How to Draw Realistic Flames With Pencils

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Illustrating flames entails drawing many seemingly haphazard lines.
Illustrating flames entails drawing many seemingly haphazard lines. (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Like snowflakes, no two fires are alike. While there are general guidelines to follow when drawing fire, the task also leaves room for a lot of freehand sketching. You should keep certain qualities about fire and flames in mind when you begin drawing. For example, flames reach highest at their mid-point and gradually recede to the sides. They emanate from one broad source at the base but fracture into narrow, individual pieces in the middle. At the base of a fire and the center of any individual flame, it burns blue and white, then radiates to yellow and orange.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Pencil

Draw a long, vertical oval the size you want the final flames to be.

Mark a center point at the bottom of the oval. From that point, draw a line diagonally up and out with slight curves. Do the same thing on the other side of the oval.

Draw a line back down to the center point from the ending points of those two lines. These new lines should curve gradually, as well, and do not necessarily need to match the first line to which they are joined. Each flame may be narrow in some place and wide in others.

Draw a slightly curved line directly in the middle, going from the center point up. End the line when you reach the top point of the oval. Draw another long curved line from the endpoint of the line back to the center point.

Add one more flame on each side of the center flame.

Fill-in the gaps between some of the flames with new flames. Follow the oval as a guide for where you should conclude each flame. They will be higher in the middle, less so toward the sides. Leave a little space between some of the flames.

Shade in each flame-- darker at the edges and lighter toward the center. The area closest to the center point of the base should be lightly shaded, and should get darker as it radiates out, until you reach the individual flames.

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