Moon painting easy

Moon painting easy DEFAULT

DIY Moon Painting – How to Paint a Full Moon

Using layers of paint you can easily paint a full moon onto an unfinished round table blank! Bring the moon inside with this DIY Moon Painting.
Paint a Full Moon - DIY Round Moon Painting - Step by step on How to Paint the Moon for nursery decor and space themed rooms

I had this painting as an ongoing project in my art studio, just adding layers of acrylic paint as I was working on other projects. It’s an easy project if you are patient and willing to just layer and layer until you get the result you are happy with. It involves sponging and dry brushing and a little bit of splatter paint for the craters. To make it easy I printed out an actual photo of the moon and folded it so that I had a grid to go by:

Using a Grid to paint a realistic moon

I used willow charcoal to draw a grid onto an unfinished wood table top (available at Lowe’s or on Amazon) that I pre-primed with white paint. You want to use willow charcoal to sketch with because it’s easy to paint over unlike pencil which will show through layer after layer of paint. (Note: you can also paint on round canvas or round wood art panels like the ones listed here.)


I used the grid to help me block out large areas of color first. You can draw these areas with willow charcoal first and use a sponge or a paintbrush:


I kept layering different areas, going grid by grid. To get the meteor crater effect I splattered whit paint randomly all over and used a small paint brush to show where lines left by the blasts:

How to paint craters on moon

For some layers I used a sponge to dab on paint:


For other layers I used a fairly dry paint brush to add light layers of color:


This is the last layer I painted. I used a dry brush to create the light wispy layers and alternated with different sizes of the brushes too:

Space Crafts and Moon Crafts - Moon project ideas - painting on wood round blanks

Here’s the entire progression of the painting at different stages:

Moon painting tutorial - Acrylic Paint

I love how it turned out. It’s a pretty large round piece of wood (24″ x 24″) so it will look great as an art piece on a wall.

Full Moon Painting - Round wood Moon Wall Decor

I think it would be a great focal piece for a nursery, children’s bedroom or even in a classroom:

moon painting tutorial - Full Moon Painting on Wood

A side view:

moon and stars nursery decor - Moon for a nursery or space themed room - moon for classroom

You can see other projects I’ve made using round table tops here:

Wine Barrel-inspired Tray

How to Make Round Vintage Signs (Railroad signs for the old Train Depot)

Vintage Circus Sign and other Variations

Fresh Eggs Daily Chicken Coop Sign


Filed Under: Home Decor, Nursery Art, Tutorial


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No lies, I’m a geek for space. One of my first paintings was a galaxy painting. One of my first posts was “How To Paint a Galaxy” which you can check out here.

While I have had the moon in some of the paintings I have done I have not done a painting where the moon itself was the subject.

Picture of Earth's moon originally taken by NASA.

Let’s do one together! For this painting,we will be using our moon but when it comes to moon art there are a lot of options to go with.

For this particular project, I want it straight on suspended in space. No stars in the background. Just the moon floating all alone in the darkness.

This picture originated from NASA but if you go on Pinterest and search for pictures of moons you will find many other options you can choose from as well.

Half moons, quarter moons, pretty much whatever phase of the moon you might want. You could even do all of the stages in one painting.

If you’re looking for more of a challenge than what this reference presents feel free to find your own reference to use.

I’m a fan of keeping my challenges simple enough to inspire action yet hard enough that it will push me to reach for it. That’s a good sweet spot to shoot for.

If it’s too hard it will be discouraging.

The Paints and Brushes You Need

For this painting, I will be using only Ivory Black and Titanium White. Any type of black and white should do whether it’s Ivory Black or Mars Black.

I’m not familiar with any type of white other than titanium white though…

I will be using a nice square 8 by 8 inch from DickBlick. They’re a great place to stock up on supplies from. I’ve been getting my supplies from them pretty much since I found them.

Check out their selection on their site!

A square canvas is pretty good for this one considering the reference photo and the subject.

An 8 by 8 inch Blick studio canvas of a traditional profile frame.

As for my brushes. I’ll be using a large square edged brush to cover my larger areas.

This will be the black on the background and whatever shade of white gray I end up mixing for the moon.

We could use a sponge for some of the inner parts and blending. We could use a smaller square headed brush and a dry brush.

There is the wet on wet blending technique that might come in handy.

