What Sort Of Background For Pencil Drawings Pencil Sketch


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Art Blog Sketching Pencil Backgrounds: Five Steps to Success

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  • A full landscape will distract from the subject
  • The drawing is a basic portrait such as Joker, or Blizzard Babe above

Relative Scale: Obviously, things that are bigger will appear closer, especially in comparison to a smaller version of the same kind of object.

But if we add an apartment building behind them, something happens.

Relative Position: This may be less intuitive than the previous two concepts, but things that are lower in the picture appear closer. Things that are higher seem farther away.

This type of background is more labor intensive than either a plain paper or tinted background, but it is very useful if you want to add color without getting into the detail of a more complex background. It’s very useful for portrait work, still life drawing, or a number of other subjects, so long as the subject is not overly complex.

  • You want to create a scene or tell a story with the artwork
  • The setting is as important as the subject

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  • You would like the look and feel of a landscape, without all the detail
  • If a setting adds to the composition, but you don’t need a full landscape

What is the Best Background - The Plain Paper Background

But it gets rather boring rather quickly, and there are subjects for which a plain paper background just doesn’t work. So although I still use a plain paper background sometimes, I use it sparingly.

Now, their world becomes more real for the viewer. Carefully observed details enhance the image. It’s not just a building, it looks like an old Art Deco building. The pickup truck looks like an F-150. These details give verisimilitude, or realism, to the drawing. This feels like a real place. And their location also lends itself to building a narrative. Why are these two men on the street? What are they seeing?

What is the Best Background - Tonal Background

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This portrait has a plain paper background. The color of the paper is the background. I did nothing else with it.

All too often, artists tend to think of the background as serving a minor role in their artwork. They may ignore it altogether, or skip over it quickly to get to the “fun part”: The subject.

What is the Best Background - Near Full Background

But part of what makes good art good art is the way the subject and background work together to form a cohesive “whole”.

dudes sketch

The subject paired with any other type of background would not convey the same emotional message to the viewer. Especially with portrait work, the background is just as much a part of what your client wants to remember as the subject.

Think of it like the backdrops used by portrait photographers.

  • The subject of your drawing is very complex
  • You need to establish a setting for the subject

You might also enjoy learning how to draw ellipses in perspective or diving into perspective in landscape drawing. Come back to the Craftsy blog on Thursday to discover how to capture a likeness in your drawings.

Horizon: The horizon is always the same as the viewer’s eye level. You can place the horizon wherever you want in a drawing, but it determines the viewer’s eye level. So anything placed above the horizon line is above the viewer. Correspondingly, anything below the horizon is below the viewer. So unless you want the viewer to think he’s floating in a hot-air balloon, you’d better make sure that street lamp extends above the horizon.

What is the Best Background - Tinted Background

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One step up from a plain paper background, this background is essentially a plain paper background with a little bit of pencil work in selected areas. For Blizzard Babe (below), I shaded darker grays into the corners to focus the attention on the gray mare.

I’m going to show you the five types of backgrounds I do most often, and explain why that type of background works with each subject.

What is the Best Background - Fully Landscaped Background

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The background should support the subject of the drawing. Whether you’re drawing a still life, a portrait, or a complex action scene, you should choose a background that “sets the stage” for the subject you’ve chosen.

The beauty of using this type of background is that you can let the color of the paper carry the weight of the background until the subject is finished or nearly finished. Then you can tint the background with a color (or colors) that go with or accent the colors in the subject.

  • The drawing is a “moment in time” drawing, in which you’re attempting to capture not only a subject, but the setting as well.
  • You’re drawing a portrait with a single subject shown “up close” because the increased detail could detract from the subject.

Here’s a pencil sketch of two cool dudes standing next to each other. But with no background, there’s no context; nothing to suggest a location or narrative.

You can also add color to the corners as I did here, or add color around the subject. In either case, you should use the background to spotlight the subject.

There are more than five ways to do a background, but I want to focus on the five I use most often. I’ll explain each one, then share a couple of tips for when you should consider each background–and when you shouldn’t.

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Dark vs Light: Dark objects usually appear closer and light objects usually appear distant. This is a real phenomenon in nature known as atmospheric perspective. It’s the reason far-away mountains are a light, hazy blue, while closer mountains and other objects are darker and retain more contrast. The pencils you choose can enhance this effect– hard pencils in the H range are lighter, while dark pencils in the B range are darker.

Without getting into the rules of perspective, there are still a few things to remember when considering how to depict background space realistically. Most of these you know without thinking, and so does the viewer, but it’s easy to forget about some of these rules when sketching a background.

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What is the Best Background for Your Next Drawing

[Backgrounds are] my weakness. I have a little confidence in drawing and painting subjects but have no confidence at all with backgrounds and don’t seem to have many ideas as to what to do. How can I tell what is the best background?

