How to draw Flames

Hi there! Welcome to my how to draw flames tutorial.

You might be wondering: what do flames have to do with drawing cartoon characters? Learning how to draw flames will help you greatly in drawing a fire breathing dragon. How about a character who has the power to manipulate fire? Pretty cool right?

So let’s get started!

Step 1: Imagine with Guides

If you’ve seen some of my previous tutorials, this will be a common process. =P

  1. Imagine the scene where you’re placing your fire
    • Sketch or write down your thoughts.
    • eg. Fire flaring up from character’s hand.
    • Try searching for reference pictures of fires to inspire you. has excellent resource pictures. However, make sure you read the terms and conditions of the artist who posted the picture before using them!

  2. Sketch in basic shapes (a triangle in this case)

How to draw flames

Matilda Tips and Tricks

Experiment with shapes!

Try using circles or long rectangles to produce different effects for flames. Varying the length or width of your shape can also produce interesting results. A very narrow and long triangle could turn into a jet stream of flames which a dragon could breathe out. Have fun experimenting and practising!

Step 2: Sketching the outer flames

  1. start from a corner
  2. draw a curvy line upwards (like several ‘S’ shapes)
  3. how to draw flames 2

  4. continue doing so for the rest of the triangle
  5. try varying the height, width, even curves for each flare
  6. how to draw flames 3

    Matilda’s Tips and Tricks

    Variety = Spice!

    When looking at fire, it is important to note that the flaring areas (or as I like to call them, ‘tongues’) are almost always in ‘S’ curves. Here are some examples:

    how to draw flames varied

    The thickness, length, and number of curves may vary for each tongue. As long as you draw them in ‘S’ shapes, you can’t go wrong. So continue to experiment and practise till you find the style you like most! =)

    Step 3: The inner flames

    When learning how to draw flames, you’ll need to note their 3 main areas:

    • Outer flares: Dark Orange
    • Middle portion: Brighter Orange/yellow
    • Inner portion: Bright yellow/white/blue

    Here’s how we’ll draw the inner flames:

    1. Middle Portion
      • Lightly trace the outline of the outer edge.
      • Draw it close to the outer line
      • You don’t have to trace every single part. Just most of the areas.

      how to draw flames 4

    2. Inner Portion
      • Follow the middle lines
      • Try to make them even lighter than the lines before
      • Draw some near the middle of the flames
      • Keep the inner lines to a minimal, or it will look overcrowded. ^_^”

    how to draw flames 5

    Step 4: Additional Details!

    how to draw flames final

    You can add small flares spitting out from your flames. All you have to do is follow the motion of your flames. Then draw small ‘S’ flames. Simple!

    With that, you have successfully completed this tutorial! Remember, Anyone can Draw! All you have to do is keep practising. See you in my next drawing tutorial!

    If you like this tutorial, why not try these out?

    How to Draw Skull Cartoons

    Drawing Pumpkin Faces

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