Happy Snowman – Easy Watercolor Tutorial for Beginners and Up

Paint a happy snowman in watercolor to bring a smile to your friends and family. This easy watercolor tutorial is fun to paint, and makes a great card for holiday greetings or thank you cards. Or use these simple techniques to paint a your own photo of a snowman that your family created.


Suggested Paint Colors:

  • Blue – Cobalt, Cobalt Hue, Cerulean, or Phthalo Blue (watered down)
  • Red, Yellow and Brown – any will do
  • Opaque White – Bleed Proof White by Daler Rowney or any good white

Painting Steps:

Snowman watercolor painting with bird from easy watercolor tutorial by award winning watercolor artist and teacher, Deb Watson
Snowman with friend.

Step 1 – Draw or trace your outline onto your watercolor paper using graphite paper.

Step 2 – Paint the background behind the snowman. The darker your background is, the whiter the snowman will look.

Mix a puddle of a pretty blue for your background.

Wet the paper around the snowman with clean water. You can paint over the arms because they’ll be darker than the background.

Paint the background, starting on one side of your snowman and continue painting around to the other side.

Step 3 – Add shadows to the snowman.

Mix a small puddle of gray with background blue plus a little orange (red + yellow).

Wet the snowman with clean water.

Use a small brush to paint gray on one side of the snowman.

You can paint a shadow from the scarf or the carrot nose, if desired.

Step 4 – Paint the details. (I think this is the fun part of this easy snowman lesson.)

Happy Snowman watercolor painting from easy watercolor tutorial by award winning watercolor artist and teacher Deb Watson

To paint the scarf with strips of color like mine, paint one color at a time and dry.

Paint the scarf, the hat, the stick arms brown.

Paint the carrot nose, the eyes and mouth.

Add a tiny bird friend sitting on the arm, if desired.

Step 5 – Paint the foreground or bottom.

If you have a good opaque white, you can paint the bottom gray, dry and paint white around the snowman.

or use gray to paint a shadow on one side of your snowman.

You could even add a little green grass at the bottom or some wrapped presents.

Snowman photo with top hat and red scarf for easy snowman watercolor tutorial by award winning watercolor artist and teacher Deb Watson
Top Hats are Great!

Step 6 – Add Snow and Clean-up. (Practice spattering on scrap paper first.)

Use opaque white to add snow on the arms or the hat or anywhere you want.

To spatter falling snow – dip a small brush in white paint. Hold out the pointer finger of your left hand (that would the right hand for left handed people) like you’re shooting a gun. Tap the middle of the brush on your outstretched finger to spatter.

Reference Photo for Happy Snowman tutorial - photo by award winning watercolor artist and teacher Deb Watson
Original Reference Photo
Original watercolor painting 'Lititz Snow, Lititz Snow' by award winning watercolor artist and popular teacher, Deb Watson

Add a snowman to your winter landscapes today!

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. -Walt Disney