Author Topic: Drawing Explosions for Comics!  (Read 30103 times)


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Drawing Explosions for Comics!
« on: March 03, 2014, 07:51:02 PM »
Does anyone have a good tutorial on drawing explosions? I've seen plenty for pretty little flames... but not for big bangs! And mine are somewhat terrible. It's something I'd love to learn more about...

An example of one I did...

But I like these:

Thoughts? Ideas? Or other reference pictures?

I ask, cus it doesn't seem like comic book explosions don't really look like real explosions to me... XD

Offline Arioch

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Re: Drawing Explosions for Comics!
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2014, 08:43:25 PM »
I think you've got the right idea -- a fireball with bits flying out of it -- but this is hard to render successfully with lines and distinct colors. I'd suggest trying smoother transitions between colors, rather than a cel-style hard break. Also, you may want to go all the way to white at some points to indicate brightness.

Here are some explosions from my own comic:

Offline Duskglass

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Re: Drawing Explosions for Comics!
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2014, 02:00:18 AM »
Could use more contrast, both in terms of brightness and saturation, and the cel-shading looks a little too clean.

The other thing that I'm noticing is how your glow effect closely rims the flames, while in the other example the glow radiates from the centre of the explosion; the latter reads as more realistic.

I can clearly understand your intent when I look at your page, but it's a bit timid. Explosions are dramatic; don't be afraid to push it. Overlay layers are a quick way to add dynamic lighting effects to an otherwise lacklustre image.

Also remember that flames can be a variety of colours (based on chemicals present) and explosions sometimes produce a lot of dust and smoke without the typical hollywood fireballs. I'm assuming 'big fireball' was your goal but it's not the only option. c:


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Re: Drawing Explosions for Comics!
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2014, 06:57:09 AM »
yah, I get that my little explosion drawn almost two years ago sucks guys.

I'm actually interested in learning about how to draw explosions for my black and white comic and I can't even find black and white traditional silver-age comics style references. (that moment where you wish you had ironman comics on hand) So, the line work is going to be very important (even though Arioch your beautifully painted explosions are really really nice, I may study for use in Goblins ;p )...

you'd think with explosions being so important to super hero comics you would see more of it around...

Also, not that it matters, but the scene I'm drawing has the character being blown out of a window from an exploding building.

Offline Arioch

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Re: Drawing Explosions for Comics!
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2014, 01:16:02 PM »
If want you want is black & white linework, I'd suggest studying manga examples. Here are some examples from Miyazaki and Shirow Masamune. Both use heavy contrast between light and dark to depict the brightness of the fireball, speedlines, and they make the sounds effects a visual part of the explosion.

Offline Muninn

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Re: Drawing Explosions for Comics!
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2014, 04:17:39 PM »
LadyArrowsmith, I think the design and linework of your splosion is pretty neat looking already. What bothers me about it is that it's coloured light on the outsides and dark at the center of it -instead of the other way around- I think that isn't helping it feel "hot".

As for reference, I'd say look at video's and pictures of real explosions, rather than drawn explosions. It helps to annalize and understand the real thing, before going into stylized/abstract versions of it.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2014, 04:20:07 PM by Muninn »


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Re: Drawing Explosions for Comics!
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2014, 06:51:39 PM »
If want you want is black & white linework, I'd suggest studying manga examples. Here are some examples from Miyazaki and Shirow Masamune. Both use heavy contrast between light and dark to depict the brightness of the fireball, speedlines, and they make the sounds effects a visual part of the explosion.

These are really excellent, thanks Arioch!! Now this is what I'm talk'n about!


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Re: Drawing Explosions for Comics!
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2014, 03:43:43 PM »
By the way, if anyone else is looking, I found a great pinterest board with lots of animated/drawn explosions. Excellent stuffs.

Offline CJohnson

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Re: Drawing Explosions for Comics!
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2014, 04:38:57 PM »
Thank you for that link!  Shared and bookmarked for future reference.


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Re: Drawing Explosions for Comics!
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2014, 12:17:53 AM »
By the way, if anyone else is looking, I found a great pinterest board with lots of animated/drawn explosions. Excellent stuffs.

ty for link!

Offline jazylh

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Re: Drawing Explosions for Comics!
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2014, 08:00:57 PM »
Now that's some great reference material. drawing explosions for B/W comics is especially hard.
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  • Guest
Drawing Explosions for Comics
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2019, 08:45:39 AM »

Anyone interested in drawing the figure will love this drop in drawing class at the Whistler House in Lowell.  Its a great space.  Its on Wednesdays from 6pm - 9pm.  Its 15 for a drop in.  I think if you pay in advance it goes down to 10.  You can get more info at "Whistler House Figure Drawing" on Facebook. 



  • Guest
Re: Drawing Explosions for Comics!
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Re: Drawing Explosions for Comics!
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