Candles are among the earliest human inventions discovered by archaeologists. Candlesticks from ancient Egypt and the island of Crete have been discovered that date to around 3000 B.C., and in China from 200 B.C.
Early candles were made from beeswax or tallow, which is animal fat. Typically, a wick of fibers was dipped into a vat of melted wax or tallow. The wax was allowed to cool, then dipped again; this was repeated until the candle reached the desired size. Later, candles were made from sperm whale oil or petroleum derivatives. Today, most candles employ synthetic oils or plant oils.
Candles were so widely used that a "candle" came to be a measure of light output. Originally, this unit of measure indicated "a one-sixth-pound candle of sperm wax, burning at the rate of 120 grains per hour." In the 1920s, the measurement was standardized to incandescent electric light bulbs.
Since ancient times, candles have been used as a source of light; they are still used for this purpose during power outages and in parts of the world that do not have electricity. In China and Europe, they were also used to tell time. The sides of the candle were marked with hours or small weights that fell off as the candle burned. Today, most candles are used for aesthetic or decorative purposes. Others are used in religious ceremonies, such as funeral rites, rituals of the Catholic church, and the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah.
Would you like to draw a burning candle? Doing so is easier than ever with the help of this simple, step-by-step drawing tutorial. All you will need is a pencil, a sheet of paper, and a good eraser. You may also wish to use markers, crayons, or colored pencils to shade your finished drawing.
1. Begin by drawing a flattened oval. This will form the top of the candle.
2. Outline the sides of the candle by drawing a long, straight line downward from each side of the oval.
3. Connect the straight lines using a curved line. This completes the cylinder, the basic shape of the candle.
4. Using curved lines, enclose irregular shapes along the outside edge of the oval. These represent drippings of melted candle wax.
5. Erase the guide lines from the original oval.
6. Draw a curved line across the top of the candle; the line should be in the center, not touching the edges. Then, draw another curved line upwards from the previous line. This forms the candle's wick, the cloth or wooden material that burns.
7. Draw the candle's flame. To draw the flame, extend two curved lines upwards from the middle of the wick, allowing them to meet in a sharp point. The finished flame should resemble a teardrop shape.
8. Draw irregular "U" shaped lines of different sizes along the side of the candle, indicating dripping wax. Erase guide lines as necessary.
9. Draw short, straight lines emanating like a halo from the flame. These lines indicate the candle's glow.
10. Color your candle. In our example, the candle is a light yellow, resembling early tallow candles. Today, candles come in many colors, so be creative. A candle's color often hints at its scent - do you have a set of scented markers? If so, you can color a scented candle!
Would you like to expand your pyrotechnic drawing skills? If so, use our easy tutorials to draw other objects set aflame, including a cake with candles, a campfire, smoke and flames, a baby dragon, and the Pokemon Charizard.
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