Learn How to Draw Smoke with These Easy Tips

Are you an artist who struggles to draw realistic smoke? You’re not alone! Many artists find smoke to be a challenging subject to draw. But with the right techniques, you can create beautiful and lifelike smoke in your artwork. In this article, we will share some tips and tricks on how to draw smoke that will make your artwork stand out.

Understanding the Basics of Smoke

Before we dive into the techniques, it’s important to understand the basic properties of smoke. Smoke is a visible gas made up of tiny particles and is often created from burning a material. Smoke can be thick or thin, and it can move quickly or slowly depending on the airflow. When drawing smoke, it’s essential to consider these properties to make it look realistic.

Materials You Will Need

To draw smoke, you will need a few basic materials, including:

  • Pencils (preferably charcoal pencils)
  • Eraser
  • White paper (preferably heavy paper)
  • Reference images of smoke

Techniques for Drawing Smoke

Now that you understand the basics of smoke let’s dive into the techniques to draw smoke.

Step 1: Sketch the shape of the smoke

Start by sketching the general shape of the smoke with light lines. Use a reference image to get the shape and flow of the smoke just right. Remember that smoke is constantly moving, so it’s okay if the lines are not perfect.

Step 2: Add shading to the smoke

Next, add shading to the smoke using a charcoal pencil. Start with light shading and gradually build up the darkness. Use a reference image to see the areas that are darker or lighter.

Step 3: Soften the edges of the smoke

Smoke does not have sharp edges, so use an eraser to soften the edges of the smoke. This will give it a more realistic look.

Step 4: Add highlights

Smoke has highlights where the light hits it. Use a white charcoal pencil to add these highlights to your drawing. Be careful not to overdo it.

Step 5: Add texture

Smoke has a unique texture that you can capture by using short, quick strokes with your charcoal pencil. This will give your smoke a more organic look.

Additional Tips for Drawing Smoke

Here are some additional tips to help you draw smoke:

  • Experiment with different pencil grades to achieve different effects
  • Use a blending tool to blend the shading and soften the edges
  • Use a kneaded eraser to lift off pigment and lighten areas
  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Smoke is a challenging subject to draw, so keep practicing!


Drawing smoke is a challenging but rewarding subject to master. With the right techniques and practice, you can create beautiful and lifelike smoke in your artwork. Remember to consider the basic properties of smoke, use the right materials, and follow the steps we have provided. Don’t forget to experiment with different techniques and pencil grades to achieve the perfect look. Happy drawing!

Until next time, happy drawing!