Illustrated Fire Tutorial

I got a few requests about how I did the fire on this design, and I thought that I would take some time to show exactly how I made it.

So, here is my best attempt at explaining how I did it. I have tried to make it easy to use for someone new to shirt design, so a lot of this is pretty basic stuff, but I hope that it is helpful for some folks!

[i][u]Step 1.
Doodle up some fire!

First, I doodled out the general shape of the fire. In illustrating fire, as well as anything else, I would strongly recommend using a reference. A reference can be something lying around the house, a google image search, or even your own body (your own hands are really handy).

I looked up images of people shooting off flame throwers to get an idea of how the flames move out of the nozzle, what they do after they leave, what the brightest areas of the flame are, etc.
From this point I went on to my final line work and I selected a background color (initially, royal blue).

You may think you only have 6 colors to work with, but really you have a 7th: the shirt. It’s important to know how it works over all with your color choices.

[i][u]Step 2.
Choose those colors!

For good light effects, it is important to select a number of analogous colors with the hottest/brightest pushing towards white.
Check out this shirt. Ramy used 5 colors to define the fire.

I knew that the fire would be a big selling point on this design, so I colored it before anything else and let that guide the rest of my color decisions on the shirt.
3 seemed like a good number, because I knew I would need additional colors elsewhere.

[i][u]Step 3.
Paint that fire!

Its true in oil painting and in digital painting- start with dark, work your way up to light.
I started with my darkest orange.

Now select a brush to start with (It helps to have a eraser with the same settings)

Using the brushes panel, try messing with different brushes.
I like to turn on:
shape dynamics,
tranfer (“other dynamics” in CS4)
Scatter (play with count and count jitter)

Also, I like to adjust opacity and flow

using the brush and eraser, build up the first color.
you can even make a second layer behind this and lower the layer’s opacity
The smudge tool is helpful as well.

Once you get the base color you like, move on to the second. Be sure to do this on another layer.

Make a new layer and paint the third color

I realized later on in the design that smoke and reflections might look cool

[[i][u]Step 4.
Halftone up that fire!

Read tgentry’s tutorial on halftones HERE
He does an awesome job explaining the how to’s. I used the bitmap/line method, but it is really a personal preference.

I hope that is helpful!

It is! Thanks for doing this.

This, plus the link to tgentry’s halftone tutorial, are SUPER helpful- THANKS!

This is great! Very helpful.

Excellent! That’s a great effect I expect to be used frequently from now on. :slight_smile: