It’s getting cold outside, so let’s draw some fire to warm up! In this tutorial I will show you how to draw a candle flame, a campfire, and a thrown flame using a few simple tools.
What You Will Need
- Some sheets of paper
- Hard pencil (HB)
- Medium soft pencil (2B)
- Soft pencil (5B or lower)
- Cotton swab/blending stump
- Charcoal stick (optional)
You can read more about these tools in the introduction to How to Draw Trees.
1. How to Draw a Candle Flame
Sketch a candle using the hard pencil.
Draw the outline of the flame. It should be quite elongated; a teardrop shape is not realistic.
Add some space on the sides�—this will be the glow around the flame.
Tilt your pencil and draw all around the candle and the flame. Don’t press too hard, but try to cover all the white. We need to make the background dark, so that the fire (which is pure light) can stand out.
Take your blending tool and drag it all around the area to make it smooth.
Take a softer pencil and darken the area.
Blend it as well.
Take the softest pencil and repeat the process, this time closer to the flame.
Use the same pencil again, but this time very close to the flame. Feel free to press harder.
When blending this area, go slightly inside the flame in the glow area.
Use an eraser to separate the flame from the blurry glow.
Use a hard and a soft pencil to shade the candle. The closer to the flame, the brighter it should be.
Use the softest pencil to shade the wick and darken the base of the flame.
Finally, use an eraser to make the melted wax shiny.
2. How to Draw a Campfire/Fireplace
Sketch a stack of wood as a base for the fire. Use a hard pencil and keep the lines subtle.
Sketch the flames embracing the wood from below.
Darken the wood.
Draw the rest of the flames. Keep them wavy and irregular.
Darken the wood some more using a softer pencil. Keep the parts “inside” the fire brighter.
Just like before, darken and blend the background. Don’t worry about smudging over the flames—they will look more natural this way!
Use an eraser to “draw” a few flames over the wood.
Add some dark ground to increase the contrast.
Darken the background some more. This time, be careful not to touch the flames.
Flames have three colors: white, yellow, and orange, but in grayscale it’s simply “bright” and “slightly darker”. Use the hard pencil to make some of the flames “orange”.
Take the softest pencil and add the darker shade here and there to increase the contrast and make the flames brighter.
3. How to Draw a Thrown Flame/Dragon Fire
Use a hard pencil to draw a subtle line showing the direction of the flame.
Draw the outline of the flame with a shaking hand, making it narrow at the beginning and cloud-like at the end.
Add a wider outline to create the area for the midtones.
Just like before, use softer pencils and the blending tool to create the darkness around. Once you touch the “outer” outline, try to smudge some shade inside it.
Take an eraser and give a cleaner edge to the inner flame. You can also add some flames flying around.
Draw “waves” inside the flame to shade it a little. The hotter the flame, the brighter it should be, but subtle shading may make it look more interesting.
Take the softest pencil and darken the background even more, if you feel it’s possible. This will make the flame even brighter. This is a good place to use a charcoal stick, if you have one—it will give you a nice dark shade without having to draw so much.
Did you like this tutorial? Check out others from the How to Draw Nature series:
Do you want to make your drawings look great when digitized? Try these: