Smoke can take on many forms. A campfire’s light, hazy smoke is different from the thick smoke of a factory smokestack. Smoke has mass and exerts force on the air around it, meaning different sources of smoke may not blend together smoothly. By noticing how the smoke is moving and mixing, I’ll be able to create a more realistic effect.
When I’m blocking in my shapes, I think about the density of the smoke. Thin smoke will have softer edges, while thick smoke will have more distinct shapes and flow. Since I have chosen a fairly dense smoke, there will be areas of overlap and areas of mixing, with harder edges at the source that soften as they rise away from the mask. I have to be careful to avoid long, curling lines, because these will give my painting a flat feel.
When I’m ready to finalise my painting, I comb over the area to push and pull contrast, paint over my photo texture, and adjust colours as needed to pull the image together.