[Archive] Painting Lava and fire


Could anyone explain to me how to paint lava like for bases and also fire. Thanks


Could anyone explain to me how to paint lava like for bases and also fire. Thanks

The best thing to do when you have a question like this is search the forums using the search function! There is a wealth of knowledge already out there for the taking, just waiting for you to find.

In 5 seconds I found two other threads on the very same subject (this thread now being the third).

Here you go
Painting Lava
Lava Bases



oooh, search function. I must remember to use that. hehe. instead, I riffle through page after page looking for a title that triggers my memory. lol

those are useful threads too. :slight_smile:


Oh ok then if any mods see this then please delete this one and sorry for adding this post


I’ve panited lava a couple of times and it is harder than you would think. I definately would prime the surface of what you will be painting white. From there it is a process of blending yellows from dark to light and then repeating the process with organges and reds and finally dark brown or black. The thing you have to be very carfeful with is the blending. You want to blend individual colors by themselves then let them dry completely before moving to the next color. Mixing yellow and oranges can give you a flesh tone if you are not careful. You can get different shades or hues of color by mixing the colr you intend to use with grey, black or white. However, I have found that mixing the color’s compliment works the best in establishing a more noticable variance between variances within a single color. For example, the color compliment of yellow is purple. If you mix a small amount of purple with yellow you will get a differnet hue of yellow. Doing this with you pallet will create a dramtic variety of color and will help make your painting better.

Red’s compliment is green and orange’s compliment is blue. Yellow, red and orange are trick to work with because them can readily make flesh tones, greens and browns. For example if you add black or a dark grey to yellow you will end up with a greenish neutral. Hope that helps.


Another alternative to priming white is to use foundation paints, these reds will offer complete coverage, even over black.

I own the large set of foundation paints, and could never go back, they are invaluable! I use the red, orange, and one of the yellows in my lava, along with blood red and sunburst yellow to brighten up the colours!



The contrast between the light and dark areas is important, as this is what will make it look hot and fiery. Remember lava is thick and sluggish, and a lot of it cools solid very fast so don’t be afraid to have large areas very dark. Highlight up from a dark orange to very light yellow. Best way to check your palette is to look at photos of real lava, just google it. Varnishing the liquid areas (not solidified areas) also gives a nice sheen to it, and keeps the colours bright. Also adding things like bubbles to the lava can really add atmosphere. :slight_smile: