The following is a smoke tutorial posted by the able hobbyist Eisenhans over on the Ninth Age forum:
Eisenhans said:This post is roughly translated from Swedish by me so if you don't follow - Ask! :)
As I've had several people ask me how I make the smoke on my miniatures and I've promised some folk here, here's a tutorial:
First of all a disclaimer; this idea is a total steal from Vince Venturella's YouTube channel. For anything remotely hobby related go follow him on YouTube and stop wasting your hobby time on posts like this ;)
What you need to make smoke on your miniatures, step one:
Flock (Not the small stuff, see pictures)
First try to estimate how large your smoke pillar should be on your model, cut of a bit of wire that is a bit longer than that. If your attaching it by pinning - make it longer. Tear of an approximate amount of flock to cover the wire:
Glue the flock to the wire (pierce it on and glue), easiest is to do it piece by piece. You really can't do it wrong as long as you are covering all of the wire except at least a cm at one of the ends (it makes a good handle for painting).
Depending on if it's a smoke pillar, fire from a flamethrower, if it's blowing etc you'll have to adjust the bend on the wire or remove/add flock to shape it until satisfied. If it feels right, you've done it right ;) Otherwise flock is cheap, just keep fiddling until you're satisfied with the shape:
When you're happy with the shape of your smoke paint it with PVA mixed with water (think milk in thickness, 3% not the light BS).
Do not drench it! It'll take a year to dry of you do (feels like anyways). Just paint the whole thing and leave it to dry overnight. As a suggestion I use the the "handle"wire and put it upright in a drilled out piece of plastic so it's standing upright while drying. This helps a lot since then you don't have to carve it off from your desk tomorrow.
Part one is now complete.
What you need for part two:
Spray paint (black)
Gray paint, at least two shades, preferably more.
Spray the entire thing completely, be sure you get complete coverage as any green spots peeking out will ruin the impression of smoke completely. Leave to dry.
Drybrush the entire thing dark grey, use a bit more colour than you would when doing a normal drybrush as the flock tends to soak up the colour.
Drybrush it again with a lighter shade (and again) one shade of grey at a time (if you do fifty shades, post a pic :P ). Very important note as you go lighter - the lighter the colour the more important it is that you get it on the right spots; only go really light shades where the smoke is supposed to be white (google it/get an wood stove and chimney and check).
You've now got a complete smoke pillar to attach to your miniature! Well done!
Optional step 1
What you need:
Colour of choice at least four shades of it, red, green, purple or whatever colour your fire is supposed to have.
To add some life to the smoke we'll add a contrasting colour that is supposed to mimic fire (or whatever you want it to be).
Begin with a slightly darker shade than feels right (red - khorne red, green - dark angels green etc).
Wherever you think there should be fire is where your first layer should go (don't overdo it as it's easier to add red than to redo all that grey drybrush on a small surface) be quite generous with the amount of colour on your brush so it really covers the area, better a bit too much colour than too little. Do some random dots as well to mimic sparks.
Immediately keep going with the next shade (Evil sunz scarlett for red as an example) and paint over the other red, repeat this step with all shades (go up to white of you like the looks of it) just cover a smaller area of the original red surface for each shade.
My experience is that it is better to do it in one straight go as you get a more organic look to it when the shades mix naturally.
You now have a cool fiery smoke pillar to attach to your miniature! Good job!
What you need:
Inks of choice
Paint on spots at random (mainly target the grey area but some on the red as well) with your inks. I've used brown, purple, green and yellow; just try your way as you go along. Be careful with the amount you put on though as you really don't want it to go *BAAM PURPLE!* anywhere, you only want to fool the eye that that the smoke looks natural with some colour variation, it isn't really supposed to show.
When satisfied you have a kick-a$$ smoke pillar to attach to your miniature! Good on you!
Haven't got any WIP-pictures (as I'm senile) but here's some pictures of stuff I've done, you should be able to reverse engineer how they're done from the wall of text you've just read ;)
Green smoke/fire (first I did)