Art History Lab

Drawing Smoke: A Guide to Creating Ethereal Artwork

Have you ever been mesmerized by the beauty of smoke and wanted to capture it on paper? Smoke drawing, also known as fumage, is a fascinating art form that involves creating images using smoke.

This art form has gained traction in recent years and has become a popular addition to many modern art pieces. If you’re interested in learning how to draw smoke, you’re in luck.

This article provides an easy guide to drawing smoke, from the materials needed to the step-by-step process.

Overview of Smoke Drawing

Smoke drawing is a unique technique that requires creativity and attention to detail. The learning curve may be steep for beginners, but with patience and practice, anyone can master this art form.

Smoke drawing is easy to learn as it only requires a few materials, and the process is fun and rewarding. The process involves using smoke to create visual effects on paper, and the results are often stunning.

Importance and Application of Smoke Drawing

Smoke drawing is an art form that has its own unique charm. Many artists use smoke drawing to give their piece a tangible effect, which creates a sense of context and visual meaning.

Smoke drawings create unique and abstract shapes that can’t be created using other drawing techniques. Furthermore, smoke drawing can be used to add atmospheric effects to artwork, creating depth and realism.

By learning how to draw smoke, you can improve your overall drawing skills and add a new technique to your arsenal.

Materials Needed for Smoke Drawing

To create a smoke drawing, you’ll need the right materials. You don’t need a lot of materials to get started, and most of them can be found around your home.

Here are the items you’ll need:

1. Drawing pencils: You’ll need different grades of pencils for sketching and shading.

2. Eraser: You’ll need a good quality eraser to help you correct mistakes.

3. Sharpener: You’ll need a sharpener to keep your pencils sharp.

4. Paper: You’ll need good quality paper for your smoke drawing.

Instructions on How to Draw Smoke

Step 1: Sketch your image

To begin, you need to sketch your image. The sketch doesn’t have to be perfect, but it should be accurate enough to guide you as you draw.

Keep your lines light, so you can easily erase any mistakes. Step 2: Shade your image

Now that you have your sketch, it’s time to shade your image.

To create soft smoke, start by shading lightly and gradually add darker tones. To create cloud-like smoke, use a hatching technique to create a texture on your paper.

Step 3: Produce smoke

To produce smoke, you can use a candle or incense. Light the candle or incense and hold the paper near the flame.

Move your paper slowly around the smoke, allowing it to deposit onto the paper. If you want to create a more dramatic effect, move the smoke using your fingers.

Step 4: Draw the smoke

Once you have the smoke on your paper, you can begin drawing. Use a pencil to trace the outlines of the smoke or use the smoke as a guideline for shading.

You can experiment with different shading techniques to create different effects.


Smoke drawing is a unique art form that offers endless creative possibilities. It may seem daunting at first, but with patience and practice, anyone can learn how to draw smoke.

With the right materials and instructions, you can create beautiful abstract shapes and add atmospheric effects to your artwork. Smoke drawing is a fun and rewarding experience that can help you improve your drawing skills.

So, pick up some pencils, paper, and a candle, and start creating your masterpiece today.

How to Draw a Wisp of Smoke

Creating Soft and Elegant Smoke

A wisp of smoke can add an ethereal and dreamy touch to any scene or event. It can be a challenging effect to master, but with the right skills, it can be easy to create.

To create soft and elegant smoke, start with light sketching. Use curved lines to create the outline of the smoke you want to draw.

The smoke should be thin and wispy. Once you have your initial shape, start adding shading to create depth.

Use a light hand when shading as you want to maintain the delicate nature of the smoke. To add a ribbon effect to your smoke, draw parallel lines across the body of the smoke.

These lines should be visible but not too prominent, adding a subtle but elegant texture to your smoke drawing. As you continue to shade, be careful to maintain the delicate nature of your smoke.

Keep adding layers of shading until you achieve the desired effect.

Step-by-Step Guide for Wisp of Smoke Drawing

1. Outline the shape of the wisp of smoke with light, curved lines.

2. Add shading to the wisp of smoke, starting with a light hand and gradually building up layers of shade.

3. Add ribbon-like texture to the wisp of smoke by drawing parallel lines across the body of the smoke.

4. Continue to add layers of shading until you achieve the desired effect.

5. Erase any mistakes gently.

How to Draw Thick, Explosive Smoke

Drawing Dense and Ripple-like Smoke

Drawing thick, explosive smoke requires skill, attention to detail, and practice. One must focus on the layers, distance, density, and light source to create a captivating and realistic effect.

To start, softly layer your shading using various grades of pencils and a light hand. It is important to keep in mind that this kind of smoke will have a cloud-like structure and will be defined by ripples and shapes.

