Painting flames is a great way to add a dramatic, warm, or interesting touch to a drawing or painting. While drawing or painting a fire with a realistic rendering might seem very complicated, it really isn't that hard once you understand what fire is and see how to capture the movement of the flames. The process is applicable to both computer aided drawing or pencil drawing or painting on paper.
Step 1. Understand the movement of the flames
Although it may seem difficult at first, a movement can be drawn successfully by observing the way the object moves (in this case, fire) and noticing the different shades and shadows cast by the movement. Changing the perspective of movement can also give you a better general idea of the many faceted movements of the object. Watch a fire burn for a while before you go to your drawing. If you don't have a fire, watch a video of a crackling fire on the internet or just light a match in a safe place.
Common fire shapes include tears and tendrils for the flames and an elliptical shape for all the space occupied by the fire
Step 2. Paint or color the background black or a dark color
A dark color adds intensity to the fire and it's important to keep the background simple to make sure you are focusing on the fire itself. You can further beautify the background as your fire design improves. For the flames, choose a dark orange or reddish color to paint it. If you were working on paper rather than a computer, you can either paint flames directly or draw them and then paint them, you can choose whatever method you are most comfortable with.
- Start drawing or painting in the shape of the fire. It's good to use a reference for the shape, like drawing an ellipse that the fire will stay inside and you can send the flames to one of the edges of that ellipse.
- Use "S" shapes to create each flame. Join the flames about a third of the way or halfway up the base of the fire and separate them upward starting from that point.
- Make sure to vary the height of the different flames, none stay the same height at the same time and the height difference gives a greater feeling of movement.
- Watch how to draw flames for clear advice with step-by-step pictures.
Step 3. Take a slightly darker color
It should be darker than the one you used for the base of the fire. Paint the edges of the fire with it. This gives the fire more shape and smoothness, while giving an indication of warmth and movement. You can do this later too, if you want.
Step 4. Choose a light yellow or orange color
Start coloring the inside of the fire base following the shape of the flames. The lighter the color you choose, the more intense (and hot) the fire will be for the viewer.
Step 5. Take a very fine brush or pencil
Choose a light, almost white color. Again, paint inside the fire following its shape to make it even more intense and realistic.
Step 6. Make the desired changes or adjustments
You have finished !
Step 7. Change the background or beautify the flames
When you're more comfortable drawing flames and fire, consider working with a more detailed background. You could also make the flames appear more sophisticated. The following images suggest different ideas for you to try.
- Sophisticated flames for a more abstract or “funky” side.
- Introduce a subject in the image.
- Create larger fire.
- Introduce a character with fire.
- Make a rainbow fire.
Step 8. Practice
You will gradually improve.
- Use real fire for inspiration.
- Don't feel bad if your finished work isn't pretty in your opinion. Few artists create something perfect right away, it takes practice to make things look right when creating art.
- This is just a way to draw or paint a fire. This isn't necessarily a style that everyone should follow and the final images show you the wide array of ways to paint flames.