How to Paint Smoke on Canvas

By Laura Stuart

Creating an illusion is what every painter, master and student alike, wants to do. It is simple to create smoke on a canvas. This article tells you how to do it, because smoke is a simple matter of black and white.

Mix your paints. You need to mix six or seven shades of gray in lumps on a palette or jars to go along with standard white and standard black.

Put on the black. Keep in mind while you are painting that once a lighter color is on, you cannot cover it with a darker shade. Start with black and move toward white.

Paint in half-moon circles. When you are applying the paint with your brush, move the strokes in half-moon circles to create the billowing effect of smoke. This will make it more realistic, while maintaining your own artistic touch.

Make small smears. Using a smaller brush, make small smears in the half-moons to blend the colors together. It should look like a mixture of blacks, grays and whites. There should be no part of the smoke that is completely black, gray or white. They should all be blended together.

Let it dry. Your smoke is now on canvas.

Tip

Make minor adjustments as you go. It will save you time later.

Warning

Work up from darker colors.

About the Author

Laura N. Stuart is a writer. She has served as a newspaper reporter, photographer, copy editor, feature reporter, editor, entertainment reporter and freelance writer for multiple community and regional publications. She holds a Bachelor of Mass Communications degree in journalism from Louisiana State University.