The Process of: Snow Tiger Part 1

A new colored pencil piece for you! I split the steps up for this one, simply because it took so long to complete the snow. I’m talking about 5 layers for the snow….as it stands right now. I haven’t done too much snow in colored pencil so this was a challenge. The snow isn’t completely done, the highlights will go in last. Over time, I’m sure I will bounce back to the snow to fix some areas. Snow is tricky because it’s not stark white. There are many ways you can go with snow. For this piece, I went more of a blue tone. Right now, it’s a little powerful to view but once the tiger is filled in, things will even out.

I am using Faber Castell Polychromos pencils for this piece, the paper is Stonehenge. The lovely model is a Safe Haven resident, of course! I believe this is Caroline 🙂

Snow Tiger 1
Polychromos are a hard lead pencil, which means you really have to press to get heavy color. Because of this, you will typically have more layers due to the hard lead.


Let’s start of with the basic sketch! Once I graphed everything out and double and triple checked my lines, I start filling it all in. I start with the eye to add some life to her before moving onto the snow. I am using a slate grey as the undertone so I don’t overwhelm myself with the blues just yet. Light hand as usual.

Snow Tiger 2
What’s interesting with blending with OMS and these pencils is the color tends to come up fairly easily. After this discovery, I wait until more color is down until I blend again.

After the grey is put down, I go in with a light blue. Once the first layer is in, I blend it with OMS. I leave a lot of gaps to remind myself to show/add the snowy texture. At this stage, it’s not to impressive but it’s an important stage. Just because this isn’t the star of the show doesn’t mean that I can glaze over it quickly. To make the overall piece strong, I have to take my time. Light hand throughout with a lot of breaks in between.

Snow Tiger 3
During this process I step away a lot. And I mean a lot. When you work with a specific color for awhile your eyes tend to need more breaks.

I start in the bottom portion to darken up certain areas with different shades of blue and a little bit of purple. I’m using different colors to really make this snow sparkle. A lot of back and forth with a gentle hand but it’s worth it. I don’t go to quickly simply because this doesn’t need to be rushed. Also, I keep in mind the whiter portions of the snow. I go over them with blue still but not as heavily.

Snow Tiger 4
When dealing with a monochrome area like this, it can be tedious to say the least. But, it’s an important piece to the drawing. Even if that means stepping away a lot, do it.

At this stage, the snow is slowly darkening up in some areas. You can slightly  see the gradiation with this process. I’m only barely putting more pressure on certain areas, not a huge change. I’m also switching between a handful of colors, about 4-6 in total.

Snow Tiger 7
I didn’t go in with OMS for this final (for now) coat. I liked the way it looks now and over time that may change. No need to jump to something when you are not sure.

Now the snow is about done and I start slowly filling in the tiger. It was a little dark in the room so the colors are a bit darker than they should be. Not to worry, it’s coming out well thus far. I stop at this point because there is more form in the snow, especially near her head. I felt this was a good stopping point but will bounce back to it as time goes on, mainly to even in out with the tiger.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this drawing in the near future! Have questions, feel free to email me at


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