What to Put in the Background of a Drawing

What to Put in the Background of a Drawing

When creating a drawing, one of the key elements to consider is the background. The background sets the stage for the main subject and helps to create a sense of depth and atmosphere in the artwork. But what should you put in the background of a drawing? Here are some ideas and tips to help you make the most of your background choices.

1. Consider the focal point: The background should not overpower the main subject of your drawing. It should enhance and support it. Take into account the size and placement of your main subject and create a background that complements it.

2. Use perspective: Incorporating perspective in your background can add depth and realism to your drawing. Utilize techniques such as converging lines or diminishing sizes to create the illusion of distance.

3. Think about the mood and theme: The background can help convey the mood or theme of your artwork. For example, a dark and stormy sky can create a sense of drama, while a serene landscape can evoke tranquility. Choose elements that align with the emotions you want to convey.

4. Consider the composition: The background should be balanced and harmonious with the rest of the drawing. Pay attention to the overall composition and ensure that the background elements are well-placed and do not distract from the main subject.

5. Use references: If you’re unsure about what to put in the background, look for references. Observe photographs, paintings, or even real-life scenes that inspire you and provide ideas for your background choices.

6. Add depth with layers: Incorporating layers in your background can create a sense of depth in your drawing. Use overlapping elements such as trees, buildings, or mountains to add visual interest and make the background more engaging.

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7. Create a sense of distance: To convey distance in your drawing, consider using atmospheric perspective. Make objects in the background appear lighter, less detailed, and blurrier than those in the foreground. This technique mimics the way objects appear less distinct as they recede into the distance due to atmospheric conditions.

8. Balance detail: While adding details to the background can enhance the overall drawing, be careful not to overdo it. Strike a balance between the level of detail in the foreground and the background to maintain focus on the main subject.

9. Use complementary colors: Consider using complementary colors in your background to create visual interest and harmony. Complementary colors are opposite each other on the color wheel, such as blue and orange or red and green. Adding touches of complementary colors in the background can make your drawing more dynamic.

10. Experiment with textures: Backgrounds don’t have to be flat and smooth. Experiment with different textures to add depth and interest. Whether it’s a rough stone wall, a soft grassy field, or a smooth water surface, textures can enhance the visual appeal of your artwork.

11. Use negative space: Sometimes, leaving parts of the background blank can be just as impactful as adding elements. Utilize negative space to create a sense of simplicity or to draw attention to the main subject.

12. Consider the story: If your drawing tells a story, make sure the background supports it. Think about what elements could enhance the narrative or provide additional context for the viewer.

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13. Trust your intuition: Ultimately, the choice of what to put in the background of your drawing is a personal decision. Trust your artistic intuition and experiment with different ideas and elements until you find what works best for your artwork.

Common Questions and Answers:

1. What if I’m drawing a portrait?
When drawing a portrait, you can use a simple, neutral background to keep the focus on the subject’s face. Alternatively, you can include elements that represent the person’s interests or personality.

2. Should I always include a background in my drawings?
No, not every drawing requires a background. Sometimes, leaving the background blank or using negative space can create an impactful composition.

3. Can I use patterns or textures as a background?
Absolutely! Patterns and textures can add visual interest and enhance the overall composition of your drawing.

4. How can I create a realistic background?
Observing real-life scenes or using reference images can help you create a realistic background. Pay attention to details such as lighting, perspective, and color.

5. How do I choose the right colors for the background?
Consider the mood and theme of your drawing. Choose colors that harmonize with the main subject and evoke the desired emotions.

6. Should the background be more or less detailed than the main subject?
The level of detail in the background should be balanced with the main subject. It should not overpower or distract from it.

7. Can I use a photograph as a background?
Yes, you can incorporate a photograph into your drawing as a background element. Just ensure that you have the necessary permission or use copyright-free images.

8. Can the background be the main focus of the drawing?
While the background should support the main subject, there is no hard and fast rule against making it the main focus. It all depends on your artistic intention and the story you want to tell.

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9. How can I create a sense of movement in the background?
Incorporating elements such as flowing water, swaying trees, or flying birds can create a sense of movement in the background.

10. Should I outline the background elements?
The decision to outline or not outline the background elements depends on your artistic style and the overall aesthetic you want to achieve. Experiment with both options and see which one works best for your drawing.

11. Can I use a single color as the background?
Using a single color as the background can create a sense of simplicity and focus. Just ensure that the color complements the main subject.

12. Should I add shadows to the background?
Shadows can add depth and realism to your background. Consider the lighting conditions and the position of the main subject to determine where shadows should be placed.

13. How can I make the background more interesting?
Experiment with different elements, textures, and colors to make the background more engaging. Also, consider incorporating storytelling elements or symbols that add meaning to the overall artwork.

In conclusion, the background of a drawing plays a crucial role in setting the scene, enhancing the main subject, and creating depth. By considering factors such as composition, perspective, mood, and theme, you can make informed choices about what to put in the background. Experiment, trust your intuition, and remember that the background should complement and support the main subject, rather than overpowering it.

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