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Five Types of Background and How To Decide What is the Best Background

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This used to be my favorite type of background because it’s the easiest to do. Choose the right color paper, and you’re done with the background!

This is just what it sounds like: A landscape with your subject in it.

  • If the only color paper you use is white
  • The composition is very complex. It’s more difficult to make a plain paper background work well with complex designs.

One of the biggest challenges in drawing and sketching is tackling background space. Often times we get caught up in the foreground and ignore or only half-heartedly realize a successful background for our foreground imagery to occupy. A strongly drawn or sketched background can provide necessary context for what’s happening in the foreground, and can add visual interest to keep the viewer’s eye moving and examining the image. And pencils are a robust but forgiving medium that provide the flexibility to explore these background environments.

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Most important to a realistic pencil background is research. Seek out specific environments and details– find the right tree or car or building for that space. Marshal your resources so you have them at the ready- keep files of images and go and seek out the real thing whenever possible to draw from. These will help keep your backgrounds from looking like an afterthought or too generic, and keep the viewer engaged. A good drawing is only as strong as its weakest element. A strong foreground can’t save a weak background, and vice-versa, but if both are strong and can hold somebody’s interest, you’ve succeeded. Where would you like your next drawing to be?

In a drawing like this, the setting is just as important to the drawing as the subject. It’s like a meal in a fancy restaurant compared to the same meal at home, on the couch, in front of the TV.

Camping trip? Lost in the wilderness? The narrative possibilities fly out at the viewer.

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Romain has an impressive resume, including art direction on Symphogear and mecha design for Space Dandy. Over numerous months, he’s been kind enough to share his insight and tips on Twitter. His advice is wonderful and will no doubt make you a better artist. I think it’s great he takes him out to share his knowledge.

Check out this video by Lisa Clough of Lachri Fine Art. She shows a step-by-step tutorial on trying different backgrounds with your subject before you start drawing. I found this video informative and helpful if you happen to use Photoshop.

  • To soften or reduce the starkness of a plain paper background
  • The subject needs a little more than a plain paper background, but would be overwhelmed by a more developed background.

The drawing below shows a tonal background. In this case, I wanted to create the illusion of a blurry landscape without actually drawing a landscape, so I used the same colors, but applied them randomly, then blended them until there were only color and value patterns.

This background is the half step between a tonal background and a fully landscaped background. As you can see below, the landscape is more clearly a landscape and not just a mottling of color and value.

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For more, check out Romain’s Twitter account. You can also read an interview with him on Robot-Envy.

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Overlap: How objects overlap other objects in the picture determines how the viewer understands the space. Anything overlapping or partially obscuring something else will appear closer to the viewer

Thomas Romain is a terrific artist working in the anime industry in Tokyo. Previously, he showed how to draw detailed buildings. This time, we’re going to learn from him how to draw backgrounds.

  • Your subject benefits from a more varied background than tinted or plain paper, but not from a more developed background
  • You want a colored background, but prefer using white paper
  • You’re drawing a simple portrait or still life
  • You don’t have much time to finish a drawing

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However, it’s nowhere near as detailed as the fully landscaped background in the illustration below. This type of background is a good way to place your subject in a setting without having to draw a complete landscape. It’s also a great way to suggest mood, though you can do that with a tinted or tonal background, as well.

sketched background



Guard your paper, This is usually a valuable pencil pulling technique for beginners: set a piece of document under me to stay away from smudging your drawing when you`re working. It appears evident , but it can end up being the downfall of some sort of great piece of function ! Healy also prefers to be able to mount her paper about a board, attaching this using a layer associated with matte medium. This allows keep things neat, in addition to provides a good surface in order to work.

Utilize the right eraser, There are usually a few various kinds of eraser, and each is matched to various things. You`ll definitely need a kneaded eraser. This has the putty-like consistency (it`s occasionally known as putty eraser), and you knead this before and after employ . A kneaded eraser will be best for lightly selecting up the coloured pad binding off the papers . This works wonders if correcting mistakes, or in the event that you`re deliberately lifting coloring from an area including the eyes, says Healy. Some sort of gum eraser has the more solid consistency, plus is better if you`re trying to fully get rid of a coloured-in area. Vonseiten Reuden continues: I highly believe in letting pure intuition take over in typically the creation process so I actually work with the underdrawing more as a criteria . What this means is the final outcome varies.

Unify your shades , Having an uniform method to colour may help take cohesiveness to your do the job . It`s a good thought to make sure that will your artwork has unifying colours, says Healy. `This consists of a certain colour palette, mood and also a way of spreading these types of over the entire art item . In addition, she implies creating a harmonious bottom by using tinted document or adding a history wash of colour (in paint). This will display through whatever you put together on top of that , thus giving it the appearance of cohesion. If I use coloured pencils, I`m fond of applying tinted paper produced simply by Kraft.

