How to Draw Smoke: 3 Tutorials for Beginners

Pixabay - Photo by HG-Fotografie

Jun 12, 2020 09:23 AM

Smoke perhaps becomes one of many objects which is hard to draw. This is probably because smoke doesn't have a fixed shape like, say, an apple or buildings. But, the moment you understand how smoke moves and what shapes it forms, you'll find that it is actually pretty easy to draw one.

So if you're struggling to make one, you've come to the right place! In this article, we're going to learn how to draw smoke.

How to draw smoke clouds

Pixabay - Photo by Engin Akyurt

Have you been wondering how to draw smoke clouds which rise in the air like the ones coming out from a steam locomotive, erupting volcano, or fire? A smoke cloud-like has a vague shape, so this allows you to show your creativity and make the work easy for you.

To properly learn drawing smoke, you can follow the steps given below:

1. Lightly outline the figure of a cloud by using a solid pencil. Sketch a small number of intersecting ovals in a variety of sizes.

2. Pencil in a shabby sketch of the cloud going in the order of the outline suggested by the ovals.

3. Slope your pencil to sketch with a side of it. Pull it all in the region of the cloud, wrapping the background by means of gray. Don’t shove too hard. Also, try to make consistent strokes.

4. Make use of your blending instrument (blending stump, finger wrapped in tissue, cotton swab) to bring together the strokes. Do it attentively so you will not spoil the general sketch out of the cloud.

5. Get a softer pencil and do again the previous two steps. Once more, don't force down too hard.

6. With an eraser, cautiously "sketch" tattered parts of the cloud.

7. Take the softest pencil then continue making several darker strokes.

8. Sketch the outline of the shaded area with a solid pencil, then shade the shadow region by slanting the pencil.

9. Mix the shadow and insert tiny ones in the light region and blend them.

10. Make the border between light and shadow clearer using an eraser.

How to draw cigarette smoke

YouTube - Photo by LethalChris Drawing

Drawing smoke which comes in a smaller size like cigarette smoke is different from the bigger one, say, locomotive steam. If you want to know how to draw smoke of this type, here's a tutorial for you to follow:

1. Outline a drawing that resembles cigarette smoke. Take your time until the shape looks believable. It'll be easier if you do your research before drawing.

2. Next up just very lightly shade in the whole shape. Keep it light and don't worry about any details yet.

3. Now start adding details by putting some darker shades in the relevant places. Don't overdo it and don't go too dark! Darkening up the edges of the lower half of the smoke pillar will also do, just make sure not to draw the edges too dark in the top half because the smoke is starting to lighten up.

How to draw smoke digital

Pixabay - Photo by Hanjörg Scherzer

If you want to draw on Photoshop instead, you can learn how to draw smoke in a digital painting by following these steps:

1. Start with a couple of squiggly lines on separate layers over the background.

2. Use a soft eraser brush to erase bits of the lines. Keep erasing mostly to the inside of the curves.

3. Use a hard, round brush with opacity and stroke in and around the lines on a separate layer.

4. Clean the broad strokes with an eraser and add in some smaller strokes.

5. Do some random erasing and alter a few of the bulges to add variance to the look. Liquify is pretty handy here.

6. Brighten up with dodge tool set to highlights. Do more random erasing.

7. Use a small, hard round brush to detail and outline the tendrils. Keep in mind not to break the flow of the smoke: where they do end, they’ll fade.

8. Merge the smoke layers, duplicate then go to Hue/Saturation setting. Set lightness to 100%.

9. Change the duplicated layer from Normal to Overlay and change the Opacity to 50%.

10. Duplicate the new Overlay layer, set the Opacity to around 40% to add a bit more brightness to the more solid sections.

And that wraps up the tutorial on how to draw smoke of various shapes. Have a good drawing time!