It all depends on what techniques we choose to go with. After watching so many artists I know there are a ton of ways to approach any project.

I’ll cover the techniques I end up using as we go as well as the alternative options so you can decide which to try.

Paint Your Canvas Black

A canvas painted black

The first step for this painting is to paint your canvas black. This is a standard step for most space paintings I do.

It is kind of a no brainer and goes without saying considering the reference picture.

It may take more than one layer. I had to do two to get it to what you see there.

I suppose if you want to take some artistic liberties with it you could try to create a glow effect around the moon. I’ve seen this done in other tutorials but that is generally something that is needed for a moon being viewed through the atmosphere.

For this viewing experience, we are in the depths of space. Approaching the moon in its isolation. We are explorers seeking to plant our flag.

I’m going to place mine in the center and make it rather large so I can get all the details on the surface and the sense that we are approaching it.

I also want to leave enough empty space around it to make it feel desolate and alone.

Thinking about things like this is a recent development in my art process and the only reason I mention it is so you can follow along with me in my thinking about some of the artistic liberties one has at their disposal.

Considering things like composition, placement of the subject, placement of certain eye catching details, all of these considerations begin seep their way into your process.

Something like this makes it easy though as it’s basically a large circle taking up all of the main intersections of the thirds of the canvas.

Let’s actually look more at this in the next step.

Paint In a Circle for Your Moon Using a White Gray

A black canvas with a light gray circle painted in the center of it.

For this step we want to start with our largest shape of the entire picture. We obviously need a large circle so let’s start by painting one in.

There are several options to achieve this.

I just started painting mine on. I was going to freehand a circle out with a white colored pencil but decided against it. Instead, I did it with my paintbrush.

One thing I did actually do to prepare was try out size and placement in Procreate.

A digital representation of a gray circle on a black canvas with a red grid that divides the canvas into nine boxes.

I also wanted to create a quick image to show you the rule of thirds in action so you can start thinking about composition too. This is probably something you are already familiar with as most phones have it built into their camera function.

The light red lines you see in this picture were my attempt to show you but I forgot to make them opaque again before I exported it. Whoops! My baaad.

I think you get the general idea though.

Once I had it laid out in Procreate it built my confidence to put it to the canvas. I think I got pretty close to what I digitally brainstormed.

This is just one way you can approach it!

Another option that I saw in some tutorials was to trace an outline around something large and round. Then paint that in.

This will help ensure a nice round circle. It should be pretty easy to paint it in once you have an outline down.

The other thing I saw as well was stencils or stickers.

As we saw in our “How To Paint Bubbles” step by step, which you can find here, the artist of Chloe Art on YouTube has these circular masking stickers she uses. I have no clue where she gets these but these are another great option if you can find them.

I personally love using masking tape for things like this so if I ever figure it I certainly will be adding some to my collection of tools.

Paint in the Largest Dark Areas of The Moon

A gray circle with dark gray blotches on it.

Working our way down from the largest shape of the circle, what are our next largest shapes to carve out?

To me, it’s the dark areas of the moon.

When it comes to painting or drawing anything it’s all about looking for simple shapes. As well as working your way from the largest shape down to the smallest shape.

So when I’m looking for the next step down from the circle I’m looking for the largest dark shapes I can lay out.

A picture of the moon with the darkest patches on the moon outlined in red.

As you can see from the red outlines in this picture the dark splotches are what I am focused on.

Fun fact: These dark patches are known as maria, meaning seas, and are comprised of basalt. The good news is basalt happens to be a staple of a lot of construction materials. Let’s start building that moon base!

Before we get to building that base we should probably finish this painting.

If you think drawing it in before you start painting will help you then I recommend doing that. You can also practice by sketching the moon. I actually have done many sketched of the moon in the past year.

None quite like this but still enough. Plus it seems these little outlines in Procreate I’ve been making to show you what I’m doing is helping me as well.

While this is something I have generally done in my head until now it seems to be helping refine the skill.

So if you have the means to carve up your reference picture digitally you may find it accelerates your development. The more senses you are able to engage in something the more you will level it up.

Paint Smaller Dark Spots and Start Blending Areas

For this step, we are going to be looking to fill in some of the smaller dark spots and start adjusting the shading in some of the areas to get smoother blends.

