Today we will learn how to set things on fire - in a good way!
Painting flames is easily done with patience and a bit of practice. It does take a little time, but yields fantastic results. I've honed this technique through many years of painting Salamanders, and this is the result we'll be looking to achieve:
You can use this tutorial to paint flames of any colour, but for now we'll be focusing on the classic 'realistic' fire.
To start off with, I'd recommend you use a wet palette to keep your paint moist. It's not essential, but it's very easy to make and i've found it to be a massive help with my painting. If you already have one, or don't want to use one, skip ahead to step 2. To make the wet palette you need a plastic tub, a dish sponge and some greaseproof paper. You should be able to get the lot at a supermarket.
Stick the sponge in the tub, then add water until the sponge is soaked and there's a tiny bit of water pooling at the bottom of the tub. Stick the greaseproof paper on top of the sponge. You can now apply paint to the paper and it will keep your paint moist for hours. If you get a tub with a lid, it will often keep paint usable overnight.
Grab your paints. You will need a dark red, light red, a strong orange and a golden Yellow. These are the ones I use:
You should also have some of your base colour handy - for the purposes of the tutorial I'll be painting onto black, but you can use this technique on any colour. To get started, put some dark red onto your palette and thin it down with a couple of drops of water, now we're ready to paint.
Using the dark red, paint a rough flame pattern onto your surface. It doesn't have to be perfect, just get the general shape.
Next we add some definition. Paint over the edges of the red with your base colour, forming spikes and curls in the flames. This creates a nice, crisp edge to your pattern. I've used grey rather than black on the image below to illustrate what I mean.
If all is well and good, you'll now be looking at this:
the next step is to start blending your paints, and this is where the wet palette will come in handy. Put a blob of light red onto your palette and thin it, then add a small amount to your dark red and mix it in. Paint over the flame pattern, leaving the dark red showing through right at the very edges. Always use downward brushstrokes, painting towards the base of the flame.
Now mix in a little bit more light red and repeat, again leaving a tiny bit of the previous colour at the edges. You should leave a slightly bigger gap at the tips of the longer flames. Repeat this step 8-10 times, mixing in a little bit of light red each time until your mixture is basically the same colour as the light red. Your flames should now look like so:
Now we start adding Orange to the party. Get a blob of orange on your palette, thin it, and mix a tiny bit into the red mixture you've been using so far. Follow the same process as before and do another 8-12 layers until you're mix is completely orange.
Guess what's next? We do the same with the yellow! You may only need 3-4 layers of orangey -yellow depending on the intensity you want. I'd advise doing 3 layers at a time and letting it dry so you can get a feel for how it looks. Once you've finished adding yellow, your finished product should look something like this:
Now we're all done you can sit back, bask in your efforts and make a coffee