Beginner's Guide: Draw a Magical Starry Sky Landscape
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 10 min read


  1. Gather Your Art Supplies
  2. Sketch the Landscape Outline
  3. Apply Base Colors to the Sky
  4. Paint the Starry Night Sky
  5. Add Depth to the Landscape
  6. Highlight Landscape Features
  7. Create Lighting and Shadows
  8. Add Magical Elements
  9. Final Touches and Detailing

Imagine sitting under a starlit sky, awash with the ethereal glow of the cosmos. The air is filled with a magical sense of tranquility that only the serene beauty of nature can offer. Now, imagine capturing this enchanting scene on paper. If you've ever wondered how to draw a magical landscape under a starry sky, you've come to the right place. We're about to embark on a journey to transform a blank canvas into a mystical masterpiece. So, roll up your sleeves, grab your art supplies, and let's get started!

Gather Your Art Supplies

Before we dive into our celestial art adventure, it's important to gather all the necessary supplies. Below is a list of the tools you'll need to bring your magical landscape under a starry sky to life:

  • Sketching Pencils: A good set of sketching pencils is your first step towards creating your starry sky landscape. HB, 2B, and 4B pencils are great for sketching out your initial outline.
  • Eraser: We all make mistakes—especially when we're learning something new. A good quality eraser will help you correct any slip-ups along the way.
  • Paints: The paints you choose will determine the look and feel of your final artwork. Watercolor paints can give your landscape a soft, dreamy effect, while acrylics can provide a vibrant, bold look. Decide what mood you want your starry night to convey and choose your paints accordingly.
  • Brushes: A variety of brushes will come in handy. Round and flat brushes can be used for your larger areas, while detail brushes will help you add those intricate finishing touches.
  • Palette: A palette is essential for mixing your paints. Whether you have a traditional palette or you use a plain white dinner plate, having a place to mix your colors is key.
  • Water and Cloth: Don't forget a cup of water to clean your brushes and a cloth or paper towel to blot them dry.

Now that you have all your art supplies gathered and ready, we can move on to the next step: sketching the outline of your magical landscape under a starry sky. Remember, every great artwork starts with a single line. So, let's get drawing!

Sketch the Landscape Outline

With your art supplies at the ready, it's time to start sketching the basic outline of your magical landscape under a starry sky. This is the skeleton of your artwork—the foundation upon which everything else will be built. So, let's get sketching!

Begin by visualizing the scene in your mind. What does your magical landscape look like? Does it feature towering mountains, rolling hills, a peaceful lake, or maybe even a charming little cabin? Sketch the main features lightly with your HB pencil. Don't worry about details at this stage; we are simply trying to get the basic shapes and composition right.

Consider the horizon line—the imaginary line where the land meets the sky. This line will divide your drawing into two parts: the sky and the land. Placing this line higher or lower on the page can dramatically affect the mood of your drawing. A high horizon line will give more emphasis to the land, while a low one will give more dominance to the starry sky.

Remember, you're not looking for perfection here. The goal is to get your ideas down on paper. Mistakes? They're just opportunities to learn and improve. Use your eraser as needed, but don't get too caught up in making everything perfect. We're just getting started!

With the basic outline of your landscape sketched, we can now move on to the next exciting step: giving color to our starry sky. Are you ready? Let's dive in and start painting!

Apply Base Colors to the Sky

Now that we have our landscape outline, let's breathe some life into your scene by adding color to the night sky. This is where we start to see the magic come to life, turning our simple sketch into a mesmerizing landscape under a starry sky.

Start by choosing the right colors for your sky. For a typical starry night, you might want to consider shades of blue, purple, and black. But remember, this is your magical landscape, so feel free to get creative with your color palette. Maybe your sky is a shade of deep emerald green or a vibrant pink. The choice is yours!

Begin applying your chosen base color lightly across the sky portion of your drawing, blending smoothly as you go. Use broad, sweeping strokes with your brush to create a sense of movement and fluidity. Remember to leave some areas lighter and some darker to create variation and depth.

While applying the colors, don't forget about the horizon line. Lighter hues near the horizon and darker ones as we move upwards can create an illusion of depth and distance. It's these small details that can really make your artwork stand out.

By the time you're finished with this step, your sky should already be looking quite magical. But hold on to your paintbrushes—we're not done yet! Up next, we're going to add the starry sparkle to our sky. Stay tuned!

Paint the Starry Night Sky

Alright, it's time to sprinkle some stardust! In this step, we'll learn how to draw the stars that will transform your nighttime landscape into a starry sky wonderland. The key to drawing a realistic starry sky is to remember that not all stars are created equal. Some are brighter, some are fainter, and they're all scattered randomly across the sky.

First, take a small brush (or even the end of your brush handle) and dip it into white paint. Lightly dot the paint onto your sky, scattering the stars across the canvas. Try to vary the size and brightness of the stars by adjusting the amount of paint you use for each dot. The more paint you use, the brighter the star will appear. Remember, the night sky is a vast expanse, so don't be shy—fill it up with stars!

Now, for the magical touch: shooting stars. Choose a spot on your canvas and draw a line with your brush, starting small and getting wider as you go. This will create the illusion of a star shooting across the sky and fading into the distance. You can add a few of these if you like, but remember, they're special, so don't overdo it.

Finally, if you want to give your sky a truly magical twist, consider adding a moon or a galaxy swirl. For the moon, use a round object as a stencil and paint around it. For the galaxy, use lighter shades of your base colors and swirl them together with white in a spiral pattern.

And voila! You now have a magical starry sky. But don't put your paints away yet. We still have a landscape to bring to life!