For most of this step and the last step I used a number 6 flat brush. As I got down to some of the smaller parts of this step and some of the areas I wanted to blend better I would alternate to number 4 flat brush.

Quite a bit smaller but it will definitely help to get some of the smaller details correctly as well as when it comes to blending smooth gradients.

One thing I do when working wet on wet is apply the darker paint with one brush and the lighter paint with the other brush. Using the brush with the lighter paint I’ll blend them together to get a smoother transition between the two.

This is important for this step as we need to blend some of the dark splotches of the moon into lighter areas.

As we have done in previous steps we need to continue trying to identify smaller and smaller shapes.

Not just shapes but details too.

To help me focus on the right parts I once again went to procreate to lay out a plan of action. Again we are looking for distinct shapes we can add to our image to help give it more character and definition.

This time though it’s a little more challenging as we aren’t just looking for shapes but areas of color that need to be blended better.

They either need to be made darker or lighter and into some sort of gradient.

I outlined some of the shapes where we want to focus our attention. The shapes that have straight lines are the areas that we need to start trying to get a better blend on.

While this is the basic game plan for this step feel free to touch up whatever areas call to you while you’re painting. Sometimes when you see a detail you have to attack it right away.

It’s going to get a lot harder in the next steps as we try to shape and sculpt some of the finer details.

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Start Painting the Lightest Areas In

Here we start honing in on some of the finer details.

We’re looking go add more shades of gray that are on the lighter end of the spectrum.

We’re looking for the areas that are around the same sizes of what we did in the last step where it’s a lighter gray or in some cases white.

Here is another example of what it was I was looking at.

The craters and areas outlines are mostly light gray or white.

In fact, since we are focused primarily on craters of this nature so it got me wondering what’s the deal with the white craters?

It turns out these are technically the “newest” craters. Which is basically anything in the last BILLION years.

Anyways , in order to get the effect of a crater impact I used the straight edge of my brush and pulled out quickly. You want to make sure your paint is slightly watered down and then only load a tiny bet at the tip of your brush.

It’s a bit challenging to get right. I messed up a few times and had to paint over some of the bad ones. Don’t forget that is always an option if you do something you don’t like.

One of the benefits of working in all these shades of gray is they are pretty easy to work with over each other.

Just keep filling out the shapes where you identify them. Do your best to compare one shape to the other to determine the best size and placement of each one.

Add Smaller Details and Make Adjustments

At this point, it is becoming a bit more difficult to outline all the little changes I’m making but I will do my best!

The biggest changes in this one are the large dark spot near the top of the moon. It was too dark so I tried to make it a bit lighter and blend it better.

So look for areas of your painting where you may have got the shade of gray a bit too dark and attempt to adjust it to match the reference.

There were a number of white spots I still needed to add all over the moon. Some you can see as they stand out in the dark splotches but others are a bit more difficult to see unless you lean in close.

For the darkest spot in the middle right side of the moon I added more tiny dark spots in an attempt to make it look more like the picture. It still needs some better blending and some tiny white spots.

To the right of that area I attempted to soften the blend to make it more gradually shift from dark to light back to dark again.

If you’ve made it this far just take your time and knock out one small detail at a time. Between details be sure to take a step back and view the picture as a whole.

Sometimes when focused so intently on one tiny thing you may be forgetting to compare it to the larger picture. Other times being honed in on the minute details like that without worrying about the larger picture will allow the larger picture to come into focus.

It’s all about balance and transitioning back and forth between the minute details and their place in the larger picture.

A little better blending here, a tiny crater there that only barely differs in grayscale.

You obviously want to use a much smaller brush as well. Personally, I’ve been using a number 4 craftsmart flat headed brush as pictured here.

At times I should have switched to a smaller brush but it worked for most of this step. In the next step we should find a smaller brush to use as we will be trying to add more visible indents and craters on the north and south sided of the moon.

Another area I added to was on the left side of the moon. For this area I made a shade of gray between the darkest blotch on the left side of the moon and the lighter areas both north and south of it.

I wanted to be careful with this as this is going to help make the moon look a bit more spherical. Once I had the right shade of gray mixed I dipped the brush in the water and then wiped it off to make it damp and help water down the paint ever so slightly.

Then I rubbed the brush on a clear area of the palette to ensure there was very little pigment on it and that it was watery enough. Then I began to carefully and lightly add it both above and below the darkest spot on the left side of the moon.

