Coloring White Objects and Snow - Tutorial

Coloring Snow and White Objects

Some times when we imagine snow we think of snow we imagine a fluffy, white covering.  The fact is, if you look close enough you will see more color than white.  With snow, the areas really are not white at all, but more a reflection of the surroundings.  Snow might have a tint of blue that reflects the sky, or even gray if it’s an overcast day.  In a nighttime scene you might have the moon casting light, which could make the snow appear more of a darker shade of blue.  A lamp at night or the sunlight during the day would cast a glow in more of warm tones. Light would tend to be warmer and shadows are cooler in color.

                                                          Image by

                                              Copics used on snow - B91 B95 B95 B97 YR31

When coloring snow objects you will want to leave the majority of the image white and color in the more prominent shadows.

For cooler shadows you can use light blue or purple colors for a cool crisp shadow or even cool gray.  If there is a light reflecting a glow on the snow then add some faint yellow.

                                                             Image by

                                     Copic Snow colors – N1 N3 N5 BG10 with color reflections

How to apply the ink to the object:

I like to think of the white as my lightest color which covers the majority of the object.  I still use a dark and medium tone but the darkest marker is a light shade allowing for a smooth blend into the white area using my medium marker.  When coloring the shadows within a snow object I use light and heavy squiggly lines and blending them into the white with the blender marker.  This makes the snow look fluffy.  Sometimes I moisten the paper with the blender marker, prior to adding the color, allowing the color to blend into the white portion.  To finish it off you can add a little glitter to the snow or the Clear Atyou Spica pen works nicely. 

                                                        Image by
                                            Copic - Sooty snow colors N1 N3 N5 N7 BG10

Coloring White Objects

This same thing applies to coloring white objects.  The slight difference would be that an object that lives and breathes would have more warm tones such as E40, E50, W1, vs. ones that are inanimate object would be cool to the touch so would have the neutral tones within the N series of markers.  If it were an object that would be cool to the touch you would use cool tones such as the lighter BG000, B000, BV20 and C1 just to name a few.  Most of us color on white card stock when coloring, so just remember to add slight color to the shadowed areas of the actual object and color in the background as this will leave the object looking more obviously white and give you the strongest white results.

Color the Background (airbrushed, blender pen for clouds)

Add in color in the shadowed areas

We can see that coloring white and coloring snow are both similar.  They do not need to be time consuming.  Just pick your colors and place them in the shadow areas.  Use your best judgment on light placement.  Remember to have fun…it is only ink and paper.

Jennifer Dove

Intermediate Copic Certified designer
Published in Copic Color Guide 2 and 3
Author of Build-a-Book Technique guide (for my Copic retreats)
Published instructional video through classes


Debbie Olson said…
Beautifully done, Jennifer!
KellyRae said…
Your tutorials are always so inspirational. Your images have a richness and texture that are truly amazing. LOVED the lantern's downward glow reflecting on the snow. (I'm barely to the 'color different whites in a scene with different marker families' - but I'm plugging away). Thanks for sharing this tutorial.
Dorinda said…
I need a tutorial on how you did the clouds. Did you airbrush?
Thanks 😉

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