Pay attention to the light source as you shade. The shadow of the smoke should be directly beneath it and will determine its density.

Determine the distance and the layers of smoke to shade accordingly. The closer the viewer is, the denser and more layered the smoke will appear.

Step-by-Step Guide for Thick Smoke Drawing

1. Determine the shape and position of the smoke and start with light sketching.

2. Add shading to create density of the smoke, starting gently with the overlap of the layers to create dimension.

3. Highlight the peaks of the smoke by gently adding shading to create a ripple-like effect.

4. Draw curved and pointed lines over the smoke to create a realistic appearance.

5. Add darker shades to the edges of the smoke to give depth and dimension.

6. Pay attention to the light source and add shadows directly beneath the smoke.

7. Continue to add layers of shading until you achieve the desired thickness and explosive effect.

In conclusion, mastering the art of smoke drawing requires patience, attention to detail, and practice. Whether it is to create soft and elegant wisps of smoke or thick and explosive clouds, each style requires its own set of skills and techniques.

The key is to stay focused on the shape, shading, texture, and lighting of the smoke to create a captivating and realistic effect. With the right materials and instructions at your disposal shared in this article, you’ll be able to add a touch of visual magic to your artwork!

Tips and Techniques for Smoke Drawing

Smoke drawing is a fascinating art form that allows one to create abstract forms and morphable shapes. It’s important to learn the appropriate tips and techniques for smoke drawing to achieve the desired result, be it wispy or thick smoke.

Below are some tips that will help you master smoke drawing.

Tips for Drawing Wispy Smoke

Drawing wispy smoke requires a soft touch and an understanding of natural movement. To achieve this effect, use smooth lines to create the outline of your smoke.

Keep it light and naturally flowing, and maintain its wispy style. A trick to achieve a sophisticated effect is to use a kneaded eraser to lift some of the pencil off the paper.

This will create a subtle gradient and add dimension to your smoke. Try layering the pencil so that darker areas appear closer to the smoke’s surface, while lighter areas appear in the distance.

Another key to creating wispy smoke is to have a steady hand and precise control. It is important to take the time to choose the right pencils and sharpen them properly to ensure more precision.

Tips for Drawing Thick Smoke

Drawing thick smoke requires more attention to detail and texture compared to wispy smoke. To achieve this effect, use jagged lines to depict the rumbling quality of thick smoke.

The thicker the smoke, the more texture it requires. Use shadows beneath the smoke to create a sense of weight, and keep in mind the light source to add depth and dimension.

Another tip is to listen to your instincts and not be afraid to make bold choices. Don’t be too cautious with your lines, allow your hand to be a little rougher.

Finally, it is important to remember that smoke is three-dimensional and has a specific texture. Keep that in mind as you create your drawing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What Are Some Techniques to Make Thick Smoke Look Realistic?

It is important to start with light sketching, gradually layering in darker shadows until you achieve the desired thickness. Curved lines and jagged edges help to simulate the movement of thick smoke.

Textures and shadows will give the smoke depth, emphasizing its three-dimensional properties. Adding light smoke tendrils around the edges of thick smoke can also add to the realism.

Q2. What Techniques Can I Use to Make Smoke Look Like It’s Coming From a Specific Place?

Use the right colors and shading to suggest the light source that illuminates the smoke. Smoke tends to carry dirt and debris, which gives it a specific color or tone.

Surrounding objects can also cast shadows on the smoke, so make sure to indicate these as well.

Conclusion and Additional Resources

Smoke drawing offers endless creative possibilities, whether you’re a traditional artist or a digital artist. With just a few basic tools, anyone can learn to create stunning works of art.

Learning smoke drawing offers a different perspective on drawing and utilizes an often-overlooked visual aid to add depth and structure. There are many online tutorials with step-by-step instructions, tips, and techniques to help improve your smoke drawing skills.

Some popular resources include “Smokes and Fumes” by Randy Glasbergen, “Smoke Art” by Peter Wirbeleit, and “Drawing Smoke” by Monika Zagrobelna. In conclusion, smoke drawing is a unique art form that requires patience and practice.

With the right tools and techniques, anyone can learn to create stunning works of art that capture the ethereal beauty of smoke. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced artist, it’s always important to keep learning and growing by experimenting with new techniques and styles.

Smoke drawing is a unique and captivating art form that allows artists to create abstract forms and morphable shapes. This article has provided an introduction to smoke drawing, along with easy step-by-step guides for drawing wispy and thick smoke.

The tips and techniques shared emphasize the importance of paying attention to line quality, shading, texture, and the light source. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced artist, learning smoke drawing can enhance your skills and add a new dimension to your artwork.

So, pick up your pencils and let the beauty of smoke inspire your creativity.

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