This ultimately didn’t dry so great but that’s okay! We still have a few more layers to go to fix it.

There are still more areas that need better blending and minor adjusting as well.

We just have to add another layer or two and I think we can wrap it up and move on to the next one!

Keep Adding Small Details and Blending Areas As Needed

I suppose we are working our way across various sections of the moon when it comes to adding the smaller details in.

While I try not to get stuck on any one area for too long it’s easy to slip into tunnel vision.

First and foremost we had to fix that blending on the left side of the moon. If you look at the picture below you’ll see it was a bit cracked and didn’t have a smooth gradient towards the southern end of it.

While I was working on that I ended up painting over the two dark spots to move them and try to make them more…crater-like? If that makes sense.

The size and spacing of each was off so when I accidentally painted over one it was…how does Bob Ross say it? “A happy accident.”?

I’m paraphrasing of course but it was just one of those things that you just have to roll with and next thing you know you have something that is better than it was before.

It’s a bit harder to point out some of the other areas of correction just by talking about so to help you see the differences better I made this side by side.

The areas that are outlined in red are where the vast majority of the changes took place.

Now you can compare the two areas to see for yourself some of the smaller things that were changed that I’m not describing correctly.

There are some dark spots closer to the south pole that I repainted and a number of white craters I added as well.

This basically what you want to do at this point. Keep narrowing it down and honing in on the minutia.

In the next step we are going to finish it out.

Add More Details To Any Neglected Areas and Sign

In this last step we’re going to bring it home. For this step we want to add our finishing touches.

There were a few areas that still needed a better gradient. Most specifically the dark blotch of gray all the way on the right side of the moon should have a lighter gradient going out to the edge of the moon.

Next I worked on the south eastern quadrant of the moon just sound of the gray spot on the right side of the moon.

This area has very light white features that are very difficult to see so just basically try to add some white highlights and details to this area. This will give it a sense of terrain instead of leaving it a flat gray.

Next, in this step I finally figured out the secret to making really good craters.

This whole time I have noticed how the vast majority of the dark craters had a white rim to them.

At first I was painting these tiny gray dots and trying to paint a little thin line of white around them. While this worked it was messy and not nearly as good as this next technique.

The secret it so put a dot of white paint down first. Then while it is still what put a dot of darker gray paint in the middle of it.

Once you fill out your dot with the gray paint, especially if you do it while it is still wet, it ends up leaving the perfect little white rim around the crater.

This makes it look a lot more like the craters we see in the original picture.

Now for the final comparison! Let’s see how close we got to matching the original picture!

Not too shabby if I do say so myself. That’s one small step for man but one giant leap in artistry!

Corny jokes aside, this painting was an excellent challenge in proper blending techniques and how to hone in on the smallest of details.

For me, I also learned the secret to making good craters and how to better illustrate what I’m doing to break down these images into smaller shapes.

I think I will continue to try and build on this so I can better show you how I am getting these sorts of results. That way you can give it a try yourself.

There is only so far the descriptive word will get me when explaining.

I’ll soon be producing YouTube videos as well to accommodate these step by step tutorials.

If you found this helpful and want to stay up to date with everything going on in the Art With Marc studio my Instagram account is the behind the scenes place to be.

It’s basically the first stop of all of my content in the content production pipeline. Follow me on my Instagram account here and be sure to check out the site for more helpful tips and techniques!

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How do you make a full moon painting? In this step-by-step tutorial, I make it simple. A gleaming watercolor moon is within your reach.

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

How do you make a full moon painting? The subject of endless poetry, mythology, and mystic musings, the moon is no less a favorite in art. But moonlight is not that easy to paint. In this step-by-step tutorial, I make it simple. A gleaming watercolor moon is within your reach. 

When I was looking for reference photos, I stumbled upon the image below. It instantly reminded me of an iconic Norwegian painting called “Winter Night in the Mountains”. 

Most of my watercolor tutorials focus on realistic rendering. Here, I take a creative approach to highlight the moonlight atmosphere. Moon symbolism is intimately connected to creativity. It makes sense to use our imagination for this project.

Step 1: Outlining the landscape.

Outline some simple mountain shapes. Use a compass to draw a circle for the moon. If you don’t have a compass, trace around a small lid instead. 

