postheadericon How to Create Backgrounds in Artwork

To simplify art creating, there are two major parts. One is the focal point, where your eye rests, and the background which is the reference for the main focal point.

How to Create Backgrounds in Artwork

1 Know what power your background can have. A beginning artist is likely to draw or paint a person from a photograph or from real life. If you have studied drawing, you know about proportion, shading, the value of using good paper, a set of drawing pencils, the use of pastels, charcoal, or how to do the same using watercolor or acrylic paint. But to really demonstrate your talent, you should also include some type of background.  The background is the key for showing the environment, or surroundings, location, a culture, historical reference, a person’s status, or circumstance for the artwork. This is true for drawing a house, people, animals, a still life, or imaginary characters.

How to Create Backgrounds in Artwork

2 Look at your subject closely. This will help you decide how to form your background. Ask yourself some questions (using a house as an example, but other subjects apply): When drawing your house, the house needs reference information. Is it a ranch style with a garage and a big tree out front?  Is it a smaller home in the country with a pond and animals standing by the barn? What makes this house so special you want to draw it?  Look for actual details showing where the mailbox is, how many bushes are in the yard.  Is the house being drawn on a sunny day or a cool autumn day when the family is out raking leaves together?  This captures the moment and makes the simple house drawing tell a story.

How to Create Backgrounds in Artwork

3 Do not place the objects you are drawing in the dead center of the paper.  Being slightly off the mid-point will add interest, especially if you are drawing a group of objects such as flowers in a vase, a coffee mug and a newspaper.  Each of these objects has an unique shape and height, and the background should work to located where these objects can be seen, in the kitchen, your end table, the back patio, etc.

How to Create Backgrounds in Artwork

4 Look at your walls. Besides the color of the walls, there are windows, entry ways, bedroom doors, clocks, awards, family photos, furniture, a t.v., bookshelves and other items piled up. Take in a visual inventory of the interior space and list things for the next time you don’t know what to add to your drawing. Also, don’t make the background too busy or unrelated to the focal area.  American Gothic by Grant Wood has little background but it says a lot.

How to Create Backgrounds in Artwork

5 Consider composition. Artists use a term called composition which means understanding the placement of visual elements. Using a type of grid, good composition places some things above the center and others below, especially in landscape drawing. Use a horizon line to show subjects in the distance.  Objects which are closer are larger, and they become smaller in the distance.

How to Create Backgrounds in Artwork

6 Plan the setting. Using all you know about background information, think of the setting. For an drawing exercise, think of what would you see out your window if you lived in NYC versus a window in rural Iowa?  Draw what you know best or use photos if you can not picture it.

How to Create Backgrounds in Artwork

7 Use developed lines and textures. Practice using the side of the pencil, make marks which are dots, dashes, short strokes and curved. These techniques will enrich the overall quality of your drawing and make your drawing become a real standout. Above all, do not leave the background empty.

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