The Dhumavati Tantra describes the goddess as an old, thin and ugly widow, with a pale complexion. She is portrayed as restless and wicked. She wears old, dirty clothes, wears no jewels and has dishevelled hair. Her eyes inspire fear, her nose is long and crooked, and some of her long fang-like teeth are missing, leaving her smile with gaps. Her ears are ugly and rough and her breasts hang down.
One of her trembling hands is held a winnowing basket, while the other has a varada-mudra or chinmudra (granting knowledge). Her vahana (vehicle) is a horseless chariot bearing an emblem of a crow and a banner.
The Prapancasarasara-samgraha describes Dhumavati as having a very dark complexion and wearing ornaments made of snakes. She holds a spear or sword and a kapala or skull-cup in her hands. She also has an aged, wrinkled face. Her nose, eyes, and throat resemble those of a crow. She holds a broom, a winnowing fan, a torch, and a club.
She is also sometimes shown as holding a trident. This terrible goddess also sometimes chews the corpses of the demons Chanda and Munda, and drinks a mixture of blood and wine.
Some rare paintings portray her as a full-breasted, beautiful young woman, adorned with the finest gold jewellery. She looks sexually tempting, but is still an inauspicious widow. Some regions of Nepal depict her as a nude woman, wearing a pearl necklace and headband, standing on a peacock, looking into her own reflection in a mirror. A ring of fire, which probably conveys cremation flames, surrounds her.