How to Draw White Fur with Colored Pencils

How to Draw White Fur with Colored Pencils

Today, Peggy Osborne is back with another tutorial. This time she’s showing us how to draw white fur.

This is the reference photo Peggy used for her tutorial. It comes from Pixabay.

How to Draw White Fur Reference Photo
Image by RitaE from Pixabay

Drawing such a happy fellow is certain to make any artist smile!

Now here’s Peggy!

How to Draw White Fur

by Peggy Osborne

White fur was always the hardest thing for me to draw. Then I discovered two things: It’s a whole lot easier to draw on tone colored paper and white is not just white.

I used French greys, cool greys, lavenders, blues, beiges, and of course white. I followed the reference picture very closely and picked the colors I saw in the reference before starting.

Of course as I work, I may see a color that I can add to the collection.

Here I used a grey Canson Mi-Teintes Pastel Paper (smooth side) and Prismacolor pencils. Towards the end of the drawing I also used Brush and Pencil Titanium White mixture for the flyway hairs and brightest highlights.

How to Draw White Fur

Now on to the tutorial!

Step 1

I start with a detailed sketch which is basically my road map. It shows me where to apply the right colors.

How to Draw White Fur - Begin with a detailed line drawing

Step 2

I always like to do the eyes first, and begin with White in the highlight, and Black and Dark Brown for the eye. The hair around the eye was drawn with 70% French Grey and Light Umber.

Then I move on to the white fur. The shadowed fur below the eyes is done with layers of Beige Sienna and 50% French Grey blended with White.

The hair above the eyes is drawn with hair-like strokes following the direction of the hair growth with 20% Cool Grey, Cloud Blue, and touches of Greyed Lavender and Beige Sienna. I then add White to blend these all together.

I repeat this a few more times to fill the tooth of the paper.

Step 3

Onto the ears. I’ll show a bit more detail of how I do the white fur.

If you zoom in and look close you can see that I laid in the darker colors first to arrange the direction of the fur and draw the shadows. I used 20% Cool Grey, Greyed Lavender, Putty Beige, and 50% Cool Grey.

I blend those colors with White, then add more layers of shadow colors where needed to give it depth.

Once again I keep adding layers of color until the tooth of the paper is filled.

The other ear is done the same way. Just remember layer, layer, layer.

Step 4

Moving on to the muzzle, I once again use the same colors and method as with the ears. I add hair-like strokes of 50% Cool Grey, Greyed Lavender, and Beige Sienna.

As always, I use a sharp pencil with a light touch and follow the reference photo closely.

In the chin area, I layer Beige Sienna, 50% French Grey, Putty Beige, and White.

I continue layering and burnishing with White to fill the tooth of the paper. You’ll notice that the colors are warmer in this area than the rest of the dog.

How to Draw White Fur Step 9

I will do a tutorial on drawing a nose, mouth and teeth one day. For now I have completed the mouth and teeth using shades of Black Grape, Peach, Pink, Greyed Lavender, White, and Black.

The fur on the shoulder is drawn as shown before on the ears.

Step 5

I finished the shoulder by layering the same colors and burnishing with White to fill the tooth of the paper.

I used Titanium White mixture to add hairs over the pencil to create a 3D effect and added depth to the fur.

Titanium White was designed for colored pencil and is archival.

Step 6

I completed the little jacket with much the same technique; layering the colors to get the effect I want. I will do a tutorial eventually on drawing fabric or something similar to show the method.

Here I used Mulberry and Violet with White to lighten the areas in light, then deepened the color with Violet in the shadow areas.

I finished the dots and trim with Black.

Step 7

Once again I show the comparison photos as this is something I do with every portrait I draw to compare values, contrast and likeness. This helps me see the differences and what I need to adjust. First in color then black and white.

How to Draw White Fur - Color comparison of reference photo and drawing.
How to Draw White Fur - Gray scale comparison of reference photo and drawing.

Finally, I used the Titanium White mixture to pull some hairs over the clothing and a few strings of fur here and there to complete the portrait.

Here is the finished piece.

How to Draw White Fur - The finished portrait

That’s how Peggy draws white fur.

I hope this tutorial has helped you draw white fur more realistically.

If you’d like more details on how she draws fur, read How to Draw Black Fur and How to Draw a Long Haired Dog.

If you have questions about this tutorial, leave a comment below. Peggy will stop by and answer your questions.

And if you have a suggestion for a future tutorial from Peggy, leave that in the comments as well.

About Peggy

See more of Peggy’s work at Pet Portraits by Peggy. You can also meet Peggy in the January issue of CP Magic.

Peggy is an accomplished self-taught artist living in Canada specializing in creating beautiful realistic portraits of pets and family members. She’s had an on going love affair with colored pencils, loving their simplicity, for as long as she can remember.

She started out using graphite pencil so it was an easy transition to carry on with colored pencils. Love of animals and art go hand in hand. Peggy is in awe of what can be accomplished with colored pencils.


  1. Kathleen Holmberg

    Peggy, I found your step-by-step tutorial very easy to follow. But what is the titanium white you refer to often and the titanium mixture? In what form does it come, powder, cake? I’ mnewto using colored pencil. Thank you.

    1. Good morning Kathleen. Thanks for following my tutorials. I use the titanium white mixture on a lot of my colored pencil pieces. It is specifically designed to be used with colored pencil and is archival. The product is two parts, a powder called titanium white and a liquid called touch up texture. I mix the two together and it creates a paint like mixture that is applied over the colored pencil with a tiny brush for whiskers or flyaway hairs. I love it. It can be purchased on line or at some art store.

      1. Kathleen Holmberg

        Thank you so much! I appreciate your quick response, Peggy. Fortunately I have the best art supply store in the U.S. just a mile away, WET PAINT. I see how I can also use the titanium mixture with egg tempera painting! Again , thank you. Kathleen

    1. Rough English Translation:
      Hello. Too beautiful what you do. [Is there} a software to make sketches as detailed as what you do?

      My Response:
      Thank you, Judy. The artwork in this post is actually by Peggy Osborne.

      I’m not aware of software that makes a detailed line drawing. I have used various photo editors to convert images to line drawings, but they are usually either too detailed to be useful, or too light to be useful.

      There may be software other than photo editors, but I’m not aware of it.

    1. Daniela,

      Thank you for reading this post and leaving a comment.

      The paper is actually not paper at all but drafting film, which is an acetate material originally used for drafting, back in the days when designs were drawn out by hand. In recent years, colored pencil artists have begun using it for fine art, and it’s been gaining in popularity ever since.

    2. Thank you Danelia, I am glad you like this portrait. It was really fun to draw. That smile made my day each time I worked on it. The paper I used here was actually called Canson Mi-Tientes. It comes in a variety of colors and it has a smooth side and a more textured side. I used the smooth side in a grey color.

  2. Cathy

    I love your drawing so much and reminds me of my cavachon Pip. I would love to try and draw him but will have to invest in good quality coloured pencils. Can you advise please. I live in UK.

    1. Cathy,

      Thank you. Peggy Osborne actually drew this cat. She is a fabulous artist.

      I would suggest you look into Derwent pencils. They’re made in the UK and they have a wide variety of pencils from scholastic to artist grade. Their prices are good, and they have excellent customer support.

      I also suggest that you look at a mid-grade pencil. If you’re just learning and/or doing artwork for yourself, you don’t need to buy the top-of-the-line pencils.

      If you plan to do commission portrait work, then you will want the best pencils you can afford.

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