Easy Watercolor Painting High School Art Lesson Plan

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Hello, artists and art teachers, great to have you here! Today’s spotlight is on the Bottle Galaxy Drawing, a must-try middle or high school art project that dives into the fusion of watercolor, pens, and gel pens.

Students get hands-on with these dynamic mediums, crafting visually stunning compositions with a touch of mixed media magic. In this lesson, students will explore the artistry of combining watercolor’s fluidity with the precision of pens and gel pens. It’s not just about creating art; it’s about mastering a versatile set of techniques. For teachers, this project is a game-changer, offering straightforward lesson plans with clear steps and consistently impressive results that dazzle even the most hesitant students. It’s the perfect addition to high school or middle school art classes, elevating the creative experience for everyone involved.

So, join me in this blog post as we unravel the brilliance of the Bottle Galaxy Drawing. I’ll guide you through what students will learn, why it’s a win for teachers, and the exciting journey of using watercolor and pens to create captivating mixed media masterpieces. Let’s dive into this cosmic artistic adventure together!

How do you introduce watercolor to students?

Before we dive into the stellar world of Galaxy Watercolor Bottles, let’s talk about the exciting moment when you introduce your students to the enchanting realm of watercolors. As an art educator, this initial step is like opening a door to a universe of creative possibilities. So, how do you go about introducing watercolor painting to your eager students?

  1. Presenting the Watercolor Palette

Begin by building anticipation. Discuss the vibrant hues, the unique transparency of the colors, and the way that watercolor blends. Encourage curiosity by asking questions like, “What do you think will happen when these colors meet on the paper?”

  1.  Hands-On with Watercolor

Next, let the students become acquainted with the medium. Set up a station with paper, brushes, and colors. Let them experiment.

  1. Teach Blending

Guide your students on how to blend colors using watercolor. Show them how to create smooth transitions by introducing water to their palette and blending adjacent colors.

  1. How to: Brush Control

Highlight the importance of brush control. Demonstrate how the pressure and angle of the brush can influence the intensity of color on the paper. Encourage them to practice fine lines, broad strokes, and everything in between.

  1. Enjoy Unexpected Blends

Finally, instill the philosophy of embracing “happy accidents.” Watercolors have a mind of their own, and that’s the beauty of the medium. Encourage students to enjoy the unexpected blends and patterns that emerge as they paint.

The stage is set, and your students are now equipped to embark on the cosmic adventure of Galaxy Watercolor Bottles with confidence and excitement!

Step 1: Prepare Your Watercolor Paper

Watercolor painting high school measuring the canvas for the frame of the artwork

Before diving into the vibrant world of galaxy watercolor bottles, lay the groundwork by preparing your paper. Begin with a piece of high-quality watercolor paper, ensuring its durability and capacity to absorb the upcoming layers of color and lots of water. To guide your composition, use a pencil to measure one inch from the edges of the paper. This step ensures a clean and visually appealing border for your artwork. As an additional aid in maintaining proportion and scale, lightly draw an X grid on the paper.

Beginners may find accuracy challenging, so, teachers, focus on grid drawing techniques to ensure scale consistency. Students, take your time with the grid, using light strokes for adjustments. Patience in this stage pays off for the entire painting process, ensuring a visually appealing and proportionate artwork. If you need more help on how to teach X-grid to your students, you can check out this post where I talk more about it in depth.

Step 2: Sketch Your Bottle

Sketching the galaxy watercolor bottle

Now that your paper is primed, it’s time to bring your galaxy watercolor bottle to life. Begin by choosing a reference photo. This photo will serve as a guide for the overall shape and details of your bottle.

If you want to save time finding the perfect images, no worries; I got you!  You can find them along with useful lesson resources in my complete Galaxy Watercolor Bottles Painting High School Art Lesson!

Once you have selected your reference photo, use a gel pen to delicately sketch the bottle’s outline on your prepped watercolor paper. To maintain clean edges and prevent unwanted bleeding of colors, tape the edges of your paper.

Tips For Taping the Edges: Stick the tape to clothing or other surfaces before applying it to the paper. This ensures that the tape effectively prevents color bleeding without tearing or damaging the delicate watercolor paper.

Tape the surrounding edges of the watercolor bottle

Step 3: Base Paint Your Galaxy Bottle

Bleeding Watercolor Paint in the paper

Time to paint your galaxy watercolor bottle! First, start applying water strategically to the areas where paint will be added. This sets the stage for the process of color bleeding. With your chosen reference image as a guide, begin painting using the base colors, gradually building up to create depth.

Allow the colors to blend organically, but exercise control to achieve the desired effects. Throughout this step, keep the color wheel principles in mind to create harmonious and visually striking color combinations.

Step 4: Layering Color and Detailing

The intricate process of layering and detailing

As your galaxy watercolor bottle starts to take shape, let’s dive into the detailed process of layering and detailing. Begin by layering watercolors. Ensure each layer dries thoroughly to add depth and richness. Patience is key, allowing colors to interact seamlessly.

For an extra flair, use gouache for splattering effects, creating the illusion of distant stars. Bring your bottle to life with gel pens or acrylic paint, enhancing reflections and highlights for a captivating finish.

Challenges often arise from rushing the layering process, leading to a less vibrant appearance. Teachers, stress the importance of patience and showcase the impact of subtle layers. Students, take breaks to assess drying and add layers strategically for depth. Each layer contributes to the final result, so approach with mindfulness.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

Carefully remove the tape, revealing the clean edges that frame your artwork. With the main composition complete, shift your focus to the top of the bottle. Paint this smaller area with attention to detail, incorporating highlights and shadows to enhance its three-dimensional appearance.

This stage is also the perfect opportunity to infuse any final details that will elevate your artwork to new heights.

Take your time when removing the tape, applying a gentle and steady touch to preserve the integrity of your edges. For intricate details, consider using fine liners or gel pens that allow for precise and controlled lines. When experimenting with border designs, think about themes that resonate with your artwork.

For intricate details, consider using fine liners or gel pens that allow for precise and controlled lines.

Drawing the border for the galaxy watercolor bottle

Consider adding a border, an artistic frame that can complement and enhance the overall design. When experimenting with border designs, think about themes that resonate with your artwork. Whether it’s celestial patterns, abstract shapes, or a combination of both, let your creativity guide you.

You can find this complete “Galaxy Watercolor Bottle Painting” lesson with reference images, slideshow, video demonstrations, practice worksheets, handouts, rubrics and more in my resource shop!

Galaxy Bottle Painting Lesson preview to show inclusions such as reference images, slideshow, video demonstrations, etc.

What’s included?

✅An editable 52-slide Canva slideshow with step-by-step guidance

✅5 video demonstrations showing each step of the art lesson

✅20 reference images to choose from.

✅An instructional handout with QR code so students can easily scan to see the lesson videos and slideshow

✅Teachers instructions

✅A rubric for easy grading

Bottle Galaxy Drawing Cover

Ready to continue your creative adventure? 🎨


Investing in your artistic journey is an investment in yourself. This lesson is designed to empower you with knowledge, boost your confidence, and enhance your creative expression.

Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to refine your skills and create captivating artworks that stand out. Hop on this artistic adventure today!

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