Perhaps you don’t feel like drawing. You can download mine for free in the One Tree Art Club library. (MEMBERS: check your newsletter for library access information). Once you have printed out the drawing, trace the lines onto your watercolor paper. 

Step 2: Apply masking fluid to the moon.

You are going to watercolor the sky with a lush, blue wash. To make it easy, protect the moon with masking fluid. When the masking fluid is dry, you can start painting.

Covering the moon with masking fluid.

Step 3: Watercolor the dark, blue sky.

Paint with plain water first. Then, apply lush amounts of blue watercolor. You can use various shades of blue. 

When the watercolor is dry, rub off the masking fluid with your finger. 

Painting with plain water first.
Lush, blue watercolor for the sky.
Rubbing out the masking fluid when the painting is dry.

Step 4: Watercolor the bright, blue mountains.

The colors will overlap as seen below.

Blue watercolor on the mountains.

Use a sponge to soften the transition between the blue colors.

Smoothing the edges of the paint.

To create the look of mountains, soak up pigments with a sponge and some tissue paper. First, use the sponge. Refine the lighter areas by “drawing” with the tissue paper. 

Removing blue pigment for the mountains to take shape.

Step 4: The watercolor moon.

Paint the moon a pale yellow.

Painting the moon yellow.

When the yellow watercolor is dry, paint over it with white gouache. 

Painting over the moon with white gouache.

With your brush, use water to soften the edges. Soften further with a sponge.

Smoothing the edges of the white paint around the moon.

Paint a thick, white circle around the moon.

Painting a thick, white line around the moon.

Dilute with a wet brush and let it dry. 

Smoothing out the line.

Step 5: Creating a soft light with colored pencils.

With white, colored pencils, draw on top of the white gouache around the moon. Since the white paint now is uneven, you will get a more natural, not-so-polished glow.

Drawing white light around the moon with white colored pencils.

The mountains can use some drawing with white pencils too. For the sake of contrast, I painted more dark blue on the lower part of the mountains.

Adding more dark blue watercolor to the mountains.

Step 6: Taking more drastic measures.

When I looked at the painting the next day, I thought it needed more pizzazz. Also, the moon was not truly round anymore.

A new wash with intense blue did well on the sky. For the mountains, I went for bold, white streaks of light. I corrected the moon circle.

Painting over the sky with blue watercolor once more.
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Below, you can see how I painted progressively closer to the moon. 

The paint edges.

While the watercolor was still wet, I used a sponge to soften the edges.

Smoothing out the edges with a sponge.

But…the moonlight looked too bright. With a blue pencil, I softly colored over the white around the moon. Then, with a tissue paper, I smudged the pencil marks. The light became more soothing and “moon-like”. 

Dimming the light around the moon with colored pencil.

Finally, the watercolor moon painting was complete. 

The watercolor moon painting is done.

I have provided a list of art materials needed for this tutorial in my Guide to Art Supplies.

More watercolor tutorials on this blog ( a few out of many!):

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For Beginners -Acrylic Painting /Full Moon Painting/Easy Moonlight Night Painting step by step

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How To Paint The Moon

Learn to create a painting of a full moon with acrylics on canvas. This tutorial will guide you through the steps with picture instructions and video.

Painting a moon can be kind of intimidating. If you observe photographs of moons, you will notice there are various dark and light blotches.

If you look at super close up images of the moon, you can also observe craters, little dots and some lines. 

That leads the the difficulty of painting a moon. The dark blotches we observe really aren’t a recognizable shape like a heart or a square. They are organic. And tricky. 

The best advice I can give if you are trying to paint a somewhat realistic representation of a moon is to look at a photograph. Really observe where those dark areas are. 

When I paint the moon, I look more at the photo than my painting. It’s a technique that forces you to paint what you see rather than paint what you think you see. 

Tip: Look more at your photo when painting the moon. It forces you to paint what you see versus what you think you see. 

Since this is an online tutorial, I will guide you through the steps of how I did this moon. I’ll show you where I did my dark blotches. It’s not intended to be realism so don’t worry about being perfect!

You can also use the techniques of this moon painting in other painting projects you may have. Perhaps you want to do a full moon in a landscape or over a body of water.

I did a night sky since the moon is the focus of this painting. I also dry brushed a few clouds around the moon. You can leave the moon in a clear sky if you’d like! I know clouds can be kind of intimidating.

