Snow Dog Painting Tutorial
Watercolor Painting Tutorial

by Jennifer Branch
YouTube Watercolor Painting Tutorial

My dog, Scout, loves playing in the snow. He's so excited about running through the white fluffy stuff that he seems like a tiny puppy again. We have so much fun together!

This YouTube watercolor painting tutorial takes you through every step of the painting process, from paints to brush strokes.

Scout is the most wonderful companion I could imagine. Whether I'm teaching my children or painting he is always beside me. As I write this, he's lying patiently at my feet.

He's a beautiful dog, an English Shepherd, which is an old-fashioned farm dog. They're what Border Collies and Australian Shepherd were bred from. The big difference is they're calm when action's not needed, but they like jobs to do.

The really great thing about English Shepherd is they are brilliant dogs. They're not bred for looks, but for tasks and intelligence. They have a huge range of looks, but they're always smart.

They had to be smart. If the farmers went to town, the dog was left in charge of the farm. They can put a bull back in his pen and keep him there. They can chase off coyote and make sure they don't return (Yes, Scout's done that one). Scout understands two step commands, like "Go to the kitchen and get your ball." More importantly, "Go find the boys and bring them in," or "Put the chickens in the coop." I can't tell you what a huge help and joy he is to have.

Yes, I could go on all day about my dog. I'm also going to paint him a lot...

Snow Dog Painting Tutorial Watercolor Painting tutorial

Painting Tutorial Level


Skill Building

Painting Dogs

Painting Snow

Art Supplies

10" x 14"
Twinrocker Cold Press

Isabey Mop, no.6
Isabey Pointed Round Sable, no.14
Isabey Pointed Round Sable, no.8


M. Graham watercolors

Yellow Ochre
Cobalt Blue
Ultramarine Blue
Cobalt Teal
Cobalt Violet
Quinacridone Rust
Wax Crayon

Painting Demonstration 1

Snow Dog Painting Tutorial Watercolor Painting Lesson 1

Snow has wonderful shadows, in rich purples and blues. I begin with cobalt violet with a touch of cobalt blue and cobalt teal. Definitely a cobalt rich palette!

Snow Dog Painting Tutorial Reference Photo
Snow Dog Painting Tutorial Reference Photo

Painting Demonstration 2

Snow Dog Painting Tutorial Watercolor Painting Lesson 2

I continue this wash of cobalts. I use a little more blues, washed into bluer shadow areas.

Painting Demonstration 3

Snow Dog Painting Tutorial Painting Tutorial 3

Next step is a wax crayon. I go around the painting dashing in a few extra whites where I want to be sure to reserve them.

Wax crayon does not ever come off. Ever. So please only use it where you're sure you want it white.

Remember, you can always use some gouache to add back whites.

Notice how the wash is pulled into the backlit white of the dog's fur.

Artist Tips

The greatest danger is turning the snow to green. Snow shadows should lean toward purple, not green!
Snow Dog Painting Tutorial watercolor painting tutorial by Jennifer Branch

Painting Demonstration 4

Snow Dog Painting Tutorial Painting Tutorial 4

While the shadows are still wet, I add some leaves and trees. I want a lot of interesting texture against the smooth snow.

I'm using quinacridone rust with a touch of cobalt blue and yellow ochre.

Don't forget a bit of splatter for more texture!

Painting Demonstration 5

Snow Dog Painting Tutorial Painting Tutorial 5

I continue building up the background until it's full of mid tone interest.

Now it's finally time to start painting my dog!

I begin with a dryish wash of ultramarine blue and quinacridone rust. I want lots of hit and miss strokes.

Painting Demonstration 6

Snow Dog Painting Tutorial Watercolor Painting Tutorial 6

It's so difficult not to go ahead and paint Scout's shadowed eye, but you really can't see his black eye against the black fur in the shadows. So I just paint a blur of dark fur and shadow.

Keep the details down. You only need a few of them to say DOG.

Painting Demonstration 7

Snow Dog Painting Tutorial Watercolor Painting Tutorial 7

Notice how a little of the warm browns pulled into the fur make a big difference. Do just little touches of this. Too much will look forced and heavy. Subtle reflections are much better for this painting.

Snow Dog Painting Tutorial Watercolor Painting demonstration

To purchase Snow Dog Painting Tutorial original watercolor painting, please click!

Snow Dog Painting Tutorial Final Watercolor Painting!

I've been saving this photo to paint for a while. Scout's such a happy dog to me.

I think we all know I love my dog by now.

But the purple shadows and the dark slightly reflective fur and the highlights are perfect for a painting.

I know who you really want to paint is your own dog, your faithful companion. Each person's dog is the most beautiful to them, and that's how it should be. I hope you tell me your dog stories and show me your paintings.

I hope this watercolor painting tutorial inspires you to paint your own dog, hopefully playing in the snow like a puppy.

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