Try combining pencils together with watercolour, While pencils about their own enables you to generate a wealth of various effects, it can end up being interesting to combine these other media. For illustration , in her work, Healy loves to combine watercolour and even coloured pencils. It`s significant to begin with watercolour in addition to then layer coloured pencils on top, she describes , because pencils can generate a waxy surface that will repels liquid, and stops the watercolour from putting into the paper. This particular is a fun approach to try out, the lady says. Both mediums include unique qualities and construction . Combining the two factors provides an impressive medium all regarding its own.

Mix up covering techniques, There are tons of different pencil sketching techniques relating to covering . Chiu uses two key approaches. The first is definitely with all the traces going in the exact same direction. `This makes our shading appear more natural, and helps my particulars pop out from the particular lines I`m using regarding shading, he explains. The particular second method involves functioning in patches of covering , to help define form . Patches of lines circumvent the form, which support keep things in point of view , he says. This system is furthermore great for backgrounds plus creating texture.

Categorise your current fabric, Von Reuden describes the best way to add value and even shading to create more layers of depth and even weight. He admits that will , when drawing and re-creating fabric, the types associated with wrinkles created can most be placed under a few separate categories: hanging/relaxed, stretched/tension, and scrunched/compressed. Hanging material tends to be free and have a moving appearance. Stretched fabric produces long lines, usually using a point of help . Compressed fabrics bunch directly into each other, creating scrunched-looking areas.

Create material , Fabric can range through sleek and shiny in order to matte and dull. Precisely how you shade it may help sell the concept of the information you`re seeking to depict. In this design , von Reuden is attempting to be able to capture the golden folds over of material found throughout the original image. This individual began by outlining typically the shapes and blocking away aspects of shadow.

Utilize the proper grip, The first stage would be to master how to be able to hold a pencil effectively . Chiu recommends holding the particular pencil as you could some sort of piece of charcoal, plus taking advantage of typically the side of the guide to draw, rather compared to the point. This assists maintain the pencil sharper with regard to longer. When covering huge areas, I shade along with my pencil perpendicular to be able to the line I`m sketching to get wide, smooth lines, he adds. With regard to details, I hold my personal pencil parallel to our lines to get well-defined , narrow marks. The just time I use the particular thing is when I`m working on intricate particulars

Check and recheck, Before you begin better lines and detail function , it`s essential to be sure to have the correct contact form down. Chiu`s advice is usually to check and examine again. I can nail lower my drawing`s underpinnings ahead of I can add particulars . I really avoid questioning in the details: I desire to make sure every thing is symmetrical and seem right before writing more powerful and harder lines. They also suggests considering your own work in a hand mirror or through a digicam . Considering different vantage items is a great method to highlight if anything will be crooked. I constantly inquire myself, does this experience right? If anything appears off - even in case I can`t immediately set my finger on which that is #NAME? have confidence in my gut and troubleshoot my drawing before moving forward

Short on time? That above, from character artist Bobby Chiu, runs by way of some pencil drawing linked with action. For extra in-depth suggestions about composition in order to how to capture lighting and shadow, check out each of our art techniques article. Or even , for inspiration, check out this kind of roundup of unbelievably practical pencil drawings.

Know if you should quit , The majority of performers tend to tinker with their very own work - even right after they`ve signed their title . I can always get something to change in the event that I look hard good enough , so it can become difficult to inform when some sort of piece is truly completed , says Chiu. However, be skeptical of overworking your part . `Eventually, I make a new conscious decision to place my drawing away plus start something new, he or she continues. `That`s when My partner and i consider my drawing completed

Develop your skills with these kinds of pencil drawing techniques, with regard to both graphite and colored pencils. These pencil sketching techniques from top designers will allow you to take your painting skills one stage even more , whether you`re using graphite pencil or coloured pencils. For many artists, pad drawing is the expertise that introduced them in order to the art world, and even even if you`ve shifted to a different moderate , understanding how to bring with a pencil may help you better your abilities elsewhere. These pencil sketching techniques cover from the particular basics of mark-making in order to advanced processes to drive you out of your own comfort zone. We`ll also provide advice on the resources and materials you require to know, such since blending stumps, paper alternatives , and different erasers. When you`re a total starter , or just want to be able to upgrade your kit, acquire a look at each of our guide to the very best pencils.

