How to Draw Hot Rod Flames in Adobe Illustrator

Learn the Fast and Easy Way to Draw Classic Hot Rod Flames in Adobe Illustrator with this Ultimate Digital Hot Rod Flame Tutorial.

Over the years I’ve needed hot rod style flames for various projects and every time I came to the same conclusion – I will never find the perfect stock clip art of hot rod flames for my designs so I better learn to draw my own. So that’s what I did. Through experimenting and reverse engineering I’ve streamlined the process to the point where I can make classic hot hod flames in any style, color, and configuration with ease. And now I’m sharing this technique with you.

Download the same file used in this tutorial.

Other subjects covered:

1. Learn how to control your anchor points. Finally understand what anchor points and handles do and how to make them do what you want. It’s as simple as kneading dough!

2. Discover the glory of the offset path effect. A supremely useful effect!

File Under: Ht Rod Flame Tutorial – Anchor Point Tips – Drawing Smoothly with the Pencil Tool – How to Make Smooth Lines in Adobe Illustrator – Using Offset Path Effects to Make Hot Rod Flame Pinstripes


  • Hello Clay, I really enjoyed your website; useful information. I work with packaging using illustrator & photoshop CS5 and i like working more with Illustrator. The problem sometimes I encounter is that if you use tools like gradient mesh or some of the 3d effects, it can sometimes cause glitches or errors on printer rips/imagesetters (something to do with postscript I assume). I would imagine if you use the expand command this may reduce the errors but not exactly sure.
    Most designers should keep this in mind when creating complex images in illustrator but then again there are many designers that don’t have a conventional printing background to offset this issue. I say the best solution is to always keep it SIMPLE. Thanks and keep up the good work on your site and possibly more illustrator tutorials (maybe one on how to produce clean print ready mechanicals?)

    July 3, 2013
    • Clay Butler

      So true. When in doubt expand effects. It’s the only way to know 100% your arched banner will stay arched. One time a poster design I did for my daughters school printed with a reverse arch (squeezed vertically rather an horizontally) when they made extra copies in house. It was hilarious looking. I was the only one that noticed though.

      July 3, 2013
  • Zoro

    hello clay, i hope you post more illustrator tutorial especially about packaging design, drawing and coloring character in illustrator. I really dont know how to work with shadow when making character.

    September 8, 2013

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