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Article: Create Stars With The Fan Brush

Create Stars With The Fan Brush

Create Stars With The Fan Brush

I was taken out of my comfort zone with my latest lesson, ‘Starry Night’. Especially while revisiting some techniques that I haven’t used since my childhood. Using oil paint to create this effect required a bit of trial and error to begin with, using different brushes. I found using the Fan Brush gave me the perfect effect I was looking for!

It was fun creating this effect and one of my most enjoyable lessons. I hope you enjoy trying this technique too!

Series 4, Fan brush available in 2 sizes is available to purchase here

Once the correct tones have been achieved, it’s important to have the right consistency of paint, adding thinner enables you to create this effect. Practice makes perfect!

I would recommend having an area to spray on first, so your first attempt isn’t directly on to your painting!

Print a piece of card roughly the same colour as the sky, it doesn't need to be precise or in fact you could use a standard piece of white card.  I only used this to create the first couple of sprays. Once you know you have the correct distance from the panel, the correct amount of paint and consistency and are familiar with the technique, you can then move the card and paint directly onto the panel.

Varying the brush distance from the panel alters the splatter patterns.

Maybe spend a bit of time on this to ensure you are happy with the results!       

It also helps to have a little spray just after you've blended more paint and thinner to make sure you are still happy with the consistency.

Remember, the more thinner is added, the bigger the dots! 

Ensure the paint is only on the corner of the brush, by wiping off any excess. The drier the brush the smaller the speckles, if you want bigger stars thin the paint a bit more.

Experiment with the angle of the brush and the direction of the sprays to create the desired effect.

The shape of the Fan brush, enables you to create different splatter effects, purely by changing the way in which you run your finger along the bristles. Holding the fan flat/widthways and spraying the paint from the middle of the tip, you will create a flicked out spray effect. If you hold the brush pointing towards the panel and flick your finger along the top corner where the paint is applied, you will achieve a more controlled spray with a slightly better pattern.

To create little clusters of stars, hold the brush closer to the panel, gently bend the bristles back and release to create a fine spray!

The further away you hold the brush the less localised the spray will be.

Correction is easy, if the paint is too wet you may get large splatters where you don't want them, don't worry if this happens, gently blot with a tissue to remove!

Cover parts of your painting to prevent sprays effecting areas where you do not want them.

To create areas which are more concentrated, tear or cut a small hole in the masking paper, hold the paper fairly close to the panel, this will localise the splatters.  The closer the paper is held to the panel the tighter the cluster of stars.  There is a certain amount of guess work in creating these clusters!  


I used the series 2 pointed brush to refine and add definition to certain areas and to add the larger stars.  It's important to keep the brush circular to achieve this effect, by rolling the brush in the paint it helps to keep that pointed shape!

Series 2 Pointed brush available to purchase here


It's a messy technique but is really effective!

Try my 'Starry Night' tutorial here 

Happy painting!

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