 Enjoy and happy painting!



Active Time1 hour30 minutes

Total Time1 hour30 minutes



  • Acrylic Paint
  • 11 x 14 Canvas
  • Paint Brushes
  • Circle To Trace The Moon (7-9 inches)
  • Optional White Paint Pen 


  • Titanium White
  • Payne’s Grey
  • Mars Black
  • Phthalo Blue



  1. Use a pencil to trace a large circle (7-9”) on your canvas.
  2. Use a 3/4 Wash brush to paint a white ring around the moon.
  3. Lightly blend phthalo blue with the white to create a light blue tone around the moon.
  4. Gradually blend more phthalo blue in the sky as you work your way to the edges of the canvas.
  5. Blend Payne’s Grey on the furthest edges and corners of the canvas.
  6. Go back and blend the colors further if needed.
  7. Splatter stars on the canvas by tapping a paint brush of titanium white against another paint brush.
  8. Paint the circle of the moon solid white. Keep that white paint wet because the moon texture will be done with wet on wet blending.
  9. Use a 1/2” filtert brush to blend Payne’s grey in with the white. Observe how certain areas of the moon have darker markers.
  10. Add more white to your filbert brush and blend in areas that are lighter.
  11. Load some mars black onto your palette and mix white with it to make a warm black. Blend in this black in various dark areas of the moon.
  12. Use a round brush to paint small dots and two large craters on the moon.
  13. Paint the outer rim of the moon white using the round brush.
  14. Use the 1/2” filbert brush to dry brush some clouds in the sky using titanium white, Payne’s gray & phthalo blue.
  15. Splatter more stars in the sky if necessary.
  16. Touch up the circle by laying the circle you traced over the moon and making sure your circle is uniform.


The brush I used for this moon, I call it a filbert but it’s actually an oval wash brush. Click the link above to see exactly what brush I used. It’s a 1/2” oval wash brush.


Color Palette:

Moon painting


Directions At A Glance:



There is no traceable for this one! I traced a plastic plate with a  diameter of 7.25”. You can find one that has a 7-9 inch diameter.




Step By Step Instructions: 

1. Trace a Circle

Position your canvas horizontally (or vertically if you prefer) and trace your circle with a pencil.

2. Paint The Sky

Use a 3/4” Flat Wash brush to paint a titanium white ring around the moon.

The width of the ring should be the width of the brush (so 3/4”). 

Then load a tiny it of phthalo blue onto the corner of your 3/4” wash brush.

Using the wet on wet blending technique, blend the phthalo blue into the white so that it turns to a lighter blue. 

The intent with this technique is to allow a lighter blue to be closest to the circle and for the blue to get darker as it gets to the edge. 

Continue adding more phthalo blue to your brush and paint in circles working your way to the edges of the canvas. 

If you need to, add more titanium white to help with the blending transition of the light blue to the pure phthalo blue. Note that I did not rinse by brush anytime while painting this sky. 

By the time you get to the edges, you should have pure phthalo blue. (And whatever tiny bit of white is mixed into it because you didn’t rinse your brush).

Then load your brush in Payne’s grey (without rinsing it). If you need to, wipe your brush off because it may be overloaded.

Paint just the corner areas with Payne’s grey and blend it in with the phthalo blue by painting over the phthalo blue area. 


3. Splatter Those Stars

While I usually use a toothbrush for this step (and you can too), I decided to try a different way this time to splatter my stars. 

I loaded one of my brushes in white (my 1/2” filbert) and added a TINY bit of water to that white so it was SLIGHTLY watered down. 

Note: you don’t want to water your white down too much because it will drip everywhere and mess your painting up.

Test out an area away from your canvas. Tap your loaded brush against another brush (like tapping drumsticks together) and let the splatters go on the surface.

Then when you feel confident, do so over your painting. Don’t worry about getting white splatters on the moon because that is all white right now any way.

Try to aim for a variety of splatters large and small. If you mess up, keep a baby wipe handy to sweep up and unwanted splatters.

4. Paint the moon white

 This is an easy but important step. I do wet on wet blending to paint my moons. In order to do so, you’ll need your entire moon to be wet and white. 

Simply use your 3/4” wash brush to paint a thick layer of white on that circle. By thick I don’t mean slap on the paint, rather apply a generous amount to it so it can easily be blended and workable. .


