What is a fantasy setting without some ancient, eternally erupting volcano? In this tutorial I’ll teach you how to draw a volcano for your fantasy map!

Step 1: Draw the outline

Let’s start with a very basic shape. This will be the outline for the volcano. You can draw this similar to how you would draw a regular mountain, but with an opening at the top. This opening will later lead down into a fiery pit of molten stone and death!

Step 2: Ridges

Next we should add some ridges to give the volcano som shape. Draw some jagged lines going down from the top. On or two should be enough.

Step 3: Add details

With the main ridges in place we can start working on the details. You can draw smallers ridges going down from the main ridges to show off the shape of the volcano. Next we’ll start drawing the smoke that’s rising from the volcano.

Step 4: Flat colours

Time to get started with adding color. The first thing that we need to do is settle on the colors for the volcano. Which color works best depends a lot on what other colors you use in your map, so play around and see what looks best! For this tutorial I used #90775d for the volcano and #959595 at 50% opacity for the smoke.

Sometimes the black of the line art can look too stark on your map. In this case you may want to change the color of the line art. Take a very dark shade of the original color and apply it to the line art.

Step 5: Shading

Now let’s add shadows to the volcano. I have my light source in the top left corner. This means that in this tutorial, most of the cliff will be covered in shadows. Add dark strokes underneath each layer. Then add a softer shade around the bottom of the cliffs.

Step 6: Highlights

In this step we’ll add the highlights. We’ll do this the same way that we did with the shadows, except we’ll be drawing with a lighter shade of the colors. Add a light stroke around the areas where the light catches the cliffs. This is above each layer and you can add a subtle highlight around the edges.

Step 7: Fire

Next we’ll draw the fire inside the volcano. Add an orange glow around the top. I made it transparant at about 50% opacity so that you can see through the fire. You can do this in several layers to build it up.

Step 8: More Highlights

The final step is to add some final highlights to the fire and smoke. Pick a lighter shade of orange and add some strokes In the fire. In this case, the fire of the volcano is the light source, which means that the smoke catches the light from below.


If you want to learn more about how I draw my maps, visit my Skillshare page, where I have several classes dedicated to drawing fantasy maps!