If you want to draw flames this tutorial and its close companion how to draw flames are the perfect learning ground.

In the previous tutorial we studied the basics of how to realize a convincing drawing of flames, here we’ll see a technique to draw a complicated flame.

The basic principles are the same that we used to draw basic flames but this rendition requires a little bit more skill and attention to detail. Let’s see how the process unfolds.

Draw flames – defining the shape

I hope you can see it, but when you have to draw complicated flames you want to establish the general shape of the flame body before you start working on the single tongues. That’s precisely what I have done here.

I have established a baseline from the flame origin and the general shape of the flame. In this case, the flames will overall bend slightly on the right.

Draw flames – defining the number of tongues

Once you are done with the general shape you can start sketching in the principal tongues of the flames.

I have decided this flame is going to have three major tongues, as you can see. I will add detail later.

From this point on you can start adding smaller, lateral tongues to the main ones. I will explain to you later how to create nice side tongues for the flame but for now, bear with me and the overall process.

Draw flames – finalizing your drawing

You can keep going adding detail to the flame tongues until you get a shape that convinces you. Like the one that I have drawn in the panel above.

Well, the good news is that the difficult part is finished here! From now on you just apply the principles explained in the basic tutorial on How to draw flames and you should be able to get to the final result easily.

Let’s see the intermediate steps though.

Draw the internal layers representing the different temperatures within the flame and remember to follow loosely the profile of the main flame.

Once you have the internal layer drawn you just color them and you’re almost done!

This flame needs something more to look realistic and vivid.

Just add little flames all around the main one to simulate the constant movement of the flame and the constant detaching of small flame tongues from the tip of the main flame tongues.

Also, notice that I have colored the very core of the flame white! A little trick to make your flame look really hot!

Before wrapping this tutorial up let’s look in more detail at how to create the secondary flames and the small flame tongues. The secret is to draw a never-ending S being careful to smooth the lines and not interrupt the flow of the lines.

There is no easy way of explaining it as it is easier to draw than describe but I have found a way that might help you to understand better what I mean.

Start by drawing a straight line and then an S shape wrapping around it or, if you want, a series of waves.

Once you get to the top come down and keep drawing loose S-like shapes, again, be careful to connect all the lines in a way that you do not get any straight lines. When you need to add another tongue just roll your line around an imaginary circle (the 1, 2, or 3 for example) and go up and down again.

Remember that fire tends to go always up so do not draw tongues that go down if you do not want your flame to look a bit weird.

I hope this tutorial helped you draw better flames. Thanks for following us and let us know what you think!
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