5. Paint your first dark blotches with Payne’s Grey & Titanium White

I used a 1/2” Filbert brush for this. I found that the round tip of the filbert allowed for softer strokes that were easy to blend. 

On your palette, double load your filbert in Payne’s grey and titanium white (about equal parts) to create a light cool gray. 

Then paint your first set of dark blotches. I did my dark blotches in the upper left area of the moon…

And dabbled down to the middle left area. Do these strokes in little dabs. Your color should blend with the white on the moon as well. 

Then dab some more blotches in the upper middle area and on the upper right. I loaded my filbert in a bit more titanium white in this area to get some color variation in these grays. 

Then continue your way down the moon adding more blotches.

Load your brush in various amounts of titanium white and Payne’s gray to get color variation and remember to allow your strokes to blend with the white layer of the moon. 

In some areas on the bottom of the moon I did super light blotches.

Tip: remember to look at a photograph of the moon and observe where you see the dark blotches. 

This is what my moon looked like until I introduced a new shade of black.

6. Paint your second layer with Mars Black and Titanium White

Mars black is a warmer black color than Payne’s grey (which has blue undertones to it). Adding this new shade of gray to the moon will give it some warmer tones. 

Rinse off your 1/2” filbert brush and dry it. Then double load mars black with titanium white (more titanium white than mars black because Mars black is a strong color). 

Paint more blotches in the areas that you painted the paynes grey blotches (but don’t over do it). 

Let these mars black/ titanium white blotches blend slightly in with the paynes gray ones. 

If your mars black blotches are too dark, you can always go back and soften them with more titanium white. 

7. Use a round brush to paint little craters, dots and lines

Use a #4 round brush for this step and just titanium white. Paint little dots on the moon, specifically over some of the darker blotches. 

Tp: while you can paint little clusters of dots everywhere and make it look nice, its suggested to look at a real image of the moon and see where these little white dots (aka craters) show up.

Also with my round brush, I painted these asterisk looking crater things. In the image above, my arrows point to them. There is one in the lower left and one at the top. 

To paint these, I used titanium white with a little bit of Payne’s grey so the lines show up agains the white. 

Then I slightly outlined the circle of the moon. Doing this ensures that the perimeter of the circle is nice and bright white. 


8. Do some touch ups around the moon in the sky

This is optional, but I felt the need to touch up the area around the moon. I used my 3/4 flat to blend in some more phthalo blue and white to make a brighter “moon ring” around the moon. 

9. Do some dry brush clouds 

I used my 1/2” filbert (aka oval wash) for the clouds and I did this dry brush style. This means that I didn’t load my brush in any water and only had a little paint on the tip of the brush.

Also I use a paper towel to wipe my brush after it’s loaded to ensure the paint strokes are nice and dry.

Load your filbert in the white, Payne’s and phthalo but specifically more white so it comes off as a medium gray-blue color. 

When you do the clouds, work your brush in circular strokes forming the shape of the cloud. Because the brush is dry, you should still see the color of the sky below it. 

To create a little depth in the clouds, add some more titanium white to your brush and add a few layers on the top tips of the clouds. 

You can also overlap you clouds over the moon a bit. 

Try to keep it simple! I might have gone too far with the clouds but couldn’t stop myself :-p

10. Some Final Touches

Go in and tap some more stars! This added a fun dimension to the sky with some stars showing through the clouds and gave it sort of a galaxy look. 

I suppose I could have done this three steps ago but I decided to make sure my circle was a perfect circle! I took my plate and then redid the light blue color around the moon so my circle turned out nice and round.

Paint the sides if you have not done so yet! I did my sides with paynes grey. 

Use a POSCA white paint pen for some larger stars. Simply paint some  clusters of smaller circles. You can even make some of them blurry by pressing your finger on the dots and smearing them a bit. 


This was a fun challenge! I love painting the moon and if you’re one of my active followers you may notice I do the moon A LOT. Thanks for viewing this lesson, I can’t wait to see how your moon turned out!


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Categories Galaxy, Intermediate Level Painting, Moon, No Traceable Required, Sky, Year RoundTags full moon, galaxy, how to paint a moon, moon, night, night sky, starsSours:

Easy moon painting


Full Moon Painting / Acrylic Painting for Beginners / STEP by STEP #173 / 보름달 풍경화


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