Beyond that will , different artists have diverse approaches to lines : you need to locate the style that`s best for you. I favor to use a distinctive outline in my art work , many people using thin shapes or bold outlines, ` says Healy. It may help pinpoint the audience`s eye to a particular area. In addition, it gives the stylised look, if that will is what you are usually hoping to achieve. Chiu, however, prefers a diverse approach. I try to be able to avoid outlining my paintings because this tends in order to make things look level and deadens the THREE DIMENSIONAL effect. Breaks and areas in my lines display form in the lighting and shadows.

Use a stump regarding soft blending, How an individual blend your work can easily have a big influence on the final result. Intended for a soft blended result , try a blending stump. After each light level , I very gently merge the coloured pencils along with the stump, says US-based artist Jennifer Healy. No longer push too hard or even the colour will adhere , making it tougher to be able to softly blend. I duplicate this process as generally ?nternet site need. After numerous layers it produces some sort of very soft and fragile look. This technique needs a little trial and mistake , though. Healy warns that will if you blend as well softly, the stump may pick up colour that will you`ve already layered around the paper.

Use contrasting concepts, One particular drawing technique Healy utilizes in her work will be to use contrasting aspects within a piece associated with work, for instance, juxtaposing beauty and ugliness. I am going to use the beauty involving colours, flowers, the real softness of skin or tresses , plus the female form. I will also tend to work with something option opposite in order to all of that, for instance bones, insects, sharp the teeth , or anything that may possibly provide discomfort to typically the viewer, she elaborates. `Somehow this provides a fascinating idea to a piece. In particular when the `ugly` parts very much harder to spot in first. To me this is the very stark representation regarding what life is such as

Try out different approaches to traces , The following drawing technique fears line weight. As effectively as demarcating different things , lines can help stress shadows. Thicker lines may fade and disappear to the shadows, which can support convey the 3D kind , explains Chiu.

Find the right report texture, The surface structure you`re working on can make a big distinction towards the effects you could create. This really is referred to be able to as the grain or even `tooth` of the papers . A rough tooth will be more visible, and typically the ridges will grip typically the colour from your pencils. Having a smooth tooth, the particular ridges are very great , and there`s less grasp . Healy finds this sort of paper provides the easier surface for mixing coloured pencils, although the lady warns that it`s in addition easy to operate the coloring off the surface.

Begin lightly and build coming from there, After i start getting , I plan and discover using loose lines, and even avoid committing too soon using hard, dark lines, states Chiu. As I develop my lines will modify , so checking and rechecking my work is important . I darken my outlines and add details with the end. I do not give attention to one area intended for too long to stop overdrawing. Begin with an underdrawing, Artist Tim von Reuden likes to start together with a digital underdrawing of which he prints at one particular per cent Opacity. Earlier mentioned , you can view the underdrawing regarding his sketch of a new woman holding a staff members . He explains, I adore to keep it mild so that it provides for a foundation rather than a new final image.

Break free from your comfort zone, Whilst these pencil drawing approaches should help you recognize the essentials in the moderate , sometimes you need in order to toss the rules away of the window and locate what works for an individual . There`s nothing wrong along with stepping outside of the particular box if it indicates achieving the effect a person want, says Healy. Experimentation will occur when an individual step outside of of which box. But don`t become intimidated! The process will be entirely fun.

Master mixing , Healy has a particular process for blending your ex coloured pencil work. The lady depends on an format , to check the type is proper before assigning to coloured pencil (it`s much harder to get rid of coloured-in areas than the outline). It also assists her plan where the particular highlights and shadows will certainly fall. She then creates up colour using refined layers. I love in order to start out with gentle gentle layers to get a better thought of illumination placement, shadows as well as the shade palette, she says. Right after each layer she mixes gently using the blending together stump. Once she provides reached a stage she`s happy with, she goes on to the last step: adding an description . For this final level , Healy uses coloured pencils alone, and does certainly not blend with a stump.

Draw on your personal experiences, Dip into the experiences to add an exclusive layer of authenticity to the piece, suggests Healy. What this means is using something like a new memory, feeling or aroma when making your work. Regarding example, the special sense you experienced when sitting down down with a buddy in a coffee shop, or even a memory of any years as a child experience. You can get abstract or use hyperrealism. Whatever you decide to choose makes the particular piece unique to a person . I`ve found that individuals resonate with these bits the most.


IMAGE COLLECTIONS : What Sort Of Background For Pencil Drawings Pencil Sketch

Background image with urban construction pencil sketchBackground with pencil drawingChalk charcoal pen pencil drawing on cardboard textured background of newspaper tape brown paper and acrylic inspired by mark powellSwan by lee hammond graphite on smooth bristol graphite pencil drawing basics artistsLearning to draw graphite pencil heres what you need to knowCollage and acrylic paint background pencil drawing of james dean by kathy arbourBlack pencil drawing backgroundPencil drawing old cart on a beige background vector imageBackground with pencil drawing