Add Depth to the Landscape

With a starry sky set in place, let's shift our focus to the landscape. Adding depth to your landscape is like adding a third dimension to your drawing—it's what takes it from flat to lifelike. But how to draw a magical landscape under a starry sky with depth? Here's a hint: It's all about layers, tones, and textures.

Let's start with layers. Imagine your landscape as a series of overlapping planes. The ones closer to you should appear larger and more detailed, while those farther away should appear smaller and less detailed. To achieve this, begin by painting the farthest layer of your landscape—maybe it's a range of mountains or a distant forest. Use lighter tones for these layers. As you move closer to the foreground, gradually increase the size and detail of your elements and use darker tones.

Next, let's talk about tones. By playing with light and dark shades of your base colors, you can create the illusion of depth. The trick here is to remember that objects look darker the closer they are and lighter the farther they are. So, use darker tones for the foreground and lighter ones for the background.

Lastly, we have textures. Textures can give your landscape elements—like trees, grass, or rocks—a realistic touch. Get creative with your brush strokes here. Use short, dabbing strokes for a grassy field or long, sweeping ones for a smooth lake surface.

And there you have it! By layering elements, playing with tones, and adding textures, you've just added depth to your landscape. But we're not done yet. Let's keep going and bring our landscape to life with some highlights in the next step.

Highlight Landscape Features

Now that we've mastered how to draw a magical landscape under a starry sky with depth, let's move onto highlighting our landscape features. Highlighting is the secret ingredient that will make your landscape pop. It's like adding salt to a dish—it enhances all the other flavors.

Start by identifying the light source in your scene. Is it the moon? A cluster of stars? Or maybe a hidden source off the canvas? Once you know where your light is coming from, you can figure out where to place your highlights. For instance, if your light source is at the top right, then the highlights on your trees, mountains, or rocks should be on their top right sides.

Next, pick a lighter shade of your base color for your highlights. But be careful not to go too light—your highlights should be noticeable but not overpowering. Lightly stroke your brush where the light would naturally hit the landscape features. You'll notice that this step adds a whole new level of realism to your drawing.

Finally, remember to be consistent with your highlights. If you've decided that your light source is on the top right, all your highlights should follow suit. This will create a cohesive look and feel throughout your landscape.

And voila! With a few well-placed highlights, your landscape should now look more three-dimensional and life-like. But why stop here? Let's add some drama with shadows in the next step.

Create Lighting and Shadows

With the highlights in place, it's time to balance the light with some shadows. Shadows are as important as light in a landscape. They help you define the shape and form of every element in your magical landscape. Plus, they add a touch of mystery and intrigue to your starry sky scene.

First, think about where the shadows would naturally fall based on your light source. If your light's coming from the top right, then your shadows will be on the bottom left of your landscape features. These are the areas that the light can't reach.

Next, choose a darker shade of your base color for the shadows. It's important to use the same color family to maintain harmony in your landscape. Apply this darker color to the areas you've identified. Remember, less is more. You don't want your shadows to dominate the scene.

As you're adding shadows, you might wonder—how dark should they be? A good rule of thumb is to make your shadows as dark as your highlights are light. This creates a balanced contrast that's pleasing to the eye.

Once you've added your shadows, take a step back and look at your landscape. It should feel more grounded and solid. But most importantly, it should start to feel magical. And speaking of magic, let's add some final touches to our starry sky landscape in the next section.

Add Magical Elements

Well done! You've crafted a beautiful landscape under a starry sky. But what makes it magical? That's what we're about to explore. This stage is the cherry-on-top for your creation, the sprinkle of pixie dust that makes your landscape truly enchanting.

When you think of magic, what comes to mind? Is it fairies flitting about, a unicorn grazing by a glittering stream, or perhaps a hidden door leading to a secret garden? This is the part where you can let your imagination run wild. Remember, there are no rules when it comes to adding magical elements. The only limit is your imagination!

Start by sketching these magical elements lightly on your landscape. You can place a fairy on a leaf, draw a unicorn by the river, or sketch a secret door on a hill. Once you're happy with the placement and size, it's time to bring these elements to life.

Use the same techniques you've learned—applying base colors, adding highlights and shadows—to give your magical elements depth and dimension. You can add a soft glow around the magical creatures or objects to make them stand out. And remember to keep the light source consistent.

Take another step back and admire your work. Look at that! You've turned an ordinary landscape into a magical one under a starry sky. But we're not done yet. Let's add some final touches to your masterpiece in the next section.

Final Touches and Detailing

Alright, now that we've added the magic, let's tie everything together with some final touches and detailing. This is where we add the fine lines, the small details that make your magical landscape under a starry sky come alive. Think of this stage as adding jewelry to a well-dressed person—it's the tiny details that pull everything together and make it shine.

For the sky, you might want to add some shooting stars or a bright moon. If you've drawn a forest, perhaps there's a little bird resting on a branch, or a squirrel peeking out from behind a tree. If there's a river, maybe there are small ripples from a fish jumping out. Let's not forget the magical elements—perhaps your fairy has a delicate pair of wings, or the unicorn has a glittering horn. These little details aren't just fun to draw, they also add depth and interest to your art.

Use a fine brush or a thin pencil to draw these details. Take your time, and enjoy the process. It's these small touches that can make your art truly unique. And remember, there's no rush—this is your world, and you're the one creating it.

And there you have it! You've just learned how to draw a magical landscape under a starry sky. Remember to keep practicing, and soon you'll be creating your own magical worlds with ease. The sky's the limit—literally!

If you enjoyed learning how to draw a magical starry sky landscape and want to take your concept art skills to the next level, check out Hope Christofferson's workshop 'From Dream to Reality: The Magic of Concept-Art.' This workshop will help you transform your dreams into reality by teaching you the fundamentals of concept art and how to create captivating visual stories.