed to bring back those qualities to your painting.

Step 6

Use a clean brush to take deep violet paint and draw thin lines for the rest of the insect’s legs and antennae. To create nice and thin lines, you need to be very gentle with your brush strokes.

Top Tip: Make sure that your brush is not too wet or too dry. A semi-wet paint brush will help you to control the colour and make smooth and thin lines.

Step 7

Once the painting is dry, take a black Posca pen and outline the insect’s body, head and legs. Use the same pen and draw small triangles at the end of each leg to make it look more precise and detailed. For insect’s antennae, use the same black Posca pen and draw tiny triangles along the painted line.

Top Tip: Make thicker lines around the main insect’s body and try to make thinner lines around small details such as antennae. It will provide your painting with different detail qualities and, it will help your bug to look a bit more realistic.

Step 8

Take a white Posca pen and gently draw some highlights on the bug’s head, legs and body. It will provide your painting with a 3D vibe. Use the same pen to make white dots. The dots will represent galaxy stars on the bug’s body and head.

Top Tip: Make sure you are drawing different sized dots because there are no identical stars in the galaxy.

Step 9

Finally, it is time to create the background. For this background, grab the same black Posca pen that you have used previously and draw some stars and dots to make the painting look a bit more mysterious and magical.

Top Tip: Do not be afraid to experiment and make this work more personal to you. Unleash your creativity and try new things. It is how the magic happens!

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